If you want a comfy lifestyle in 30 years, here's what you need to do with your super now.

Thanks to our brand partner, QSuper

When we’re looking to check out a new restaurant or cafe or invest in a pair of running shoes, who do we turn to?

Often, it’s like-minded friends and family. For many women, it might be our work wives who we spend as much, if not more, time with than our families. And of course, we might also read customer testimonials to help us make sure we’re spending our hard-earned money wisely.

In a recent survey of more than 2000 Australians conducted on behalf of QSuper, it was found that Australians rely on word-of-mouth recommendations to help make superannuation decisions, with women (70 percent) more likely to ask friends and family for advice than men (60 percent).

Interestingly, half of the women surveyed said they don’t understand the superannuation products they are invested in. Despite this, women (50 percent) take a more active interest in managing their super than men (36 percent).

With women over 60 at the most risk of poverty in this country, according to a recent Melbourne Institute study, it makes sense that we help each other out to get the super we deserve to live the lifestyles we want in retirement. It’s a conversation we should be having with our work wives – and other women in our lives – now.

“A man is not a plan,” says independent financial educator Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon. “We need to be independent and savvy enough to stand on our own two feet no matter what happens in our lives. The reality is, the average 35-year-old woman is likely looking at a significant shortfall in her super from what it takes to get a comfy retirement.” Scary, right?

An emerging ‘Recommendation Generation’ is not only asking, but acting on the views of friends, family and other important people in their inner circle. A significant 76 percent of millennials have taken super guidance from family and friends, and 59 percent have acted on it.

This makes a lot of sense to Pedersen-McKinnon.

“When we don’t so much buy coffee without a recommendation, why wouldn’t we ask our trusted friends and family for advice with something as important as our retirement plan?” Asking the people who care about you the most for help with a big decision could be “the latest version of friends with benefits”, she adds.

Satisfied members are the ones most likely to recommend their fund to others – according to the QSuper survey – with up to 83 percent of super fund members likely to endorse their fund based on financial performance, positive personal experience, reputation, transparency and product range.

“The extent of the trust flip to friends and family is what’s interesting,” says Pedersen-McKinnon. “Augmenting financial advice with the rubber stamping from family and friends who can give a real-life recommendation is so important.”


Despite word-of-mouth advice growing, reassuringly consumers continue to seek professional information. Nearly 60 percent of respondents said they would seek advice from their superannuation fund and almost 50 percent would consult a financial planner or accountant when considering future financial decisions.

We can be in charge of our financial futures. Image: Getty.

So why should women in particular improve our relationship with super?

In the past, “women have struggled with there not being an open enough dialogue about how putting others first can often have an impact on their own financial future,” Pedersen-McKinnon says. “Women often control the purse strings, but because we’re so busy, we don’t typically project 20-30 years down the track. The earlier you start saving, the cheaper and easier it is.”

So while it might not be the topic that’s front of mind at brunch with the girls, as working women, we need to be thinking about super.

We’re in the unique position of being able to bear children and often act as primary caregiver, but there are some pretty significant ramifications to consider.

“Women are typically still underpaid,” she says. “Biologically, we have and care for children and often earn less through working part-time or taking career breaks. Once you get behind, it’s tough to get level again. There’s a window of opportunity before and after children to secure a sweet post-work life.”

What can you do today to take charge of your super?

According to the QSuper survey, informal advice from family, friends and colleagues now accounts for 40 percent of all superannuation advice. So, what will I tell my bestie? Firstly, that there are a few quick, easy wins:


• She needs to find any lost super accounts. Pedersen-McKinnon explains, “Just 10 minutes of Googling may net you thousands of dollars for an instant boost.” Wherever your super may be, you can easily check for it using the ATO’s online services through myGov.

• Next up, she should evaluate her fund to see if it’s the best option, “rating it Uber-style - on fees and performance”. When looking at performance, you don’t just want to look at last year. “You need a long-term legend, with depth and pedigree,” Pedersen-McKinnon says.

• She should regularly check in with her super account to make sure she’s getting the 9.5 percent from her employer paid quarterly. It’s just like checking in with a bank account, but much more instantly gratifying.

• On Pedersen-McKinnon’s guidance, we’re going to have a superannuation fantasy party. Yep, you heard that right. She says, “Grab your bestie and get fantasising about the future and what you want. Look at the bigger picture, on a more fun, epic level because there’s no point stashing cash for no reason. Maybe your life goal is to retire in the south of France or travel for a year staying at luxe hotels. We’ve got to have something bigger to live for than the day to day scramble.” I couldn’t agree more. The south of France sounds pretty good to me.

What if your circumstances change?

Funds like QSuper understand that different life stages need different super strategies. That’s why the default investment option changes strategy with its members’ age and lifetime account balance, offering strong returns over the long term.2

Pedersen-McKinnon has some useful tips for managing your super while navigating a big life change, whether it be a separation, divorce, a new home or a new baby.

• Find your lost super, to top up your current balance quickly and easily.
• Check to see that your current fund offers low fees and top performance.
• You may be eligible for a couple of government initiatives, such as the spouse contribution where a working partner can contribute for a non-working partner and get a tax offset, or the co-contribution where the government might match part of an extra payment you make. There are eligibility conditions attached to both of these, but they can be inexpensive ways to keep your super ticking over.
• Use ASIC's MoneySmart super calculator. It’s an unbiased forecasting calculator where you can plug in your income and forecast your future. There’s nothing like being able to see the destination to give us that motivational kickstart we need.

Women, who’s with me? It’s time to make sure we’re getting the super we deserve.

This content was brought to you with thanks by our brand partner, QSuper.

Independent study into Australian attitudes towards trust and superannuation. QSuper commissioned Maidstone Consulting in partnership with research fieldwork provider APD to survey 2,079 Australians aged 18+ from 7th–12th September 2018.
2 Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. For the QSuper Lifetime option only. Each of the options has a different objective, risk profile, and asset allocation.
All QSuper products are issued by the QSuper Board as trustee for QSuper. This is general information only, without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation, or needs. Consider whether the product is right for you by reading the PDS available from QSuper's website or by calling on 1300 360 750 © QSuper Board 2018.
All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and provided by third parties who make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information provided and we will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.
The opinions expressed in this article and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the QSuper Board. No responsibility is taken for the accuracy of any of the information supplied.

Have you thought about the type of lifestyle you want in retirement? Everything QSuper does aims to secure members’ financial futures and give them the confidence to appreciate today. You don’t have to lift a finger, while you enjoy now, knowing you'll be right later. Because, at the end of the day, surprises are the last thing you want with your super!