Mum's the Word on Superannuation
When you’ve worked hard your whole life, both to build a career and raise a family, it seems unfair that when you finally get to retire you won’t have as much cash to enjoy in your sunset years as a man who’s done the same job. If you take a little time to organise your superannuation when you’re younger, you can reap bigger rewards.
The lowdown on super figures
It’s no secret women tend to have less money in their superannuation accounts when they turn 65 than men. In fact, according to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), they’ll have about 43 per cent less. When a bloke leaves the work force, he’s likely to be entitled to a superannuation payout of, on average, $198,000. A woman on the other hand can look forward to pocketing only about $112,0001. Considering women live about five years longer than most men, they’ve got to make a considerably smaller amount of money go further.
Why the big difference?
There are a number of reasons women end up with less. For a start, they tend to earn a lot less. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the gender pay gap hit a 20-year high of 18.8 per cent lower than men at the beginning of 20152, so women are already at a distinct economic disadvantage. Then there’s what comes after love and marriage. Once kids arrive, women tend to be the ones who step away from the work force. When they do return, statistics say 86 per cent will take advantage of flexible arrangements3, including working part-time, meaning there’s less cash in their retirement funds.
What can you do now?
We can think of plenty of other activities we’d rather do than sort through super statements: taking the kids to the park, shopping for a new outfit or going for a coffee. But, in all seriousness, it’s something you need to do and it doesn’t take that long. Here are some things that you can do now to get your super working harder for you:
1. Reduce your costs
Do you have more than one super account? If you do, you’re paying a set of fees on each of them. Rolling all your accounts into one means you’re paying fewer fees and have a larger nest egg to grow.
2. Super with a view
When was the last time you checked your super balance? Was it when you got the last yearly statement in the mail? Or is that statement still unopened in a drawer somewhere? Select a super fund that gives you online access to your accounts, and one that you can view regularly. This way, you’ll be able to see your super as is grows – proof that it’s real money that will be yours one day.
3. A little extra helps
While you’re working, think about adding in a little extra to your super, above what your employer contributes. It doesn’t have to be a big amount, but over those years until retirement, those smaller amounts have plenty of time to grow into something much bigger. Even allocating $20 per pay can make all the difference.
4. Make it a joint effort
If your partner is still working while you take some time out, they may be able to help your super balance grow too. If they’re making extra contributions to their own super, some super funds allow the additional contributions to be transferred to your super fund. This can not only save on tax, but makes sure both of your super balances are growing at the same time. Have a chat to your financial planner or super fund if this might work for you.
This information does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) available above before making a decision to acquire a Defence Bank superannuation product. The PDS documents together with any fees and charges applicable are available at defencebank.com.au/super
1. Developments in the level and distribution of retirement savings, The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, September 2011.
2. Gender Indicators, Australia, Australian Bureau of Statistics 2015.
3. Pregnancy and work transitions, Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013.