finance

"Your future is not ever someone else’s responsibility, it’s yours."

For ten years, Mishael Costello worked hard to raise her three daughters as a single mum – and it’s safe to say that during that decade, she barely gave her superannuation a thought.

Big mistake.

Once her daughters grew up and left home and Ms Costello started to look into her financial future, she got a rude shock. Her superannuation wasn’t anywhere near enough to retire comfortably, meaning she now has to scramble to make up for lost time.

"Once her daughters grew up and left home and Ms Costello started to look into her financial future, she got a rude shock." Image via iStock.

The Melbourne mum now has a blunt message for all women.

“I never thought about my super at all. When you’re married and in a dual or single income unit you don’t think about your finances individually, and that’s a really big mistake,” she said.

“I think woman don’t take responsibility for their finances enough. By the time they start making money they are often in a partnership or a marriage and they think it might be forever. But as women we’ve really got to think about it as an individual – you don’t know how you are going to end up," she continued.

“I think woman don’t take responsibility for their finances enough." Image via iStock.
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Ms Costello is now looking into salary sacrifice, making additional contributions to her super, and investing in the share market to boost her safety net. But she said she wished she had taken her money seriously from the beginning.

She urges women to add an extra $20 a week to their super from an early age and to plan ahead if they wanted to take time off work to have children.

“Women have got to take control of their individual finances. Your future is not ever someone else’s responsibility, it’s yours,” she said.

"Your future is not ever someone else’s responsibility, it’s yours." Image via iStock.

Sadly, Mishael’s situation is hardly unique.

In fact, according to new research from VicSuper, more than 47 per cent of Australian women feel stressed about their future finances, compared to just 32 per cent of men. 45 per cent are worried they won’t have enough money once they retire, yet only 7.6 per cent planned their finances two years in advance, with long-term planning not even on the radar.

According to leading Melbourne psychologist Dr Simon Kinsella, humans struggle to make decisions about the future because we’re hardwired to avoid planning for it.

“This is an issue that affects everyone in varying degrees,” he said.

It's never too early to take your super seriously. Image via iStock.
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“Some can’t connect to the idea of the future because it’s simply too far away, while others don’t like to think about it because it makes them feel stressed and unprepared," he continued.

Around 90 per cent of Australian women stop working without adequate savings, due to the gender pay gap and women taking a break from full-time work to raise a family.

But according to VicSuper CEO Michael Dundon, we can all make easy changes starting today.

“Getting your super in shape doesn’t have to be hard work…understand what you’re on track to pay yourself in retirement and get some good advice as to the options you have,” he said.

“Simple steps and a solid plan can make a big difference. Reinvesting the equivalent of a cup of coffee a day or bottle of wine per week back into super could mean thousands of extra dollars come retirement," he concluded.

Are you worried about your superannuation?

WATCH the video for more superannuation advice...

Video via VicSuper

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