NT women have the lowest savings in the nation
Northern Territory’s super savings are the lowest in the nation, without urgent action to arrest the slide Territorians will keep falling further behind.
Territory women have a median super balance of just $40,900 – well below the $49,300 national female median. And the gender savings gap is also significant as Territory women have 30% less super than men. The male NT median balance of $57,700 is also the lowest in the nation (see table 3).
While NT women’s balances are persistently lower than men throughout their life the gap rises to almost 40% in their 40s. It narrows slightly in their 50s but women in the NT still retire with almost a third less super than men (see table 1).
These stark figures highlight the need to lift the super rate as legislated from 9.5% to 12%.
Cutting super will disproportionately impact females. 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. Despite this, the government has said it is considering cutting the super rate increase.
A 30-year-old NT 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 women to suffer further economic insecurity.
While the gender gap widens the government has been dragging its feet on further important reforms which will improve NT women’s retirement outcomes including:
· Paying super on every dollar earned, including Commonwealth paid parental leave;
· Abolishing the $450 threshold, which means super is not paid if you earn less than that figure in a month, almost 70% impacted by this outdated policy are women;
· Failing to enact super splitting legislation, this streamlines the splitting of super assets and allows more women to get their fair share of super when a relationship ends.
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 final super balance. One in three women retire with no super balance at all, according to a 2016 Senate report.