Financial wellness for women and super: begin your journey1 July 2022
Let's take a look at the factsWomen's median superannuation balance is currently 23.4%1 less than men – but typically live around five years longer.
That means they’re left with less money to fund a comfortable lifestyle in retirement, and more likely to rely on the aged pension as their main source of income. For reference, the aged pension is approximately $26,000 per annum.
This can lead to financial hardship in retirement. The latest figures show nearly 9% of women between 65 and 74 still have a mortgage, and 40% of retired single women live in poverty.2
Women tend to be the main carers of children in relationships, and are therefore out of work for longer than their male counterparts. Then there’s the gender pay gap; current statistics show women working full-time earn 20.1% less than their male counterparts.1 It follows then that if you’re earning less during your working years, you’re likely to have less in your nest egg at retirement.
What can we do about it?
Most women want to achieve financial wellness, but without the right knowledge, it can be hard to make retirement dreams come true. The best way to take control is to increase your understanding of investing, create financial goals and seek financial advice.
Learn the basics
Investments are broken down into two categories: growth assets and defensive assets. Growth assets carry a higher risk, but often lead to higher returns. These look like equities (i.e. stocks or shares), and certain types of property and real estate assets. Defensive assets on the other hand carry a lower risk, but tend to generate lower returns. These are assets like bonds, term deposits and cash. Your funds should be invested in different asset classes, so that when one asset class is under-performing, you are still invested in other asset classes that are potentially performing better.
This is called diversification, and it reduces risk.
Create S.M.A.R.T. goals
You’ve likely heard of a SMART goal before. These are goals that are:
What do I want to achieve?
How can my goal be achieved?
Does this goal seem worthwhile?
Short-term goals look like paying off a phone bill, while medium-term goals look like saving for a house deposit. A long-term goal is something like paying off your mortgage.
Growing your super balance
In Australia, employers are required to pay the 11% superannuation guarantee (SG).
However, that’s not the only way to boost your super. Click here to make your own contributions to your superannuation via salary sacrificing or here for your after-tax contributions.
Your salary sacrifice contributions come before your income is taxed, and reduce your overall PAYG tax a result. As a Triple S member, your SG and salary sacrifice contributions are exempt from the annual maximum contribution caps set by the Commonwealth Government, which is currently $27,500 per annum for other funds3.
You can also make after-tax contributions, which are contributions made from your take-home pay. You may choose to do this in order to receive the government co-contributions, but this will largely depend on what your income is.
Get financial advice
Financial planners can provide you with the expertise to help you plan your retirement strategy, and make sure you hit your financial goals.
A licenced professional will provide you with a financial plan, which is a comprehensive guide to your goals and long-term objectives for financial wellbeing, and ways to achieve them.
This plan should include detailed savings and investing strategies, investments, insurance and anything else relevant to securing your financial future.
You may already have your own financial adviser. If you don’t, you can contact the Financial Planning Association and they can recommend a suitable adviser.
Or, you can take advantage of the financial planning service available through Industry Fund Services (IFS). The financial planners at IFS can advise you about the options available to SA public sector employees. If you would like to make an appointment with an IFS planner, please call Super SA on 1300 162 348 and they will put you in touch.
Take control today
Next, take stock of your understanding of your super. Do you know which option your super fund is invested in? Do you know your risk profile? Have you reviewed your budget recently?
Once you’ve got an understanding of your financial goals and risk appetite, you should seek quality financial advice. This well help you on your way to a comfortable retirement.
In the meantime, you can also attend Super SA’s free webinars or seminars. For further details and to register your spot in our webinars, head to straight to the booking page.
1 Source: Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Gender workplace statistics at a glance 2021, 19 August 2021, https://www.wgea.gov.au/data/fact-sheets/gender-workplace-statistics-at-a-glance-2020
2 Source: Women in Super, The facts about women and super, https://www.womeninsuper.com.au/what-we-do/policy/facts-about-women-and-super
3 Subject to lifetime contributions cap of $1.705 million applies in 2023/24.