Women are failing to adequately prepare for their financial future and may be exposing themselves to unnecessary risk, one survey has indicated.
New research from an Australian bank has found that as few as 13 per cent of Australians felt "very financially secure" and only one-fifth of all respondents were confident about their financial plan for the future.
The most recent edition of the Westpac Women's Financial Health Report was released this week ahead of the Annual Global Banking Alliance for Women Summit (GBA), which is being held in Sydney this year.
The nationwide report into women's finances has revealed some surprising insights into the financial life of women.
Less than half of all survey participants saw themselves as financially independent and only 13 per cent reported feeling "very financially secure".
However, only 35 per cent of the same respondents had a proactive plan for their financial future and were well-informed when it came to superannuation.
And an estimated 49 per cent of all women felt they were not receiving enough superannuation to ensure they could save for retirement.
It is possible that by not educating themselves on the importance of planning for their retirement women are disadvantaging themselves.
Yet this would ignore the impact child rearing, family commitments and periods out of the workplace have on an individual's career development and monetary prospects.
According to the survey, "career gaps" were a real concern for all women and many reported having difficulty at work after having children.
Surprisingly, it was young women – Gen Y – who were most concerned about their inability to work continuously and the repercussions this may have for their financial future.
A number of different social and work related factors were thought to impact upon financial independence.
These included periods when women had to scale back or stop working such as pregnancy, maternity or personal leave.
However, it was women of peak child bearing age – members of Gen X – who felt that their employment options were the most restricted – citing children and a strong commitment to family as reasons behind missing out on promotions or seeking out more challenging roles.
It was also found that despite feeling financially insecure, relatively few women sought out the advice of a professional financial planner despite wanting to improve their economic security.
Women in business are therefore in a precarious position which is made even more difficult by the knowledge that they may retire with half as much superannuation as men, according to research from the Association of Superannuation of Australia.