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By African Unity Life

Wed, 30 Aug 2017

Women’s month may be over, but that doesn’t mean the increased awareness of gender inequality and the wage gap should end. Women head 40% of households in this country, not only caring for their children’s everyday needs but also, in certain cases, for their extended family. However, on average, women earn around 50% less than men in similar positions. 

This begs the question: what aspects of personal finance should be prioritised by the women who are heading up households?

Sonja Visser, CEO of African Unity Life, believes in the importance of a solid financial plan for women when it comes to budgeting for themselves and the care of loved ones. There are many actions which can be taken to ensure that their spending is in accordance with their specific financial goals.

A detailed household budget should be put together before anything else. The majority of a person’s income is likely taken up by household expenses, so it’s important to prioritise these expenses. For example, rent or bond repayments, daily transport, groceries and utilities should be budgeted for first.  

Having a comprehensive list of these items and what they cost will show you exactly how much you have left to pay for other necessities, like life insurance and funeral cover.

Once you know how much you can afford, you should think carefully about the expenses that will need to be covered, should the head of the household or the breadwinner become disabled and unable to work or pass away. Knowing the amount you have to spend on these important insurance policies will help you decide which policy option is best for you and your loved ones.   

Women should also put aside money to provide for sufficient healthcare for the family, advises Visser. In addition to this, there should also be provisions put in place for disability or death, so that the funeral is covered and dependents receive a regular income to cover their needs (including school fees).  

Visser goes on to emphasise the importance of conducting proper research into any financial services provider, as well as any intermediary, to make sure they’re getting the best possible cover for what they need.

Comparing policies and their premiums is also a necessary step, as is making sure to read the fine print.

Financial literacy and a culture of saving, rather than spending, needs to be embraced and encouraged among women in this country, Visser says.  

*A version of this article was originally published on iAfrica.