International Women’s Day falls this Saturday 8 March, and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is urging women to take important steps to maximise their long term retirement savings.
An array of factors including sustained pay inequality, a high prevalence of participation in part time work and career breaks for family mean there is a significant super gap between men and women’s retirement savings.
Industry research reveals that, on average, Australian women retire with super account balances of just $112,600. This is about 43 per cent less than the average man’s super balance of $198,000.
Megan Yong, Acting Deputy Commissioner, Superannuation says women can make small yet significant changes to help build a strong financial future.
“The small things you do with your super now can have a big impact on your lifestyle when you retire. Quite simply, if you want to enjoy a lifestyle of your choosing, you need to make some important decisions now,” she said.
Yong advises individuals to check their super fund has their tax file number (TFN) to make it easier to keep track of super throughout their career, as well as reducing the tax payable on super contributions.
“Women are also encouraged to register for the ATO’s online services and use SuperSeeker to view all their super accounts, track down any lost super and combine any unnecessary accounts into their chosen fund,” Yong added.
For women who are running their own business, it’s important to remember to invest in super for retirement. Most self-employed people can claim a full tax deduction for contributions they make to their super until they turn 75 years of age.
“It’s fairly straightforward to get your super sorted. You can use the ATO’s online services or speak to your super fund. There are plenty of resources available to help you look after your retirement savings. The key is to get it sorted now, wherever you are in your career,” Yong said.