Achieving financial independence

15 Nov 2022 4 min read

We all know that physical fitness requires time, energy and commitment, but pays off now and for the long term. The same goes for financial fitness — starting on it now can deliver real benefits for both today and tomorrow. In our Fierce Females series, we show you some positive moves to up your financial fitness, so you can enjoy the ultimate goal of financial independence.

When we talk about financial independence, we mean reaching a stage in your life where you no longer have to work to pay for the essential expenses of life — bills, food, housing costs, healthcare, etc. Instead, the money you use to pay those expenses comes from sources like savings, investments and superannuation. Sounds impossible, right?

It doesn’t have to be, if you start now.

Why financial fitness matters

According to the Association of Super Funds of Australia (ASFA), the retirement savings gap between Australian men and women is 23.4% (based on median figures).1

Super balance for people aged 60 to 64 in June 2019 Men Women Gender gap
Average $359,870 $289,180 19.6%
Median $178,800 $137,050 23.4%

Source: Compulsory superannuation is delivering, but more needs to be done for women and the low paid, ASFA, published 18 March 2022

ASFA has reported that more than 80% of women are retiring with insufficient superannuation savings to fund a comfortable retirement.2

The reality is also that women are still most likely to be the primary caregivers for children and elderly relatives. We are more likely to take time off work and less likely to return to full-time work than our male counterparts.

That’s what makes it even more important for us, as women, to take control of our financial futures while we’re young.

Start simple

It doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult.

To start on your path to financial freedom, you'll need to:

  • live within your means (try to avoid overspending)
  • learn how to save
  • take an active interest in your finances.

Even small changes can make a big difference. For example, you might put $20 a week into a bank account earning interest at approximately 2% p.a. In 10 years, that translates to an extra $11,500, or even more if you had a higher return investment.

FIRE up your financial goals

Seen the pics on social media? The FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early) has received plenty of attention — and why wouldn’t you want to enjoy financial freedom earlier than standard retirement age?

FIRE is about making smart decisions as a younger person so you're in a position to stop work earlier if you want, without having to wait for access to your super.

Take the first step today

It’s not just about retiring early. Maybe you want to study again, or pursue a passion that doesn’t pay much. Having the kind of financial fitness that allows you to make decisions about how much and where you work is within reach if you set goals and work towards them. Even if you love your career and are happy to work as long as you can, you want to know that you’ll be able to support a comfortable retirement when that day comes.

With planning, education and advice, your big picture idea can be broken down into everyday steps that make it genuinely attainable — and this series will take you through those steps.

The big message on financial independence? The time to start is now. Think of your financial fitness in the same way as you do your physical fitness: make a commitment, learn the right moves and do it today.

Take the next step and set your financial goals.

1 Source: Compulsory superannuation is delivering, but more needs to be done for women and the low paid, Association of Super Funds of Australia (ASFA), published 18 March 2022
2 Source: Getting superannuation right for women, ASFA, published 3 May 2018

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