February 1, 2023 | 4 min read
Summary: Regularly checking your super balance and investing any extra money you receive into your super, are some ways women can improve their retirement savings.
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.
There are many reasons for this. Most notably, women on average continue to earn less than men and are more likely to be employed in casual or part-time work.
It’s sobering – but if you’re in the workforce, either full-time, part-time or casually, you can turn things around.
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 - that is, the interest on your interest - 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.
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.
It’s never too early or too late to build your super. Your employer may already be contributing to your super account. But you might be thinking of adding a little more, because even small additional amounts, into your super today, can make a big difference down the track. And by contributing more, you may even end up paying less income tax.
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.
Each contribution type has different features and benefits, and how they may fit with your personal circumstances and financial commitments also differs. Keep reading to discover more ways to grow your super.
Ensuring your super balance keeps growing doesn’t have to be a solo effort, either. If eligible, your spouse can make a contribution to your super fund and claim an 18% tax offset on up to $3,000 through their tax return.
To be eligible for the maximum tax offset, which works out to be $540, your spouse needs to contribute a minimum of $3,000 and your annual income needs to be $37,000 or less. If your income exceeds $37,000, your spouse is still eligible for a partial offset. However, once your income reaches $40,000, they’ll no longer be eligible for any offset, but can still make contributions on your behalf. Learn more about spouse contributions.
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.
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This article has been prepared by NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited ABN 80 008 515 633 AFSL 236465 (NULIS) as trustee of the MLC Super Fund ABN 70 732 426 024. NULIS is part of the Insignia Financial group of companies comprising Insignia Financial Ltd ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (‘Insignia Financial Group’). The information in this article is current as at November 2023 and may be subject to change. This information may constitute general advice. The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions based on this information. It is recommended that you consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) before you make any decisions about your superannuation. You can obtain the latest copy of the PDS (or other disclosure documents) and TMD by calling us on 132 652 or by searching for the applicable product at mlc.com.au. You should not rely on this article to determine your personal tax obligations. Please consult a registered tax agent for this purpose. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue. The case study examples (if any) provided in this article have been included for illustrative purposes only and should not be relied upon for decision making. Subject to terms implied by law and which cannot be excluded, neither NULIS nor any member of the Insignia Financial Group accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in the information in this communication.