PLANNING: Women need to master their finances.
DURBAN - As families live from “pay cheque to pay cheque”, it’s women who end up saving less for their financial wellbeing.

This, according to financial services provider, Liberty Life, was the reason women needed to focus on their financial wellbeing.

Their studies showed that women live longer than men, earn less than men, and save less than men, and women needed to master their finances.

“We know that many of us are living from pay cheque to pay cheque. We haven’t had a financial awakening as yet, where we are forced to think and act differently when it comes to our finances. We need all women to do this, so that they are able to save more and plan better for their financial well being,” said Liberty Life financial expert Daphne Rampersad, at a Women’s Month workshop on financial mastery.

She relayed a story of how her family’s financial awakening began when her father was retrenched.

“It sometimes takes an event like this to force us to think differently about how we manage money. It’s not the best situation to be in, but what I was taught was that I should never be dependent on someone else’s income,” she said.

In South Africa, 41.3% of households are headed by women.

“But women still earn comparatively less than men, and do not save as much, so it puts many women in a vicious cycle of expenses. We need to stop and assess our situations and go about creating a financial plan, and this is best done with a financial planner,” she said.

In sharing her example, Rampersad said she identified her “spending triggers” that caused her to spend money unnecessarily.

“Often if there is nothing else to do, we end up shopping sometimes at a mall, or online. This is bad.

“So I downloaded a browser blocker that blocked access to the shopping sites that I liked, so in this way, I cut out a spending pattern that was causing me to spend more than I should have,” she said.

She added that family traditions, too, were a cause of large expenses.

“When there are big occasions we tend to spend a lot, simply because it was what our parents did. But, we can take a minute to assess whether so much extravagance is needed, there may be things that can be cut back on, identify these and save money,” she said.

Financial adviser Tumi Mothoagae said financial planning was important for leading a life free of some of the worry associated with finances.

“People are always concerned whether their expenses can be met, and whether they are saving enough for retirement.

“Having someone go through your finances puts things into perspective and gives you an overview of what can be done with what income you have.

“Even if you can spare just a few hundred rand, start now, start small, but you have started investing in your financial wellness,” she said.

Spring-clean your finances:

* Create a budget for household and personal expenses.

* Create a budget for savings, no matter how small the amount may be.

* Identify your “spending triggers” - is having easy access to your credit card making you spend more? Consider keeping it out of sight for a while.

* Download “browser blockers” to prohibit access to online shopping sites, which may tempt you to spend more money than you have.

* Download budget planner mobile applications such as 22seven, which helps manage your budget in real time, letting you know instantly if you are overspending.

* Consolidate debt, especially if it means paying less on your debt.

* Speak to a financial adviser regarding short-term savings and long-term investments.

* Create a “financial file” which holds all important financial documents such as credit card contracts, home and vehicle insurance documents, medical aid details etc for easy access in emergencies.

* Create a yearly financial calendar, which outlays events that may require monies to be paid, such as dentist visits, car licence renewals, school fees etc, to help your budget.

* Create a will, even if you do not own many assets.