Women, money and retirement: where to start?

Women, money and retirement: where to start?

Julie Lander

Speaking recently on a Secrets of the Money Masters panel, CareSuper chief executive Julie Lander discussed her own instructive experiences about how she started preparing for future financial freedom.

“I had a really lucky break,” she said, “because when I was in my 20s, I was in an organisation, and on the first day, they told me, ‘You need to put 6% of your salary into the super fund.’”

At the time, Lander thought this “forced sacrifice” was absurd, and didn’t know how she was going to live with the extra money. “Of course I wanted to go out and party,” she continued, “but it was lucky, because after 13 years with that company that money had grown to the point where I did have a nest egg when I left.”

Lander said that what was once seen as a “sacrifice” was recontextualised by this experience into “prioritising and goals.”

“It’s easier to look at it this way,” she said. “You may have short-term goals to buy that winter coat or go on a holiday, but it’s also about putting money away. Paying for your future self to achieve the lifestyle you want in retirement.”

Maintaining this discipline was especially important for women, Lander said, because of how their earnings profiles changed throughout their lives.

“A lot of women over 55 don’t have the benefits we have today,” she said. “Women started families earlier, they took time off work and if they did return to work, they did it part time and went back to perhaps lower-paying jobs.

“Family was their priority, and we know having kids costs a lot of money. Educating them, feeding them, clothing them – it’s very expensive, and women tend to spend their money on their children and not their future selves.”

Even if kids aren’t in the immediate horizon, though, Lander strongly recommended women put as way as much money as they can. “Start early,” she said. “Have your own bank account and put that money in while you can, because you never know what your future is going to bring. I think your 20s is the most powerful time you have, actually.

“The money you save then is going to grow for the longest time. Think about your future self – it gives you peace of mind and financial freedom. Slow and steady wins the race.”


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