Study shows pessimism over women’s retirement


By Leanne Abbas

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The persistent gender pay gap combined with an overly conservative investment approach was contributing to increased pessimism among women when it came to planning for an adequate retirement, according to a new StatePlus study.

The report, conducted by polling group YouGov on behalf of the financial services firm, interviewed 1000 Australians and found 64 per cent of women believed they would struggle to achieve a comfortable lifestyle, compared to 54 per cent of men.

The research also found women were 23 per cent more likely to earn an income under $40,000, while men were more likely to earn an income of over $80,000.

Speaking to financialobserver, StatePlus head of advice Suzanne Doyle said women usually took a conservative approach when planning for their retirement because they made less money, and often believed seeking professional advice was unnecessary.

“Women are more conservative and so they might make their regular contributions into super or save money in a bank account or buy a house – keeping to those traditional assets rather than saying maybe there are some things that I can do which an adviser can help me with,” Doyle said.

“I think there’s a natural barrier there where it doesn’t matter that you don’t have a lot of money or that you bought assets – a planner is supposed to be looking at what you’ve got and what can we do with it.”

She suggested the difference in super balances between women and men due to wage disparities was a key issue for financial planners to address with their female clients.

“The thing with superannuation is a lot of it is based on the income that you make – so really some of the issues come down to the income inequality issue rather than superannuation per se,” she said.

She said attracting more female planners into the industry could also play a role in addressing the gender disparity in retirement outcomes as it could increase the number of women who sought the services of an adviser.

“I think that there’s some shared experiences that females can actually build some trust over, whether that be families, looking after young people or even parents, so seeking advice on a number of things,” she added.

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