Women are closing the gap on retirement funds

Peter Terlato 14 September 2016

Retirement woman

Female pre-retirees' net wealth up 26.8% in eight years.

Retirement funding is essential for every Australian, male and female. While average savings among female pre-retirees remain significantly lower than men's, the gap is contracting.

New findings from Roy Morgan Research's State of the Nation-Spotlight on Finance Risk report show that in 2008 women's savings were just 57.7% of the male average. This figure has increased to 63% in 2016.

Women make up almost half (48%) of the 2.9 million pre-retirees (aged 50-64 and still working) in Australia.

Female pre-retirees' average net wealth increased 26.8% over the last eight years, from $183,000 in 2008 to $232,000 in 2016.

For men in this same group, retirement funding has only increased 16.1%, from $317,000 in 2008 to $368,000 this year.

While these gains are generous, the amount of retirement funding for both women and men is still considered low for self-funded retirees.

Last week we reported a significant lift in the number of intending retirees over the last eight years.

Research also revealed the average gross wealth of these self-funded individuals is below estimates sufficient for a "comfortable lifestyle".

Superannuation plays a significant role in equipping retirees with the funds needed to live out their lives.

The latest Industry Super Australia (ISA) analysis found that industry super funds greatly outperformed retail funds over the last two decades. Roy Morgan Research also noted that industry super funds have returned higher satisfaction ratings than retail funds for more than 15 years.

Some self-managed super funds are diversifying their portfolios in the hopes of generating steadier returns but it's hard to make long-term money when rates are edging towards zero. Expectations across the board are for lower future returns.

Super only accounts for around half the average gross wealth: 54% for men and 53% for women.

Therefore, the earlier you put some thought into retirement savings, the better. There are some simple strategies you can implement to ensure peace of mind during your golden years.

Picture: Shutterstock

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