Super for women

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Ever wondered what it takes to be financially secure and independent?

Superwomen provides you with the information, tools and tips to help you take control of your financial future and actively manage your finances.

Closing the gender gap

Closing the gender gap

The difference

When it comes to earning power and retirement savings, the average Australian woman’s experience is vastly different from the man’s.

Super balances and payouts for women are roughly half of men’s, and women generally have less earning power. With less money and longer life expectancies, women need to make the most of every opportunity to save for their future and increase their financial security.

What causes the gender gap?

  1.  Women continue to earn less than men, with female managers earning about 25% less than their male counterparts do.
  2.  Men are also twice as likely to get into management, and if woman have young children, their odds are even more reduced. [1]
  3.  Women continue to spend more time in unpaid domestic, childcare and voluntary work than men.
  4.  Women are more likely to be engaged in casual and part time work.
  5.  Because the current superannuation system is linked to paid work, women are overwhelmingly disadvantaged as a result.

What does this mean for you?

“The gap has serious implications for women, particularly the likelihood of sole reliance on the Age Pension and subsequently, an acute vulnerability to poverty in retirement.”

- Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner

Nowadays, divorce, widowhood and other unforeseen circumstances mean it is wiser to plan independently for your retirement, rather than rely on someone else - who may not be around - to take care of things. This is equally important for both single women and women with partners. A man is not a financial plan! If you think this won’t happen to you, the Australian government reports that the superannuation gender gap has led to many women being forced to rely upon the Age Pension for their retirement income.

  • Nearly 60% of all Age Pensioners are women [2].
  • 73% of those who receive the single rate of the Age Pension are women [3].

Sources

[1] Watson, Ian, ‘Decomposing the Gender Pay Gap in the Australian Managerial Labour Market, Australian Journal of Labour Economics’, Volume 13, Number 1,  pp 49 – 79, Macquarie University, 2010 [2] Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Pension Review Background Paper, Secretary of FaHCSIA, Dr Jeff Harmer, 2008 [3] Robert Tanton, Yogi Vidyattama, Justine McNamara, Quoc Ngu Vu and Ann Harding, ‘Old, Single and Poor: Using Microsimulation and Microdata to Analyse Poverty and the Impact of Policy Change Among older Australians’, National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, University of Canberra, 2008

Financial fitness at any age

Financial fitness at any age

Set savings goals

Every woman wants to be financially secure, and the key to this is setting and achieving savings goals.

Do you want to build a savings buffer? Or perhaps you need to put your children through school. Maybe you want to be financially secure during retirement. These are all achievable goals, but they won't happen on their own. Here's how to achieve financial fitness and security at any age.

Three step financial fitness plan

  1. Organise your finances
    Organise your bills, registrations, policies and statements. Plan a budget to help you see where your money goes and choose where to spend it.
  2. Save first, spend second
    Organise with your payroll department or bank to divert a percentage of your salary into your savings or super account before the rest hits your everyday expense account.
  3. Review your insurance cover
    Make sure you protect your most valuable asset - your ability to earn an income.

Benefits of an effective budget

Benefits of an effective budget

Creating a budget is easier than you think

Don't like to budget because it seems too complicated or you don't like going without?

Don't worry, a budget just tracks your expenses so you know where your money goes. An effective budget saves you money and benefits three key areas of your life.

  1.  Take control 
    Small costs add up over time. By tracking your spending, you can decide what to spend or invest your time and money on, instead of letting it leak away a dollar or two at a time. This can mean the difference between always being short of cash and being able to afford the things that are really important to you: down payment on a home, paying down debt, retirement, or saving for a holiday. 
  2.  Reduce stress 
    Having a working budget reduces the stress in your life that comes with money issues. At a glance you will know immediately what you can and cannot afford. You'll have the confidence to pay bills on time and the resources to deal with unexpected costs when they arise.
  3.  Improve your relationship 
    Financial stress is the number one cause of divorce, so agreeing on your financial goals and working together towards them will definitely have a positive effect on your marriage or relationship.

Give budgeting a go

Check out our monthly budget planner, or try ASIC's MoneySmart Budget planner

A budget doesn't have to be boring. Consider the following ideas:

  1.  Before you buy something, stop and ask yourself if you already have something similar, or if you really need it. 
  2.  Leave your credit card at home and take a fixed amount of cash when you shop. Stop once you have used up your fixed amount.
  3.  Internet, phone and utilities services create ongoing bills. Take the time to research the best deal so you save money in the long term.
  4.  Share subscriptions, bulk buy and car pool with friends and family to get what you want at a fraction of the cost.

Protect your most valuable asset

Protect your most valuable asset

You're important.The lifestyle you create for your family is reliant on your income. Make an informed decision to protect your most important asset – your ability to earn an income.

Impact on an underinsured family if tragedy strikes

Case Study: Cathy and Greg Johnson are in their 30s, with two young children. The Johnsons own their home and have a mortgage. They also have typical levels of superannuation and life insurance. They have an expense budget of $1,224 per week after paying tax, childcare and the mortgage.

According to NATSEM* calculations, the family will have only $600 per week to live on if tragedy strikes in any of the following scenarios:

Scenario 1: Cathy is temporarily disabled or ill
Scenario 2: Cathy dies
Scenario 3: Greg is temporarily disabled or ill

* Lifewise/NATSEM Underinsurance Report, The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM), University of Canberra, February 2010, IFSA/TNS Protection Gap research 2005

Insurance is affordable

Like the Johnsons, most Australians would struggle if the unexpected happened. Fortunately, insurance is not only crucial, but very affordable. Click here to learn more about Vision Super insurance cover.

You may already have insurance with your super

If you joined Vision Super through your employer and are eligible, you automatically receive certain levels of cover. Generally this includes three units of age-based death & disability cover and 75% of your annual salary, up to a salary of $80,000 pa

Review the level of insurance you have to make sure your family is provided for.

Increase your retirement savings

Increase your retirement savings

Saving for your future can be a chore

However, the reality remains that there is a large gap between the expectations many people have for their retirement and the actual lifestyle they'll be able to afford with the money they have saved.

The easiest way to get extra retirement savings is to start early, and make regular savings, no matter how small. The easiest way to contribute is to give this form to your employer to make automatic contributions for you from your salary. You can also BPAY your super contribution (or send us a cheque

Working fewer hours or not at all?

Working fewer hours or not at all?

Advanced planning helps

Sometimes family commitments or other priorities mean you cannot be in paid employment, or have to stop full time work for a while.

If you are planning this in advance, every bit of saving helps.

Parental leave or part time work may lower your assessable income for the year, making you eligible for the following:

Government co-contributions (up to $500 from the government each year)
Spouse contribution rebate (up to $540 rebate from the government each year)

If you are not in paid employment you can still contribute to your super. Consider moving assets such as bonuses or inheritances into your super, where potentially lower tax on earnings applies, plus tax free income after age 60. Seek professional advice before acting to help you make the decision that is best for you.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) recommends topping up your super as much as you can afford. Because super is generally taxed less than similar investments, most people would save more through super than any other way.

 

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