Changes to super this year will help make it easier for women to keep track of their super and boost their savings for retirement.
From 1 July this year, Australian women can benefit from the following reforms:
- The super guarantee rate will increase from 9 per cent to 9.25 per cent and gradually increase to 12 per cent over the next seven years, boosting the super savings of Australian workers by around $500 billion by 2035.
- The upper age limit for compulsory super will be removed, so no matter how old you are, if you are working you can still grow your super.
It’s a known fact that many women will have less superannuation in retirement than men. Lower pay and time taken out of the workforce to raise a family or care for elderly relatives make it harder for many women to build enough super by the time retirement approaches.
Did you know?*:
- the average super account balance for women was $40,475, compared to $71,645 for men
- the average retirement payout (determined by the average balance for those aged 60 to 64) was $112,600 for women and $198,000 for men
- men held around 63 per cent of total super account balances, compared to 37 per cent for women, and
- super balances of women are lower than the super balances of men in every age group.
*source: ASFA Research and Resource Centre, Developments in the level and distribution of retirement savings,
With statistics like these, many women face a heavier reliance on the age pension and fewer lifestyle options in retirement.
Even if women don’t take an active role in managing their super, the following Australian Government reforms will help women to grow and protect their savings for the future:
1) Low income super contribution
Women earn 11 per cent less than men per hour, on average (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012)
The super savings of around 3.6 million Australians, including 2.1 million women, will be given a boost, with people earning $37,000 or less per year eligible for up to $500 annually.
Deputy Commissioner for Superannuation, Alison Lendon said “Best of all, people won’t have to do anything to receive the boost, the ATO will work out their eligibility for them and pay it to their fund – but people can help by ensuring their super fund has their tax file number.”
2) Keeping track with SuperSeeker
Research shows the average woman needs an extra $400,000 to fund a comfortable retirement from their superannuation. The current average super account balance for women at retirement age is only $112,000 (ASFA, 2011).
The ATO’s online tool, SuperSeeker is free and secure and provides people with information about their super in one place. By logging into the secure system, people will be able to view any super accounts which have received a contribution in the last two financial years, as well as find any lost super reported to the ATO and super that the ATO holds on their behalf.
People can even use SuperSeeker to request a transfer of funds between accounts with an online form, making super easier to manage.
“To get the most out of SuperSeeker, people will need to register online and create a secure login. Make sure you have personal documents, such as your last notice of assessment from the ATO with you so you can verify your identity and log into the system. And SuperSeeker’s data is updated regularly, so if you don’t find anything to begin with, make sure you try again”.
“There’s plenty of lost super out there for people to reunite with – around 3.4 million lost super accounts in
3) Tax file number (TFN) – key to super
One of the best ways women can avoid having lost super is to make sure their super fund has their TFN. Improvements have been made to the way super funds can keep track of and transfer super and to find any lost super on their member’s behalf.
To take full advantage of these changes people should check their super fund has their TFN and provide it to their fund if they don’t have it.
Another way to avoid lost super is to make sure you provide your TFN to your employer when you start a new job. Remember to consider using your own super fund when you start a new job as well. You don’t have to automatically go with your employer’s default fund.