lifestyle

Female? Want to retire with any money at all? Great. Read this.

By LISA MITCHELL

I loved visiting my grandmother when I was a little girl. She always gave us the biggest hugs, she cooked the best veal schnitzel I’ve ever tasted in my life and she always gave us $5 for no reason whatsoever.

Not that I ever expected it or anything.

She was lucky to have enough money to retire on and as a result, spent her twilight years living the dream, which for her was tending to her garden, cooking for the family and buying the really good parmesan cheese at her local deli.

When I look forward to my own retirement, I don’t see the same lifestyle being possible because I am way behind where I should be when it comes to superannuation, for a number of reasons.

I was behind before I started because I earn much less than my husband. Then I had a portion released to pay some urgent bills.

That was a huge mistake.

Add to that the time I took out of the workforce to have my three children and I’m well and truly behind. Then add the fact that I returned to work each time part-time.

The hits keep coming.

When I took time out to have my children, it never occurred to me to consider my superannuation. This is the case for many Australian women.

Just as an FYI, this post is sponsored by HOSTPLUS Super. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words. 

All that time out of the workforce means no contributions towards our retirement. Women are already lagging behind in superannuation savings due to the fact we earn less than men. Sandy Wilson from HOSTPLUS Super Fund confirmed this when she told me, “there is a gender pay gap which means females get paid on average 17.5% less than males, this impacts what they receive in their super because this is calculated as a % of their pay.’

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That leaves 9 out of 10 women retiring on 42% of the super balance than that of men..

Wilson says that according to the Association of Super Funds of Australia, women on average retire with $112,000 compared to the men’s average super balance of $198,000. However women aged 45-54 are more likely to retire with $30,000 compared to $68,000 for men of the same age.

It’s time for Australian women to take control of their futures. Those same children we leave the workforce to raise won’t take too kindly having to fund their mum’s retirement. And who wants to rely on family during what should be the most relaxed years of our lives?

And don’t forget – women live longer than men, approximately five years longer than men according to Wilson, “so even though they retire with lower balances, their super has to last longer.”

We need to take control of our superannuation. It’s not something that we should be passive about. We need to be proactive and there are so many ways to maximise our superannuation so it doesn’t fall short.

Sandy Wilson from HOSTPLUS Super says there are five simple things we can do today to maximise our super:

  1. Consolidate multiple super funds into one;
  2. Switch to an industry super fund to save on fees, where profits are returned to members;
  3. Search for lost super at ato.gov.au/superseeker;
  4. Consider making additional contributions to super, particularly if there is a planned break from employment;
  5. Consider professional advice to see whether there are other strategies suitable to ensure you get the most out of your finances.

All these small changes add up and make the difference between a retirement spent counting every dollar and cent, to one where we get to press $5 or even $10 into the hands of our grandchildren every time they come to visit us, as well as a retirement free from financial stress, preferably on a cruise ship.

Looking for some great ideas of what to do with all the money you’ll now be saving for retirement? Here are some thought-starters for you.

9 in 10 women* won’t have enough super to retire comfortably. Time out of the workforce to raise a family, working part time and earning an average of 17%^ less than men can all play a part. The good news is HOSTPLUS can help you improve your situation and take control now.

Find out more at hostplus.com.au/control, or stay up to date and follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

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