Ladies, here's how to unleash your super power

Living your best life, for all of your life, starts with looking out for yourself.

If you’re in your early working years, you might see super as not all that relevant right now – as money you don’t even think of as yours because it’s locked up for decades. Or perhaps you’re just too busy, getting your career off the ground, creating new experiences and having fun, to spare a thought for your financial future.

That’s understandable, but there are important reasons why you should make your long-term financial security a priority – and develop healthy savings habits to match – while you’re young.

Australian women accumulate, on average, far less super than men. The gap opens up from an early age – women aged 25 to 34 have an average super balance of $31,600, while men of the same age have an average balance of $41,700, according to statistics published by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).1 That’s a difference of 28 per cent and, for many women, the divide only continues to widen.

Meanwhile, according to ASFA, one in three women across all age groups have no super at all. This may be the result of working casually or part-time in jobs where the hours worked aren’t enough to qualify for employer contributions, being self-employed, or never having been in paid employment.

The gender pay gap – the difference between the average earnings of men and women in the workforce – can also make it tougher for women to get ahead. It’s currently 13 per cent in Australia, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.2

It’s sobering – but if you’re in the workforce, either full-time, part-time or casually, you can turn things around.
 

Getting ahead in the savings stakes

Setting yourself up for the long term doesn’t have to mean depriving yourself of everything that’s enjoyable in the here and now. Taking some simple steps while you’re young can set you on the path to a more secure financial future. Thanks to the power of compounding interest, for example, the earlier you act, the easier it is – and the greater the difference it will make.

A good way to start is by setting some simple goals for yourself and working out how you’ll achieve them. That could mean saving a percentage of your income towards a home deposit, pledging to clear your mortgage faster, or adding your spare change or other small sums into super.
 

Supercharge your super

Understanding your position – knowing how much is in your super account and how it’s invested, and topping up your balance when you’re able – can make a huge difference to how well you’ll be able to live later in life.

Contributing an extra $50 or $100 a month, for example – the cost of a couple of takeaways or a night out – could mean an additional $100,000 in your super account when you retire, provided you start young enough. Try a calculator for yourself and see.

Ensuring your super balance keeps growing doesn’t have to be a solo effort, either. If you’re in a relationship, your partner may be able to claim a tax offset of $540 if they make contributions of up to $3,000 a year to your super, on your behalf, while you’re off work or earning a low income.
 

Securing the future you deserve

Closing the super divide and setting up a secure tomorrow doesn’t happen by accident – but it also doesn’t have to require a massive lifestyle shift. It’s instead a mindset shift.

Time is one of your greatest assets in taking charge of your finances. Taking steps while you’re young can help you to keep on enjoying your best life, not just now but all through your life.

It’s your money – and your future. Financial independence starts with you.

 

Further reading

 

1 The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, Superannuation Statistics, May 2021, https://www.superannuation.asn.au/resources/superannuation-statistics
2 Workplace Gender Equality Agency, February 2021, https://www.wgea.gov.au/data/fact-sheets/australias-gender-pay-gap-statistics

 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this communication is general in nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether it is appropriate for your personal circumstances prior to making any investment decision.