While men and women save similar percentages of their income, only 45% of female employees, compared to 58% of males, are confident about money management, according to research by HerMoney Media.
Bronwyn Pretorius, Group Head of Brand and Communications at Capitec, said that women need to build a stable financial foundation to move the needle in the right direction when it comes to their finances.
Pretorius says, "Despite these findings revealing gender differences in employees’ overall perception and confidence about money management and investing, we have seen more female Capitec clients flexing their economic might this year through wise financial decisions and healthy savings behaviour.“
Pretorius shares advice to help female professionals juggling their work and personal lives exercise their economic prowess.
Set up an emergency fund
According to Pretorius, a significant challenge she faced as a female professional was ensuring that she met her family's immediate needs while allocating funds for long-term financial goals.
"My biggest challenge was realising that unexpected expenses, medical emergencies, or education costs for children could arise at any time, making it difficult to stick to a strict financial plan,“ Pretorius said.
To address the issue, Pretorius said that she started an emergency fund.
Pretorius set aside a part of her monthly income into a separate savings account dedicated solely to handling unforeseen expenses.
“This safety net provided peace of mind and allowed me to focus on my long-term financial planning without worrying about immediate emergencies,” Pretorius said.
Tyrone Lowther, head of Budget Insurance, recommends that people have three to six months’ worth of expenses saved up in their emergency fund.
Budget as a family
Pretorius said that she had to become mindful of her family’s spending habits to ensure they lived within their means.
“To better manage our spending, my family and I embraced budgeting as a tool to track our expenses and identify areas where we could save,” Pretorius said.
“We monitored discretionary spending, such as dining out or entertainment, adjusting when necessary. This approach helped us maintain a healthy financial balance and avoid unnecessary debt".
According to Pretorius, women must approach life events, like getting married, having children, or buying a house, with careful financial planning and open communication.
Before having children, her family saved and budgeted for the costs associated with these events, such as medical expenses, childcare, and education.
Set savings goals
Pretorius said that women will face financial challenges when it comes to saving enough money for a significant life goal, such as a deposit for purchasing a new home.
“A great way to ensure you can set aside a substantial amount of money while managing day-to-day expenses is choosing a bank that offers attractive interest rates and low monthly fees. This will help women achieve their savings goals more effectively.”
Janine Horn, a financial adviser at Momentum Financial Planning, said that when people set savings goals, they will have an idea in mind of what they are saving towards, which will motivate them to stick to their savings goals.