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Source: Article by Zenoyise Madikwa of the Sowetan
WOMEN have come a long way, but the odds are stacked against them when it comes to finances. Worse, many women view money and money-related tasks as necessary evils, not opportunities to even the odds. According to Liberty Life consumer economist Tendani Mantshimuli, while neither gender has an exclusive claim to better money management skills, women are not getting the same deal as men. They earn about three-quarters of what men make. In a divorce, they tend to get less of the assets and more of the children.
Mantshimuli offers the following advice for women:
Starting out stage:
In your twenties and your thirties you are probably without dependants. On promotion or if you get a better paid job, pay off debts, especially high- interest debt.
* Once you have paid off debts, put your extra money into a retirement annuity (RA) or savings. Don’t spend your money on depreciating assets. If you buy a new car, in five years’ time it will be worth much less than you paid. But if you invest in an RA, in five years’ time your money will be worth more than what was invested.
* Protect your income – without it, you would struggle to survive . Income protection cover is designed to replace your income if you can no longer work, for example if you become disabled in an accident.
* Without dependants, you probably don’t need life cover.
Family life stage: Thirties and forties.
At this stage you need to care for your dependents. Your financial responsibilities are probably high if you are paying for schooling. If you are the breadwinner, or if your family depends on your income, you need to protect it. Even if you are not the breadwinner but primary care giver, you need to protect yourself because a death or disability could put severe pressure on the breadwinner – and your children.
* Make sure your life cover has a dread disease and/ or disability accelerator. For example, if you become disabled , you will be covered and your family won’t become destitute. If you become disabled or get a dread disease your cover will be paid out earlier – before you die – so you have enough money to survive.
* Take out an education policy as soon as you have children.
Empty nest stage: Fifties and sixties.
Consolidate your finances and look at your retirement savings critically to assess whether you will have enough for the future.
* When your children are grown up and financially independent, and you no longer have big debts, reduce your life cover (you no longer need full life cover as your dependants won’t be liable for your debt if you die). Put this extra cash towards retirement savings to protect your future.
Taking care of your retirement means you will be independent in your old age .