Imagine if the superheros we admired ‘back in the day’ were fighting for their country’s financial security. Think about it…. Superannuation Woman would have been our hero! Today’s Emma Fierce on Finance blog looks at superannuation, and encourages you to be your own Superannuation Woman. You deserve a glamorous, financially secure future!
I know that superannuation is not a particularly sexy or exciting topic to talk about. I can count on one hand the number of conversations I’ve had with my girlfriends about superannuation, and those chats pretty much consisted of groaning about how many different super funds we had and how the heck would we find the time to roll them together. Despite the dullness of the topic, I think the time has come for superannuation to be discussed seriously amongst women. You might have seen a large banking institution base a marketing campaign squarely on this topic – the inequality of superannuation held by women compared to men over their lifetimes. Women talk endlessly about their significant life events – marriage, children, maternity leave – and the associated financial implications of these rites of passage. But unfortunately, they give so little thought to the twenty plus years of retirement that we will need to support ourselves through. Put your thinking caps on ladies! Do you know how much super you have? When was the last time you had a good look at your statement and analysed the returns that your super fund is bringing you?
A recent article in The Age stated that whilst women believe they will need $1 million in super to retire comfortably, most of us will end up with just a fraction of that amount in superannuation. In fact, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) reported that average retirement payouts for women in 2009 were approximately half the super payouts of men. This is downright ludicrous given that women outlive men by 4 years on average. This large gap between men and women in the current superannuation system is linked to paid work, and this structure overwhelmingly disadvantages women who are more likely to move in and out of paid work to care for family members. Women also continue to earn less than men and are more likely to be engaged in casual and part-time work, which are also contributing factors to the gender gap in retirement savings.
So what can we do about this?
Firstly, take stock of your existing super now!
- check your super fund statement – see how it’s performing
- make sure your super fund has your tax file number (TFN)
- consider transferring all your super into one account – the more super accounts you have, the more fees you are likely paying
- find any lost super using SuperSeeker
Secondly, find little ways to boost your super balance.
- personal contributions, no matter how large or small, are key
- Can you salary sacrifice a little more of your pay into your super, thereby using pre-tax dollars to boost it?
- If you earn under a certain threshold, you may find that the government will match dollar for dollar any personal contributions you make up to $1000.
When you take into consideration the power of compound interest, $50 extra a month now may seem hardly worth it – but believe me, your 65 year old self will be thanking you for it! So, grab your golden lasso and go find or earn those super dollars that will make you…. SUPERANNUATION WOMAN!