Are you wanting to feel empowered and in control of your own future?  We are sure that is a pretty easy question to answer which is why today we are seeing more women taking control of their financial futures. Gone are the days when women relied solely on their partners or family members to manage their investments and run the family cheque account.

Historically, women have faced numerous challenges when it comes to financial independence. The gender pay gap, societal expectations, and access to financial education have all been contributing factors. The result of these is that women were less likely to invest and build their future wealth.

It is pleasing to see that times are changing. The gender pay gap is a public policy issue and corporates are increasingly reporting against the same, societal norms are being challenged and financial literacy opportunities are more plentiful thanks to media and technology.

This is important for several reasons. Firstly, the gender pay gap has been real and data shows that in some industries, women continue to earn less. Wage disparity means women may have less money to invest and build their wealth. Taking control and investing the hard-earned money they do have is key.

Secondly, life expectancy differs between the sexes. On average, women tend to live longer than men, which means they need to plan for a longer retirement period. This includes not only saving for retirement but also investing in assets that can generate income and provide financial security during retirement.

Thirdly, women may face life circumstances that require financial flexibility. That might include career breaks to raise children or support aging parents. The resultant impact on careers and therefore earnings potential and savings can be real.

Finally, beyond practical points like the above, there is the very real psychological benefit we see in women who take control through actively managing their finances. We generally observe increased confidence and financial literacy and with that, a sense of control and independence that can flow through into other aspects of their wellbeing.

From our perspective while progress is evident, there is still more work to do and we encourage all women regardless of age and stage to invest time and energy into educating themselves about financial matters. is a great independent resource and has numerous tools where you can work through information relevant to you.

Other approaches can be as simple as understanding choice around interest rates in relation to your mortgage or how to restructure the loan and repayments. It might also mean being in active discussions with your KiwiSaver provider, understanding the risk level you are accepting inside the fund you are in and to the extent it is important to you, how socially responsible investment is taken into account.

Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your girlfriends and family members about financial matters. Normalise it and ask questions when you don’t understand what you have received in the mail or watch on the evening news.

Engage with a professional adviser. Our days are often full of conversation with people who just want reassurance around news and current events and what that means to their situation. For us this is a favourite part of the job. Being able to share information and help others succeed with their goals is how we all move forward to financial independence and control our futures.

Liz Brown Douglas whose views and opinions are expressed in this article, is an Associate Investment Adviser with Forsyth Barr in Auckland and Emma Monaghan is an Investment Adviser with Forsyth Barr in Auckland East. To arrange a meeting to discuss your investment objectives in confidence, contact Liz Brown Douglas or  Emma Monaghan directly. For further information on our people and services, please visit our website


*This column is general in nature, has been prepared in good faith based on information obtained from sources believed to be reliable and accurate, and should not be regarded as financial personalised investment advice.