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Your super is your money - simple actions make a difference

02 August 2017

I manage my family finances, but have come to grips with my superannuation maybe twice in my life so far. I am not unusual in that. In fact, I may be doing better than a survey of around 1,000 Australians conducted late last year by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA). It indicated that on average women were not as engaged with their superannuation as men.

Twenty-five per cent of men said they knew their exact super balance, only 15 per cent of women did.

I know my balance and I also know it is much lower than the men in my cohort. However, I have done very little about rectifying this – except to roll my super into one place and choose a fund for it.

Further findings show eight per cent of women are confident about how much retirement savings they need, compared to 16 per cent for men. I have no idea how much I’ll need.

As for understanding my super statement, let alone reading it, I wouldn’t have a clue.

All this aside, like most women I recognise the importance of superannuation and saving for retirement. I know my super provides me with a method for building wealth for retirement and it can be very tax effective. I know I am going to live longer than most men of my age and I know the pension will not exist in the future and that my super will not be enough to live on in a way that affords me any choice.

Bianca Hartge-Hazelman, Co-founder, Editor and CEO at Financy HQ, has had a look at how women’s disengagement with their superannuation is not only bad for women but the industry as a whole. She has found many women - out of lack of interest in their super - are in poorly performing funds: “We talk so much about the superannuation savings gap that affects women, but seldom do we ever look at where the majority of women are actually invested and ask, could we be doing better?”

She has analysed “the top 10 balanced funds, where most Australians are invested, and correlated that to the top 10 balanced funds with the highest female membership, to see if there was a match. There was but it wasn’t great.”

If women engaged in their super just a bit more - enough to have a look at the best performing funds - they could earn thousands of dollars more. Here, are her findings.

Starts at 60, a news, blog and information website and online community for over 60s, also has interesting pieces on super and thoughts on what to do as women and single women, especially. Both these sources approach the topic in simple, balanced ways and are a great place to start understanding your money.


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