We take a look at how having kids can affect your super and how to reduce the impact.
You’ve probably heard about the super gender gap before, it’s the gap that exists between the average super balances of men and women at retirement age in Australia.
There are a few reasons for the gap, they include:
- On average, women earn 23% less than men
- Women take time off, or take on part time roles to care for family
- Women generally live longer than men
- There are less women in senior management and leadership positions
- Female-centric jobs such as nursing often pay less than jobs traditionally done by men
- Women tend to invest more conservatively than men
Independent researcher, Rice Warner found that lifecycle events can have detrimental effects on retirement balances. And with about 80-85% of Australian women having kids, it’s one of the most common causes of the super gender gap.
How kids affect your super
From their tiny little baby days, until they are twenty-something and still living at home, kids cost money. This can make it harder for you to make voluntary super contributions as your priorities lie elsewhere.
Plus, while you take time off work to raise your family, you’re probably missing out on valuable super contributions from your employer. If, and when you return to work, you may have missed your prime window for career progression, or might choose to work part time, which means less money and less super too.
If you have children, or are planning to have children, it’s important to stay engaged with your super and finances so you can reduce the impact kids will have on your financial future.
What you can do
The key to improving your financial situation at retirement is to take charge of your finances and be engaged with your super.
Get your partner to help out
If you’ve taken time off to raise the kids, there is an option for your spouse to make contributions to your account. Your spouse can make these contributions regardless of what you earn, but if you’re on a low income, they get a special rebate. You can find out more about the spouse contribution rebate here.
Depending on your situation, having your spouse split up to 85% of their super contributions (both from their employer and their personal contributions) with you might also be good way to grow your super. If you’re a Vision Super member and would like to learn more about splitting super contributions with your spouse, give us a call on 1300 300 820.
Arrange flexible working hours
If you’ve worked for your employer for at least 12 months, you can request flexible working arrangements. Flexible working arrangements might help you return to work sooner, and make it easier for you to juggle raising a family and your career. Find out more about flexible working arrangements via the Fair Work website.
Make extra contributions
If you are able to, consider making personal contributions to your super to make up for missed super contributions from your employer. There are two ways to contribute to your super - salary sacrifice (before-tax) and after-tax contributions. Which one will work best for you depends on your income (or if you’ve returned to work or not). Find out how to contribute extra to your super here.
If you are on a low-income and you make after-tax contributions to your super, you may qualify for a tax-free super top up from the government. These top-ups to Australian workers are called co-contributions, and you can benefit from them every year as long as you qualify. Read our Government co-contributions fact sheet.
Consider getting financial advice from a professional. A financial planner can help you put strategies in place to help you put more into super and pay off debt you may have. If you’d like more information about Vision Super financial planning, head to www.visionsuper.com.au/advice.