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Single women have to work harder to retire comfortably

Having enough super stashed away for retirement is at the back of many people’s minds, but if you’re a single woman, then the thought of retirement is even more daunting.

The scary statistics from the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia indicate that the average Australian woman retires with approximately half the amount of the average man. And with many Australians retiring in their 60s, that leaves 20 or so years without an income.

Women are more likely to work in part-time roles (46 per cent versus 16 per cent of men), they often take time away from work to have children, they earn less than their male counterparts and if they find themselves divorced and without a partner, David Knox, a super expert and Mercer senior partner, says women can be at a disadvantage come retirement as a result.

“About two-thirds of people when they retire are in a couple’s situation,” Knox said, according to News Ltd. “But for single women, and for those who have had children, it’s a big concern because they don’t have a partner’s support and there is no easy fix or silver bullet.”

A report by the Human Rights Commission says the area of female retirement is so under-scrutinised that it has left a significant portion of women “living their final years in poverty”.

It’s never too late to plan for the future, though, and of course the sooner we shift our focus to our future finances, the more likely we will be prepared for retirement. There are many ways women, regardless of their relationship status or personal situation, can prepare for retirement. Here are a few tips to give your super a kick-start before retirement.

  • Contribute more than is required of you to your superannuation fund.
  • Consolidate your super accounts and stick to one account for the long haul.
  • Pay off existing debts as soon as possible.
  • Provide your superannuation fund with your tax file number to pay less tax.
  • Take out insurance to protect your income in case of sickness or injury.
  • If your partner is working and you’re not, they can add to your super and claim a tax deduction.

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