news

If you're going to have a baby, it's a good time to think about this.

By AMY STOCKWELL.

Remember this school-yard ditty?

“…First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes an excellent opportunity to think about superannuation before you have any children.”

No? OK, so it isn’t catchy, but it would be worthwhile if we could all chant this: if you’re going to have a baby, it’s a good time to think about your superannuation.

We’ve spoken over the past few weeks about the fact that many women are retiring with half the superannuation of men.

This is especially the case for women with children. In fact, new research from the Australia Institute has shown that over a lifetime, women with children earn 43% less than women without children – and they end up with less superannuation.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Australian Super. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic ad written in their own words.

But here’s the twist.

Men with children earn 25% more than men without children.

That’s right. Children actually boost men’s financial earnings over their lifetime.

Women with children earn less. Men with children earn more. It’s a funny ole world, right? A funny, inequitable, infuriating world…

As frustrating as this is, I’m going to suggest that this creates an opportunity to start a conversation about you and your partner’s superannuation – before one of you takes time away from paid work to raise kids.

Did you know that one partner can make contributions to their partner’s superannuation (with potential tax benefits)?

It’s true. So, if you’re going to go on parental leave or work part time to raise children and you have a partner, you should consider whether your partner could contribute to your superannuation for the period that you are not working full time, so that your superannuation doesn’t fall behind. There is a potential tax benefit for this arrangement – the contributing partner could claim an 18% tax offset on up to $3,000 worth of contributions.

Of course, you don’t need to rely on a partner to make superannuation contributions on your behalf. If you’re planning to have a child at some point, you could start boosting your super contributions now. Alternatively, if you’ve already had some time off and you’re heading back to work, it’s also a good time to increase your superannuation contributions to compensate for the time that you’ve been away from paid work.

ADVERTISEMENT

It has been suggested that you could follow a 1 per cent rule as a handy guide for the amount you should contribute to help your superannuation to catch up. The rule is: contribute an extra one per cent to your super for every two years spent out of the paid workforce. You probably won’t notice one per cent of your salary disappearing from your pay packet into your superannuation – but you’ll benefit from the investment returns on those contributions for the rest of your life.

If your partner contributes to superannuation on your behalf, or if you make your own addition contributions, and you earn less than $46, 920, you could get $500 tax free into your superannuation from the Australian Government as a co-contribution. Good result.

So, if you are pregnant or thinking of falling pregnant or raising children, it’s the perfect time to have a think about what to do about the superannuation you’ll be missing out on while you’re not in full-time paid work.

And given that men with children earn more over a lifetime, it makes sense that a little bit of that good fortune could be invested in the security of their partner’s future, right?

The views expressed in this article are those of Mamma Mia and do not necessarily reflect those of AustralianSuper (AustralianSuper Pty Ltd ABN 94 006 457 987 AFSL 233788 the Trustee of AustralianSuper ABN 65 714 394 898). AustralianSuper does not accept responsibility or any liability arising from the content of this article, which is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, situation or needs. Before making a decision about your super consider your financial requirements and read any relevant Product Disclosure Statements. Investment returns are not guaranteed as all investments carry some risk. Past performance gives no indication of future returns.

AustralianSuper can make all the difference to your super savings.

One of Australia’s largest industry funds with more than 2 million members. AustralianSuper offers good long-term performance that can help you save more over the long term. 

Comments on this post are for this post only. If you have questions or comments about this product or about sponsored posts in general please email [email protected] or visit our frequently asked questions page here.

00:00 / ???