It was only a little more than 30 years ago that Australian women needed a male guarantor to have their own mortgage. While the last few decades have seen great progress, this historical policy speaks to the fundamental gender inequality which remains present in 2022.
According to recent research by the Commonwealth Bank, the superannuation gap between men and women in their fifties is around 73%.
Considering a person’s super is usually their life savings, the statistic is astounding and highlights another important equity disparity which needs to be acted on both individually and systemically.
Why financial literacy matters
Interestingly, the gender gap for superannuation reflects a trend which begins much earlier on in life. On average, 41% of men are taught about investing compared with only 29% of women. Financial literacy, defined as the set of skills an individual holds to manage their money in a wise and effective way, is paramount.
While financial literacy may seem like a tiresome and overwhelming concept to master, it is one of the most important skillsets a person can attain to live a life of freedom and independence.
These skillsets might include an understanding of personal assets and how they relate to the wider economy as well as a capacity to wisely budget, plan and save for the future.
Property prices rise as wage growth trails behind
As the property market continues to rise in Australia and interest rates remain low, it’s worthwhile noting that wages are not increasing at the same rate.
The Guardian notes, ‘house prices have soared 105% while wages have risen just 18%.’ Unsurprisingly, the Guardian similarly highlights that the average age of first-time home buyers is rising as younger buyers simply can’t afford to enter the property market.
The increasing expenses associated with property highlight the value in financial literacy, especially if Australia is going to work towards closing the gender gap for superannuation.
While policy and systems can be put in place to accelerate this change, we’re witnessing an exciting new trend where Australian women are taking the power into their own hands.
Changing the trend
On average, women experience 12% greater return on their investments than men and, of single first-home buyers, 60.6% are women. Whether it’s due to women’s savvier saving patterns or an increased awareness of the value in financial independence, the trend is encouraging.
Are women literally buying back their power through property investment? Are we seeing a new way to close the superannuation gap?
In this three-part series, we’re exploring these questions as we take a deep dive into the Australian property and how it can work towards closing the gender gap.
In part two, we’re speaking to real Australians; women who are first-home buyers on the thinking behind their investments as well as real estate agents on the emerging trends.
And, finally in part three, we’re looking at the ways in which this trend can be put into practice. Maybe there’s another way to turn the tide and the answer may just lie in property.
Join us on this insightful look at Australian women in property and how they’re reinventing the wheel, one house at a time.
This article is provided for general information purposes only. Its content is current at the date of publication. It is not legal advice and is not tailored to meet your individual needs. You should obtain specialist advice based on your specific circumstances before taking any action concerning the matters discussed in this article.