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The gift women should give themselves this Mother’s Day

By AMP Financial Planner Darron Mink & Cheryl Mossman

Mothers are the masters of multi-tasking, rarely blinking an eyelid when it comes to juggling work, parenting and running a household. Because busy mums are often caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of caring for others, they often have little spare time to look after themselves.

But there is one important gift mothers can give themselves on Sunday, May 12 – the gift of a secure financial future. This Mother’s Day, every mum should make a promise to get their super on track once and for all.

According to recent statistics, the average superannuation payout at retirement for women is $112,600 compared with $198,000 for men.**

The reasons women have less super:  

  • Women are more likely to work part-time or casually
  • Women earn, on average, 17 per cent less than men and are less likely to hold senior or managerial positions
  • Women often take time out of the workforce while raising a family

There are some steps women can take to rectify this super imbalance and help ensure they retire with enough money to live on – an even more important goal when you consider that women have a longer life expectancy than men. This means women are on average spending a lot more time in retirement than men so their super needs to last longer.

Top five super boosting tips for women:

  • Take stock of your super – Firstly, get your superannuation statement out and check how much you have. Consider the lifestyle you want in retirement and seek professional advice. A financial planner can help you work out exactly how much super you will need and a strategy for achieving your desired nest egg. According to the Federal Government’s Money Smart website, a couple retiring at age 65 with a life expectancy of 85 will need $412,000 to live a modest lifestyle and $716,000 for a comfortable lifestyle.
  • Consolidate your super – Women often have multiple super funds, because they are more likely to work in part-time jobs and may change employment more frequently. Small, dormant accounts can be eroded by fees, so it can be beneficial to consolidate your super into a single fund. Websites such as can help you track your missing super.
  • Salary sacrifice – While your employer must contribute the nine per cent Government Super Guarantee (increasing to 9.25% from 1 July 2013), you can boost your nest egg dramatically by salary sacrificing and the earlier you start the better. Depending on how much you can afford, try to put another 2-5 per cent of your income into your super. Under the current rules, you can add up to $25,000 of pre-tax earnings (less your SG contributions) to your super each year and have it taxed at the concessional rate of 15 per cent – rather than at your marginal tax rate.
  • Spouse contributions – This is a good strategy for women if they are not working or are working part-time while raising a family. Their partner can make contributions to their superannuation and potentially receive an 18 per cent tax offset. Over the years, this will help bridge the gap between a couple’s super accounts.
  • Co-contribution – Lower income earners should also make the most of the Federal Government co-contribution scheme. If you earn under $46,920 and make a personal after-tax superannuation contribution during the 2012/2013 financial year, the Government will match your contributions at a rate of 50 per cent up to $500 per year.

There are many other ways women can boost their super and a financial planner can help you work out the best strategy to suit your personal needs, whether you’re a part-time or full-time employee, stay-at-home-mum or self-employed.  u

While it is important for women to start building their nest egg early on, it is never too late to get your retirement planning on the right track, so why not pledge to do something about it this Mother’s Day.

*Darron Mink and Cheryl Mossman are an Authorised Representative of AMP Financial Planning Pty Ltd, ABN 89 051 208 327, AFS Licence No. 232706.

Any advice given is general only and has not taken into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Because of this, before acting on any advice, you should consult a financial planner to consider how appropriate the advice is to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

**Source: ‘Women and Super – the Facts’, 2013, Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees.

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