‘Grave concerns’ for women’s super initiatives

Written by Katarina Taurian Friday, 08 January 2016

A former president of the Association of Financial Advisers has suggested there are fundamental flaws in the idea of introducing new superannuation rules specifically for women.

Several submissions to the Inquiry into Economic Security for Women in Retirement have proposed reforms specifically aimed at boosting the financial prospects of women in retirement.

For example, PwC proposed that special consideration be given to single women who do not own a home to boost their economic security once retired.

“Single women, who are already likely to have much less super than men for a variety of structural reasons, are particularly vulnerable if they do not own a home. The aged pension is woefully inadequate in terms of rental assistance, equating to roughly $60 per week,” PwC said.

“Special consideration needs to be given to the economic needs of women who may find themselves in this situation in the future, and also to the needs of women who are already struggling in such circumstances right now,” PwC said.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, principal at Paramount Wealth Management, Wayne Leggett, said he is concerned by the notion of reforms which are “divisive” along gender lines.

“I have grave concerns with them introducing or attempting to introduce rules that have a sexual bias in them. I understand the logic behind it, but you don’t need to have them specifically for women,” he said.

“Don’t make it about whether it’s male or female; make it about the issues – the issues of being underpaid, or being unable to make a super contribution for an extended period of time because you’re out of the workforce.

“Make it about the issue, not about the sex, because if it becomes male versus female, it’s automatically divisive – someone is going to want to challenge – whereas making it about the issue itself addresses the problem and doesn’t give it a gender bias.”

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0 #5 Jimmy Neutron 2016-01-12 09:02
I've got a female doctor client and a stay at home dad looking after 3 kids. Shouldn't he be able to take advantage of any benefits offered to those affected by career breaks? Or is it just a lifestyle decision because he's a man?
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0 #4 Chloe Ward 2016-01-11 11:41
I agree with Wayne on making the debate about the issue rather than the gender. Don't get me wrong I'm an advocate for female equality in the financial services industry and the workplace in general, but I think categorising wage inequality and super disparities as female only issues is short sighted. Unfortunately most of the issues have traditionally effected Females, but we shouldn't discount the fact that males may have the same problems too. I think introducing gender specific rules is not an equality initiative, rather it would serve as a dividing measure between males and females and that is not something that should be evident is today's workplace.
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0 #3 Steve Blizard 2016-01-11 09:39
Yes, because if it is about "financial inequity", male models get paid substantially less than female models. Where do we draw the line here? Also, it is worth noting that the family court already fixes any retirement fund imbalances via flagging.
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0 #2 Cam 2016-01-08 13:00
One issue for women and super is they live on average 5 years more than males. Perhaps directing money to men's health so they can share the problem I one way of removing gender bias.
As both sexes can access the age pension at the same age but women live longer, is this a gender bias? Perhaps setting age pension access as a formula of longevity less say 15 years would be gender neutral. That would mean everyone's super was designed to last them on average 15 years, and Government would have some certainty about its anticipated age pension costs.
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0 #1 Cam 2016-01-08 12:54
Spot on Wayne - a male who takes time out to raise kids faces the same lower super that a woman does. As you noted, people don't have less super because they are female, its because of other issues that can affect males aswell.
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