The price women pay: less savings, less super and more financial stress than men
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The price women pay: less savings, less super and more financial stress than men

The average aspiring female property purchaser needs to work three more years than a man to accumulate a 20 percent deposit for a house, a new report has shown

By Bronwyn Allen
Fri, Mar 8, 2024 10:52amGrey Clock 3 min

Australian women are facing more financial stress than men, with the cost-of-living crisis and high interest rates pushing more than 7 million women into financial difficulty, a new report by Finder shows. Women also have less savings, superannuation and fewer investments than men, and six in 10 Australian women say they are enjoying life less than they were a year ago due to money worries.

As International Women’s Day gets underway on Friday, Finder’s personal finance expert, Sarah Megginson, said cost of living pressures are having an outsized impact on women. Millions of women have found themselves experiencing higher levels of financial worry, especially as rents and mortgages have soared, putting a lot of pressure on your budget.

The report found 69 percent of women are experiencing financial stress today compared to 49 percent of men. Housing expenses are causing the most strain, with 42 percent of female homeowners finding it hard to make their home loan repayments compared to 32 percent of men. Due to women earning less, the average aspiring female property purchaser needs to work three more years than a man to accumulate a 20 percent deposit for a house. Among renters, 48 percent of women surveyed by Finder are struggling to pay the rent compared to 40 percent of men.

Women also have 53 percent less cash savings than men. The average woman has $22,680 in savings and puts away $551 a month. The average man has $48,087 saved and squirrels away $832 per month. In January 2022, women had 15 weeks worth of savings. Two years later, this has fallen to less than 13 weeks, while men’s savings have marginally increased from 17.9 weeks’ worth to 18.3 weeks now.

Making ends meet for the basics of life means women are investing less than men, Ms Megginson said. The average Australian male investor has $88,775 invested in shares, which is double that of the average woman, who has $45,125 invested.

“The outsized impact of cost of living pressures on women has likely restricted their ability to invest,” Ms Megginson said. Right now, the focus is on immediate needs – housing, everyday bills and groceries – which means longer-term wealth building gets put on the back burner. The research shows us that women are actually really great at keeping their debt levels down and saving – they generally outperform men in this regard. Still, their long-term wealth suffers.

Last month the Federal Government released the first gender pay gap report comparing the wages and salaries of men and women employed at nearly 5,000 private sector companies. The results show that 50 percent of employers have a gender pay gap of more than 9.1 percent, and 62 percent of median employer gender pay gaps are more than five percent and favour men.

Diana Mousina, deputy chief economist at AMP, said that while unconscious gender biases in the workplace exist, other factors also contribute to the gap. This includes a lower female labour participation rate of 62.6percent compared to 71.1 percent for men, and a higher proportion of women working part-time. This is largely due to women taking a greater share of child care responsibilities within families. Women also dominate lowerpaid industries that offer more flexible hours, such as health care and social assistance, while men dominate the lucrative construction, mining and energy industries where there is higher risk and less flexibility.

Ms Megginson said women retire with far less superannuation than men. The latest data published by the Australian Taxation Office shows men had about 20 percent more in superannuation than women on 30 June 2021. Yesterday, Federal Labor announced it would pay superannuation on top of government-funded paid parental leave from 1 July 2025 if it wins the next election.



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Australia’s top 10 most affordable regional property markets investors should watch

Whether you prefer the country or the coast, there are plenty of east coast options for cashed up buyers

By Bronwyn Allen
Fri, Apr 19, 2024 3 min

There are 10 local council areas scattered along the East Coast of Australia that offer both affordability and solid fundamentals for sustainable future growth, according to the research team at residential property network, PRD. The areas have been selected based on five criterion. They are affordability – defined as a median house price below $600,000, rising house values, strong rental yields to encourage investment, a strong pipeline of residential, commercial and infrastructure projects to facilitate local economic development, and low unemployment.

Here are Australia’s 10 most affordable regional property markets with great future potential.

Mackay, QLD

Mackay is a tropical coastal area located in north Queensland. It’s known for its closeconnection to the Great Barrier Reef. The median house price is $462,750, up 8.9 percent in 2023. Mackay attracts a lot of interstate migrants and is home to more than 120,000 people. It has a healthy economy with an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent and $1.7 billion worth of projects due to commence this year.

Toowoomba, QLD

The Toowoomba median house price was up 10.9 percent in 2023.

Toowoomba is located west of Brisbane and is known for its Victorian buildings, street artand surrounding national parks. The median house price is $560,000, up 10.9 percent in 2023. The city has a population of more than 180,000. The unemployment rate is 4 percentand there is $6.1 billion in projects commencing in 2024.

Townsville, QLD

Townsville is a coastal city in north-eastern Queensland. The median house price is $420,000, up 5 percent in 2023. It is home to more than 200,000 people. Unemployment is very low at 2.5 percent and there is $3.2 billion of projects commencing this year.

Dubbo, NSW

Dubbo is located west of Newcastle in the Orana Region and is home to the Western Plains Zoo. The median house price is $530,000, up 11.6 percent in 2023. The population has exploded in recent years to more than 56,000 people. The unemployment rate is just 2.2percent and the economy is thriving. There is a pipeline of $4.7 billion in projects commencing this year.

Tamworth, NSW

Located in north-east NSW, Tamworth is known for its popular annual Country Music Festival. It’s also the largest retail centre for the New England and Northwest Slopes regions. The median house price is $490,000, up 14 percent in 2023. With a population of more than 65,000 people, the economy is strong with unemployment of just 2 percent and $112.4million worth of projects commencing this year.

Griffith, NSW

Located west of Sydney and northwest of Canberra, Griffith is known for its prime produce production and wine cultivation. The median house price is $531,000, up 2.1 percent in 2023. Griffith’s population is about 27,000 people. The city boasts high economic resilience with a 2 percent unemployment rate and $258.7 million in projects in the pipeline.

Ballarat, VIC

Ballarat, Victoria

Ballarat is a 1.5hour drive west of Melbourne. It’s popular with city commuters who move here for housing affordability and a relaxed lifestyle with easy access to the city via train. The median house price is $570,000, down 4.2 percent in 2023 but up 92.9 percent over the past decade. The city has the third highest population in Victoria at about 118,000. Ballarat has an unemployment rate of 3 percent and a total projects pipeline worth $2.3 billion for 2024.

Shepparton, VIC

Shepparton is a rural area about two hours north of Melbourne. It is popularly referred to as the food bowl of Australia. The median house price is $475,000, up 4.4 percent in 2023. The population is about 70,000. The unemployment rate is just 2 percent and there is $1.8 billion in projects for 2024.

Wodonga, VIC

Wodonga is located on the border of NSW on the southern side of the Murray River. It is approximately 320km from Melbourne and 345km from Canberra. The median house price is $567,250, up 4.7 percent in 2023. With a population of about 44,000, the city’s jobless rate is 3 percent and there is $388.2 million in development set to commence in 2024, primarily new infrastructure.

Burnie, TAS

Burnie is a bustling port city located in Emu Bay in Tasmania’s north-west. Overlooking beaches and parklands, the area is known for its rich agriculture and mining projects. The median house price is $435,000, up 3.6 percent. Despite a rising population, the unemployment rate is falling and is currently 5.6 percent. In 2024, Burnie’s project pipeline is valued at approximately $1.6 billion. A significant portion is commercial development, primarily renewable energy projects.

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