Working together to achieve a better future Mar 4, 2020
Working together to achieve a better future
International Women’s Day is a great time to celebrate the social, economic and political achievements of women. It’s also an opportunity to encourage further progress towards gender equality. And one area that still needs major work in Australia is superannuation.
On average, there’s a difference of almost $50,000 between men and women’s super balances1. If we want to see women achieve equality in this country, improving women’s retirement prospects is a key area. So let’s look at a few strategies to bolster women’s retirement savings.
The gender pay gap
The average weekly income for women currently sits around 31% below the average for men2. If women are earning less, that also means their super contributions are lower. Closing this gap is something we should all prioritise. How does gender influence recruitment or career progression where you work? What initiatives do you feel could lead to fairer outcomes? Many women are now choosing workplaces that are recognised as equal pay supporters. It’s important for both genders to promote and support women in the workplace, by ensuring everyone is being recognised for the work they do. Women should take the opportunity to review their achievements at work and their entitlements. Having this discussion with their employer could open up an opportunity to boost their pay!
Super boosting strategies
Another big issue affecting women’s super is the historical trend of women taking extended time off work to care for family. Even in 2020, women are still far more likely to work part-time than their male partners1. Career breaks, and the subsequent lack of employer super contributions, can have a significant impact on super balances. But there are strategies you can use to minimise this impact.
Parental decisions are unique to each family’s circumstances. More and more parents are sharing family duties, including leave responsibilities, rather than assuming the historical roles that underpin “maternity” leave. This means both parents can be free to continue their career (and continue receiving super contributions) while also caring for a young family.
Families can also take advantage of Government incentives, like the Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset and the Government Co-contribution, to receive some extra money from the Government. It’s also worth looking into giving or receiving spouse contributions, which could help you or your partner become eligible for a tax offset. Even something as simple as consolidating multiple super accounts* or setting up Intrust Super’s contribution app, SuperCents, could help boost your retirement savings, or the savings of your partner during a family career break.
This article is general in nature, and you may wish to contact a financial adviser to discuss the details. The advisers at Intrust360° can help! Just call 1300 001 360 or book an appointment online.
Flexible hours and equal family policies
There are also aspects of work that can make it easier for both parents to manage a young family and a career. Flexible hours can help families (not just women) work around childcare hours. Businesses that allow employees to work from home can make a huge difference to the management of childcare for both parents. If work flexibility is available to both men and women, the responsibility for family care may not fall on just one parent’s shoulders. This can help both parents maintain their careers (and the super contributions) while also caring for a young family.
It’s so important that we continue to discuss and work on areas that can help to improve women’s equality. International Women’s Day is a great reason to celebrate the country’s achievements while recognising that there’s still a way to go. Together, we can all work towards achieving a better future for everyone in Australia!
1Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Household Income and Wealth Australia 2017-18, July 2019
2Australian Bureau of Statistics, Gender Indicators Australia, Nov 2019.
*Before combining your super with Intrust Super, you should consider whether doing so is right for you. You should also check the impact on any insurance arrangements (such as loss of insurance) or other benefits.