Aussie women aren’t financially prepared for retirement, according to new research

Feb 26, 2020
There are a number of factors that can negatively impact a woman's financial security in retirement. Source: Getty

While women have made huge progress over the last few decades in terms of participation in the workforce, there still remains a significant difference between the retirement savings of men and women.

Australian women rank fairly low on a scale which documents how prepared they are for retirement, compared to in other countries. The findings come from the Aegon Retirement Readiness Index which was prepared by researchers at the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement.

There are a number of factors that can negatively impact a woman’s financial security in retirement, including:

  • time out of the workforce, whether to raise children or to care for loved ones
  • the gender pay gap
  • increasing casualisation of the workforce
  • longevity risk  — on average, women are expected to live three to four years longer than men
  • structural issues in the superannuation system
  • adequacy of superannuation overall
  • domestic violence
  • practical issues with family law and superannuation splitting.

On a global scale, women’s retirement readiness has improved over the last five years, although Australia has only recently been involved in the study.

Findings from the Aegon Retirement Readiness Index. Source: cnbc.com

On a local front, research from industry body ASFA says while there have been improvements in recent years, there is still a long way to go for women to be as equally prepared for retirement as their male counterparts. In the 60 – 64 age group, 23 per cent of women have no superannuation, compared to 13 per cent of men.

The report found that on average, men have considerably more superannuation than women, $146,420 compared to women’s super savings of $114,350, although the gender gap is closing. The report found that women’s super grew more than men’s in the two-year period from 2016-2017.

However, on a whole, the prospect for Australian retirees is looking good, according to research by ASFA.

“The good news is that balances have been growing for most individuals because of continued contributions and positive investment earnings,” the report stated. “Many individuals now have substantial superannuation account balances.

“We anticipate that more Australians will achieve a self-reliant retirement in the future as our superannuation system matures and more Australians have lived with the Superannuation Guarantee in place — particularly once it has moved to 12 per cent. Having self-reliant retirees is imperative given that our ageing population will lead to a skewed ratio of workers to retirees, as this will make pensions unaffordable.”

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