Take action & close the gender super gap
It’s an ugly truth that Australian women retire with significantly less superannuation than Australian men. In fact, Australian women retire with around $80,000 less, and more than 80% of women are likely to retire with inadequate savings to fund their retirement.
The idea of the 'fair go' is central to Australian society – we believe everyone should have an equal chance and be treated fairly. So why don’t Australian women have the same chance as Australian men to retire with dignity?
The continuing gender pay gap is a major factor – on average, Australian women are still earning 13.4% per cent less than men.
Women are still predominantly the ones who take breaks out of the workforce or work part-time to raise families and look after elderly family members, meaning they receive less or no super contributions for extended periods.
Very few employers pay super during paid maternity leave, and if you work multiple part-time or casual jobs you may be falling below the threshold at each job for super contributions.
Some of these issues were intensified in the past year due the economic impacts of COVID-19. Australia women experienced greater job losses, undertook even greater domestic care roles and many made the tough decision to access their super savings to avoid financial hardship.
There needs to be substantial change at a policy level to solve these ongoing issues of inequality.
Organisations like Women in Super and Industry SuperFunds, as well as industry bodies like AIST and ASFA, continue to advocate and lobby the government with policy proposals for change. Media Super supports these efforts and are hopeful the government will finally act.
In the meantime, Media Super has some tips to help you boost your balance and achieve a more financially secure retirement.
Depending on how close to retiring you are, super may not be front of mind but it’s important to know where you stand, even if it’s early in your career, and how your balance is growing over time.
Start by logging in to your account to check your current balance. If you’re a Media Super member, you’ll also be able to see your projected balance at retirement and can view past statements to see how your balance has grown.
If your projection shows that you’re on track to reaching a comfortable retirement, then great; if not, it’s never too late to take action and boost your balance.
Find and combine your super
Many Australians have multiple super accounts that we’ve accumulated over our working lives. Combining your super3 is one of the most important steps you can take, as you’re eliminating multiple account fees and possibly multiple insurance premiums.
It’s quick and easy to bring all your super savings together in one account and you won’t be charged any exit fees by your other funds.
Media Super members can use the ‘Find my super’ tool in their online account to find and combine your super accounts in just a few minutes.
Consider your investment options
Everyone's investment needs are different, and they may change throughout your life.
Most Media Super members’ money is invested in the Balanced (MySuper) option, which has strong long-term investment results – 7.65% p.a. over 10 years, above the median return of 7.4%4 – and low fees.
Depending on your current circumstances, Media Super’s Balanced option might be the right investment choice for your or there might be another option that’s better suited to your needs.
Read Media Super’s handy guide to choosing an investment option to get started. If you have any questions or want to talk through your options, give their Helpline team a call on 1800 640 886.
Look at making extra contributions
Making even small personal contributions to your super over time can make a big difference to your final balance when you retire. Use the Contributions Calculator to explore your options and see the difference for yourself.
Depending on your situation, making extra contributions might not be an option right now, and that’s ok. For now, understand your contribution options and when you’re ready, use the calculator or talk to our team to develop a contribution strategy that’s right for you.
Get your partner to make contributions to your super
If you’re married or in a defacto relationship, you may want to consider spouse contributions.
This is especially important if you’re planning to have a family and will be taking time out of the workforce because having a family can create a ‘super baby debt’ for mothers of up to $50,000 by the time reach retirement age.
Aside from the obvious main benefit of boosting your super balance, your partner may also be eligible for a tax offset by making spouse contributions.
You don’t have to check your super every week but it’s a good idea to log into your account a few times a year and to read your annual statement.
Super funds publish investment performance information regularly, so you can see how your investment option is performing throughout the year. If you’re with Media Super, they publish monthly investment performance.
Your super fund will also send you important information throughout the year, so it’s important they have your correct contact details, especially your email address. Media Super members can update their details by logging into their account or calling the Helpline on 1800 640 886.
The Media Super team is always there to help
The best way to boost your super balance will be different for everyone. That’s why Media Super’s team is always there to help you make the right choice for your needs.
If you’re a Media Super member and have any questions about your super account or want to talk through making extra contributions or your investment options, give their Helpline team a call on 1800 640 886.
Not a Media Super member? They’re our own industry fund and have been helping members achieve a comfortable retirement for more than 30 years. Find out more about the benefits of joining your industry super fund.
Disclaimers and sources
- Super Guru, Women and Super (https://www.superguru.com.au/about-super/women-and-super)
- Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Australia’s Gender Pay Gap Statistics 2021 (https://www.wgea.gov.au/publications/australias-gender-pay-gap-statistics)
- Before making a decision to combine your superannuation, you should consider any costs, change to insurance cover or loss of benefits that may apply and, if necessary, consult a qualified financial adviser.
- SuperRatings Fund Crediting Rate Survey – SR50 Balanced options (60-76) Index, January 2021
- Super Guru, Super baby debt (https://www.superguru.com.au/about-super/women-and-super/super-baby-debt)
This article contains general information and does not take into consideration your personal objectives, situation or needs. Before making any financial decisions you should first determine whether the information is appropriate for you by reading the Product Disclosure Statement and/or by consulting a qualified financial adviser. Issued by Media Super Limited (ABN 30 059 502 948, AFSL 230254) as Trustee of Media Super (ABN 42 574 421 650).