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8 tips to plan for retirement:

REST Super's 'Super Mum Index' shows that the average working mum is 95% less likely to retire with sufficient savings than the average Australian male.
By Motherpedia
Date: May 25 2015
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New research reveals that while the majority (90%) of Aussie mums prioritise their children’s wellbeing, almost two in five are at risk of financially burdening their kids later in life by saving inadequately for retirement.

REST Industry Super, a profit-to-members super fund with a large proportion of female members, commissioned the ‘Super Mum Index’ to unearth and address the challenges faced by Aussie mums when it comes to superannuation.

The findings show that around 80% of Aussie mums admit the pressure to be a ‘super mum’ and sees almost two-thirds of those surveyed (63%) focus so heavily on family expenses that this is the key reason they refrain from topping up their super.

In fact, one-in-10 of the nation’s mums claim they neglect to save more actively for retirement due to the guilt associated with taking money away from the family for their immediate needs. 

Despite Aussie mums’ focus on their children’s welfare, almost 39% of those surveyed would turn to their own children first if they were struggling financially during their retirement.

Importantly, of the survey respondents who financially support their own retired parents (8%), seven-in-10 admit they feel the weight of this burden financially and mentally, suffering from headaches (43%), sleeplessness (43%), anxiety when spending money (35%) and tearfulness (33%).

Furthermore, while only 8% of Aussie mums claim they feel assured about their financial future, the data unveils that Aussie families talk about the latest TV shows almost as often as they do about saving for the future, and their work and recreational commitments more frequently.

REST Industry Super General Manager for Brand, Marketing and Communications Mary Atley says, the research reveals an important insight into the attitudes and behaviours of Australian mums when it comes to superannuation.

“The Super Mum Index affirms how the common pressure among Aussie women with children to be able to ‘do it all’ impacts on how often and how seriously they are able to consider their financial position later in life. Given the clear focus that Aussie women place on their loved ones’ wellbeing, it is worth turning their attention more consciously towards their retirement savings, for the benefit of their own futures, and their children’s futures.

“With such a large number of female members, we have long understood the financial challenges Australian mums face, and is committed to making superannuation easier to understand and less daunting for busy women.”

Here are REST Super's top tips to plan for retirement. 

1.       Take baby steps

Consider putting a little more aside each year to top up your retirement savings. For example, by pocketing the cost of a daily takeaway coffee, you could be putting nearly $1,300 more aside for your retirement annually, which is almost $6,500 in five years. This can make a significant difference over time when you consider the interest this will gather.

2.       Map it out

If saving for retirement seems somewhat daunting, make a plan for how you’d like your future lifestyle to look. If your vision includes relaxing holidays, dining out and spoiling the grandkids, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to achieve this financially through measured and steady contributions. Just be sure to keep revising your plan, should the amount of contributions you can make change over time.

3.       Don’t double up

Surprisingly, many Australians have more than one super fund, meaning they’re flushing away a proportion of their savings on a few sets of fees. If there is no need to have more than one fund, you can avoid this extra cost (and confusion) by combining all your super funds together.  

4.       Have the conversation

Work super into your chats with family and friends. Sure, it may not seem like the hottest topic to bring to the dinner table, but the earlier you and your loved ones start thinking about your financial situations later in life, the more time you’ll have to prepare.

5.       Take care with career breaks

With women typically taking time off work to start a family, making personal contributions to your super before, during or after a career break can help balance out your time away from employment.

6.       Boost your balance as a duo

In addition to above, consider the possibility of your partner or spouse making contributions to your super on your behalf, should you press pause on your career. This may also entitle your partner/spouse to an income tax rebate – so it’s an option worth exploring.

7.       Maximise a pay rise

What better time to top up your super than when your salary is set to increase? This way, you’ll be less likely to miss it, and will have it available to you when you need it at retirement. And don’t forget you may be able to take your super with you if you’re switching employers. 

8.       Defer to an expert

This is where the ‘fake it till you make it’ rule doesn’t apply. Rather than gamble with your retirement savings, check in with a financial planner to make sure your investment option is right for your age and situation. REST Super says they pay for each of its members to get their first advice on a super-related question over the phone with Money Solutions, a team of financial coaches and planners.

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