Gender disaster: women retiring with 40% less

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Women are being left out in the cold with 40% less to retire on than their male counterparts, partly due to a lack of access to quality advice.

Ahead of tomorrow’s international women’s day, MLC has raised the issue to generate awareness about the importance of superannuation and the amount of saving women will need in retirement.

Financial advisers have an opportunity to change these statistics, spokeswoman Lara Bourguignon told Wealth Professional.

“It’s an enormous opportunity for advisers to build trust about something that’s a huge asset,” she said. “It’s about being flexible, so potentially being available on a lunch break or after work, and it’s about initiating the conversation in a way that’s not overwhelming.”

The huge superannuation disparity is caused in part by women taking more time out from work than men to raise children or to look after elderly parents, but gender-based salary inequalities still have a lot to answer for, Bourguignon said.

“We see fabulous gender equality around our graduates and middle management, but there’s a drop-off we haven’t quite cracked at senior management level.”

The consequences of the superannuation disparity, hand-in-hand with the fact that women are outliving men, mean that quite simply many are not going to have enough money to retire with.

“Really what we want to do is generate a call to action. Financial information can be overwhelming, especially if you have children to look after, but we have free phone-based advice and access to holistic advice,” said Bourguignon.

The Association of Financial Advisers’ Inspire initiative (AFA inspire) is also throwing support behind the issue in order to encourage women in the wider community to seek financial advice for a more secure future.

Chair Deborah Kent is encouraging women to review their plans for retirement now, even if it is still many years ahead.

“We have seen female financial advisers, like those on the AFA inspire committee, who have shown tremendous leadership in developing their financial advice offerings,” she said.

These comments, and international women’s day, come just a week after the death of the ‘first lady of Australian financial planning’, Gwen Fletcher, who inspired many and was widely recognised as one of the pioneers of financial planning in Australia.

Fletcher died peacefully last Friday at the age of 94.

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