A white paper commissioned by one of Australia’s largest banks has found that full-time working women today will earn on average $700,000 less throughout their lifetime than men and are 15 per cent more likely to retire in poverty.
The ANZ Women’s Report: Barriers to Achieving Gender Equity estimated women will end a 45-year career with, on average, around half as much superannuation as men.
While this is dire news for our daughters and granddaughters, hopefully it will trigger the attitudinal shift required to address the gender imbalance that exists today.
But where does that leave us?
In a 2011 report, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that by the time we reach retirement, there is a significant gap in wealth between men and women. The average superannuation payout in 2009-10 at retirement (ages 60-64) was approximately $198,000 for men and just $112,600 for women. For single women, this amount would only last five years, even with a modest budget.
Georgina Williams, AustralianSuper’s Group Executive, Engagement, Advocacy & Brand says, “Around 90 per cent of women are likely to finish their working lives with too little in super savings to fund a comfortable lifestyle in retirement. Women retire, on average, with about half the super of men, and one in three will retire with no super at all.
Ms Williams acknowledges that saving a decent super balance is harder for women due to their roles as carers and parents, plus the lower rates of pay women tend to receive.
“But they shouldn’t panic,” she says. “They should take action.”
Some of the steps she suggests women take are:
Do you worry about money in your retirement? Do you worry about your daughters and granddaughters?