How to mitigate fallout from a financial crisis
On a global level, COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the economy and has fundamentally changed how we operate at work and at home. When global catastrophes like a pandemic hit, the fallout can cause a global financial crisis which is felt for many years after the pandemic has subsided. The consequences can have a lasting influence on your super, and in some cases woman’s super in particular, which already faces many challenges.
The role of gender during a crisis
Even without a crisis hindering women’s savings, the amount women retire with is on average less than men’s retirement savings. Women typically retire with 47% less super than men in Australia1 and this impacts their financial independence in retirement. Add the fact that women tend to live longer and therefore need more in retirement means that we see many single women over 60 living in poverty. The Mercy Foundation found there was a 31% jump in homelessness among older women in 5 years2.
There are many factors that contribute to this inequality. Despite wage laws modernising and attitudes changing, women as a whole still get paid less. Their career is often interrupted by maternity leave and time off to raise children and it’s more often than not that women are the ones that take time off to care for elderly parents. So, In the event of a financial crisis hitting, and if women are unable to work, the resulting financial consequences can be crippling.
An average 30 years old woman who has an annual salary of $50,000. If she was to stop working for 6 years, her time out of the work force would mean her retirement balance would be $77,000 less at retirement3.
What can you do?
Here are a few options to consider.
- Consolidate your super accounts
Having all of your super in one account means you save money by only paying one set of fees, have to deal with only paperwork from one super fund, and you can keep track of your super balance more easily. Before you consolidate, consider the effect a transfer may have on your benefits, such insurance cover. Make sure your employer is paying into your chosen super fund, call us – we can help make this as easy as possible!
- Voluntary personal contributions
Not everyone may have a spouse, and not everyone finds it easy to make contributions from their accounts. Thankfully, the government have introduced legislation in 2018 to allow people with a balance of less than $500,000 to contribute more than the cap in future years. Any unused contributions from previous years can be rolled forward for up to 5 years, allowing you to add more when you’re ready.
- Spouse contributions
If you’ve lost your job, had to take time off to help your kids with their at-home learning, or you’ve been taking care of an elderly parent, there is an option for your spouse (if you have one) 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 can get a tax rebate of up to $540. You can find out more about the spouse contribution rebate here.
- Contribution splitting
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.
Don’t forget Vision Super is there to help
The last global financial crisis in 2008 hit men hard, but this one looks like it’s going to affect women, so if you need to, consider getting financial advice from a professional. A financial planner can help work out the right strategy for you. And depending on the level of advice it may be at no cost strategies.
If you’d like more information about Vision Super financial planning, head to www.visionsuper.com.au/advice