15th Oct 2018
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Women’s superannuation gap narrowing despite obstacles
Author: Olga Galacho
Women retirees sitting pretty

Older women are making the biggest gains in closing the superannuation gap with men, new Roy Morgan research shows.

Based on a survey of 300,000 people with super over the past decade, the analysis shows women are growing their average super balances faster than men.

The good news potentially shows that women have heeded longstanding warnings that they were likely to retire with up to $120,000 less in savings than men if their super was not boosted.

The Roy Morgan data shows women aged 60 and over have an average super balance of $262,000, or $102,000 less than an equivalent male.

Women aged between 50 and 59 have an average super balance of $207,000, just $90,000 less than an equivalent male.

However, the Roy Morgan data indicated that neither sex was likely to be weaned off the Age Pension altogether during retirement unless contributions to super are increased.

“The average superannuation balance held by females in 2008 was $68,000 or only 59.1 per cent of the male average of $115,000,” according to the report.

Moves to address the gap over the past decade had led to the average superannuation balance for females increasing to 72.2 per cent of males’ balances.

Women aged 50 to 59 narrowed the gender gap the fastest, going from only 54.5 per cent of the male average in 2008 to 69.7 per cent today.

“Females over 60 have the lowest incidence of superannuation but they have higher balances than younger females due to contributing for longer.”

Women aged up to 34 years of age had the smallest gap, at 85.6 per cent of the average super balances of men the same age.

In older age groups, the gaps can be partly explained by the fact that women have interrupted careers to raise families, often return to work part time rather than full time, and their average wages are considerably lower than their male counterparts.

The average wage of a woman aged between 50 to 59 years is $66,700, compared with a man’s $94,900, the research showed. Women over 60 years earn an average $59,100 compared with men on $86,500.

“Despite real gains in employment for women over the past decade, they still lag men in terms of full-time employment,” Roy Morgan industry communications director Norman Morris said.

“As a consequence, a greater proportion of women are in part-time work with its associated lower annual income ... which in turn leads to lower superannuation contributions and balances compared to males. Females are (also) more likely to have interrupted employment.

“However, despite these negative factors operating against them, women have made gains in closing the superannuation gap to men.”

But the pollster sounded a warning about the adequacy of super balances in future.

“Generally, both sexes are still unlikely to fund an adequate retirement entirely from superannuation unless contribution levels are increased and continue higher for several decades,” Mr Morris said.

“We have seen in the newly released Roy Morgan Wealth Report that there is a need for a more holistic understanding of an individual’s net wealth that goes beyond superannuation and includes other investments, home ownership, debt levels, personal and household incomes, bank accounts, financial attitudes and other factors that have the potential to have a major impact on retirement funding.”

Do you think employers and governments should act to help women close the super gap even further? How does your super affect your overall retirement income? The RetirePlanner™ tool has all the information you need.

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    COMMENTS

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    Old Geezer
    16th Oct 2018
    10:21am
    If anyone puts more than they have to into super they have rocks in their head. Super is dying and Labor will kill it off completely.
    Knows-a-lot
    16th Oct 2018
    11:18am
    Bloody ridiculous statement. Labor introduced compulsory super.
    1984
    16th Oct 2018
    11:36am
    Please explain how Labour will do this?
    Old Geezer
    16th Oct 2018
    2:35pm
    Well I am hearing loud and clear from our younger generation that anyone who puts extra money into super is completely bonkers. There is also a shift happening in that people are becoming contractors not employees so no compulsory super.
    TREBOR
    17th Oct 2018
    10:02am
    Ah, yes - the old enforced 'contractor' scam.....
    Knows-a-lot
    16th Oct 2018
    11:19am
    Spare us the feminist triumphalism.
    fred
    16th Oct 2018
    11:23am
    Labo'rs thieving policy on cancelling refunds of imputation credits will kill off super CBA shares down 16 % and Westpac shares down 22. 5 % for the year. Their plan has impacted on ASX share values since it was announcedtheir policy during the year Same with property values, Labor has stuffed the values of our homes, our most important asset as well . Labor are taking your assets just like the Communists did in Russia in their revolution
    Rae
    16th Oct 2018
    11:38am
    Yes fred. It seems stupid to run the risk of staying in the ASX with the way things are going in Australia. There are safer options with better valuations out there in overseas markets not experiencing our sovereign risk levels.

    However it's not just the LNP and ALP doing these things it's the Independent RBA as well.

    Labor hasn't done anything yet. It's been the LNP doing it all so far and a damn good job of stuffing the property market and superannuation up has been achieved by them this past 5 years.
    Old Geezer
    16th Oct 2018
    11:45am
    Got a letter from the Greens this morning and they are going to set up an annuity fund for SMSFs so they keep their franking credits etc. What a cough out! Why can't they get it that people want to manage their own money and that is why they have SMSFs. Why don't they just oppose Labor's unfair policy instead? Well I think we all know the answer to that one.
    1984
    16th Oct 2018
    1:12pm
    The share pricing are probably down due to the Royal Commision into banks showing how dishonest & corrupt they are.
    Labour doesn't have any policy on cancelling franking credits, how many times do you have to be told this.
    LNP are indirectly taking assets when they increased from 1 January 2017, every $1,000 in assets over the asset value limits reduces a pensioner's asset tested pension rate by $3 per fortnight up from $1.50
    Old Geezer
    16th Oct 2018
    2:33pm
    No Labor is not going to cancel franking credits but keep them instead of giving them back.
    TREBOR
    17th Oct 2018
    10:06am
    If you and your companies pay their taxes - you have no issue with cancelling dividend imputation.

    Each is a separate legal and operating entity - there is no cross-over between a company paying its taxes and a profit earner paying his or her taxes... they are not one and the same. Therefore, dividend imputation is falsely founded and has no real place in dividends paid out. The review that OG claimed to submit to said that dividend imputation should go, but not immediately.

    The whole process is simplified by simply abolishing it and ensuring all pay their own taxes as required.... everyone who works for a living does..... and there is no special consideration for those by being a company and those earning by holding hares.
    Rae
    17th Oct 2018
    12:02pm
    Labor seems to be continuing the discrimination against certain types of savers. Not surprising people are getting into trouble through not saving when saving is so badly treated.
    TREBOR
    17th Oct 2018
    1:46pm
    Seems there's a need to review savings as separate from superannuation, which has a 'roof' on it.. unless you are a politician or have your own fund, and then apparently the sky's the limit.... you can just keep adding capital to it every year forever without tax simply because it's labeled a superannuation fund...

    Lots of ins and outs involved here...
    Anonymous
    17th Oct 2018
    1:51pm
    What the hell os wrong with you Trebor ?

    You want to have a cap on savings ???
    TREBOR
    17th Oct 2018
    7:05pm
    Not a good reader, are you? Super is capped - all above is savings and should be looked at in terms of what it is for. If it is retirement savings it might have to be reviewed or considered in the light that it should be retained... but that's at the discretion of the owner.

    Nobody said anything about a cap on savings - just that it cannot be viewed as concessional on tax as is super..... free range super funds should not be permitted to add continuously to their cap for life, as occurs.

    A free ranger retiree cops a windfall one year on shares - do you think that should simply go into his/her fund without scrutiny and/or taxation on excess? Or do you think that once shares are part of superannuation, any profits therefrom should be considered profit over and above superannuation?

    A fund doesn't give more to a retiree if the shares pay more - the retiree on super gets the same regardless of market movements....

    I know you'll claim that is obscure - pretty straightforward to me.
    TREBOR
    17th Oct 2018
    7:06pm
    The tax concession on added funds runs out once you retire..... why should a SFSF operator be any different from anyone else? Both contribute funding into super from their work.... SFSRs are nothing special in need of special dispensations.
    Rae
    16th Oct 2018
    11:33am
    Superannuation was never designed to wean people off the aged pension. It was to top the old aged pension up for a better retirement. Then the greedy fund industry saw money to be made ripping savers off.

    OG is correct the LNP has pretty much destroyed the incentives to save and the ALP will make it much harder to save.

    The amounts quoted here are less than the amount estimated to finance the aged pension and concessions with no effort needed and no risks.

    Why save for yourself like crazy when the taxpayer can provide a better outcome if you do nothing?
    Old Geezer
    16th Oct 2018
    12:07pm
    Greens also want more self funded retirees to be eligible for the Pensioner Health Care Card too. I had suggested to them that everyone over pension age be given one as the savings from those who divest to get one would more than pay for them. That is one small step in the right direction of fixing the pension system is full of so many loopholes that very wealthy people can get it.
    Mad as hell
    16th Oct 2018
    12:28pm
    Yes Rae it was the LNP and Greens who passed the 2017 changes to the Pensioner Assets Test and took the incentive to havea self funded retirement.
    Old Geezer
    16th Oct 2018
    3:25pm
    If you were affected by those changes you weren't a self funded retiree.
    TREBOR
    17th Oct 2018
    11:59am
    I agree that everyone over pension age should have a concession card - however - that will be utterly dependent on the needed changes coming in to the current retirement funding melee....
    Old Man
    16th Oct 2018
    12:03pm
    For God's sake people, enough is enough. This subject keeps on being pushed in this forum with the inference that there is a gender pay gap and, subsequently, less super. The answer is quite simple; men work more hours/days/years than women do and it's no surprise that the pay and super reflects that. Why men work more than women is a very complex subject and involves a myriad of reasons, none of which have any bearing on pay and super for work completed.
    TREBOR
    17th Oct 2018
    10:07am
    Spot on.....
    Chris B T
    16th Oct 2018
    12:05pm
    Partnered or married (whatever) a woman is entitled to half the man's super or partnered person who is receiving a rumination for work.
    Tell me how there not benefiting from super and the inequality stated.
    A single women have the same opportunity as single men.
    When calculating proportions in separation do they halve or include the woman's super.
    Could you please state how you derive at your statement.
    Instead poor me statements.
    {;-(0)
    Mad as hell
    16th Oct 2018
    12:20pm
    Average balances are misleading. Median balances would give better picture as this shows where the majority of balances lay
    old frt
    16th Oct 2018
    12:57pm
    So true .

    If you take the top 10% of super balances out your remaining average balances would probably be half what they are shown.
    Rosret
    16th Oct 2018
    1:37pm
    I would say those stats are subject to serious interpretation.
    Come back with some graphs of total assets and column graphs on age, similar careers, years in the workforce etc etc and then lets see how "average" stacks up.

    16th Oct 2018
    3:10pm
    Women have the same if not much more super than men

    Why - because in the event of divorce, they get 50% or more of the total assets which includes husbands super, and if they stay married, they get the husbands super when he dies

    Stick that in your stats

    And the idiot Shorten wants to boost womens super spending $400 million every year to do so.
    Rosret
    16th Oct 2018
    3:59pm
    Divorce is a division of wealth. Our community is now based on a two income stream household. No single person fairs well anymore.
    Olga
    16th Oct 2018
    5:31pm
    That's an unfair and untrue comment. I know personally dozens of women who have divorced and they did not get a 50/50 split ... especially the older ones whose kids had moved out of home already. And those who did probably were able to shell out $$$ for a great lawyer. Fact is, women who have spent their post child bearing years in part time work will likely not be able to afford mortgages easily after a divorce. Most men if they are still in full time work will fare much better on the mortgage front post divorce. And if a woman were to achieve super parity with her ex after divorce, she would not be able to access those funds till post retirement. Check out our dear Noel Whittaker's advice to older women going into divorce. He recommends women not chase their ex's super. It is no wonder the fastest growing rate among homeless are divorced women in their 50s and 60s who gave up their most productive years to rear the offspring of their ex partners. A little less sexism (and feminism for that matter) would be appreciated here. Stick to facts.
    Olga
    16th Oct 2018
    5:33pm
    Rosret ... my comment was to Olbaid's offering :)
    Old Geezer
    16th Oct 2018
    9:16pm
    Too many gold diggers around today so a man has to protect his wealth any way he can with women around.
    TREBOR
    17th Oct 2018
    10:12am
    Your clock has struck the correct hour in this twenty four, diablo.....

    OG - yes, in some ways that is correct. Many young men these days will not 'commit' to a lifetime of family/home etc only to be short-changed at the end or middle of it. They learned a lot from what happened to their fathers and grandfathers.

    Olga - it may be that the ones you cite had their divorce before this split became the rule.... it hasn't been around that long. A big trouble with all this is that it is an incentive to destroy your family relationship, since if you are the designated 'primary caregiver' (an utter nonsense these days in the time of the MADIF where both parents have to work to keep up), you KNOW you will get the majority of assets split, ongoing payment for not being in the 'job' anyway, and certainly half of super. As a 'primary caregiver' you get to keep what you pay for (the kids) whereas the abandoned father does not.... do not try this at home.... the pain in unbearable.... to one side of this 'issue'.
    Old Geezer
    17th Oct 2018
    10:56am
    We had mortgages over our kids houses so that if anything went wrong they kept the lot. Our kids are doing same with our grandkids. Amazing how their partners stick with them when there is noting to be gained if they don't.
    TREBOR
    17th Oct 2018
    11:56am
    Good plan, OG......
    Rae
    17th Oct 2018
    12:10pm
    There was no reason for a woman to stay home raising the kids anyway. It was a choice. Some of us chose to raise our kids by keeping on working and our Superannuation is exactly the same as male colleagues.

    Women choose to not work as it's easier and then complain they have no savings.

    A lot of women and men have trouble saving anyway judging by the stats. Always some reason why they can't.
    Anonymous
    17th Oct 2018
    1:48pm
    The old “I know personally dozens of women ...” argument eh
    Must be true then

    But let’s not get the facts in the way of a good story

    The property settlement formula is written law

    Any wealth created while together is split 50/50 as a startin point with adjustments made for kids AND income disparty of the spouses

    So Olga - my post was spot on . Suggest you have a good read of property settlement cases and outcomes .
    A well researched article I’d long overdue on this site
    TREBOR
    17th Oct 2018
    10:01am
    First define what causes a 'gap'. If it's hours worked and years of contribution then there is no argument since all are treated the same way.

    As for 'closing' any 'gaps' - if you start with one, you must 'close the gap' with plenty of other categories. There are plenty of people out there who've endured years of nastiness in jobs and such and have little to no super.
    TREBOR
    17th Oct 2018
    1:43pm
    I'll say it again - wait another ten or fifteen years until the affirmative action program began way back in 1983, and women were pumped into the high super etc positions in the public service, teaching, banking, academia and such.... and they've always held a near monopoly on nursing etc which are all fine government super jobs.

    When that particular boost to 'women's super' reaches its fifty year lifespan (working life before the Labor/LNP push to raise it), then we'll talk....

    Will there be any outcry of 'men retiring with less super'?

    More men already retire with only the OAP than women..... time to get all this in perspective.


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