START THINKING ABOUT IT

“You save for a home, you save for a holiday, you plan to get married, you plan to have children,” Westpac director of women’s markets Larke Riemer says.

“You should equally be putting a lot of effort into what am I going to do when I retire – will I have enough money, will I have the right assets and will I and my family be OK.”

She says it’s never too early or too late to start.

START YOUNG IF YOU CAN

Ms Riemer says women can take small steps, starting from when they start working, to ensure they are on track for a comfortable retirement.

It’s said that you need $1 million to $1.5 million to be able to retire, which Ms Riemer says is not hard to do if you start early.

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“If you start young and you have a good plan in place you will get through to your $1 million quite comfortably by the time you’re 65.”

GET EXPERT ADVICE

Westpac research found two in five women surveyed don’t seek advice about financing their retirement.

Of those who do seek advice it’s commonly from a partner or family member.

“Women are not seeking sufficient expert advice early on in their working life about their retirement which can help them set clear goals,” Ms Riemer said.

MAP IT OUT

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REST Industry Super suggests making 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,” it says.

Ms Riemer says women should try to build wealth throughout their working lives and advises having a plan and not neglecting it.

BABY STEPS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Consider putting a little more aside each year to top up your retirement savings, REST suggests.

Pocketing what it would cost you to buy that daily coffee could allow you to put nearly $1,300 more aside for your retirement annually, or $6,500 in five years.

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That could make a significant difference over time considering the interest it will gather, REST says.

EXPLORE TAX BENEFITS

Westpac says there are considerable tax benefits to contributing more to your superannuation, so this is something that should be explored and considered in your planning.

Ms Riemer says people on low incomes in particular should look as much as they can at what they can get through the government to give them extra benefits.

MAKE VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS, SALARY SACRIFICE

“It doesn’t have to be a lot,” REST communications general manager Mary Atley says.

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Making additional voluntary superannuation contributions consistently early in their careers, small or large, and taking advantage of possible tax incentives could really make a difference to the end result, Ms Riemer says.

THINK AHEAD AROUND CAREER BREAKS

Making personal contributions to your super before, during or after a career break can help balance out your time away from employment, REST says.

Ms Riemer advises starting to put extra money into the woman’s superannuation before she gives up work so there’s a buffer in there.

“If she takes 12 months off she’s got some money in there over the 12 months that’s helped it grow rather than the gaps that women tend to have.”

FOR STAY AT HOME MUMS, PART-TIME WORKERS

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Ms Riemer says whoever is staying at home should take an interest in the partner’s superannuation – including going along to any meetings with financial advisers – and know what they are entitled to.

REST says women on a career break should consider the possibility of their partner making contributions to their super on their behalf. That may also entitle the partner to an income tax rebate, it says.

ALSO …

* Ms Riemer advises making sure you don’t have any debt when you retire.

* REST advises if you have more than one superannuation fund, combine them to avoid paying multiple fees.

* It’s recommended that women and men should aim to build a retirement income that is 65 per cent of their working income. “Dedicating some time and consideration to preparing for retirement now can put you in a far more comfortable position for the future, Ms Riemer says.

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