Attention All Women Over 40 - Some Facts You Should Know

Bernadette Janson

Most of you would know that I renovate to live my dream lifestyle into retirement and the idea of being on the pension is just not on. I have my dream life, its not perfect -because I am not perfect (surprise, surprise!) but I have the choice to live the life I choose which is a freedom that most don’t have, particularly women of a certain age. 

I am passionate about spreading the message that you do have a choice, you just need to make the decision to GO FOR IT.

Reading  this article from the Human Rights Commission and quite frankly I'm disgusted by the way women have been disadvantaged .

”There is a large gap between the superannuation savings of Australian men and women. Because the current superannuation system is linked to paid work, it overwhelmingly disadvantages women who are more likely to move in and out of paid work to care for family members.

Women continue to earn less than men and are more likely to be engaged in casual and part-time work, which are also contributing factors to the gender gap in retirement savings.

Right now, many women are living their final years in poverty. If we don’t act, another generation of women will face similar prospects. 

  • Women have significantly less money saved for their retirement – half of all women aged 45 to 59 have $8,000 or less in their superannuation funds, compared to $31,000 for men.
  • Currently, the average superannuation payout for women is a third of the payout for men - $37,000 compared with $110, 000.
  • In Australia, women working full-time today earn 16 per cent less than men.””

The statistics are shocking; there is no other word for it.  Women, (my generation in particular) have had a very raw deal. It is mostly women who put their careers on hold to bring up the children, to care for aging parents, to volunteer in the community and care for disabled family members but when it comes to caring for themselves they are often at a loss ..

The other contributing factor to this state of affairs is that superannuation is directly proportional to wages and quite aside from their often patchy work history, women simply aren’t paid as much as men, leaving them financially depleted come retirement

This subject is high on the list of priorities for our Human Rights Commissioner, Susan Ryan who is making noises for policy changes to improve gender equality in terms of wages/salaries and superannuation but it is already too late for our generation, social change is a slow process and it is not going to happen quickly enough for us. 

The truth is that most of this generation of women have the skill, ability and the guts to take control their  own futures, so why aren’t they?  I have a theory that is deeply rooted in personal experience and can be summed up in one word …SHAME.

We have been firmly wedged between the 50’s housewife generation for whom the financial health of the family lay in the male domain and gen X who have had the message of women’s independence drummed into them (by us) from an early age. We have served out a good part of our working life in another world and now our financial achievements just don’t stack up.  Most of us have just buried our heads in the sand because of shame and the reality is just too scary to face…

We think we are too old to do anything about it, well it’s time for a reality check, at 50 a woman has a life expectancy of another 35 years, that is a whole other lifetime and it is way too long to be spending in a meagre existence.  50 is the new 30!!

I know that renovating is not for everyone but I also know that most of my peers ARE indeed renovating their own homes so why can’t they convert that into a cash-generating machine? The profit on my last job alone amounted to 5 times the average woman’s total superannuation pay out.

I am not suggesting you go out and take on a project of that proportion first up but I am suggesting that you start exploring the transformation of your financial future and come a long with me for the ride of your life!!.