By Rose Jacobs, Really Simple Money video journalist
I’m 42 years old. I’m not exactly sitting around obsessing over my retirement plans as yet. I do have a wonderful vision however, that looks a little something like this… A beach house near family and friends, a bottle of champagne, my bestie in a rocking chair alongside, giggling about life and perhaps a lovely little sports car for those weekends away and girls trips whenever I feel the need to have the wind in my hair!
Sounds good doesn’t it?
Well, I recently heard that in order to achieve this blissful state in my later years, I’m going to need at least $545,000 in savings to sleep at night, knowing I have a roof over my head.
When I was in my 20’s the idea of superannuation was a very foreign concept and just something I had to do every time I changed jobs. In my 30’s when I was married, I assumed it was something my husband would simply take care of for me, while I sat back and started our little family. Oh my god, how wrong I was!
It really didn’t occur to me that by taking time out of my career to fulfil our dream of having children and caring for them in their early years (because let’s face it, the idea of me returning to full time work was going to be the equivalent of paying for daycare anyway!) that I’d be massively disadvantaged in the process.
Sure, my husband kept on earning the income and providing for us, but he also kept on raking in the superannuation – for himself. And this, sadly is the current state of the Australian Government’s stance on how women are looked after.
I’m quite sure the ministers are aware that they have a disaster on their hands when it comes to half of the national population being women… and that we are all fast approaching poverty as retirees unless something major changes.
After my divorce, it dawned on me that I needed to do some quick thinking about how I would be about to survive (forget the champagne and the sports car!) a basic grocery shop now can cost a pretty penny and I’m quite sure my daughters are going to run a mile if I expect them to support me. Hell, they’re going to be struggling as it is to afford their own education costs, living expenses and heaven help them if they ever get their own mortgage.
This is a serious national dilemma. And sadly its one that we females don’t jump up and down about until it’s staring us in the face.
So, while I have done as much as I can to consolidate all my super into one smart fund and take the time to choose the fund that will work best for me over time, the best I can do is hope that there are some legislative changes to the way women are supported with their superannuation during maternity leave, so that I can at least sleep easy at night knowing my daughters will be in a better situation when their time comes to have a family and feel secure.
And in the meantime, I’ll shift my expectations of retirement… there’ll still be the rocking chair, maybe a car that gets me to the shops and a large pot of tea to share with my girlfriends as we giggle about what we knew earlier in life.
Next week, read Rose Jacobs journey onto the government’s Your Future, Your Super report.