Superannuation & women

Super - even more important for women

Women tend to live longer than men, making it even more essential that they accumulate enough superannuation to last through retirement. But women face unique challenges when it comes to retirement savings. Lower pay, time out of the workforce to raise children, or running a single-parent household, can make it challenging to build a reasonable amount of super. Here's how you can engage with your super and grow your nest egg.

Why super is good for you

Superannuation is a very tax-effective way to save for retirement. Your super fund pays a low rate of tax on contributions and investment earnings while you grow your nest egg. From age 60, you can withdraw your super tax-free.

Smart tip

The 2017 Hilda survey found that Australian women retired with an average super balance of $230,907 and men retire with about twice this amount.

Without super, many women must rely on the Age Pension in their senior years. But the Age Pension is designed as a safety net and won't provide you with a comfortable life.

Taking time off paid work (e.g. to have a baby or care for someone) or working part time can impact your super.

Work out how working part-time or taking a break from paid work affects your super in retirement.

Retirement planner

Get to know your super

Your employer should be making super contributions on your behalf. These contributions will be equivalent to 9.5% of your salary or wages.

To start sorting out your super you should check your super statements or log in to your super account to find out:

If you are not happy with the fund you are in find out how to choose the right super fund for you.

If you have several super funds you should simply your life and consolidate your super into one fund. This will save you fees and make it easier to track.

Video: Engaging with superannuation

Engaging with superannuation

Kate Ritchie, Jane Caro, Sarah Moran and Faustina Agolley explain why it's important for women to engage with their super, as part of ASIC's MoneySmart Women talk money video series.

How to grow your super nest egg

There are a number of ways to build your super:

  • Ask your boss to pay part of your pre-tax salary into super -  Making concessional, or salary sacrificed super contributions can be a tax-effective way to grow your super.
  • Make super contributions out of your own pocket - Non-concessional contributions, also known as after-tax super contributions, are not subject to the 15% contributions tax that can apply to other types of contributions. Depending on your annual income, you may also be eligible for government super contributions. It's an easy way to give your super a valuable boost.
  • Ask your partner to make contributions on your behalf - Your partner may be able to claim a tax offset on the contributions made to your fund.

Work out the best way to add to your super.

Super contributions optimiser

Case study: Ajinder boosts her super savings

Mother looking at her superannuation online with her daughterAjinder was concerned that she didn't have much super so she decided to take action to get her super under control.

'It struck me that I have 15 or so years until I retire. My super isn't great at present, so I've started adding a bit extra to my super each month. I'm going to ask my boss if I can salary sacrifice a small amount direct from my pay - and that means I pay less income tax. It's not a lot but my super balance should grow over time thanks to investment returns. Every extra bit I add now will make a difference to my retirement.'

Track down lost super

If you have ever held a part-time or casual job, or moved house, you could have superannuation invested in a fund that you've lost track of.

Use myGov to keep track of all your super and combine multiple super accounts into one, which will make it even easier to manage your super. More more information, visit the ATO's page on keeping track of your super.

Superannuation is very important to the quality of your retirement. By adding even small amounts to your super now, you will make a big difference later in life.

Related links

Last updated: 16 Oct 2018