“There are many difficulties that women face. Not only do you need to do your investment and tax but you also need to do contingency planning,” Mandy Porter, a financial planner for financial and risk services firm, Alexander Forbes, told CNBC Africa.
Firstly, women that intend on taking a break from their full time careers either to have children or care for elderly parents will need to plan beforehand.
“If you know you’re going to have a break in service, you need to make a plan to try and make sure that you put enough money away that can see you through those years,” she explained.
Secondly, there is the issue of longevity, meaning a woman may very likely outlive her spouse.
According to research compiled by doctors at the UK based Lancaster University, women outlive men by about five to six years. By the age of 85, there are roughly six women to every four men and by age 100, the ratio is more than two to one.
In this case, Porter believes a good plan may be to take out life insurance on your spouse should there be a death.
Another major issue is divorce, especially in South Africa where the divorce rate is among the highest in the world.
According to the Annual Report of South Africa’s Department of Justice, in 2012/2013, there was a 28 per cent increase in new divorce matters with divorce actions contributing 89 per cent of the total number of actions registered under the period.
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With such alarming statistics, Porter believes it’s essential that women ensure they will be financially independent should their marriage end in divorce.
“The earlier you invest, the better. When you get your first pay cheque, the best thing is to put some money aside. [Even though] one does want to buy a new car or new shoes, just be sensible about it and plan carefully. If need be, engage with a financial planner, someone who can put a strategy together for you,”
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She advised that it is best to pay for items in cash and to not live on credit.
On the other hand, Porter believes that women today are financially wiser than in the past.
“The modern woman today is a very powerful consumer. In many instances she has a high qualification. She’s a career women and she’s working her way up the chain. We are seeing women come into the investment arena and it’s great to see that gender gap is closing.”
(WATCH VIDEO: Dynamics of savings in South Africa)