*This post is brought to you in collaboration with CareSuper.
I was shopping at the supermarket just this week with my toddler in the stroller. I had a list of things to buy a mile long and I'd stupidly parked the car a little too far from the store which meant I was stuck with the limited space in which to poke items a pram provides as compared to the ample shopping cart alternative.
As I creatively packed my stroller with my checked off needs, I juggled, I tossed and I dropped things all over. I managed to balance a store basket on my pram to increase my load capacity which worked temporarily but was quickly followed by more of the same.
I hurried to find everything that everyone had written on my shopping list: Things for lunches, snack requests, treats and rewards earnestly requested that I couldn't recall kids earning, the never ending school essentials and more. Before I knew it, I'd reached maximum load capacity and could carry no more.
It was time to bail-out.
As I proceeded to manage my haul past the dairy case, I had a bit of an epiphany: Staring at all the delightful gourmet adult foods in which I am rarely given the chance to indulge, I was surprised when a little voice inside my head softly suggested:
What about you?
What about your needs?
What was I going to have for lunch that day in a house bereft of food? (Other than the kid indulgences I was struggling to cart.)
And that's when I realised it:
As usual, I had put the needs of everyone else well ahead of my own.
I was instantly hot, flustered and stressed and the Christmas carols blaring over the store's PA were heightening the sudden impact of it all. I had not given any of my own needs a glance in the rush and grab of the supermarket that had become my metaphor of Motherhood. As a result, I was on my way out with nothing for myself.
It's all too easy to do as a Mum isn't it? We all do it.
Okay, so I may be talking in food terms here but believe me when I say it was this little everyday scenario that got me spiralling off on other major me-less tangents as well. My thoughts raced about the immense scope of my frequent oversight and inevitably turned to my miniscule superannuation account. Just another of the big things sitting unattended in the background of my life.
Being a stay home Mum means I am scoring a whopping zero on the super front. I've not worked an official tax paying job since my first child was on the way 14 years ago and as a result, my sparse nest egg is something that plays out amongst the plethora of worries I find myself turning over in my mind in the small hours of the morning.
Do you worry about these same things too?
So how is your super?
Are you at all concerned?
What steps have you taken to ensure your future is financially secure?
According to the Australian Taxation Office, Australian women retire with a superannuation nest egg that is on average, 43% less than men and yet, studies also show women outlive men by around five years.
That's a significant set of facts to consider.
Making up these troubling statistics are the fact that women continue to be underpaid in the workforce compared to our male counterparts by an average of 17.5%. Biology sees many of us step out of the workforce, (either temporarily or completely) while we raise our families and though over 84%, (or 4 out of 5 Mothers) will return to work on a part-time basis following the birth of a child, we are clearly at an even greater disadvantage from the outset when it comes to building up a nest egg for our retirement.
Are you as alarmed as me? Take a look at this superannuation calculator on the CareSuper website to see how you too are faring in the retirement stakes.
There are certainly ways we can lessen the impact of this financial disadvantage on a simple level. Here are a list of helpful tips that may aid you to build your retirement fund:
Make a check on your superannuation statements and check your balance. Does the superfund you are currently with have your Tax File Number on file? This is extremely important and will ensure all monies owing to you will find to you when you need it. Regularly update your beneficiary details and if you move house, make sure your super fund has your current residence and contact details on record.
Do you have more than one super fund? It is possible that you may have super funds you weren't even aware of. You can check this easily by using the ATO's SuperSeeker. (I found $200 owing to me several years back.)
If you do have more than one account, consolidate them into one to save on account keeping fees. You only need one super fund and the larger the balance of this, the greater the interest. Choose the one you prefer and transfer the balance of all others across. This is usually done by signing a simple form which you complete with the company you wish to exit from. They will take care of everything for you.
Consider making contributions to your super. Even without an income or on a low to middle income, if you can manage personal, after tax contributions to your super fund, the Government will make a co-contribution on your behalf to a maximum of $500 per annum. To find out if you are eligible for this fantastic super incentive, visit the ATO website here to learn more.
Your partner, if you have one, can make contributions on your behalf too and this is an excellent way to boost your retirement savings.
There's no time like now to start thinking on the importance of looking after ourselves. Try to find the time to do it daily and make it a priority. Planning for the future in the face of the facts is an incredibly important aspect of our lives today. Make sure you consider you too.
*Disclaimer: I have received a fee from CareSuper to blog about super, however this post contains my own opinions. While I am not personally recommending CareSuper, information about superannuation can be obtained from their website caresuper.com.au and it’s always good to get your own advice about financial matters.
Do you consider your financial future too?
Have you got a system to save in place?
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