Positive financial equality progress but also concerning rise in domestic violence

The Financy Women’s Index™ (FWX) is a quarterly measurement of the economic progress of women and timeframes to gender equality in Australia.

The latest results show that progress to economic equality in Australia rebounded in the March quarter following the worst annual setback in a decade but has been accompanied by a sudden increase in gender-based violence.

The latest Financy Women’s Index (FWX) gained 2 points (2.7%) to 78.3 points in the March quarter of 2024 and is now 3.66 points higher than where it stood in March 2023.

Financy founder Bianca Hartge-Hazelman said: “Whilst the long-term trend in both gender financial equality progress and gender-based violence is one of improvement over the last decade, the alarming surge in female deaths this year is of significant national concern.”

“Every step forward in the Financy Women’s Index is welcomed,” says Nicki Hutley, independent economist. “But a truly gender-inclusive society will need both faster and broader progress, including in areas of social inequality and, as this quarter’s report points out, for gender-based violence and societal attitudes more broadly.” 

Retirees continue to face record cost pressures, but the rate of increase eases

Now in its 20th year, the ASFA Retirement Standard March quarter 2024 finds the cost of funding a comfortable retirement increased by 3.3 per cent over the last 12 months, due to a raft of higher costs, including medical expenses and insurance premiums.

In the March quarter, the ASFA Comfortable Retirement Standard rose 0.7 per cent to hit a record high of $72,663 per year for couples, and $51,630 per year for singles.

“Retirees continue to feel considerable cost of living pressure on their household budgets. Fortunately, in the past three months, we’ve seen the pace of price rises ease somewhat in key spending categories, namely food and fuel,” says ASFA CEO Mary Delahunty.

Since 2004 The ASFA Retirement Standard includes the cost of everyday expenses such as health, communication, clothing and household goods and reflects community expectations as well as changing lifestyle expectations and spending habits.

You can view the detailed budget breakdowns on the ASFA website.

Retirees’ conflicting priorities and the ‘never leave home’ generations

New AMP research, which was commissioned to understand the attitudes, behaviours and conflicting priorities impacting older Australians and the transfer of wealth to the next generation, has found 4 in 5 Australians aged 65 and over believe their children face similar or harder financial challenges than they did growing up, amid rising housing unaffordability and rents.

Other key findings from the research show:

  • 3 in 4 Australians aged 65+ believe it is important to pass wealth onto their children
  • Despite wanting to support their children, 7 in 10 aged 65+ said they were reluctant to compromise their retirement lifestyle to provide financial assistance.
  • 4 in 5 aged 65+ are not prepared to downsize to release funds to their children but close to half of those aged 50+ would consider passing home equity value to their children if they could stay in the family home.