According to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, South Africa features among the top 20 of 144 countries in terms of gender equality. Worryingly, however, the country is ranked at just 89 for economic participation and opportunity, and a shocking 114 for wage equality for work performed in similar positions.
Advocating that more South African women therefore need to feel encouraged to find their voice in the workplace, Citadel Advisory Partner Anelisa Mti also notes that the financial services industry should be doing more to help empower women to take charge of their own financial health.
“More women need to find the courage to be outspoken about what they are looking for and the value that they bring to their organisation, because as a woman it is often a reality that you need to push for your position as an equal to male colleagues,” she observes.
“It is also worrying to still see the stereotype persisting whereby men are expected to take care of financial responsibilities and women to look after their family, remaining in the dark about the real state of their financial affairs and often being left to try and pick up the pieces at a later stage.”
Born in 1992 in a small town near Kokstad, Mti’s own interest in financial planning was first sparked when she began studying towards a BCom at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, achieving her qualification as a Certified Financial Planner in 2017.
“My initial impression of financial planning was simply of people selling financial products, which continues to be a big misconception.”
“But learning about the principles underlying successful financial planning really caught my interest, especially as financial literacy in South Africa is so lacking and there are so many people who could benefit from better guidance.”
While financial planning remains a largely male-dominated field, she believes that female financial planners are able to offer a unique perspective and understanding of client’s financial needs at a family and individual level.
“I’ve also found that as clients, women and especially younger women are often more willing to be open about their living and financial situations. This makes it much easier to walk through and guide their financial decision-making, enriching the whole process even when they attend a meeting with a partner.”
Her advice to women is to take an active interest in managing their finances and to equip themselves with as much knowledge as possible through reading and research, and having frank discussions with a professional financial advisor.
“Your advisor should act as your voice of reason, introducing you to important financial principles and helping you to adapt your investment strategy as you move through different life stages. It’s never too soon to begin consulting an advisor to ensure that you remain financially protected and secure over your whole life.”
Financial planning and economic equality
Working in a society infamous for being poor savers, with a household savings rate of just 1.5% of GDP, Mti is particularly passionate about guiding South Africans in understanding the principles of financial planning for reaching their goals.
Statistics South Africa figures indicate that as many as 41.36% of South African households are female-headed, pointing to the particular need for greater financial education training and awareness for women.
Many women also find themselves suddenly needing to gather together the threads of their finances following a divorce or the passing of a partner, which can be extremely difficult in situations where they have not previously taken an active interest, she notes.
“The industry therefore needs to work at developing messages that particularly target young women and address their unique needs and concerns, equipping them with the right tools and knowledge to successfully manage their finances even before they get married.”
She is also passionate about addressing ‘black tax’, and helping families to break the ongoing cycle of intergenerational debt.
“As a young black person, you are often aware that parents or relatives may eventually become dependent on you for financial support, putting added pressure on your own ability to save.”
In that regard, older generations often don’t have the information necessary to manage their pensions wisely, misusing the funds by for example starting risky business ventures rather than looking at practical investment options, eventually becoming reliant on younger generations, she explains.
“As a financial planner, I would also like to see more guidance for retirees on using their pension money, as well as giving younger generations the tools to stop people from living pay check to pay check.”
A member of the Peregrine Group, Citadel Investment Services Proprietary Limited is licensed as a financial services provider in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002.
Kindly note that this article does not constitute financial advice. All information and opinions provided are of a general nature and are not intended to address the circumstances of any individual.
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