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Not So Super, For Women

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July 2017

By David Hetherington and Warwick Smith

Universal superannuation is a vital part of a system designed to give Australians a decent standard of living in retirement. But for millions of women, superannuation is failing. In a significant research collaboration, Per Capita and the Australian Services Union have sought to lift the lid on the real-life experiences of these women.

We have surveyed over 4,000 workers, complemented by a detailed analysis of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. This has offered a rich blend of insights, both quantitative and qualitative, and the overall picture is sobering.

For many women, retirement looms as a frightening prospect. Their financial circumstances will dictate that they live fortnight to fortnight, far below income standards that are considered comfortable or even modest. Women’s average superannuation balances at retirement are less than half of men’s.

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