Exactly why you should care about your super. Yep, now.

Thanks to our brand partner, CareSuper

Ladies, we need to talk about our super. 

More specifically, we need to talk about how it’s affected by the big bad ‘gender super gap’, which is not to be confused with the cursed ‘thigh gap’ conversation of years past (though they both exist to make women’s lives that little bit harder).

Look, we’re not here to rage against the patriarchy (who am I kidding, there’s always time for a quick rage), we’re here to talk about how we can make like Beyoncé and use the lemons we’ve been given, to make enough lemonade to last us well into our golden years.

Okay, so just how big is this ‘gender super gap’?

Oof... where do we begin? It all starts with our old mate, the gender pay gap. Which is slowly closing, but like the fedora guy who shows up uninvited to your party and hits on all your friends, it’s bloody hard to shake. 

Part of the problem is we live longer than men (about 4 years on average) but, and get this, we end up retiring with a lot less; we’re talking somewhere between 22 per cent and 35 per cent less according to Women in Super.

If we’re talking dollars and cents, according to research by Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work released last year, women (on average) are earning $1 million less than men over their lifetime. This translates to retiring with $136,000 less than our male counterparts, and a big factor here is how career breaks can affect both our earnings and our superannuation. 

The conversation around the need for more paid paternity leave is finally happening, but it’s a slow burn and for now, women still take career breaks to care for kids or ageing parents at rates that blast right through those of their male counterparts. The fallout? For the most part, women aren’t paid super while they’re on government-funded maternity leave. These gaps often come at a time when women are in crucial phases of career building, and the break, as well as the addition of young children, can mean many women who were on the C-suite track end up stepping back or being looked over. 


Okay, just one more piece of bad news (I’m sorry I promise we’ll get to the good stuff soon), it seems the pandemic has made things worse. Thanks to the COVID-19 early release initiative, many Australians accessed their super to stay afloat, which was undeniably challenging in the peak of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. But payment always comes due, and frighteningly, we’re looking at the consequences adding up to just under $100,000 for the 500,000 Australians who are projected to have completely drained their super thanks to the initiative. 

Basically, all of this boils down to the average woman retiring with a nest egg that is well under what would constitute a comfortable retirement. 

So, what can we do to close the gap? 

I’m so glad you asked because I’d forgive you if after reading all of that you just want to pour yourself a big glass of wine and give up. But believe me when I say it’s never too late (or too early) to make small changes that can have a huge impact to your super balance. 

1. Remember, not all super funds are created equal.

  • Your first step should be to make sure you’re with the right super fund for you. This comes down to your values, investment philosophy and of course, the fees and performance of your chosen super fund. 

  • You might want to look for a profit-to-member super fund like CareSuper where the profits go to the members (not the shareholders). These are also known as industry super funds, and they tend to perform better than their for-profit counterparts. Case in point — CareSuper is a top 10 performing Australian super fund with a consistent record of outperformance. 

  • Funds like CareSuper also tend to have lower fees and better overall performance, so you get more bang for your investment buck — win, win. 

  • Next, take stock of how you’re tracking. Make use of CareSuper’s retirement income calculator to see how your later-in-life finances are looking.

  • To help you work out how your super is shaping up compared to your peers, you can jump onto CareSuper’s balance comparison calculator. Knowing where you’re at is the first step to taking control of your future.

  • If you’re still a bit overwhelmed, CareSuper runs member education seminars, specifically tailored to women to empower members with everything they need to know for a financially healthy and happy retirement.

2. Find your missing super.

If you’ve changed careers more than you’ve changed your favourite Taylor Swift era, you might have unwittingly lost track of some of your precious super. 

Don’t worry, you can reunite your hard-earned savings by combining them all into one high-performing super fund.

Make sure you consolidate as soon as possible if your super has been spread across multiple funds – you can find out more about how to consolidate your super here

3. Make contributions yourself.

  • Did you know you can make after-tax voluntary contributions yourself? Up to $110,000 per year in fact, and there may be some tax incentives involved here too (bonus). Learn more here.

  • If you’re partnered, and you take maternity leave, or extended carers leave, consider paying your super contributions out of your working partner’s wage while you’re away from the workplace. If you’re earning less than $40,000 per year, there are some nice tax benefits in it for them too. Learn more about spouse contributions here.

  • If you’re currently on a good wicket, comfortably meeting your expenses with a healthy savings account, now might be the time to look into salary sacrifice to grow your nest egg. You can opt to have some of your pre-tax income paid into your super instead of your wage. There are tax incentives here as well (the news just keeps getting better) and you can learn more about how it works here.

Find out more about Industry super fund CareSuper to see if it's right for you.

This is general advice only. The opinions expressed are the writer's own.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance and you should consider other factors before choosing a fund or changing your investments.

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia.

What does tomorrow look like for you? Whether that’s spending more time with loved ones, finally taking that trip, or giving back to your community, it pays to be tomorrow ready with super fund that cares. Did you know, women retire with 24% less super than men? But it’s not too late to shift the dial. Partnering with the right super fund is the first step to landing your dream tomorrow. Consider CareSuper today at