Just when you thought tool belts were only for blokes who legitimately worked in construction – or blokes who pretended they did while gyrating on stage at a Magic Mike performance… think again! Ladies, I am officially handing you your first very own tool belt and I’m inviting you to wear it with pride as we proudly march forward, united in our quest to build our own financial security for a safe and comfortable retirement. Magic Mike take a seat and pay attention… SupaWomen, let’s show ‘em how it’s done!
Firstly, we’re going to need a pretty solid foundation. Your superannuation may not be your one and only basis for a healthy retirement plan, but it’s a vital one… kind of like your bricks and mortar.
Without this nest egg, the whole structure is very wobbly indeed. And let’s face it ladies, when we are already facing the fact that we retire with an average of 42% less super than men, then sadly we ain’t building no palaces. The reasons behind this disparity are pretty weak if you ask me.
One is that women are the ones taking the time out of the workforce to care for others, be it children or elderly parents. Talk about smacking a gift horse in the mouth. I mean I know, I know, all those nappies (infant and senior!) and wheels (prams and wheelchairs) are just so much FUN to deal with! The Government is right to penalise us by not paying super during these relaxing times! What were we thinking?! Shame on us!
The second reason we find ourselves in the largest growing group of homeless people in this country is because of the gender gap. Yep, it’s 2022 and we still have a gender gap. We managed to mobilise the entire nation to be vaccinated against a pandemic in the space of two years, and yet it’s been 250 years since this country was ‘gentrified’… and these so-called gents are still earning 13.4% more than us multi-tasking sheilas. (according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency). Ladies, reach for your hammers, these numbers just don’t measure up!
The following tips may sound pretty basic, but sadly, it’s shocking how many women don’t know, or choose not to put in practice. So, let’s hammer them home now. When it comes to your super, the more you can add to it the sooner, the more added incentives there are for you, and therefore the better off you’re going to be when needed. Or, when your best friend Stacey calls to say she is moving her shopping trolley to the bridge underpass down the road and would you like to join her and her new friends for a bonfire tonight? BYO wine.
So, extra contributions, salary sacrificing, spouse contributions, personal deductible contributions, consolidating your accounts, these are all really smart superannuation strategies that will keep your walls strong and set you up well when you need to weather the storms.
Now, by this stage you may have stopped for a moment to question the obvious. How do we know how much we will need if we don’t know how long we will live for? Well apparently us fillies will kick on til around the age of 85 while the old stallions generally head for the big green pastures in the sky at the age of 80. So, say we retire at 65, then we’ve got twenty years to cater for. And what a party I plan on catering for indeed!
Right, back to the building ladies! It’s time to grab the ladders, we’re heading to the roof to check out the landscape and get a bigger picture perspective. When it comes to our nest egg, there are areas beyond our super that will keep us afloat. These are called assets. And trust me ladies, we want as many of these as we can carry.
Assets are like bathrooms in your house. You can never have too many, scattered as frequently as can be. Be they from the Defensive Asset Class (slow, safe and steady investments) or the Growth Asset Class (slightly riskier but with the potential for greater gains, like property investments, shares, managed funds, ETF’s). And just to clarify – when it comes to these technicalities girls, it’s highly advised that you do get a plumber (financial advisor) in to fix the plumbing – get all those ‘pipes and faucets’ lined up properly. No one likes a flooded toilet or a dripping tap!
Ok, so excuse the lame visuals I’ve hauled in for this project. But hopefully those toolbelts are now firmly fixed to the hips, you’ve found your footing and you know the way around the worksite well. We’re not here to be wolf whistled at any more girls, we are literally building our own retirement plans.
Because the sad reality is this: if we don’t do this job ourselves then we will literally be left without a roof over our heads hanging out with Stacey and her friends under the bridge. And, while we are working on our own individual foundations, we also need to keep working together as a team to shake up the system and get these bigger picture changes made like ending the gender gap and getting paid super on parental leave.
That’s right boys, turns out Stacey learned how to drive a bulldozer while she had that extra time on her hands… and she’s headed for Parliament House!