On March 8 this year we celebrated International Women’s Day – a special event designed to bring attention to the many inequalities and difficulties still facing women all around the world.
While here in Australia we might like to think that we have achieved a fairly good level of equality between the sexes, the truth is that there are still some areas where we are falling short.
For example, according to the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) far too many women are still entering retirement unprepared to handle the financial difficulties this period of life might bring.
AIST president and chair of Women in Super Cate Wood says that Australia still hasn’t managed to come up with the policies needed to ensure that the gender gap in superannuation is narrowed.
Ms Wood says that it is a combination of two factors that is leading to women retiring with less money than their male counterparts – lower pay and time spent out of work due to pregnancy.
“We need to plug the gaps in the current system, provide opportunities and incentives for women to ‘catch-up’ their super savings, and find a way to improve the retirement outcomes for women and men who take time out of the workforce to care for others,” said Ms Wood in a statement released March 7.
If you are a woman in Australia who is nearing retirement and you are not entirely comfortable with the amount of money you have saved, then it might be time to consider sitting down and talking to a financial planner.
A financial planner can help establish a plan that is right for your individual needs, and ensure that you will be able to support yourself and live a happy and healthy lifestyle in your golden years.
Ms Wood and the AIST have made several recommendations to the government that they say could help balance out the superannuation gender gap – such as removing the minimum threshold for compulsory super contributions and offering a return-to-work super bonus for women who have left the workforce to have children.
However there is no need to wait around for these changes to come into effect, as by taking control of your retirement planning today you can ensure that you will be ready for the next stage of life tomorrow.
That way, everyone, no matter their gender, can have the retirement that they deserve.