Sub category: Superannuation
22 October 2021

Women & Super: a straightforward guide to success

BY CANNA CAMPBELL

On average, men retire with 36% more money in their superannuation than women. Closing the inequitable superannuation gap between men and women requires deep systemic changes, but there are practical steps women can implement to make positive financial differences in the long-term. To resolve the imbalance, we need to identify the underlying issues that led to this inequity.

Firstly, approximately 43% of women can only work part time, as the duty of primary care often falls on them – leading to decreased capacity to work.
Secondly, most women leave the work force for 5 years after having children, generally taking on unpaid household work.
Thirdly, men earn more money than women; In Australia, the gender pay gap is 13.4%.
These factors significantly reduce the amount of valuable long-term investing opportunities directed to women’s superannuation accounts. And there are damaging economic consequences: 40% of single Australian women will retire in poverty and economic insecurity.

While these statistics can seem daunting, it’s never too late to start building a more secure future. Here are tips that could help shift your financial trajectory, so you can achieve financial freedom.

  1. Budget in your missing employer contributions – if you are reducing your workload to part time, try replacing (or as much as your budget can afford) the portion of superannuation you are missing out on. If you’re going part time, this can be done via salary sacrificing. If you decide to step out of the work force, utilise after tax contributions, but be aware of annual financial year caps and accessibility rules.
  2. Make sure your super is properly invested for long term growth opportunities – your superannuation is not your retirement “savings” account but your retirement “investment” account. The money should ideally fund your living expenses throughout retirement. If you have the benefit of time, you could make sure you are invested within your risk profile and prioritise long-term goals. For many people, this might mean stepping out of the default balanced option and selecting investments that provide more enduring growth or even high growth risk (make sure you understand the risks of volatility). This could help maximise capital growth and income opportunities for the future.
  3. Keep it simple – ideally consolidate your superannuation accounts so that you are minimising fees and maximising efficiency. Whilst the fees may seem small, the cumulative costs could total within the thousands on your financial portfolio value. However it is essential, especially if you are considering consolidating your superannuation accounts, that you are mindful of any changes in fees, expenses incurred with consolidating (such as tax, brokerage, time out of the market etc) and any benefits attached to your old superannuation accounts, such as personal insurance policies (for example Life Cover, TPD or Income Protection). You never want to cancel an account or policy without them being replaced and in force, before you make any formal and final changes. You can also use this opportunity to search for any missing or old superannuation accounts. Consolidating them could make you feel more in control and organised, as you have more clarity on your overall retirement portfolio and the progress you’re making towards your retirement goals. Speaking with a licensed and qualified Financial Planner, who can give you personal product advice, based around your own needs, goals, situation and time frames can help give you even more clarity and direction.
  4. Get advice – most of us feel overwhelmed by our personal finances, so it is easy to panic and brush it under the rug. However, this results in valuable time being wasted and lucrative prospects for building wealth gradually slipping by. A licensed and qualified Financial Planner can analyse your situation and identify other areas that can benefit your retirement goals. This could include exploring whether you are eligible for a super co-contribution from the government, or carry forward unused concessional contributions and other alternative avenues to boost your immediate and long-term financial security.
  5. Stay informed – real life obligations and responsibilities can be overwhelming, but this is never an excuse to bury your head in the sand. Your financial wellbeing should be high on your priority list. Reviewing your super on a regular basis to make sure that it is invested correctly, contributions are being paid punctually and how the returns are looking will help ensure your retirement goes smoothly, especially when you include some realistic financial goals to benchmark.

While legislative reform is necessary to create a working system that is more productive for women’s retirement, you also have the power to minimise losses, maximise opportunities and take control of your financial future. When you build financial literacy and have real financial goals to work towards, you have the capacity to make more informed decisions that can be the difference between living an abundant retirement, or one with anxiety.

Living Super. Your other savings account.

Canna is the founder of the financial media platform, SugarmammaTV, and author of financial advice books The $1000 Project and Mindful Money. She comes from a corporate finance background and is a licensed financial planner. SugarmammaTV provides educational content that helps make money and finance more approachable. She is also the founder and director of financial planning firm, SASS Financial Services.




This article was prepared in partnership with ING. The information provided in this article is of a general nature only and does not consider your personal objectives, financial situation or particular needs. The views expressed in this article are provided independently by Canna Campbell, a Financial Planner and an Authorised Representative of Wealthstream Financial Group Pty Ltd (AR 000309372) featured in the article. ING makes no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or reliability of the information, nor does ING accept any liability or responsibility arising in any way from omissions or errors contained in the content. ING does not recommend any products, services or financial strategies mentioned in this article. ING strongly recommends that you obtain independent advice before you act on the content. Canna Campbell uses ING’s trademarks under arrangement with ING. ING is a business name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited, ABN 24 000 893 292, AFSL and Australian credit licence 229823.

The information is current as at publication. Any advice on this website does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you. Deposit products, savings products, credit card and home loan products are issued by ING, a business name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229823. ING Living Super (which is part of the ING Superannuation Fund ABN 13 355 603 448) is issued by Diversa Trustees Limited ABN 49 006 421 638, AFSL 235153 RSE L0000635. The insurance cover offered by ING Living Super is provided by Metlife Insurance Limited ABN 75 004 274 882, AFSL 238096. ING Insurance is issued by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited (AGIC) ABN 42 111 586 353 AFSL Licence No 285571 as insurer. It is distributed by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd (AGS) ABN 61 003 617 909 AFSL 241411 and by ING as an Authorised Representative AR 1247634 of AGS. All applications for credit are subject to ING's credit approval criteria, and fees and charges apply. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Terms and Conditions, Fees and Limits Schedule, Financial Services Guide, Key Facts Sheet and Credit Guide available at ing.com.au when deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, a product. Before interacting with us via our social media platforms, please take a minute to familiarise yourself with our Social Media User Terms https://www.ing.com.au/pdf/Social_Media_User_Terms.pdf.

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