Speaking to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in a bid to raise awareness of women’s financial issues, the CEO of Girl Geek Academy, Sarah Moran, said financial empowerment goes beyond asking others, like accountants, to fix problems and involves learning and participation.
“There is a system that women are working in that has negative effects on our super so we need to be doubly diligent to make sure that we’re trying to counteract those,” she said.
“So, making sure that when you’re negotiating your pay [you ask], ‘Hey, when I take my maternity leave, are you also going to pay my super?’ That’s a question we need to know to ask.”
As it stands, the average Australian woman retires with half the super balance of her male counterpart – $230,907 to $454,221.
“There are inequity issues to consider, the gender pay gap cannot be ignored,” ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour said.
“And workforce issues are often further complicated by the fact that women tend to be carers – whether it’s for young children or elderly parents – and career breaks create situations where women don’t have the same continuity of earning their male counterparts have.”
ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell added, “If young women are more engaged with their super, and stay engaged with it throughout their careers, they stand a much better chance of financial independence and self-determination in later years.”
Ms Moran was one of five women to speak with ASIC about their experiences and relationships with money.
Actress Kate Ritchie, commentator Jane Caro and co-founder of The Remarkable Woman, Shivani Gopal, also spoke.
TV presenter and DJ Faustina Agolley said her money strategy now comes down to goals and an awareness of spending patterns, while Ms Gopal explained that money was a life-raft to escape a forced marriage.
“My financial independence became my one and only life raft. It was my finances that enabled me to make the choices that were right for me,” Ms Gopal said.
ASIC released the videos to encourage women to talk about money, Ms Armour said, arguing that “real conversations” are the key to “real control over their financial futures”.
“Women often focus on the everyday needs of their families and lives and have looked at money in a very immediate way. We want to change this and encourage women to look at money from a longer-term perspective.”
GROW Super recently made headlines after it cut fees for new parents in the first six months of their child’s life.
It applies to both men and women, provided they are the primary carer. The fund said it took this step to address the super gap, which is heavily influenced by time spent off for carer roles.
It gave the example of a woman who has children at 32 and 34 with a year of maternity leave for both. This woman could wind up $72,000 worse-off in retirement thanks to a combination of extended periods without super payments, continued fees and the compound interest lost.
“What we do now compounds over time and makes a staggering difference to quality of life in our later years. Age old advice still rings true; small actions now can make a big difference in the future,” GROW Super’s Madeleine Gasparinatos said.