Super 101



Women and Super: closing the gap


February 2022


Hostplus



Women retire with around 47% less super than men but live five years longer on average¹. So, we’ve put together some simple steps to help you make the most of your super.

Why do women retire with less super than men?

A recent study by Monash Business School, the University of WA and the University of Warwick found that the driving factor behind the super gap between genders is contributions², with women receiving lower super contributions than men throughout their life. Why is this?

Women earn less

Women working full-time earn 18% less than men. And, with 43% of women working part-time, they’re more likely to earn even less money because of reduced hours¹. In fact, the gender pay gap for total earnings across all employees (including part-time) is 31.3%. This means women’s average weekly total earnings are $486.20 less per week than men³.

Women also earn significantly less than men at the beginning of their careers (24-26years), which means they’re already behind when it comes to saving for retirement².

Catching up is difficult

Taking time off work means women miss out on receiving regular super contributions, which can make it even harder to close the super gap. Divorced women are even more disadvantaged; research found that divorced women with children had 68% less super than married mothers, and 37% less super than divorced dads⁴.

As Dr Carly Moulang from Monash Business School’s Department of Accounting says, “even if women return to work in their 40s after having children, they cannot make up early salary inequity”². This means that women are more dependent than men on the government Age Pension. And, what’s more, women have an average longer life span than men¹, so their retirement savings need to stretch further.

How much do you need for retirement?

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia(ASFA), a single woman will need $545,000 for a comfortable retirement⁵, which would enable an older, healthy retiree to have a good standard of living that includes regular leisure activities, some domestic and occasional international travel, and top private health insurance.

Our retirement projection calculator provides an estimate for your retirement income and how long your super may last, and can help you make informed decisions about your super.

What can you do to close the gap?

It’s never too late– or too early – to take some simple steps so you can be in control of your retirement savings and build the retirement you want and deserve.

1. Get to know your super

It might be easy to just ‘set and forget’ your super (particularly if you’re young) but familiarising yourself with your super can help it grow. Do you know, for example, how much Superannuation Guarantee contributions you should be receiving from your employer and is it paid on time? Does your super include insurance, and are you paying for the right cover? Is your super invested in the right options that match your risk profile and life stage? A little research now will help you in the long term.

2. Consolidate your super

After you’ve done some basic checks on your super, consider consolidating your super into one account. By consolidating your accounts, you could save by not paying fees on multiple accounts you may not need. Make sure you review all fees and insurance before consolidating to make the most of your account⁶. Also, find out what you can about the fund that you’d like to roll into – is it performing well and does it offer value for money?

3. Consider making additional contributions

Your employer contributions are important but there are other ways you can increase your retirement balance. Additional contributions, no matter how large or small, can make a big difference overtime. Starting additional contributions at any age will build your balance with the benefit of compound interest.

Compound interest is, in a nutshell, interest on interest. Your super is invested with the goal of earning returns over time to grow your retirement savings. Any interest earned in one year gets added onto your balance, which is then reinvested and is ready to earn interest in the following year.

The following table shows how compound interest can work if you added a small amount to your super each week.

If you start adding $25 a week to your super at 25 Age 20 Age 30 Age 40
Total amount added $58,500 $45,500 $35,500
Extra benefit at retirement $502,457 $224,021 $95,038

Earnings are calculated at a compound interest rate of 8% p.a. with amounts being fully invested until age 65. These assumptions are for illustrative purposes only and don’t account for fees and tax. Investment returns are not guaranteed. Returns can be higher or lower than set out in this example. This is not a prediction or estimate of actual retirement savings. Source: ASIC Money Smart Compound Interest Calculator, January 2022.

Examples of additional super contributions include:

  • Spouse contributions and splitting. Tax offsets may apply for a spouse who contributes super on behalf of a low-income earning or non-working spouse. Your spouse can also divert some of their super contributions to your super account. Eligibility terms apply.
  • Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset (LISTO). Low-income earners may be eligible to receive a refund into their super account of the tax paid on their eligible super contributions, up to a cap of $500.
  • Government co-contributions. If you’re a low or middle-income earner and make after-tax super contributions, you may be eligible to receive a co-contribution into your super from the government of up to $500.
  • Salary sacrifice. Contributions to your super from your before-tax salary are taxed at 15%, lower than most people’s personal tax rate. Limits apply.

Your money. Your super. Your Hostplus.

No matter where you are in life, Hostplus can work with you to ensure you’re always making the most of your super. From insurance through to investment choices, transition-to-retirement strategies and nominating beneficiaries, we can help you achieve the retirement you want.

Stay connected with your super

We know how important it is to have easy access to your account. That’s why you get 24/7 online access. Check your balance, update your details and even change your investment strategy, all from our secure Member Online portal and Hostplus app.

Financial advice and planning

Take the stress out of the unknown by working with a team of experienced and licensed financial planners. They’ll give you the confidence, guidance, and clarity you need to help set up, and meet, your financial goals.

At Hostplus, we offer a range of options to ensure you get the right level of advice to suit your changing needs7:

  • easy -to-use DIY digital advice through SuperAdviser
  • personalised superannuation advice on 1300 467 875, and
  • face-to-face advice from an expert financial planner for specialist retirement planning.

We’re here to help.

If you have any questions, call us on 1300 467875, 8am – 8pm AEST /AEDT, Monday to Friday or visit hostplus.com.au.

¹ Source: www.moneymag.com.au/women-retiring-half-super
² Source: impact.monash.edu/superannuation/how-the-gender-gap-hits-australian-womens-superannuation-early/
³ Source: WGEA, Gender pay gap fact sheet August 2021
⁴ Source: Laurie Brown, ‘Divorce: For richer, for poorer’, AMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report
⁵ Source: ASFA Retirement Standard March 2021, superannuation.asn.au/resources/retirement-standard
⁶ Before consolidating is it important to understand your current fund’s fees and insurance. Visit hostplus.com.au/super/maximise-your-super/consolidation to learn more. You may also find it beneficial to obtain advice from a licensed financial adviser.
⁷ Hostplus has engaged Industry Fund Services Limited (IFS) ABN 54 007 016 195, AFSL 232514 to facilitate the provision of personal financial advice to members of Hostplus. Advice is provided by financial planners who are Authorised Representatives of IFS. Fees may apply. Further information about the cost of advice is set out in the relevant IFS Financial Services Guide, a copy of which is available from your financial planner.  
Hostplus has engaged Link Advice Pty Ltd ABN 36105 811 836, ASFL 258145 to facilitate the provision of limited personal financial advice to members of Hostplus via the web-based product Super Adviser. 
Hostplus Superannuation Advice Consultants are Authorised Representatives of Link Advice Pty Ltd ABN 36 105 811 836, ASFL258145 and facilitate the provision of limited personal advice about Hostplus products to Hostplus members through Super Adviser. To obtain a Link Advice Financial Services Guide please visit linkadvice.com.au/docs/Link_Advice_FSG.pdf. Link Advice is responsible for any advice obtained through Super Adviser.
This information is general advice only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider if this information is appropriate for you in light of your circumstances before acting on it. Please read the relevant Hostplus Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), available at hostplus.com.au before making a decision about Hostplus. For a description of the target market, please read the Target Market Determination (TMD), available at hostplus.com.au.