Super fund members will save about $500 in fees after the birth of their first child following an announcement by GROW Super, aimed at closing the gender gap in retirement savings.
The super fund is one of a growing list of Australian super funds and companies that are providing more attractive benefits to their members and employees as a way to retain them and help narrow the gender gap in retirement savings.
Other benefits being offered by other funds and companies include paying superannuation to employees on both paid and unpaid parental leave. Some for a period of up to 24 months.
GROW Super says it will offer members up to 6 months fee free regardless of whether they’re a man or woman, and so long as they are the primary carer of their child.
The refund, which does not apply to insurance, could save members about $519 in fees, which the super fund says can add up to $8,400.30 based on 8 per cent returns, after a 35 year period.
GROW Super is hoping to raise awareness to the growing super gap with women on average retiring with nearly 40 per cent less than their male counterparts; an issue with devastating effects on Australia’s ageing population that will become even more challenging with increased cost of living in the future.
The average Australian woman will retire with just $157,000, which will be exhausted within five to six years into retirement, based on minimum wage, according to The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia.
Over 30 per cent of Australian women have no superannuation at all and the fastest growing demographic of people experiencing homelessness are single women over the age of 55.
Couch surfing among older women has almost doubled over the past four years and there has been a similar rise in the number of older women sleeping in cars, according to a report by Homelessness Australia this year.
Key drivers for the shortfall include the wage gap, but more predominantly, time spent out of the workforce due to parental leave with women still chiefly the primary caregiver when it comes to taking time out of the workforce to raise families.
Madeleine Gasparinatos the Head of Content for GROW Super recently returned to work after taking parental leave to have her first child, Archie, who is now six months old. She says, “People seem disengaged with their Super, it’s so far into the future they rarely think about it or don’t make it a priority. This can have devastating outcomes on quality of life.”
“If, from the age of 30, you have one coffee a day instead of two, putting the saving into your superannuation would result in over $161,000 added to your balance by the time you’re 65.
“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,” she says.
Madeleine, with the full support of GROW Super CEO Josh Wilson, has been the driving force behind this fee-free parental leave campaign.
She is determined to get women thinking about this and ultimately educate people on what they can do to try and close the super gap, not just the wage gap.
Among Madeleine’s top tips for a fitter financial future are consolidating super accounts to avoid fees and maximise growth, and secondly, checking that your super fund has classified your job class correctly for your insurance cover, which can potentially save you thousands.