Money08 March 2018

Press for progress this International Women's Day

Emma
Emma
Author

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world each year on 8 March as a time to reflect on issues that women face today.

With the current global movement to press forward and progress gender parity, the theme of this year’s campaign is #PressForProgress.

How is the super industry pressing for progress?

Although the gender pay gap in Australia appears to be slowly closing, the fact is that women are still earning less money than men. We’re also still taking more time out of the workforce to care for family and, because the super system is directly linked to paid work, we’re retiring with substantially less money than men.

Full-time average weekly earnings of women $1,409
Full-time average weekly earnings of men $1,663

Workplace Gender Equality Agency ' Australia's gender pay gap statistics', February 2018

The pay gap between men and women has been at around 18% for the last two decades. This pay gap translates to a super gap of around 47%, meaning that women retire with an average of $85,000 less super than men.1

1http://makesuperfair.com.au

And while there’s action we can take to improve our financial security in retirement, Women In Super believes that the responsibility shouldn’t be on women to fix the problem (particularly those who don’t have the financial means to do so). Through their initiative, Make super fair, they’re calling on the government to:

  • provide women and other low income earners with an additional $1,000 contribution annually to their super
  • ensure there are no further delays in increasing the super guarantee to 12%
  • remove the $450 monthly pay threshold which sees an estimated 220,000 women miss out on super each year
  • make sure super is paid on parental leave, to ensure it's treated like all other types of leave
  • measure and publish the impact any future changes to super would have on women

Whatever life stage you're at, there are things you can do that don't cost a cent to improve your financial security in retirement

Super checklist
  1. Ensure you've provided your super fund with your tax file number. If not, you'll pay more tax on your contributions than you need to.
  2. Ensure your contact details are up-to-date, otherwise you can miss out on important information.
  3. Check your super balance by logging into Tasplan Online.
  4. Are you on track to retire comfortably?2 Try our Retirement $ projector to see.
  5. Is your employer paying super contributions on your behalf? If you earn over $450 each calendar month, your employer should be making contributions of 9.5% of your annual wage or salary.
  6. Do you have multiple super accounts? This means you're paying multiple sets of fees. Decide on the one you want to keep and consider combining your super accounts into that one. You can combine your super into your Tasplan account using Tasplan Online.

2  The ASFA Retirement Standard benchmarks figures for a ‘modest’ and ‘comfortable’ lifestyle in retirement. It’s meant as a guide only and does not take into account all individual needs and circumstances.

Be inspired

International Women’s Day is a time to motivate friends, family and colleagues to think and act, and today I spoke with three women who work at Tasplan about how they manage money and the advice they'd offer their 18 year old selves.

Kath, 47

What financial decisions are you proud of?
Well, one of the best financial decisions I’ve made wasn’t even for me. When my kids started their first jobs, like many parents, I helped them with all the paperwork. That let me opt them in for a 2.5% salary sacrifice contribution to their super ... Brilliant! Because this has come out from their very first pay, they never missed what they never had and I guarantee they will thank me in their old age.

Who were the women in your life who helped shape your relationship with money?
My mum was the main influencer for me. She likes nice things and makes sure she gets them, so she is frugal with things that matter less to her. Learning to prioritise has held me in good stead.

What financial mistakes do you notice others making?
Generally needing to have everything now. There is less delayed gratification, people don’t seem to plan and save for the things they want, they reach for easy credit.

What financial advice would you offer your 18 year old self?
Use cash … don’t get tempted by the offer of credit cards.

Marisa, 47

What financial decisions are you proud of?
Unfortunately, not very many! I learnt the hard way about getting a credit card too early. I spent the first years of my working life learning about interest and what a vicious cycle debt can be.

Eventually I cut up my credit cards (three – somehow the first one had multiplied!). This was the best financial decision I ever made.

Who were the women in your life who helped shape your relationship with money?
My mum was really good with money and there was a lot of trust, respect and honesty between my parents about who was the better money manager. 

Mum was the ‘minister of finance’ in our family and was able, at one stage, to pay three mortgages using only dad’s salary. My mum and dad often mentioned that mum had made more money from investing in property than my dad had made during his working life.

What financial mistakes do you notice others making?
Only paying the minimum balance of anything – whether it’s credit cards, mortgages, personal loans and debt. It is easy to just pay the minimum, but even a few dollars more can add up to thousands (in savings) in the end.

What financial advice would you offer your 18 year old self?
Keep every house you ever own – I have owned three properties in my life to date and each time, I wish I would have tried harder to keep my house (and rent it out), rather than selling and just upsizing. Getting some financial advice on how to use equity/negative or positive gear the property I owned, whilst still purchasing my next house, would have left me in a much better financial position today!

Kait, 26

What financial decisions are you proud of?
Being able to manage my money well enough to provide for myself and my daughter. My daughter doesn’t miss out and is able to go to a good school.

Who influenced your attitude towards money?
My biggest financial influencers weren’t from within my family. It actually wasn’t until I began working in super that I began to learn about the benefits of long-term saving. When I started working in super, I was only 23 and retirement wasn’t on my radar. I was asked to give feedback on a campaign which was being developed to encourage young people to contribute to their super. Through that, I learnt how contributing just a small amount to my super from a young age could make a huge difference to my life later on. It totally changed my way of seeing things and I began salary sacrificing soon after. It hardly makes a difference to my take home pay or my lifestyle, but in forty years it’s going to make a huge difference.

What financial mistakes do you notice others making?
I see people who work for themselves and don’t put anything into their super. Also, people delaying putting anything extra into their super because they think it’s (retirement) too far away to seem real.

What financial advice would you offer your 18 year old self?
I started salary sacrificing to my super at a young age and honestly don’t think I would do anything differently.

Want to hear from more every-day women like you?

See what advice other women would offer as they reflect on their own financial decisions.

This article contains information or advice that is intended to be general in nature and which was prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs.  Because of that, before acting on any information or advice in this article, please consider whether it is appropriate to your personal circumstances, talk to a financial planner and consider the relevant member guide, available at www.tasplan.com.au or by calling 1800 005 166, before making a decision about whether to acquire the products.

We're giving you the information in this article in good faith. It comes from sources we think are reliable and accurate. But we can't guarantee it is right and don't accept any liability relating to the content or any linked external websites.

The trustee of Tasplan Super (ABN 14 602 032 302) is Tasplan Pty Ltd (ABN 13 009 563 062). AFSL 235391.

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