Think you’re working your butt off now, paying bills and making sacrifices to secure a comfortable future? You need to wake up! ATO data has revealed that 40 per cent of older, single women will live below the poverty line.
No more movies, the odd dinner out, the occasional beauty treatment. You will be struggling to eat three times a day. And don’t even think about leaving your husband… you can’t afford to.
Women, when they retire, have about half as much superannuation as men. It is astonishing that to date, few practical solutions have been implemented to resolve this. Why? Perhaps it’s because it is men who decide about your taxes, superannuation and how the employment landscape is designed.
There has never been an Australian female treasurer. Of twelve assistant treasurers, only two have been female. Similarly, there have been only two female finance ministers. Decisions about tax and super are made from a male perspective.
The Senate Standing Committee on Economics is due to report on the gender retirement income gap by 29 April 2016. Women on lower taxable incomes suffer the most. Data from the ATO shows that there are almost 40 per cent more females than males in the bottom two tax brackets.
The ability to accumulate super depends on two things: Early career contributions to benefit from the magic of compounding interest, and income level. Women lose out on both these fronts. Acknowledging this issue is a start. That it has been allowed to fester and the gaps widen over so many years is an indictment on the system.