26 September 2023

Starting Out Starting Over

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Susan Edmunds, New Holland Publishers, $29.99.

The story is exceptional. It’s a single woman’s guide to money in Australia.

This book challenges the stereotype that women aren’t good with money and offers advice on managing finances, investment, savings, budgets and mortgages, with case studies, exercises, worksheets and quizzes tailored specifically for women.

It’s an all-inclusive, sensible guide to help women who are just starting out in their careers or who have been faced with managing finances after being in a relationship so that they can make the most of what they earn, and plan a long-term strategy for a secure, independent financial future.

When it comes to women, in particular, issues such as gender pay gaps can leave females vulnerable to extra financial pressures. Edmunds is a senior business journalist who specialises in personal finance issues.

She dives into the hurdles that women have to face financially throughout different stages of their lives, the first of which comes from society’s stereotypes. Women are generally paid less and tend to live longer, so they have less coming in and from that they need to make it last longer.

It’s a confidence issue, not an intelligence one and it’s part of the reason Edmunds wrote this book. At its core, the book is a practical money guide, which covers everything you would expect from a finance book, while acknowledging that there are some extra challenges women need to plan for as well.

“Women need just a big more confidence to know that it’s not scary and it makes such a big difference to your life when you get it right.”

While it covers what you need to know to counteract the financial challenges thrown at women – and most men – it doesn’t change the fact that the challenges still exists.

Nationally, Australia women still earn 14.1 per cent less than men. Female graduates, on average, are still employed at $5,000 less than their male counterparts.

A surprising figure of 40 per cent of women do not have superannuation.

All of these factors – and others – put extra financial pressures on women that then can have heart-breaking results, such as becoming homeless.

While Starting Out Starting Over covers what you ‘need to know to counteract the financial challenges thrown at women – and not men – it doesn’t change the fact that the challenges still exist’.

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