• Christine Lusher

Mum's are Super! Let's talk about it!

As we come together to celebrate Mother's Day and the contribution that our Mums make to our lives, it is timely to reflect on the financial consequences of motherhood. What is the impact on our wealth, superanuation and retirement savings when we take time off work to care for our children?

There is absolutely no doubt that women end up with less superannuation savings than men. According to recent research from the Australian Super Funds Association (2020), the average balance for men aged 60-64 is 20% higher than women.

Women on average earn $25,534 less than men each year according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. All industries still have a gender pay gap that favour’s men. Many factors contribute to this such as women being paid less for the same jobs as men, being employed in lower-paid industries, being overlooked for promotions and slower career progression. As super is a percentage of your wage, there is a strong link between what you earn and what you have in superannuation.

The other contributing factor is time out of work during child-rearing years. The good news for parents raising children together is that super is considered a ‘family’ asset, so each partner gets a share of the super ‘pool’. This is also true in instances of divorce. super will be split between partners as a matrimonial asset.

Single parents and those not having the benefit of a dual-income household are certainly at a disadvantage. With less capacity to save it makes you more vulnerable to financial hardship.

It is often because of the dedication to their families needs that mums put wealth and retirement savings in the too hard basket or low on the priority list.

Take action with our ‘6 tips to improve your super’:

  1. Watch your superannuation – an awareness of your balance and contributions is the first step to creating a retirement wealth strategy. Make sure you only have one fund if possible so you can track it and monitor it closely. This will also lower the cost of administration fees. This will become one of your biggest assets so keep tabs on it!

  2. Make contributions – whilst you are working, particularly in the early years, make the most of surplus income or incentives such as the government co-contribution, and get a little more into your super savings. Later in your career it may be worth considering salary sacrifice to boost your savings in the lead up to retirement.

  3. Make an investment choice - Align the investment of your super with your investment risk tolerance – this will help you maximise your returns for a level of risk you are comfortable with.

  4. Stick to a budget so you can save money and contribute more to super. This is best when you have the capacity pre or post children. It is a good way to plan for those lean years that may come later on.

  5. Access the equity in your home. For those nearing retirement, have you considered downsizing in retirement? With the significant growth in Australian property values, you may get access to a cash pool that can be used in your retirement to fund your income.

  6. Seek financial advice – choose wisely and get help to boost your savings. A financial advisor will keep you on track which makes achieving your goals more likely.

We know it’s not easy finding money to put aside for future years, especially when you are raising kids and have other immediate priorities. More money is not always the answer, getting help and being aware of what is already invested can help grow your wealth for the future too.

You don’t need to deal with money issues alone, make an appointment via video or in our Newcastle Office to start improving your financial and personal life!