Five ways to beat the superannuation gender gap

February 11, 2016

Photo: Tatiana Niño

Right now there is overwhelming data of a large gender gap between the superannuation savings of Australian men and women. In fact, the gap has widened to levels which could leave many women in poverty once they stop work.

Findings in the 2015 Westpac Women & Retirement Readiness Report suggest that women may need to work 15 years longer to retire with the same amount of superannuation as men. In dollar terms that equates to a $145,000 gap between median superannuation for women and men, aged 60 to 64.

This is due to a host of factors including:

  • Over a century after women got the vote, gender pay inequity still continues to be an issue for women and the sectors they prominently occupy;
  • Because women are more likely to move in and out of full-time paid work to care for family members, the current superannuation system by its very design puts women at an overwhelming disadvantage.

There’s a real incongruity when a large proportion of us want to travel, relax and spend more time with family in our retirement; however nine in 10 women surveyed are worried about just maintaining their standard of living by then.

With statistically longer life expectancies than men and inherent challenges to find agreement to change any system, working within the system and making additional contributions can seem like a bleak alternative for many.

Here are my top five actions any woman can do to take control of their financial future and beat the gender superannuation gender gap:

  1. Identify your wealth goals – Begin with the end in mind. Structuring a wealth creation plan around the retirement lifestyle you want to live, as opposed to settle for, is the best place to start;
  2. Follow a proven system – There are some wise wealth strategies that have stood the test of time for creating long-term wealth. I recommend following these… speculation isn’t my cup of tea;
  3. Get a plan – A shocking finding in the 2015 Westpac Women & Retirement Readiness Report was that two in five women don’t seek advice about their finances for retirement. And 45 percent between 18 and 29 look to family members for financial advice. Here’s a tip—talk to people who have achieved what you want to achieve and get a plan reverse engineered to achieve your goals;
  4. Take one small action now – Putting things off until another day is a destroyer of achievement, success and wealth. Get momentum on your side and take one small action today that can move you into a better trajectory;
  5. Leverage a team – Putting in place a wealth creation system designed to make you a multi-millionaire in retirement doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task or costly. Create leverage in your life and get a team to do the heavy lifting.

Don’t let the simplicity of these five actions undermine their significance. Long-term wealth creation is not about market timing, but time in the market. Start now, start with the end in mind, get a plan, get a team and get your money working for you.

Imagine what your retirement could look like if you had nothing owing on your home mortgage, a multi-million dollar portfolio of positive cash-flow property investments, producing a passive income that supported your retirement lifestyle… this is exactly what Melissa Britton, a single mother of three, is building for her and her children.

And Melissa isn’t the only one doing this. I have seen many smart women take control of their family’s future, like Kelly and her partner Troy, who in just two years paid off their $120,000 home loan and built a portfolio of three properties generating $17,680 p.a. in passive income.

What would your retirement look like if you could live off the rental income from your own positive cash-flow property investments?

About Sally-Ann’s company: you can download the PWF Wise Wealth Plan from the PWF website—here

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