An alarming gender super gap has opened in Gladstone with women having less than half the amount of retirement savings of men, without urgent action to arrest the slide women will keep falling further behind.
Gladstone women on the cusp of retirement have a median super balance of just $121,500 – well below the $545,000 needed for a comfortable retirement.
These stark figures highlight the need to lift the super rate as legislated from 9.5% to 12%. Women on middle to low-income are the most likely to get the legislated super boost, lifting the rate will give them the power to choose how they live in retirement.
A 30-year-old woman on the median wage could have up to $85,000 less at retirement if the super rate is cut, which could cause a generation of Gladstone women to suffer further economic insecurity.
Women in the electorate of Flynn have lower median super balances at all ages but the gender super gap blows out to almost 60% when women are in their mid to late 40s. Gladstone and central Queensland women can expect to retire with 32% less than men.
While the gender super gap widens the government has been dragging its feet on important reforms which will improve Gladstone women’s retirement outcomes including:
· Paying super on every dollar earnt, including Commonwealth paid parental leave;
· Abolishing the $450 threshold where super is not paid unless you earn more than that a month, this greatly impacts women as they are more likely to have multiple part-time jobs;
· Failing to enact super splitting legislation, this streamlines the process of dividing super assets when a relationship ends and allows more women to get their fair share.
A recent retirement survey, commissioned by ISA, found that on average women spend 12 years less in the full-time workforce than men, this time away from work is having a dramatic impact on their super balance.
One in three women retire with no super balance at all, according to a 2016 Senate report.
Despite the importance of lifting super to improve women’s retirement outcomes the government has said it is considering cutting super at 9.5%, even as government MPs – like Ken O’Dowd – pocket more than 15% super on top of their parliamentary wages.