From pocket money to parity: Australian women continue to be short-changed

Posted: 4 March 2022 4:23 pm
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Finder releases second annual research report for International Women's Day on 8 March

Australia continues to push forward in its pursuit of gender equality, but when it comes to finances there are still significant gaps, a new report by global fintech Finder reveals.

Finder's new report, International Women's Day 2022: Work, wealth and financial equality, reveals that several aspects of the gender finance gap are yet to be addressed, as well as the areas in which women outperform men when it comes to money matters.

The comprehensive report uses data from a number of sources including Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker, an ongoing survey of more than 34,000 Australians, and focuses on 3 key areas: household finances, wealth and work.

Kate Browne, editor-at-large and personal finance expert at Finder, said the report highlights areas of personal finance where we haven't reached gender equality.

"International Women's Day is an opportunity to bring these issues of financial inequality to light, but it's crucial that they remain a year-round focus and don't get lost once the day ends," she said.

The pay gap between men and women starts at a young age. While young girls receive an average allowance of $9.30 per week, boys earn $10.30, according to a Finder survey of over 1,000 parents of children under 12.

Women have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19

Women are likely to have less money in savings. With $38,932, the average man has 83% more money in savings than the average woman – a difference that has increased from 71% just 12 months ago. Women are also considerably more likely to have no savings at all (23%) than men (13%).

"The pandemic has been an additional roadblock when it comes to closing the gender wealth gap, with women disproportionately affected by things like job loss and additional caring responsibilities."

Finder found men (29%) were more likely than women (21%) to say their income had increased over the past 12 months, whereas women (24%) were more likely than men (20%) to say their income had decreased.

"Parts of the pandemic like remote and hybrid working that are here to stay could help women who are caring for children or others getting back to work by better supporting a true work-life balance."

Women make good money managers

Women are typically better at paying off debt and avoiding late fees on their bills. Finder research shows on average, male credit card holders are carrying $1,741 in debt accruing interest, which is 16% more than women.

"It's important to focus on areas where we would like to see improvements but also to celebrate where women are doing well with finance. Confidence is everything when it comes to personal finance."

Women are less likely than men to rely on credit. Nearly half (45%) of men say they rely on credit to pay for essentials – even if infrequently – compared to 31% of women, according to Finder.

Female investors outperform male investors by an average of 0.4 percentage points per year. A 10-year analysis of Fidelity customers found the difference is attributed to trading patterns: women trade half as frequently as men. By avoiding risky trades, minimising trading fees and being more selective in their investments, women perform better.

"While there are still glaring gender gaps, it's encouraging that women are performing well in areas of finance like investing that can seem tailored to men and can appear intimidating to women."

Women retire with lower superannuation balances

Finder's analysis revealed on average, men retire with 26% more super than women. To make up for this discrepancy, the average woman would have to supplement an extra $236 per month into their super, or alternatively, work an extra 11 years.

"For men looking for actionable ways to help close the gender gap, things like taking your paternity leave and topping up your partner's super where possible are small steps that will have a clear impact.

Parenthood can put women at a disadvantage too. Finder analysis found taking just 1 year of parental leave from full-time work will cost the average woman $16,800 in lost super.

"If you're a new parent and you are a man, don't let your parental leave go to waste. Taking time off work to care for your children supports your partner in getting back to work and earning an income sooner. It's also a small step towards normalising male parental leave within organisations."

Want to learn more about the financial differences between men and women in 2022? Check out the full report here.

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