ONE in three Australian women does not have a single cent in superannuation, leaving themselves with nothing to retire on.
The alarming figures from an Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia report found 35 per cent of women have no money stashed away for retirement. The report also showed 60 per cent of women aged 65 to 69 were among the worst affected and had no superannuation.
The number of people aged 65 and over in Australia will nearly double by 2050, according to Australian Government figures, and those aged over 84 will quadruple, These will mainly be women, many facing poverty and homelessness due to inadequate savings. ASFA chief executive officer Pauline Vamos said the superannuation shortfall for females was extremely concerning.
“It reflects the fact that the system is still quite young and it’s still not fully matured and you are going to get quite big gaps (in what people should have),’’ she said. “It’s exacerbated because our working life is not constant, often women do take time off work and are in lower paid jobs or part-time jobs.’’
Men remain ahead of their female counterparts in the retirement stakes — about one in four (26 per cent) has no superannuation. Across all age brackets, a man’s average super balance is $112,000, while for a woman it is $68,600. But Vamos said there was a combination of ways women could try to address the issue of having little or no super.
“Make the most of what you have, do not have multiple accounts,’’ she said. “Look at your insurance cover and if you can put anything extra in super then do it.” The report showed the median super balances were the highest for both females and males aged 55 to 59.
For women, they had $30,000 in their nest eggs, while men had $75,000. The report also found in 2011-12 the average retirement payouts were $197,000 for men and almost half that for women at $105,000. Industry super fund Hesta’s chief executive officer Anne-Marie Corboy said the $450 threshold to qualify for super payments remained a huge barrier for women failing to earn enough to qualify for super.
“That’s had a huge impact on women more than men because it impacts casual and part-time workers,’’ she said. “If that measure was abolished it would reduce that. “There are also the women who are not in the paid workforce and therefore they don’t have access to super.”
Hesta has more than 770,000 members predominantly in the health sector and 80 per cent are women. Compulsory super payments are made for employees who are 18 years and older and who earn $450 or more before tax in salary within a calendar month.