Women and superannuation

The fact that many women retire with half as much super as men can’t be ignored.

Women and superannuation

Considering that retirement income is an important benchmark on quality of life, the fact that many women retire with half as much super as men can’t be ignored.

A 2014 Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) report revealed that in 2011/12 women’s superannuation balances lagged behind those of men to the tune of $92,000, at the age of retirement.  Over the last 10 years super balances may have increased in general but women still only hold 37 per cent of super savings in Australia. What is perhaps most concerning is that 60 per of women aged between 65 and 69 have no super at all.

Comment from AustralianSuper Group Executive Georgie Williams
“Saving up a healthy super balance for retirement tends to be much harder for women,” says AustralianSuper Group Executive, Georgie Williams. “Around 90 per cent of women are likely to finish their working lives with too little in super savings to fund a comfortable lifestyle in retirement. That’s why it’s so important that they take some simple steps to boost their super savings.”

There are several factors which contribute to women having less in super savings than men; pay inequality, an interrupted work history, lower incomes and those women are more often than not the primary caregivers to children and older parents.

If you’re a woman faced with a shortfall in your retirement funding due to an inadequate super balance, the important thing is to not panic. Taking action sooner rather than later will give you the greatest chance of boosting your super savings.

You may wish to consider the following:

  • Combining multiple super accounts into one. Not only will this reduce the fees, it will also make it much easier track your savings.
  • See how your current super fund compares to others in terms of fees and returns. If it’s lacking, you could consider switching*.
  • Check to see if any of the Government initiatives, such as the Low Income Super Contribution (due to end on 30 June 2017) or the superannuation co-contribution are applicable to you.
  • If financially possible, consider making extra salary sacrifice contributions to your superannuation. Even a small amount each month could increase your super considerably.

Find out more about women and Super from AustralianSuper

*Consider exit fees and insurance benefits before making any financial decisions. 

This article has been sponsored by AustralianSuper Pty Ltd ABN 94 006 457 987, AFSL 233788. The views expressed are those of YourLifeChoices and not necessarily those of AustralianSuper. You should consider you own personal circumstances before making a financial decision. For more information, please visit www.australiansuper.com/yournextlife


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    6th Dec 2015
    It would be nice to have a 'men and superannuation' article but that would probably be considered a sexist piece. One does get sick of this sort of thing! Double standards?
    Polly Esther
    6th Dec 2015
    mick please take it easy, we are half of the population.
    6th Dec 2015
    Mick, have a look at the people who run Australian Super and ask yourself which faction of the Labor Party do most of them belong to. Do you see a pattern emerging with some of the recent topics?
    6th Dec 2015
    That is never going to happen Mick. And yes Polly, half the population and do half the work.
    This argument simply has too many variables to be valid.
    Golden Oldie
    6th Dec 2015
    Not all men have large superannuation balances. A friend of mine took early retirement due to health reasons at age 61 and had a super account for about $60k. I wish the politicians would realise that there are probably only a few people who can be self supporting in retirement, and not continually change the goalposts for super and age pension when compulsory super is a fairly new concept and hard enough to plan for in an unstable economy. I wonder how many well off people took up the concept of selling investment properties and putting up to a million dollars into super in 2004 to 2006, only to lose a large chunk of this in 2008 with the GFC.
    6th Dec 2015
    The chance to top up super with up to $1M had an unforeseen side effect on the economy. Yes, there was a number of property investors who took the opportunity to sell out and reduce their tax bill and this reduced the available rental properties.

    6th Dec 2015
    This one's been done to death - yet people still insist on refusing to see that people have what super they have - and I can assure you there are many women with nice super, either combined with a man's or alone, these days - particularly after thirty five years of affirmative action and preferential placement in sweet deal government jobs.

    No woman retires with less than her entitlement to super - same as men - and sorry - but NOBODY can 'have it all'. Life is about compromises, and you get what you earn, same as all the myths about some 'wage gap'.
    6th Dec 2015
    Exactly. This argument about someone having more super than another is ridiculous. I didn't finish with anywhere near as much super as my supervisor either, but then I didn't expect to either given that SHE outranked me and was therefore earning more than me (gees, there goes that argument about women being paid less than men too).
    6th Dec 2015
    Trevor, "No woman retires with less than her entitlement to super."

    Go sit in the corner and only come out when you say that women don't get paid as much as men and that they deserve more!!!!

    6th Dec 2015
    Here we go again, starting an article with an untruth. Where is the proof that women suffer "pay inequality"? Yes, women get paid less than men on average but this figure is based on actual cash received, not rates of pay. What this comes down to is that men work more hours than women and the reasons for this are many and varied but have nothing to do with the supposed "pay inequality".
    6th Dec 2015
    LOL - that old chestnut again. How rare would it be these days to find a male and female of similar age doing the exact same job, with the same level of experience, where the male gets paid more than the female. If you wanted to you could probably find a female somewhere earning only $20,000 per year while a male earns $50,000 - but be assured, their circumstances would be entirely different.
    6th Dec 2015
    Or a hospital chief clerk - oh.. sorry - CEO on $150k+ while a first year male nurse gets $35k or whatever....

    The world is full of inequalities - I just posted elsewhere that there is in existence already a 'man tax' - for the simple reason that men work 41 hours to women's 32 (2011 Census) and thus EARN more and thus pay more tax.

    I've done the simple figure a thousand times - the claimed 78% earned by women dovetails precisely with 32 hours compared to men doing 41. I think it's time for all these things, at this time of dire economic outcomes for the many - to be put to bed.
    6th Dec 2015
    Talk about old men!!!! I say, give the women a fair go!!! They deserve more at work as they work hard at home at the same time!!!!

    Maybe YLC could do an article on the joys and benefits of being a grumpy old man??? LOL!!!
    6th Dec 2015
    I was actually told that I was "ineligible", as a married woman, to join the state super scheme. I accepted this wrong advice and didn't join until 75% through my career so I missed the 'guaranteed for life' pension that my male peers received. This inequality has never been recognised or compensated! Smug denials do not change that reality!
    6th Dec 2015
    Sadly, way back in the dim, dark ages, a woman had to leave the Public Service as soon as she married. I presume that your ineligibility had something to do with that ruling. The 'guaranteed for life' pension only applied if you ran the race. If you left before official retiring age (unless medical rules kicked in) you got back the amount you paid in plus a bit of interest.
    7th Dec 2015
    People are forgetting that compulsory Super for women has only been in in non Government jobs for a little over 20 years so of course they are retiring with less. Compulsory Child Support came in in 1989 and there were no Baby Bonuses, Child Care packages, Maternity allowances etc like there is today so of course women especially single Parent females are retiring with less Super. It is a no brainer and now the Government is reducing the small Super these single women had ( if it was a Defined Pension) in January.
    Politicians are sadly just Robin Hoods in reverse.
    14th Feb 2016
    It was 1985 before I had a job that included superannuation. My first husband who worked for the same firm as I, PMG, took his excellent superannuation with him. My second husband spent his before we married. I had to use mine to pay for the nursing home accommodation for him. I'm concerned that most people don't know that if their savings are in super they now have to use it in amounts between $200,000 - $500,000 for accommodation bonds in nursing homes.

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