If you are a woman, or if you know a woman who’s close to retirement, it’s a good idea to be familiar with the risk factors. When you’re aware of what can keep a woman’s super balance down, you may be able to plan to avoid these hurdles. A report from Per Capita, an independent think tank, has outlined some of the major contributors:
Women are more likely to take on part time or casual work during their lifetime, especially if they have kids.
The reason the Age Pension comes in to this is that it can be a reason why women might not pay attention to their super – they may think the Age Pension will cover them adequately.
According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, although it is decreasing, in 2022, the gender pay gap is still 14%1. That means women get lower employer contributions, and don’t have as much to salary sacrifice.
Women are still more likely than men to take responsibility for the care of disabled, sick or elderly relatives.
Although things are changing, the women of each household still spend more time on domestic work (shopping, cooking, cleaning etc.) than the men.
Amongst other age-related factors, women may find it hard to get work later in life, when they most need the money to boost their super balances.
Tax concessions for super are slowly being scaled back. What’s more, given certain tax benefits are income tested, women with working partners who come back to work after having children may be at a disadvantage if they lose access to those concessions.
Simply put, a woman’s super has to last longer because stats suggest she’ll live longer.
Some women don’t have the background skills they need to make smart decisions about their superannuation, or about retirement in general.
In some areas childcare availability is low and pricing can be high, leading to some women feeling dissuaded from going back to work full time after having children. And a longer break from the Workforce means a longer break from getting super contributions.
No one wants to consider a future with a relationship breakdown, however if that happens, there may not be means to fund retirement.
You can read the full report at percapita.org.au/research/not-so-super/