Why are Irish women continuing to suffer from financial instability?

In Ireland women earn on average less than their male counterparts. Read more about the current situation and start reviewing your finances in a proactive way.

Read time: 5 Minutes

Do girls really run the world? Celebrations are soon to be underway from all corners of the globe in the celebration of International Women’s Day taking place 8th March 2018.

The day is a celebration of the progress and developments in women’s equality over the last 100 years, since it was first brought about by the Suffragettes in 1911. Every year the event recognises the advances being made throughout society, workplaces and home life.

In January the topic was given spotlight as part of Nollaig na mBan, which celebrated women’s contribution to society. As part of this, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pledged to “review the effectiveness of existing measures to tackle gender inequality”.

With flexible working conditions, shared parental duties and equal access to further education, women now can avail of greater opportunity set before them.

Or at least it seems that way.

When weighing up the current position, the question we are unable to avoid is “how independent are women in the modern day?”

The Reality

Last month we uncovered the disparity in pensions payments in Ireland exposing the significant gender gap– a 38% difference to be exact.

Differences in pension age, the number of those enrolled in private cover and various levels of State contribution are all factors leading to a higher payout in favour of men.

But before the blame game sets in, is it possible to find out the tipping point for female earnings?

Not without difficulty.

The problems first surface a long way from pension age; from the beginning of someone’s first interaction with money to be exact. There’s been reports of inequality in the amount of pocket money given to children – with boys receiving 13% more than girls (according in a UK wide survey conducted by Halifax.

This behaviour only grows throughout working years, becoming an accepted norm throughout society. But this shouldn’t be the case. In considering how this results in financial instability, specifically in the cases of lone parents, divorcee’s or someone who has persons depending on them – the reality of it hits a lot harder.

In Ireland women earn on average 14.8% less than their male counterparts, even those that are better qualified for the same position (according to OECD).

Undoubtedly, the patterns surrounding a lack of financial security can be associated with this. More worryingly, these figures expose the underlying truths affecting women and their lack of financial optimism. This, in turn, has an effect on the level of confidence expressed, forcing them to remain in a place that is comfortable.

Or just simply affordable.

Taking this into consideration, to identify the best way to resolve this outlook looking towards the income opportunities for both genders before we will be able to identify the best way to move forward.

Women and housework - financial equality

The Trend

Findings show women generally tend to have a lower paying position throughout their careers than men, especially here in Ireland with the gender pay gap being as much as 16% for in a managerial position.

This view is backed up with findings from male dominated industries such as Finance or Technology which boast higher paying salaries. To add to this blow, the limited number of women within the financial sector can expect to receive 34% less in their pay package than male co-workers.

Taking this into consideration, it’s clear to see why many women choose to stay home to provide care for their children- before the cost of daycare is even thrown into the mix.

However, this is at the expense of career progression.

Many mothers are left feeling as if they do not have an option to return to work after a period of leave, despite now having the freedom to do so. As a result, many women depend on their partner’s earnings to ensure a quality upbringing is provided for their family.

Men and women on the workplace - gender gap in salaries

The Truth

And then there’s the case of employment as a whole which doesn’t make it easier.

A report by the World Economic Forum discovered men’s salaries are nearly double of what their female counterparts earn. Contained within this is how women tend to take up lower skilled jobs favouring part-time contracts to allow for a work-life balance more suitable to their lifestyle.

With an increase in modern workplaces offering flexible contracts, does the future look brighter for Ireland’s professionals?

In the current global setting, the number of CEO positions held by women in S&P Fortune 500 companies is a mere 5.2%. Given, this figure has been reduced considerably over the past few decades, however it’s obvious we’re still a long way of gender equality – despite the amount of lip-service paid to it.

As a society, we have progressed a long way from the debate: women should not be granted executive-level positions due to the likelihood of maternity leave causing disruption to day-to-day business activities. This has been backed up by the steady growth we have seen  in the number of women in senior level positions here in Ireland since 2013.

The vision certainly appears to be a lot brighter, but it comes down to whether we can meet these expectations that will be the real test of time.

Young women more aware of their potential

Looking towards the future

What’s the real cost of financial instability? And what does it mean for our families, future and finances?

As a whole, it appears there are still many misunderstandings out there surrounding some of the more common terms of the topic of gender equality and equal pay.

Online dictionary Merriam-Webster revealed ‘feminism’ was the most widely searched term for 2017 – a 70% increase on the previous year. Another term which has surfaced around the topic is ‘gender parity’. This takes up the place of gender equality as a much more accurate and realistic measure of the current state of affairs.

Does this mean there’s more awareness of our current situation, or just more confusion?

Now, more than ever, this generation of women are becoming increasingly more informed and empowered, putting them in a position to make significant shifts in the employment landscape and taking up more confidence in their personal finances.

As we rally behind this year’s campaign for International Women’s Day, we will #PressForProgress to support the need for greater levels of financial stability.

Now, more than ever, it’s time to be proactive. Whether it’s in reviewing your earning potential, having a chat with your employer or taking control of your personal finances – it’s time for our women to take charge on what they’re worth.

Let us help you plan your future!

If you need some assistance on finding out how financially covered you are, our handy Family Protection Planner can give you an overview of your current status.


Irish Life Assurance plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Don’t be a Valentine’s Day Cliché – There’s a New Kind of Present for Your Loved One

Do traditional Valentine’s Day presents stand the test of time, or would you consider something that will keep your loved ones safe, like an insurance cover?

Read time: 4 Minutes

Do traditional Valentine’s Day presents really stand the test of time, or is there a new kind of gift making its way into the heart of your special someone?

Where does the time go?

It seems like it was only last week when we were splashing out to treat the better half to the perfect prezzie for Christmas.

Now the dust has settled (or should we say glitter), the new pair of socks have been worn in and we’ve had the whole month of January to get ourselves back in gear. But with Valentine’s Day around the corner, we’re back to square one and left wondering “What do I buy the person who has everything?”

Luckily, you’ll be glad to hear, help is at hand.

Avoid the last minute dash to the petrol station, frantically searching for a bunch of roses that don’t look as if they’ve been pawed over. They always do. No matter how much we try to convince ourselves “they’ll do the job”.

Diamonds and rubies.

Are these really some of her favourite things?

There’s been less people spending on Valentine’s Day overall, and even more so on the gimmick teddy bears clutching ‘I Love You’ hearts. It’s easy to understand why, but in that case what should we get our special someone?

For those who have been tied down for a while now, you’ll know more than anyone there’s only so much bottles of perfume you can buy for your special lady (without them catching on – at least!)

You might have found yourself doing the rounds; flowers for Valentines, jewellery for her birthday, weekend away for the anniversary and perfume for Christmas. You may as well mark them on the calendar at this rate.

There’s only so much juggling around you can do with – what you thought was – a failproof plan.

Spoilt for choice.

Of course, there’ll always be plenty of options to show your love for your partner this Valentine’s Day. But just in case you’re left scratching your head wondering if you really know your soulmate at all, we’d like to throw another idea into the mix which might be worth a second thought.

Rather than splash out on expensive jewellery or luxury goods. Save yourself some pennies (and the headache) by showing your appreciation for your significant other by something practical.

After all, actions speak louder than words.

Valentine's day gift ideas - dinner at home

Date night, done right.

Taking some time to put effort and time into doing something thoughtful can work wonders.

Whether it be looking after the kids for the day, getting the house in order (a sentence not heard too often) or channelling your inner Nevin Maguire by cooking dinner. These are great ideas for Valentine’s Day.

It’s these simple moments in life that really show how much you care for your partner. The sentiment goes along way and will be appreciated. If you manage to pull it off that is!

Your other half won’t be the only one thanking you; your wallet will feel the love too. In choosing to invest your time rather than money, you’ll be able to control how much you’re splashing out by avoiding last minute frantic dashes into the nearest shop boasting some bling in its window.

Valentine's day present - insurance to protect your loved ones

Is romance really dead?

Not exactly. It has just taken on a new form.

More recently, a new type of gift buying has climbed the rankings. Lately, it’s becoming more popular to show your loved ones just how much you care by choosing to treat them in ways other than material goods. Many modern-day Romeos are trading the run-of-the-mill flowers and chocolate for something with longer term benefits; insurance cover.

Think about it. Offering your spouse peace of mind in knowing your finances are that little bit more taken care will have much more of an effect in the long run than a bunch of roses.

Before you think we’re setting you up for a fall, a study carried out discovered 2 in 3 of those married or couples living together believe buying life insurance to protect their loved one is a key sign of their love for them (Coyne Research, Omnibus December 2017).

Infographic - Coyne research about how Irish couples show their love and attitude to finance and life insurance
Click on the picture to enlarge it

Even at that, it can still be a fun present to treat your Valentine to. We all know someone who is notorious for dropping their smartphones (or smashing them, for some of the more serious cases) with the likelihood some of these being our other-halves. Getting some cover for these culprits can be a way of letting them know you love them, even with the odd spell of butter-fingers coming on now and again.

All you need is love.

In the same vein, Valentine’s Day is a good opportunity to start laying the foundations for long term plans. What better way to show you’re in it for the long haul than thinking about the years ahead?

It’s the principle behind this thoughtful gesture that goes a long way; letting your husband or wife know you’re keeping them safe and secure. Even if you’re not thinking about children or first home just yet, putting some thought into thinking about the future and how you can fund it will keep at least some of your worries at bay. Make sure to put some planning into this to make sure there’s no suspicions around forgetting the most romantic day of the year. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you!)

To make sure your gift is extra special, think about a clever way for announcing it;

  • For mortgage insurance: gift wrap your house key with ribbon and place it in a keepsafe box.
  • For health cover: book an active day out or couples spa package to make you both feel your best.
  • For financial cover: choose a ornamental piggy bank to represent your savings for your future together.

We would love to hear your gift ideas for Valentine’s Day, let us know what you have planned over at #MyIrishLife.

Our handy protection planner is a useful place to start thinking about life insurance cover for you and your family.

Irish Life Assurance plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Let us help you protect your future!

With Irish Life Family Protection, we can help protect your family’s income with life insurance, but also if you can’t work because of illness or injury. Answer a few questions to understand how much cover you might need and for how long.

Make 2018 Your Year to Shine! 3 Golden Rules to Keep Your Resolutions on Track

Read time: 3 Minutes

Congrats! You’re now on the home straight to making it through the Winter Blues.

You barely recognise your kitchen cupboards without the stockpile of tins of Roses and come to think of it, your waistline is beginning to thank you for it.

But let’s be honest – it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

The temptation to sink back into old habits hasn’t exactly kept itself at bay. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Over a third of resolutions have been put back on the shelf before the end of January.

Sound familiar?

Luckily, we’re here to offer you some top tips for making sure your New Year’s Resolutions become much more than that.


Keep calm and carry on

We’d like to offer a helping hand so you can become an even better you! Below are our 3 Golden Rules for keeping on track for the whole year.

1. Join a group

We’ve all heard of the old saying “the more, the merrier!” Well, this is the key to transforming your newly-pledged resolutions into a way of life.

Rather than go it alone, consider trying out a spinning class at your local gym or get out in the great outdoors and join a running group. Turning a less-than-favorable activity into a social event can help us stick to it in the long run. It also helps to give us that extra boost at times when our motivation seems to have deserted us.

For those of you wanting to learn a new skill Meetup.com offers a range of social groups where members can get together and have a chat about their shared interests.


2. Make a note of it

Keeping track of your progress is a great way to monitor just how far you’ve come.

By logging your efforts each day you’ll be able to see exactly where all your hard work is going. Being able to clearly account for those blood, sweat and tears is enough to sustain the same amount of enthusiasm as you had on Day 1 right through to Day 365.

Better still, in this day and age there’s most likely an app to help you along your way.

Some of our top recommendations are MyFitnessPal for tracking your fitness goals, DuoLingo for learning a new language or Headspace to remind yourself to relax each day. Cup of tea anyone?


3. Treat yourself!

Going cold turkey is almost a sure way to throw even those with the strongest of willpower off course.

Believe it or not – giving yourself a break from your new lifestyle can actually help keep those promises to yourself. Sooner or later, you can bet that little devil on your shoulder is going to pop up and try to steer you back to your old ways.

To keep your control over any temptation, make sure to reward yourself when you’ve been particularly good.

Whether this be indulging in some retail therapy or sharing that piece of Red Velvet cake over a coffee date, enjoying these little perks once every so often will work wonders for you and your wellbeing.

Simply put – it will make you happy (and keep you sane!)


The recipe for success

And just like that, you have your cheat sheet to keeping yourself on target!

Remember – it is important to be patient while you adapt to your new lifestyle. You can bet things will take a bit of time, especially with this amount of work and dedication.

Your journey is entirely your own, so try to hold off comparing yourself to others. Even if you find yourself putting off your new habits more often than intended, don’t wait until the next year to start again.

After all, “Rome wasn’t built in a day!”

We’d like to hear what lifestyle changes you have made this month using #MyIrishLife along with any tips to keep us focused on our goals.

Let us help you plan your future!

Kick the year off with a solid financial plan. Here are 5 practical steps to help you build one.

5 tips to avoid the winter blues

Read time: 2 Minutes

January can often be a month of renewal; setting new goals for the year ahead and hitting reset on all the bad habits you’ve picked up in the previous 12 months.

However, it can be a tough month to get motivated and it’s probably fair to say that we’ve all had our fair share of the winter blues at some point in the past.

As we’re less than a month into the new year – it’s not too late to set your own goals, however small, for the year ahead. Check out our 5 tips to help avoid the winter blues:

Plan your next break

Tips to avoid January blues - plan a trip - airport

Christmas is over, so why not plan for your next big holiday? Summer will be upon us in a few months, start planning that trip to East Asia you’ve been dreaming of, or take a trip to see a friend in Australia or the US? Start your saving and plan for the trip of a lifetime.

Can’t wait that long? Why not book a winter break in the slopes? If skiing/snowboarding isn’t your thing, why not try a European city break? It’s up to you!

Take up a hobby

Painting -start a new hobby

Take up something new that will challenge you, but you can enjoy. Children can occupy themselves for hours at a time playing, but as adults we forget how to have fun with the burdens and responsibilities of day to day living.

It’s sometimes nice to do something that doesn’t have any purpose. Why not take up painting, yoga or even an instrument? Challenge yourself – try something new for 30 days and see how it goes. If you love it, keep going – if not, start again with something else!

Treat yourself to a new look

New hairdo

Get yourself to the salon, get the hair cut you’ve always wanted. Change things up! Even get your nails done and your eyebrows threaded to ease yourself into the new year. Why not hit the town and get a new outfit?

Join the gym

Beat the winter blues by joining the gym
Get the endorphins flowing and feel good about yourself by joining the gym. If you’re already a member, then why not take up a new class? Even a change in routine can set you up for a better day, and give you something to look forward to recreationally.

If the gym isn’t for you, remember that the best gym can sometimes be the great outdoors. Start running, cycling or walking a few times a week – it can really help clear your head and reverse the effects of any Christmas over-indulgence.

Take time to speak to people
Girl meeting friends

With an ever-growing dependency on mobile phones and social media to communicate with each other, we sometimes forget how nice it is to catch up with friends and family over a cup of tea or coffee.

Next time you have an evening or weekend free, get in touch with a few friends and head to your favourite coffee spot. Tell them all about that holiday your planning, your new hobby or the gym you’ve just joined – they’ll have lots to tell you as well about what they got up to over Christmas.

Whether it’s the dark evenings or cold weather, it’s easy to make excuses in January to not go out and meet up with your friends. Next time, make an excuse to go and see them instead, throw your new Christmas coat on and go and enjoy yourself for a few hours.

Let us help you plan your future!

Why not make this the year you finally get a handle on your finances? Here are some tips to help you build better financial habits.

What sort of things keep you grounded when you’re hit with the winter blues? Join the conversation using the hashtag #MyIrishLife and let us know.