Ladies, it’s time for a little hard talk: we are not doing enough to take control of our retirement. A third of women will retire with nothing. That isn’t retirement; that just means you stop working.
This lack of financial security is having a profound impact on our future.
Yes, your retirement isn’t going to happen tomorrow and yes, you probably have some time to make up some ground. But the longer you leave your retirement planning, the more work you’re going to have to do to catch up.
Why are we falling behind?
There are plenty of reasons that we are lagging behind our male counterparts with some estimates showing women with an average super balance almost half that of men.
From the ABC: Data compiled by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency shows the superannuation gap is, on average, 46.6 per cent. This means the average Australian man retires with $197,054 while the average woman retires with just $104,734.
Our balances are lower because we are more likely to take time off work to be unpaid caregivers for kids and other family members. This time out of the workforce provides a great value for our families but means that we aren’t getting contributions into our super accounts.
We’re also more likely to take on part-time jobs when we do return to work, meaning a lower salary and lower super contributions.
The gender pay gap over our lifetime can also significantly reduce the amount of money that is going into our super.
This gap starts early in life and gets larger with age. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency reports that women aged 20-25 have only 80% of the balance of men the same age.
We are the responsible members of our family; we budget to ensure that we cover expenses. By focusing on short-and-medium-term needs we sometimes neglect taking a long-term view of finances. When we do invest, we prefer safer, more conservative investments that aren’t as likely to lose money but also won’t grow as fast as other, riskier investments.
Men, on the other hand, are more likely to take risks with their investments, generally resulting in bigger returns and bigger balances.
So, what can we do?
Ok, enough doom-and-gloom. There are things you can do to help build your balance and provide for your future and family:
Enough with the lecture
Sure, you could start your future planning tomorrow, but why put it off any longer? The more you do now the better off you’ll be at the end of your career. It may not always be easy but it will be worth it.