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According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), around 80 percent of women are currently retiring with insufficient super savings to fund a comfortable lifestyle, with the average balance for women at retirement sitting at around $85,000 less than the average for men.

While many of the reasons behind this are structural, there are a number of easy steps women can take to get in control of their super and look forward.

We asked the Qantas Super team about the most important thing they have each done to take control of their super.

Michelle (Investment team)

I love working in super because I like being in an industry with such a tangible effect on not only our member’s financial futures but is also relevant to all my friends and family. I like having my personal finances in the best shape they can be, so its nice to be able to take that self-interest and help others with it as well.

A lot of people think that superannuation is a set and forget because it is done through your company’s payroll. It’s not, and it wasn’t until I started working at Qantas Super that I have really started questioning how to make my super work for me. Some of the things I have done to take control of my super include, combining my super accounts, adjusted my insurances to a level suitable for my current stage of life and talked to my super colleagues on what they do for their super (info sharing is amazing!). Lastly, if you can, see if you can make voluntary contributions, no matter how small or where you are at in your career – very few things compare to the power of compounding interest!

Emma (Operations team)

I love working in super because we help make a difference in people’s lives every day.

The most important thing I’ve done to take control of my super is annually review how much I have in super compared to my other assets and work out where best to put my savings for the coming year.

Bronwyn (Office of the CEO)

I love working in super because for most people, super is the largest financial asset they will hold when they retire – so it’s important to get it right for members. It might seem like a long way off, but small changes along the way can help maximise your retirement savings.

The most important thing I’ve done to take control of my super is to review the fees and performance for the three super accounts I hold and make an informed decision about whether to consolidate my super accounts or not. As part of that review, I made sure I was only paying for insurance once, and that type and amount of insurance cover matched my personal needs.

Josephine (Advice team)

I love working in super because it allows me to educate and help others by sharing my knowledge of this rapidly changing environment we call super!

The most important thing I’ve done to take control of my super is ensure I have adequate insurance cover in place to protect me financially in unforeseen medical emergencies.

Jo (Risk and Compliance team)

I love working in super because it’s a rapidly evolving industry where I can learn something new every day to help benefit our members.

Thinking about my financial wellbeing during retirement has always felt a long way off but giving my super a bit of love by regularly checking in on my balance, reviewing my investment options and topping it up where possible has given me confidence that I am on the road to achieving the retirement lifestyle I want to live.

Simone (Advice team)

I love working in super because I love talking to members about their plans and what they can do to improve.

The most important thing I’ve done to take control of my super is contribute extra to my super, and look at it regularly.

Suzette (Risk and Compliance team)

I love working in super because I get to see how it can make a huge and positive difference to our members’ financial wellbeing. While super can seem boring, complex and way off, it’s our role to help take away these stigmas and take away the complexity. It’s great to be able to engage with our members and provide the right tools and guidance to ensure they maximise their super.

The most important thing I’ve done to take control of my super is check in on my balance regularly and top it up with small amounts where I can. It’s often hard to think about the long-term future when today, tomorrow and this year may present plenty of their own challenges, but the nature of long-term savings, such as super, is that the earlier you take small steps, the easier it is down the track. This provides a longer period of time for your money to grow.

Sara (Finance team)

I love working in super because, prior to working at Qantas Super, I was guilty of paying very little attention to my super account and investments. However, since joining I’ve learned a lot from my team on what resources are out there to help me better prepare for my retirement, as well as things to be more conscious of, such as the fees and premiums I’ve been paying.

The most important thing I’ve done to take control of my super is consolidate the various super accounts I’ve accumulated over the years to ensure my investments are not eaten by fees! Educating yourself on the pros and cons of different super funds and their benefits is also crucial in planning for the future.

Tracee (Operations team)

I love working in super because we can make a difference in our members’ financial futures.

The most important thing I’ve done to take control of my super is to take an interest in aligning my risk comfort level with how my funds are invested. This takes the stress out of worrying about market movements. The other important thing I’ve done is to review the type and level of insurance cover in my super to match my current needs. Now that the kids left home and the mortgage has gone down, I don’t need as much cover, which means more super for my retirement!

Gina (Member Experience team)

I love working in super because there’s always something new to learn about (particularly at Qantas Super!). Working in communications, I love being able to take a complex topic and make it easier to understand for our members, so they can take control of their super.

The most important thing I’ve done to take control of my super is finally take the time to do admin! I’ve consolidated my accounts, reviewed my insurance cover to make sure it’s right for me, and set up regular contributions via salary sacrifice.

Katharine (Investments team)

I love working in super because it aims to build a better future for us all.

The biggest things I’ve done to take control of my super are to make additional voluntary contributions and to make sure I regularly check the status of my account online. On average, women in Australia have considerably less in their super than men. There are many reasons for this, including periods of unpaid work while caring for others. If you’re able, salary sacrificing even small amounts can help catch up, and spouses and partners may also be able to add to your super.

It’s really easy to hop online to check your super balance, investment options, insurance benefits and beneficiaries, and to make adjustments as your situation changes. It also feels great taking control of your savings. It’s your money after all!

Chiara (Office of the CEO)

I love working in super because it offers a rewarding opportunity to help individuals secure their financial futures. As a woman, our super balance is generally lower in comparison to males of the same age which is why it’s even more important for women to pay attention, gain knowledge and take control of their financial wellbeing and future. Our team at Qantas Super genuinely care about putting members’ retirement interests first and have a wealth of knowledge that they are willing to share, which is why I love working at Qantas Super.

The most important thing I’ve done to take control of my super is consolidate the various super accounts I previously held as well as review and update my insurance coverage to ensure I am on track for my future financial wellbeing. My next steps are to look at investment options and to start contributing a little extra to grow my balance!

Rita (Advice team)

Super is one of the biggest assets for most people in retirement. Working in super gives me the opportunity to help members retire comfortably through advice and engagement. I believe that living comfortably equates to good mental health as a community.

I started to be interested in my super when my super balance was low, after I stepped out of the workforce to start a family. My first step to my super journey was asking, “How do I get my super growing?” and “Who can help me?” This is when I learned I had multiple super accounts and needed to consolidate them. This was my first step in my journey to grow my super.

Simple steps to help you take control
  • Tidy up your super. Combining your super funds and finding lost super makes it easier to track your total balance and can mean you pay fewer fees overall.
  • Top up if you can. Even small amounts count towards making time and compound interest work for you.
  • Check your investment options are right for you. Make sure your money is invested in a way that considers your attitudes towards risk, your timeframe to invest, and your personal circumstances.
  • Make sure you’ve got the right amount of insuranceIf you’re over-insured, paying premiums for cover you don’t need can deplete your super balance. If you’re under-insured, you may not have enough to protect your family in the event of an unfortunate event.
  • Understand your potential entitlements. If you’re eligible for any government offsets and co-contributions then you should take advantage of them.

Remember, everyone's situation is different

As their experiences show, every person’s financial circumstances and experiences are different, and you need to consider what is right for you.

A Super Adviser can help you get started on your journey to take control of your super.

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