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The Cinderella complex

Maureen Jordan
Friday, September 18, 2009

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I remember my husband buying a superannuation policy many years ago and the person selling it to him, a woman, asked me what I was going to do about my super. I recall the exact moment because I’ve always considered myself independent in so many ways but, when this question was put to me, I reacted in such an out of character way.

I remember Kay teasing me about my reaction – I’d known her for years, so that was ok. She commented that perhaps I was suffering the Cinderella Complex – when a woman makes sure her husband/partner is super secure and think his wealth will look after her happily ever after – and that I wasn’t alone.

I didn’t cover myself for super at this time. I convinced myself that we didn’t need to do that. I was running a business from home while my kids were young and I would take care of that later. And, Kay would be pleased to know, eventually I did!

But between then and when I took up super, anything could have happened.

Women need to get really money smart. They need to look at how they spend their money and cut back by 10 per cent. This is what Peter Switzer calls GST’ing their life.

Switzer says that this is a failure of financial education:

“Governments have wasted money on things like Financial Literacy programs but you never hear anything about it. There is no public engagement with the issues that simply says if people ignore their future finances they will end up in the poor house and women need the most education,” he writes.

“The irony is that women are much better money managers — most mothers assume the role of ‘Treasurer Wayne Swan’ in the family.

“Surveys are shown that women are better at investing and then reacting professionally to money guidance from experts, reading books and going to money websites such as switzer.com.au,” Switzer adds.

On 15 September, The Sydney Morning Herald showed that the difference between men and women’s ordinary full-time earnings is 17 per cent. Secondly, the compulsory super system is based on nine per cent of your pay going into super for around 35 years but if women lose 10 to 20 years out of the workforce for family caring reasons they fall behind.

“Super is a compound interest thing and the more you get into super early the more you have rolling over like a snowball getting bigger. Women having children can be out of the income-earning game at a critically crucial time,” says Switzer.

It’s time we women gave up the fairytale notion of meeting Prince Charming and living happily ever after. Nice ending if you can get it, but the best tale is one of independence and sensible planning – that’s fact not fiction.

It’s up to us women to choose our own financial adventure.

Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

 

Published: Friday, September 18, 2009


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