We’ve all heard about the gender pay gap, but did you stop to think that this would flow on to super balances creating a gender superannuation savings gap?
Women are currently retiring with at least 30% less super than men, however other factors aside from the gender pay gap come into play to cause this.1 Over a lifetime, these factors could result in women accumulating as much as $67,000 less super than their male colleagues, and is a major factor in why many women are vulnerable to poverty in retirement.1
A number of factors come into play in creating this gender super gap including:
- the gender pay gap
- caring for children
- caring for older family members
- women’s longer lifespan
The gender pay gap
The latest 2020-21 report from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency shows there is still a 21.7% gender pay gap within the real estate industry.2
This lower average salary means lower superannuation contributions from an employer over their career.
Caring for family and the elderly
The super gap can then widen further as many women take an average of five years out of the workforce to care for children or family members, which can cause their super savings to stagnate and begin to fall behind.
During that time out of the workforce, some parental payments may have been received, but there is no superannuation guarantee (SG) paid on such payments, unless your employer has a policy in place to do so.
When returning back into the workforce, women then often take on a part-time position, or one at a lower level - both situations resulting in lower earnings which equals less SG payments from your employer.
This not only has a big impact on their superannuation savings, but it can also slow career progression and future earning potential.
Women live longer than men
Added to the gender pay gap and the caring duties that women often take on, women also tend to live longer than men, and are therefore in need of more money to finance their retirement years.
So what can you do?
How can you be an agent for change you might be asking? Well, there are many simple ways you can make it happen:
Boost your super and avoid paying multiple fees and insurance premiums by finding and combining your super accounts.
- Contribute More
Even small additional contributions to your account each month can make a big difference to the size of your super account.
- Spousal Contributions
If you have a partner, chat about how they can help boost your super balance. If eligible, your spouse can generally make a contribution to your super fund and claim a tax offset up to a certain amount.
- Government Boost
If you're not on a high income, you can grow your super faster by getting a little boost from a Government co-contribution. You may be eligible to receive two government payments of up to $500 each, usually paid directly into your super fund.
- Investment Options
Check that your super is invested in the right options for you. This can make a big difference to your account balance over the long term. REI Super has a simple to use Investment Risk Profile Quiz to help you make this decision.
- Review Insurance
It's a good idea to review your insurance annually, or whenever you have a major life event that impacts your personal financial commitments.
- Seek Financial Advice
The right professional advice at the right time can make a big difference to the health of your super balance. Click here for more details on each of these ways you can take control of your super.
How can the Government help?
There is little doubt that the Government needs to take additional action to make super fairer for women. Two areas where they can directly assist are to:
- change legislation to make SG payments on both Employer and Government paid parental leave compulsory.
- make sure there are no further delays in increasing employer super contributions to 12%.
Things are slowly changing though to close this super gender gap. For instance, the government recently announced that from 1 July 2022, employees will no longer need to meet the monthly minimum income threshold of $450 per month to receive superannuation guarantee payments from their employers. That means all eligible employees will earn SG on all their earnings, no matter their salary.
What can business owners do to help?
An increasing number of employers are now beginning to pay superannuation guarantee payments on parental leave. This is a great way to provide super contribution continuity for female (and male) staff members, and would no doubt deliver the added employer benefit of improved staff loyalty.
Be an agent for change
There’s clearly still a lot of work to be done in the way of workplace gender equality, and while that work is underway, it’s vital that women pay attention to their own financial security.
So whilst you’re busy caring and thinking of others, don’t forget to care for yourself. You have the ability to be an agent for change.
2. Workplace Gender Equality Agency 2020-21 data report
The information contained in this article does not constitute financial product advice. REI Super does not give any warranty to the accuracy, completeness or currency of the information provided. Although REI Super makes every reasonable effort to maintain current and accurate information, you should be aware that there is still the possibility of inadvertent errors and technical inaccuracies. REI Superannuation Fund Pty Ltd ABN 68 056 044 770, AFSL 240569, RSE L0000314 Trustee of REI Super (ABN 76 641 658 449), SPIN REI0001AU, RSE R1000412. MySuper unique identifier 76641658449129.