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Queensland’s oldest and largest1 super fund has partnered with Central Queensland University (CQU) to find out why Aussie women have less superannuation than men on average, and what can be done to close the gap.1
Nationally, women currently retire with smaller average superannuation balances compared to men. So QSuper is pleased to be a major research partner of the CQU study which will investigate factors affecting super balances and ways to reduce the gender super gap.
CQU Project Leader Dr Linda Colley pointed to many and varied possible reasons for this gender gap.
“Women are more likely than men to work part-time or casually2, women are more likely the primary caregivers, female-dominated industries tend to attract lower wages, and career breaks out of the workforce impact career progression and opportunities – these are just some of the factors impacting the super gender gap,” she said.
Source: ASFA Women’s Economic Security in Retirement report.
QSuper CEO, Michael Pennisi, said the Fund welcomed the opportunity to work with CQU in the Queensland-based study to improve outcomes for women in retirement.
“Two-thirds of QSuper members are women, and we are committed to addressing the super gender gap to ensure they are getting the best possible outcome in retirement.
“Working with a partner like CQU is an opportunity to gain critical insights into what would make a make a meaningful difference to the super outcomes for women across the State,” Mr Pennisi said.
There are things you can consider doing right now to help reduce any gender gap you may have. This includes:
Get to know your fund
Things to look for include a fund that offers great value via an ideal combination of competitive fees and strong long-term performance. Also look into the insurance cover and any other member services they offer.
Understand your investment options
Many super funds have different investment options to choose from; anything from cash to shares or a mix of assets. A financial adviser can help you choose something that suits you.
Consider consolidating your super
The benefits of having just one super account – including finding any lost super you might have – are fewer fees and less paperwork. This makes your super easier to track.
Before consolidating with QSuper, you should check what fees your other super fund charges and if you will lose any benefits such as insurance or pension options.
Find your lost super
According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) there is currently billions of dollars billion of lost superannuation sitting in holding accounts waiting to be claimed by its rightful owner. Some of that might be yours. Lost Super.
Contribute extra if you can
Some businesses allow employees to salary sacrifice a portion of their pre-tax wage. This could be a way to top up superannuation, buy a new car or pay bills such as childcare or private health insurance.
Talk to your employer about what salary sacrifice options may be available and seek advice on whether these options may benefit you.
TIP: Speak with your accountant or financial adviser to ensure that any salary sacrifice arrangement will be beneficial for your circumstances
Consider keeping your super equal with your partner’s
For couples, an effective strategy can be to keep balances as equal as possible throughout your working life. One way to do this is by super splitting, which can be a tax-effective strategy where one spouse splits their pre-tax contributions into the other spouse’s account. This can be used where one spouse earns less money than the other, or if one of the spouses is not working or working part time, to ensure both accounts are growing at the same or more equal rate.
As a QSuper member, you have access to professional financial advisers3 who can tailor advice to suit your needs.
Find out more
Joanna – QSuper member
Like many Australians, 48-year-old Toowoomba-based QSuper member, Joanna learned about the impact of holding multiple superannuation accounts the hard way.
Returning to the workforce after a break to have her children, married school teacher Joanna had a number of contract and part-time roles that often came with different superannuation funds.
“Not only did I not understand that you don’t have to go with your employer’s default fund, I also didn’t fully appreciate the impact of fees on a small balance,” she said.
“I had no idea until I received a letter in the mail telling me my account was no longer valid because it had been eaten up by fees. It is so important to roll all of your accounts into one.”
Joanna said while she was comfortable with the amount of superannuation her husband has in the lead up to retirement, her own balance concerned her.
“I am back at work fulltime now and I would like to retire at 60 but I don’t think that’s going to happen. It’s really quite alarming when you take a look at how little superannuation you have and what that translates to in terms of money coming into retirement.”
She said knowledge is power and she’s in the process of getting advice on how best to boost her superannuation.
“It is such a complicated field and you have to understand a lot about pre and post-tax contributions and what that actually means. I had never really thought of taking advice about strategies until now.
“I guess I was young, focused on my family. Perhaps I had my head in the sand but my superannuation is not something I thought a lot about until now. I wish I had known what I know now 20 years ago.”
Personal view disclaimer
The views of the author and member are not necessarily the views of the QSuper Board and QInvest Limited Board. We’ve put this information together as general information only and you should get professional advice before relying on this information.
1 Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) Annual Fund-level Superannuation Statistics June 2017 edition (issued 28 March 2018).
2 Australian Bureau of Statistics. 4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Sep 2017.
3 This information is provided by QInvest Limited (ABN 35 063 511 580, AFSL 238274) on behalf of the QSuper Board (ABN 32 125 059 006, AFSL 489650) as trustee for QSuper (ABN 60 905 115 063) and has been prepared for general purposes only without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation, or needs. All products are issued by the QSuper Board as trustee for QSuper. You should consider whether the product is appropriate for you by reading the product disclosure statement available from qsuper.qld.gov.au or call us on 1300 360 750 to request a copy.
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