Superannuation inequality – how can we bridge the gap?
Posted by: TJL Accountants & Advisors | On: March 12, 2019
Every year in March, issues of gender inequality come to the forefront of discussion due to International Women’s Day on March 8. Superannuation is a prime example of this inequality, with women on average retiring with 47% less super than men – despite the fact that they live, on average, 5 years longer.
The discrepancy in the gender super gap can be linked to a few key factors, including:
- 43% of women work part-time;
- Female graduates earn $5000 less than male graduates in the same role;
- Full-time working women earn 18% less than men;
- Women are, on average, out of the workforce for 5 years raising their family;
- Women spend an average of 5 hours more per day caring for their children than men; and
- Current super contribution rules do not allow for lower paid workers to ever really accumulate sufficient savings for a comfortable retirement.
As a result of the above factors, 44% of women rely on their partner’s income as main source of retirement funds and, worryingly, 8.5% of women aged between 65 and 74 still have a mortgage.
It’s clear that structural changes need to be made to the super system to address these issues and minimise this inequality. On a smaller scale, women can tackle this issue by taking more control over their retirement savings in the following ways:
Build savings earlier
Making small voluntary contributions early in your working life will make a big difference at retirement thanks to the nature of compound interest. The government still offers a co-contribution for low income earners and a tax offset for spouse contributions.
Choose your super fund wisely
Multiple accounts mean multiple fees, and can also make it difficult to track your super. Unnecessary insurance premiums will also drain your super balance.
Contact your super fund or speak to a financial adviser and start to give some thought to what retirement would ideally look like for you. The earlier you start planning, the better placed you will be to address any shortfalls.
The TJL Financial Planning teams in Forster and Taree offer free consultations to help you ensure your superannuation, SMSF and other financial investments are working to maximise your retirement income. Call our offices on (02) 6554 9511 or (02) 6552 3233 and make an appointment to meet with one of our experienced advisors.