It’s a known fact that many women will have less superannuation in retirement than men.
Lower pay and time taken out of the workforce to raise a family or care for elderly relatives make it harder for many women to build enough super by the time retirement approaches.
In fact, the average super account balance for women is $40,475, compared to $71, 645 for men meaning women face a heavier reliance on the age pension and fewer lifestyle options in retirement.
The Australian Tax Office says recent reforms like people earning $37,000 or less per year eligible for up to $500 annually will help women to grow and protect their savings for the future.
Deputy Commissioner for Superannuation, Neil Olesen said “The boost will help low income earners make the most of their super savings by effectively ensuring no tax is paid on contributions paid into their fund.”
“Best of all, if eligible, people won’t have to do anything to receive the boost, the ATO will work out their eligibility for them and pay it to their fund - but people can help by ensuring their super fund has their tax file number.”
The ATO also says its online tool, SuperSeeker has been improved, giving people more information about their super in one place.
By logging into the secure system, people will be able to view any super accounts to which they have contributed in the last two financial years, as well as find any lost super reported to the ATO and super that the ATO holds on their behalf.
People can also now use SuperSeeker to request a transfer of funds between accounts with one online form, making super easier to manage.
“With over 17 billion in lost super, it’s never been easier to find out if any of it is yours,” says Olesen.
“There’s plenty of lost super out there for people to reunite with - around 3.6 million lost super accounts in Australia with an average value of $4,800 per super account.”
“SuperSeeker can help people to not only find lost super but consolidate inactive accounts to save of fees and charges,” Olsen added.
One of the best ways women can avoid having lost super is to make sure their super fund has their TFN. Improvements have been made to the way super funds can keep track of and transfer super and to find any lost super on their member’s behalf.
To take full advantage of these changes people should check their super fund has their TFN and provide it to their fund if they don’t have it.
Another way to avoid lost super is to make sure you provide your TFN to your employer when you start a new job.
The tax office plans further reforms, which it claims will further boost the savings of women.
- From 1 July 2013 the super guarantee rate will gradually increase from 9 per cent to 12 per cent over the next seven years, boosting the super savings of Australian workers by around $500 billion by 2035.
- From 1 July 2013 the upper age limit for compulsory super contributions will be removed, so no matter how old you are, if you are working you can still grow your super.
- From 1 July 2013 a simple, low-cost default super product call MySuper will be introduced, ensuring you don’t pay extra fees for services you don’t need.
- Automatic consolidation of multiple super accounts will also be introduced in the next few years.
- Where a person has more than one super account with the same fund, their fund will let them know and help consolidate these accounts.
- Where a person has multiple super accounts across funds the ATO will be able to help people consolidate their accounts with balances less than $1000 by providing details of these accounts to the fund.