lifestyle

Today, women are retiring with $90,000 less than men. And we're not OK with that.

Of all the things I think about on a weekly or even monthly basis, my superannuation is definitely not one of them.

This is not smart.

I used to think superannuation was a problem for Future Alys. Only, I think I am actually Future Alys right now, and I can no longer put off taking care of business.

Want to know why?

Because, on average, women are currently retiring with $90,000 less than men. Yikes.

It’s time to change that statistic.

There are two problems with this. One: when women retire with inadequate superannuation they’re at serious risk of living below the poverty line – as 29 per cent of women who are over 65 do today.

Two: it’s more than a bit screwed up that women, who take on the lion’s share of home and child care duties, are left in this position.

So it’s time to get things together, Future Alys.

Happily, there are a few things that women (well, everyone, but today I’m talking to you, girlfriend) can do to maximise their super, and there is action that we can take to address the structural inequality that women face when saving for their retirement.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this is an advertorial for Industry Super Australia.

I checked in with Industry Super and got some great tips for maximising my superannuation savings.

These are all at the top of my life administration to do list.

1. Consolidate.

If you have multiple superannuation accounts, get them all in one. Yep, it’s a pain to do. But the silver lining is that once it’s done you won’t need to do it again. Be sure to check for lost or unclaimed super using the Tax Office’s Super Seeker tool here.

2. Salary sacrifice.

You might like to consider salary sacrificing some of your pre-tax pay into your super. Squirrel away some cash for your future. You do not need those shoes. They’ll just hurt your feet anyway.

“You might like to consider salary sacrificing some of your pre-tax pay into your super.”

3. Take advantage.

If you earn less than $49,488 per year, and you stash some of your after-tax pay away into your superannuation, you can take advantage of the government’s co-contribution scheme. That is, up to a certain amount, any money you put away into your super the government will add additional funds to your savings. That’s basically free money.

 4. Get financial advice.

Talk to your super fund. Industry SuperFunds offer their customers some free financial advice. You can use that to talk about making sure your superannuation investments best match your personal circumstances. I’m talking life or income insurance, investment risk etc here.

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Related: Cheap and Chic: Fashion buys under $100. Just take my money now.

So, now that you’ve sorted out your own superannuation, it’s time to help a sister out.

Once upon a time, a program was introduced called the Low Income Superannuation Contribution. That program automatically contributes up to $500 a year into the savings accounts of low income earners.

Half of all working women are eligible for that contribution.

Because it’s mostly women that take time off to have children, or work part time to juggle their caring responsibilities, women take a direct hit on their current income and on their future incomes in retirement. It’s a double whammy for women, one that many of us don’t realise.

It’s a double whammy for women, one that many of us don’t realise.

Unfortunately, the government is cutting that program, and in doing so directly cutting the retirement incomes of Future Claire, Future Lucy, Future Christina, Future Amy…

At the same time, the government has kept a bunch of tax concessions for wealthier people.

In short, the government is making it easier for people who already have the means to enjoy their retirement, and making it hard for people who don’t.

Related: Superstar Libby Trickett opens up about retirement and living in ‘the real world’.

Right now, the government is preparing its annual budget and women everywhere are calling for the continuation of the Low Income Super Contribution (LISC). You can help out by joining Industry Super Australia in calling on the government not to cut the LISC, and show your support on your Facebook and Twitter  via their Thunderclap page here.

I hope you will support this. If not for your own sake, then for the sake of the friends and neighbours that you know who don’t earn a bunch of cash, but who still deserve the same dignity and comfort in their retirement.

Are you concerned about retirement and superannuation? Or do you tend to push it out of your mind for now?

Industry Super Australia (ISA) is an advocacy organisation for the industry superannuation movement in Australia. Its objective is to maximise the retirement savings of more than five million Industry SuperFund members. ISA encourages everyone to sign the petition to make super fair at www.industrysuper.com/makesuperfair  

More information can be found at www.industrysuperaustralia.com

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