5 steps women can take to lift their retirement confidence

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Women still continue to lag behind in retirement confidence.

New research has found that women continue to lag well behind men in all aspects of retirement confidence and preparedness.

The Qantas Super CSBA Retirement Confidence Index (RCI) is the only quarterly barometer of Australian adults’ retirement confidence and asks respondents to rate their confidence in having enough money to retire comfortably, awarding a score of between 0 and 10, where 0-3 represents little to no confidence, 4 to 6 some confidence and 7-10 indicates a high level of confidence.

  • Overall, Australian’s confidence that they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement increased slightly to an average of 5.1 out of 10, from 4.9 in December 2018 and equal to the levels in July 2018 (see appendix for the RCI methodology). 
  • Although the gender gap has closed slightly on the previous quarter, the RCI found that women awarded an overall retirement confidence rating of 4.8 versus 5.4 for men.  
  • Only 30% of women have a high degree of confidence that they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement, compared to 39% of men.
  • Confidence is lowest amongst women without tertiary qualification, those on low incomes and those without investments outside their superannuation.

According to the RCI just 30% of women awarded a rating of between 7 and 10. The gap widened even further amongst younger women. Only 21% of women aged 18-29 years, 24% of those in their thirties and 22% of forty and fifty somethings expressed a high level of confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement.

Commenting on the findings, Qantas Super CEO, Michael Clancy, noted that the recent celebration of International Women’s Day should act as a catalyst to discuss the gender disparity in retirement preparedness. 

“We strongly support a national discussion about women and their superannuation and wellbeing in retirement. This is a problem that must be addressed by both the private sector, employers and Government.”

Other gender differences uncovered

  • Only 29% of women said they knew how much was needed for a comfortable retirement, compared to 40% of men. Again, younger women recorded lower figures with just 21% of women under 30 feeling equipped with the knowledge about how much they would need for retirement.
  • Just 14% of women with no other investments outside of their superannuation, 21% of those on lower incomes and 25% of those without a tertiary education knew how much they would need to retire.
  • The latest quarterly RCI shows that just 28% of women feel they can rely on their superannuation and other investments for retirement compared to 40% of men.

Clancy explained, “External factors can impact on retirement outcomes, but having a retirement plan in place that focuses on what you can control or influence is crucial. Retirement planning should be a lifelong undertaking for every Australian. For women, it’s particularly important to have a strong plan in place that accounts for the different chapters of their working lives.

For those who are starting to consider their retirement planning there is an abundance of free information on topics such as finding lost super, consolidating super accounts and salary sacrificing that are simple and sensible first steps for everyone to take”.

5 steps Australians can take to increase retirement confidence

1. Know your super balance: A recent study by Stockspot revealed that 15% of Australians didn’t know how much super they have. People who have greater clarity of their current situation are generally better placed to make decisions about their future.

2. Find lost super: The ATO’s latest estimate reveals there is $17.5 billion in lost super. All Australian’s can quickly and easily check for any lost super via the myGov website. Many Australians have multiple accounts and consolidating your super balances into one account is easy and simple to do.

3. Check your insurance: Australian’s often have death, disability and some even have income protection insurance built into their super. It’s important to know what insurance you have to understand your level of protection, the premiums you are paying and whether you need more or less insurance cover.

4. Calculate how much super you need for retirement: One of the most common questions we get from members is “how much super will I need to have a comfortable retirement?” Using calculators like the ASFA Super Guru Retirement Tracker can help you work out what income you are likely to have from super and the age pension when you retire. This information can help you decide if you should make additional contributions to super and how long you may need to work in order to have the income you want in retirement.

5. Improve your understanding of how super works: Contributing to many Australian’s apathy toward super is a lack of knowledge around how super works and its importance in providing income in retirement. Online education tools, like Qantas Super Fit, can help people improve their knowledge so they can make more informed, confident decisions about their financial future.

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