Closing the gender gap in super savings

Super News

Did you know that on average Australian women have roughly half the super savings of men?1 It’s a worrying fact, but there are some simple things women can do to help close the savings gap.

Research by the Association of Super Funds of Australia shows that on average women retire with a super balance that’s 47% less than the average for men. That’s around $115,000 less in dollar terms. And it means almost 80% of women retire with insufficient savings to fund a comfortable lifestyle.2


Why the gap?

There’s a whole range of reasons for this. Despite recent progress, Australia still has a gender pay gap that puts women 15% behind men,1 which in turn affects the rate of super they accrue. Also, during their working lives women are much more likely to experience interruptions to their career. Many women play the role of primary carer, and may take extended leave to raise a family, or work part-time for extended periods. All this is exacerbated by the fact that women also have a longer life expectancy than men.1

Women and super figures

So what can we do?

While the statistics are cause for concern, the good news is that as a member of ESSSuper, you’re likely to have a higher super balance than the average Australian.3 If you take parental leave, under your ESSSuper Defined Benefit fund your benefit won’t be affected and will continue to accrue at your chosen contribution rate. And that puts you in a better position than most women to achieve a good result from your super.

The most important step you can take is to understand how much super you have and how you can increase your savings. ESSSuper supports and encourages women to be informed about every aspect of their super. The ESSSuper website is a great place to start with information and easy-to-use online tools to help you stay on top of your super.

Know where you stand

At any time you can log in to Members Online to check your current super benefit and use the benefit calculator to estimate your final benefit. You can also update your contact details to make sure you receive important notices about any changes that may affect you.

If you’ve had different jobs over your career, you may well have some lost super. Our super search tool, can help you quickly find any lost super you may have. You can elect to consolidate it with ESSSuper if you have an Accumulation Account and this may help you pay less fees. Before electing to consolidate your super with ESSSuper you should check any exit fees you may incur, or any insurance arrangements that may be forfeited, or any other effects this transfer may have on your benefits.

Every little bit extra helps

Any amount that you contribute to your super at any time in your working life will increase your final benefit. Check the rate at which you’re contributing to your Defined Benefit fund. If your fund allows, you could increase your contribution rate and you may also be able to take advantage of catch up rates. To check your situation, simply login to Members Online.

More ways to top up

You can also open an ESSSuper Accumulation Plan fund in addition to your Defined Benefit fund, which allows you to make extra super contributions. And a little bit extra can go a long way. Contributing as little as the equivalent of a cup of coffee a day could add to your super over time. To get an idea of how much you could save, take a look at our online savings calculator. Just remember the limits on how much you can contribute.

If you’re currently taking a career break, or working part-time you may be able to take advantage of spouse contributions or the government co-contribution scheme, both of which can provide tax-effective ways to boost the super savings of low income earners.

Assistance for women with super

To help you make informed decisions about your super, ESSSuper runs regular free information seminars. You can find a list of upcoming seminars here. Or if you prefer, you can arrange a one-to-one session with a Member Education Consultant.

1. Women and retirement savings. Why do women have less than half?, Karen Volpato, Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) 
2. Women and super, Super Guru, ASFA
3. ESSSuper video: Women In Super

The information contained in this article is of a general nature only. It should not be considered as a substitute for reading ESSSuper’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) that contains detailed information about ESSSuper products, services and features. Before making a decision about an ESSSuper product, you should consider the appropriateness of the product to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs. It may also be beneficial to seek professional advice from a licensed financial planner or adviser. An ESSSuper PDS is available at or by calling 1300 650 161.

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