Australia has the biggest gender gap when it comes to preparation for retirement compared to Britain and the United States.
The Retirement Readiness report by Australian, British and American actuaries asked almost 3000 working men and women how prepared they were to meet risks once they retired, including the risk they would outlive their money.
In all three countries, more men said they were financially on track for retirement, but the biggest discrepancy was between men and women in Australia.
In 2016, the average super balance for women was $68,000 and $112,00 for men, according to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).
ASFA’s Retirement Standard estimates that a single person aged around 65 years would need $43,695 per year to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in retirement, so neither gender is adequately prepared to retire without help from the government age pension.
A few weeks after the Retirement Readiness report was released, the 2017 Mercer Global Pension Index found Australia’s super system has maintained it’s ranking as the third best retirement income system in the world.
So how are women still retiring with less in our world class super system?
The gap between super balances of men and women is often attributed to the fact that women are more likely to take time off work to raise children or care for elderly parents. Women tend to live longer than men, and are more likely to work in lower paid positions than men.
The Retirement Readiness report also speculates that women may also feel less responsible for their finances, especially if living with a man who proactively manages their shared finances.
Closing the gap
The superannuation gender gap is slowly improving, but policy is needed to make substantial change. Until then, there are steps women can take to improve their retirement outcomes.
Take control of your super
With so many online resources available, it’s now easier than ever to take control of your financial future, on your own terms.
Log on to Vision Online to do some super admin. In just a few minutes you can update your details, review your investment choice, and view your account contributions. You could also save yourself some fees and paperwork transferring other super funds into your Vision Super account.
Give your super a boost
If you can, consider contributing a little extra to your super. In our article, How to be a super woman, Vision Super member, Melinda started contributing to her super in-line with her Enterprise Bargaining Agreement pay increase at work so she wouldn’t notice a difference in her take-home pay.
Depending on your income and how you contribute (before or after tax), you may be eligible for a co-contribution from the government or benefit from tax advantages. You can find out more about contributing to your super here.
Seek help and advice
Financial advice isn’t just for wealthy people managing multiple investments. Whatever your financial situation, Vision Super are here to help. Please call our friendly Member Services team on 1300 300 820 to chat about your options, organise a free super health check or book a consultation with a Vision Super financial planner.