Women across Australia could find that their retirement income is in jeopardy because of the employment choices they make – but what can they do to boost their savings?
Fiona Reynolds, Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees chief executive, explained that there are all sorts of reasons why women’s super is typically lower than men’s.
Concerns were raised over the state of women’s retirement savings following the release of statistics from REST Industry Super.
It showed that male super fund members are expected to retire with 32 per cent more in their accounts than women, despite females spending 45 per cent more time in retirement.
However, Ms Reynolds explained to News Limited sources the reasons behind these discrepancies.
“Even though women may not spend a lot of time outside the workforce, a lot of women go back into part-time and casual roles.
“Therefore superannuation is linked to how much of an income you earn and that puts women behind,” she commented.
In many respects, the time that women decide to have children is difficult because they miss out on the compound interest in the superannuation cycle.
What can women do?
It is therefore essential for women to start thinking about their retirement income sooner rather than later, otherwise they could find that it is too late to make a real difference.
Ms Reynolds recommends that women put extra into their super to start building it up – this might be as little as $10 to $20 per week.
“The best thing you can do is look at topping up your super, but you can also have spouse contributions if you are not working so that you are not missing out,” she noted.
REST Industry Super found that people believe they will need a lot less to live on than they actually will when it comes to retirement.
The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia estimates that couples will need $56,236 to lead a comfortable lifestyle, while singles require somewhere in the region of $41,090.
However, 49 per cent of singles and 61 per cent of couples underestimated the amount of funds they would need, while almost half thought they would not have to give anything up in retirement.
Women can take other steps to enhance their super – it might be possible to ask an employer to pay part of your pre-tax wage into your fund, or you may be eligible for a government co-contribution.
If you are in a relationship, speak to your partner about possibly making some contributions on your behalf.