Super difference between men and women

Australian women often manage the family finances, but a survey shows they are less engaged than men. In 2016 the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) conducted a survey of 1,000 Australians that indicated, on average, women were not as in tune with their super as men.

  • Almost 30 per cent of the women surveyed said they needed to know more about their superannuation. 
  • Roughly 25 per cent of men said they knew their exact super balance, while only 15 per cent of women did. 
  • 30 per cent of women said they always read their superannuation statement as compared to 45 per cent of men.
  • 10 per cent of women said they have a very good understanding of their super statements as opposed to 25 per cent of men.
  • Only eight per cent of women were confident about how much retirement savings they need, compared to 16 per cent for men.

Some women recognise the importance of superannuation and saving for retirement, but there are alarming numbers who are yet to understand the gravity of the situation.

Only 7.5 per cent of women surveyed would be satisfied with no superannuation and to rely on the aged pension alone, but just over half of the surveyed women saw super as a good way to save for retirement.

ASFA chief executive Dr Martin Fahy said superannuation provides a way for Australian women to build wealth, but over 80 per cent of women currently retire with insufficient super to fund a comfortable lifestyle. Critically, one in three women are retiring with no super at all and older women are struggling financially.

The average superannuation balance at the time of retirement for women is $138,150 compared to $292,500 for men. On average women live longer than men, which means they need more super to survive.

The obstacles women face include broken working patterns due to unpaid caring roles (children and ageing parents), the gender pay gap, longevity and a greater tendency towards  insecure, casual and part-time employment.

ASFA is continuing to push for an increase in the superannuation guarantee from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent as soon as possible. ASFA is also recommending the removal of the $450-a-month threshold to allow employers to contribute more to super for women without breaching anti-discrimination laws.