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Action is needed to lift women’s confidence in retirement

Media Release 14 March 2019

14 March 2019

Action is needed to lift women’s confidence in retirement

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) said today that survey results demonstrating low confidence in retirement amongst women is a clear indicator that more must be done to improve women’s retirement outcomes.

The most recent results from the Qantas Super CSBA Retirement Confidence Index show that women have far less confidence than men that they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement.

“These findings highlight deep concerns around the realities of retirement for women and the perception that they will not be able to adequately fund a dignified retirement” said ASFA CEO, Dr Martin Fahy.

“The lack of confidence reflects how women are retiring today, with average balances at retirement a little over half those of men. Whilst the gap is gradually closing more needs to be done to address the disparity.”

Dr Fahy said there are important social policy issues that arise due to women’s lower super balances and that narrowing the gap would lead to better standards of living in retirement for women.

“Structural policy reform to protect and enhance the economic security of women in retirement is something that ASFA has long advocated for. It is of critical importance to ensure that women are not condemned to experiencing poverty, and even homelessness, in retirement.”

“Today, around 50 percent of women retire with a very low superannuation balance under $50,000, compared with 33% of men. Unless we take active steps fix this problem, confidence will remain low,” said Dr Fahy.

ASFA continues to advocate for policies to improve women’s economic security in retirement including:

  • Paying Superannuation Guarantee on paid parental leave and other income replacement payments (such as salary continuance and worker’s compensation)
  • Removing the $450-a-month threshold for superannuation guarantee
  • Maintaining the Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset (LISTO) that provides tax refunds and makes superannuation fairer for those on low incomes
  • Enabling employers to contribute more for women without being considered to have breached anti-discrimination legislation

“While we continue to advocate for policy improvements, the good news is that there are a number of steps that women can take to increase their confidence and improve their retirement prospects,” said Dr Fahy.

ASFA recommends four easy steps:

  • Open your mail from your super fund and look at your account balance
  • Use a calculator tool, such as the one on ASFA’s Super Guru website, to find out whether your savings are on track
  • Learn on Super Guru what you can do to improve your balance by contributing a little extra and letting the power of compound interest do the rest
  • Talk to your super fund to find out whether your money is invested the right way for you, according to how much risk you are willing to take on

For further information, please contact:

Media Manager, 0451 949 300.

About ASFA

ASFA is the peak policy, research and advocacy body for Australia’s superannuation industry. It is a not-for-profit, sector-neutral, and non-party political, national organisation. ASFA’s mission is to continuously improve the superannuation system, so all Australians can enjoy a comfortable and dignified retirement.

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