Financial Independence is Essential

South African women, let’s make financial independence an essential need!

The statistics put out by Stats SA, the main entity responsible for data accumulation and reporting revealed that the South African labour market is more favourable to men than women and that more men than women find themselves in paid employment. Now, this draws to formulate the following conclusions:

  • More women will most likely find themselves unemployed and subsequently not earning an income.

  • If women find themselves in romantic relationships with men and end up conceiving, they will be financially dependent on their partner for the needs of their children. This often gives rise to gender disparities and power dynamics between men and women (not only does this result in resentment but issues of gender-based violence become prevalent. Even more reason for women to take their financial future into their own hands).

  • More women currently occupy the informal sector (47,6% of women compared to 30,6% of men). With more women engaged in the informal sector living from “rand to rand”, it becomes more of a far thought to invest money and think about long term-wealth accumulation.

With all that being said, women in South Africa, especially young women, find themselves in very difficult positions that are driven by money and finances. Obviously, one is not proposing that strong financial planning and investing is the solution to the plethora of life’s problems. However, a woman who is maybe not so heavily dependent on her spouse for financial security can easily chose to remove herself from that relationship if she becomes a victim of GBV with confidence in her financial ability to stand on her own two feet.

It’s become the quintessential story of many women in South Africa who marry the “love of their lives” and while intoxicated with love and infatuation, leave the practicalities of marriage such as mortgages, bonds, wills, estate planning and other investments to their partner(or in the case of the couple being financially illiterate, no one takes responsibility).

In his book The Savvy Investor’s Pocket Guide, Chris Sloane talks about a woman in her late thirties who had recently become a widow. She found herself in an undesirable position where her late husband had left her with two cars worth R400 000, but they still had owed the bank more than this amount. With three children to take care of and a reduced household income, taking on the financial baton that we shift onto men can be very overwhelming. This is the reason why we believe that women from all social backgrounds and tax brackets need to learn how to gain financial independence. Financial independence is not about how much money you have, it is rather about how you use that money. Whether it’s weekly wages from the hair salon you work at or the monthly salary you receive as a corporate titan, you can still leverage what you have to ensure a long comfortable life that allows you to achieve your dreams.

Although you will find many posts up on our blog about different investment options, budgeting techniques and the finer details of becoming financially literate, it is important to set the scene and paint the picture, as it looks for South African women. We believe that it is possible for women to take ownership of their lives and not put themselves in compromising positions to have their lavish lifestyles financed by people other than themselves(which can give rise to appalling abuse and mistreatment).

The stats are saddening yes, but whether you like to look at the glass as half full or half empty, get your best workout gear out ladies and get ready to get that finance acumen up right here at The Finance Gym.

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Author: Sthandiwe Msomi

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