When I’m not sitting at home reading my copy of SuperSplitting for Family Lawyers, I occasionally frequent the local pub for a couple of (non-alcoholic) beverages. One thing I have noticed is that when the ladies at this fine establishment find out I work with superannuation, they can’t keep their hands off me, and can’t get enough of the advice and information I have about super. – I’ve taken to taking a pointy stick with me to keep them away! Don’t know what it is but they just can’t get enough of my Superannuation advice!

Sadly this isn’t completely true – BUT it should be, at least in part.
The truth is that the fairer sex have it far worse of when it comes to super than their male counterparts. The problem is that the majority of women face four problems in relation to their super:
1. their careers can be characterized by a pattern of broken periods of employment caused by childcare responsibilities;
2. when women do return to work it is often on a part-time basis;
3. they are generally paid less than men; and
4. they live for longer than men.
However, there are things women can do to offset these disadvantages.
The primary thing that women can do is to raise their contributions and raise them earlier in their careers. The research (Basu Drew (2009) ‘Gender and Super’ The Australian Economic Review, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 177–89) shows that women who contribute more to their super earlier in life can overcome the hurdles faced by the gaps in their employment.
Another beneficial strategy is increasing the aggressiveness of your investments within the fund. This may depend on your money personality and whether you are comfortable with a more aggressive investment strategy. The research once again shows that, when coupled with increased contributions, aggressive funds tend to perform much better over larger amounts of time.
The last thing we can say is to be aware of your super, and that of your spouse, if you’re involved in a family law dispute. If you weren’t already aware, in family law your super gets thrown in the mix for division along with the rest of your assets. It is not uncommon to see a trade off to settle a family law matter by leaving the super alone or taking a lesser cut of the super.
What is happening in the family law matters is that the immediate needs are given a greater priority than the long term savings. And watch out for tricks such as dividing the super by only taking a bit of what accumulated during the marriage relationship. This does not accurately reflect the settled position of the law. Everything is on the table and if there have been broken work patterns and child care responsibilities, this can in fact mean you should have more than 50% of the total superannuation.
So with all this in mind, I leave you with this comment: chicks SHOULD dig super. If you’re interested in keeping your current lifestyle through retirement you should start actively thinking about your super as soon as possible.