When you hear the word ‘super’, where does your mind go? Super-size? Super-star? Super-woman?
What about superannuation?
It’s one of those ’s’ words most women throw shade at. Like stubborn or senile. Put simply, super just ain’t sexy. It’s certainly nobody’s idea of a dazzling dinner conversation.
Are you one of the many women guilty of burying your head in the sand every time it gets tossed around? Ok then. It’s time to come up for air.
Ummm – I barely have time to think about what to cook for dinner let alone my retirement plan!
We get it. But it’s crucial. That is, if you wanna be able to afford to cook dinner in retirement! Sorry but sometimes you need to hear the truth. And we know you can handle it. Understanding your superannuation and planning your retirement is especially crucial for women: 34% of Australian women live in poverty by the age of 60. What’s more, a whopping 400,000 women over 45 are at risk of homelessness in Australia and that number is only expected to climb.
So what’s the deal? For one, women are more likely to be in lower paying jobs than men (hello, gender pay gap). They’re also more likely to take time out from their career to raise children or to take care of elderly parents.
Oh. And their bosses could be ripping them off too.
Hold up. My boss is stealing from me? Say whaat?!
Not necessarily. But just because an amount of superannuation is displayed on your payslip each week does not mean your employer is actually depositing it. The latest report from Industry Super Australia has revealed that 1.3 million Aussie women are not being paid the appropriate super by their employer. Yikes. So yes, it pays to be on top of your super balance each month.
The hard truth is that women not only have to contend with the gender pay gap. And thigh gaps. And all the other gaps in their way. They’re also likely to retire with less than half of the superannuation as their male counterparts. This is probably something you’ve heard before, but considering women live longer than men it feels pertinent to bring it up again. Aussie women are not being paid enough super.
Make sure you’re not paying for your employer’s money fails.
Most employers know their obligations and do the right thing, but there’s a bad apple in every bunch. Sure, you could delude yourself into thinking ‘not my boss’ – and holy Oprah we hope that’s the case – but it can’t hurt to check, right?
So, how do you do that? The simplest way is to contact your super fund. Note that your super might be paid quarterly, even if you’re paid fortnightly. So, don’t go in all guns blazing before you check the facts. But if things are looking suss, speak to your employer about what’s going on. If that feels too confrontational, you can escalate the matter to the ATO (anonymously if you wish) but please – don’t throw it into the ‘too hard basket’ and carry on your merry way. Future You will not thank you.
Remember, your super is your future superpower.
Which means you have to get smart about it – now.
In 2021 women earn less, save less, spend more, and live longer. So don’t hide under the covers. And definitely do not just accept a depleted retirement fund as inevitable simply because you have the XX chromosome. If you’re not sure how much super is being transferred to your fund each month, look into it. Getting your head around it could literally save you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Has all this super talk got you wondering how your fund stacks up against the rest? We got you! Head over here to see how you can save tens of thousands!