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Financial lessons for today’s generation of women

For generations, women have been held down in their households’ most essential role – that of money manager, even when they weren’t the breadwinners of the family. File Image: IOL

For generations, women have been held down in their households’ most essential role – that of money manager, even when they weren’t the breadwinners of the family. File Image: IOL

Published Aug 6, 2022

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For generations, women have been held down in their households’ most essential role – that of money manager, even when they weren’t the breadwinners of the family.

Today, that role is more cemented than ever, as nearly 38% of households are headed by women. In addition, women make up nearly half of the South African workforce, and according to Liberty’s Financial Adviser Sheila-Ann Robey, today’s generation of women are in a position where they can build on the financial lessons that were passed on to them, create wealth, and open future possibilities.

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This year's Women’s Month theme is Generational Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future.

“We’re in a generation now where we have no excuse not to be financially aware and gain the appropriate knowledge. Already in the social media space, we’ve seen a big drive by female journalists and financial advisers who provide one another with the knowledge one needs to navigate their finances,” Robey says.

“As a result of this awareness, we need to pay our respects to the generations that came before us and open up the possibilities that are going to come after us for the next generation of female leaders. We must therefore collectively use our current position to our advantage in order to lead a financially independent and sometimes interdependent life.”

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Robey shares these insights into navigating finances, and what women may want to take heed of on their journey to financial freedom:

Find a financial adviser you like

“I practiced as an attorney before I got into finance, and part of the reason I became a financial adviser is that I couldn’t find an adviser that resonated with me as a woman. Females in general are hyper-analytical and we require a lot of reassurance, and to find a financial adviser that is going to give you all of that is incredibly important,” she explains.

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Robey continues, “The first thing you need to do is find a financial adviser that you like and that you trust. That is going to make a world of difference. There is a lot of information out there and a lot of conflicting views, and most of what is out there does come from a male perspective and might not necessarily consider you as an individual and your specific needs.”

Budget like a boss

“A budget for me is gold – once you know what comes in and what goes out, you have the freedom to restructure it in a way that works for you. I am also very adamant on getting risk cover, especially for young females if the corporate position they find themselves in doesn’t provide much income protection, it’s something I advise they start with.”

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Plan for retirement

“Retirement planning is essential. Retirement is inevitable for everyone and should be a time where all the years of hard work pays off by paying you back,” Robey says.

Have a fun account

“Creating a fun account for yourself is also essential depending on what you’re into. There’s a stigma that as a woman, if you’re a wife and mother you can’t spend money on yourself, and it’s simply not correct. If you budget accordingly, there is space to treat yourself, there is space to make sure you have money for old age and also ensure your household runs smoothly,” according to Robey.

Save for a rainy day

“For women already married, having your own savings account is critical. Divorce is one of the most financially catastrophic things one can go through, especially if you had taken a step back professionally to support your husband and are not the breadwinner. So, you need to create a buffer to be able to withstand any challenges that life may throw at you,” Robey advices.

Be vocal of your experiences

"The changes you have learnt to make or adapt in your life might be the changes required by someone for their own life. I believe women have the capability to shift not only their own financial future but that of others as well. Sharing financial lessons need not be a taboo topic, we all learn from each other in one way or another, why not share financial learnings as well."

It's all on you

Take the first step today and do right by yourself, you will thank yourself every day for making that decision! Speaking to a friend, a family member or your partner about your finances might seem daunting but trust me, opening up is the one of the ways you can learn and hopefully do better. No amount of experience can surpass the need to seek financial advice. Financial advisers are there to make the daunting challenges manageable and tangible.

The journey to financial freedom might seem long and a faraway dream but taking the first step towards your financial future is the right step to take.

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