You may have heard reports that Australian women are retiring with only half the average super balance of men. Many organisations have recommended policy changes to help close this super gender gap, but while we wait for policies to catch up, there are steps women (and in fact, anyone) can take to improve their retirement outcome.
We spoke to Vision Super member, Melinda to hear how she is taking control of her financial future with a few simple steps.
Once upon a time, Melinda was overwhelmed with super, but instead of ignoring the subject, she took it upon herself to learn one thing about super each year. The first year she taught herself about salary sacrifice, the second year she learned about beneficiaries, and the next year, she learned about insurance through super.
“I started taking super seriously around ten years ago when my first child started school and I wasn’t paying quite as much in childcare costs,” said Melinda.
“At that point, I started salary sacrificing 3% of my salary in to super, which I then increased to 6% when my second child went to school.”
Melinda now contributes 10% of her salary to her super through salary sacrifice and is on track to retire around age 60.
Aware that she is in a better position than many of her female peers, Melinda strongly encourages women to educate themselves on super, even though it’s sometimes challenging.
“Legislative changes mean the goal posts around super are constantly changing – and it’s certainly very different to what it was when I first started educating myself ten years ago,
“I would still strongly recommend that women learn about salary sacrifice, and even better - learn about the benefits of salary sacrificing in line with an EBA.”
Melinda increased her salary sacrifice amount in line with her workplace’s enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) which was a 3% salary increase.
This meant that Melinda didn’t notice the difference in her take home pay – as she was salary sacrificing the increase which was money she didn’t originally have.
“I put what I can in my super because it’s a great investment tool for people who want to leave the investment decisions to the experts,
“I still have control of the risk I take, for example, right now I am invested in one of Vision Super’s balanced options - but I don’t have to actively invest my own money.”
“I am proud of myself and I feel empowered with the knowledge I have now, I want to retire on my terms and not rely on government help.”
The team at Vision Super are dedicated to helping you feel in control of your financial future and are always here to help. If you’d like help to start saving like Melinda, please contact our friendly Member Services team on 1300 300 820 to discuss your options.