There has been considerable debate about the gender gap with superannuation where females are lagging behind males. This means that females will retire with considerably less superannuation than males. However factors such as financial literacy, values, age can influence why the gap occurs (De Zwaan, Brimble, & Stewart, 2015). Therefore, working with these factors may help mitigate the gender gap in superannuation.
For example, older individuals and those with a self managed super fund (SMSF) are more engaged in superannuation (De Zwaan et al., 2015). Financial literacy also plays a role as it will encourage the user to explore choices rather then the default option or their current one to receive a higher rate of return. It is also important to explore how well your fund has performed to compare options. The study conducted by De Zwaan, Brimble and Stewart (2015) found that females were less likely to understand the relationship between performance of the superannuation fund and risk and return.
It is also argued that women tend to spend less time in paid employment as they are usually the ones to stay at home while raising their children, earn less than men (also due to part-time work while raising children) and may have less financial literacy than their male partners or men in general as they may rely on them to manage the finances. The problem is exacerbated when separation occurs as even though superannuation may be split 50/50 there is the gap in financial literacy, getting back into the workforce after working as the stay at home mum which can result in lower income from starting at the bottom.
It is important to seek advice about superannuation, explore your options and think about your retirement early to ensure that you have sufficient funds to retire on. I also encourage a family discussion so each member in the family as well as teenagers can learn the importance of retirement planning and become more money wise.
De Zwaan, L., Brimble, M., & Stewart, J. (2015). ENGAGEMENT WITH SUPERANNUATION: Is there really a gender gap? JASSA, (4), 12–18. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1786577943/