Australian women may often manage the family finances, yet there is evidence some are failing to get a keen grip on their super.
A survey of around 1,000 Australians conducted late last year by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) indicated that on average women were not as engaged with their superannuation as men.
While around 25 per cent of men said they knew their exact super balance, only 15 per cent of women did.
Nearly 30 per cent of women said they needed to know more about superannuation.
Only 8 per cent of women were confident about how much retirement savings they need, compared to 16 per cent for men.
Thirty per cent of women said they always read their superannuation statement compared to 45 per cent of men.
Ten per cent of women said they have a very good understanding of their super statements compared to 25 per cent of men.
However, women recognise the importance of superannuation and saving for retirement.
Just over half the women surveyed saw superannuation as a good way to save for their retirement. Only 7.5 per cent would be content to have no superannuation and rely on the age pension alone in retirement.
ASFA CEO Dr Martin Fahy said superannuation provides a means of building wealth for Australian women but more than 80 per cent of women were currently retiring with insufficient super savings to fund a comfortable lifestyle.
“One in three women are retiring with no super at all and many older women are struggling in retirement,” he said.
The average super balance for women when they retire is around $150,000 less than the average for men. Average super balances at retirement today are $138,150 for women compared to $292,500 for men.
Whether it’s broken working patters, the gender pay gap, insecure employment or the longevity risk, women are facing bigger obstacles to build wealth for their retirement.
“Several factors are contributing to women’s lower super balances including the fact that women take time out of the paid workforce to have children and are more likely to care for family members,” Dr Fahy said.
“They are also more likely to be in part time or lower paid employment. Women, on average, earn lower wages compared to their male counterparts and this is then reflected in their super balances.
“Women also live longer than men so they need more super to survive longer.”
Dr Fahy said ASFA would continue to push for an increase in the Superannuation Guarantee (SG), from 9.5 to 12 per cent as soon as possible.
“The current level of superannuation savings do not provide economic security in retirement for a proportion of the Australian population, so any measures to lift superannuation savings overall will increase economic security in retirement for women and men,” he said.
“ASFA also recommends removing the $450-a-month threshold for the SG. We also think the government should enable employers to contribute more to superannuation for women without being considered to have breached anti-discrimination legislation.”
For further information, please contact:
Teresa Mullan, Media Manager, 0451 949 300.
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 people can live in retirement with increasing prosperity.