If you’re a woman in New Zealand – I want to talk to you about YOUR retirement and YOUR KiwiSaver.
Our Superannuation age will rise to 67 over the next 20 years.
An ageing population means we are fast reaching the dire situation of having fewer people in work than we do not working.
I think we can all agree that change is needed.
Is Raising the Age for Superannuation Universally the Answer?
My opinion is that raising the age to 67 will impact most negatively on those who have the least ability to save for their own retirement.
I want to talk about the impact on women specifically.
And the fact that women lose out hugely in terms of retirement wealth within our current system.
Motherhood is still not considered in GDP calculations. Those who carry out unpaid household work are classed as dependents.
This undermines the economic contribution of women, who contribute most heavily to the upbringing and well-being of the next generation.
Consider that women are responsible for 65% of the unpaid work in NZ (this includes raising children and caring for sick or ageing family).
Most women tend to do this while they’re of working age. It’s clear that the odds are unfairly stacked when it comes to the ability to save for retirement.
The KiwiSaver Disadvantage.
Almost 85% of sole parents in NZ are women and many won’t have the extra funds to pay into their KiwiSaver, even if they are working.
It’s a sad reality that NZ’s retirement savings gender gap just keeps getting bigger.
ANZ Bank is the largest scheme in NZ, and they recently reported that the average balance of a woman in KiwiSaver is 19 per cent lower than a man’s.
A year ago, women were 15 per cent behind.
When the gender pay gap is also added, you can clearly how women are disadvantaged in building their nest egg on multiple levels.
We can’t begin to address the gender inequality in the tools provided to save for retirement until we are prepared to fully recognise the contribution of unpaid work to society.
Don't Be An Ostrich!
I meet lots of women who stick their heads in the sand when it comes to their retirement savings.
Many women are confident that they’ll have their partner’s fund to back them up later in life.
In NZ we have a 50% divorce rate, and I find it terrifying that so many women are pitching their retirement hopes on money which isn’t legally theirs.
My Plea to NZ Women:
If you’re a woman and you’re not paying into your KiwiSaver, because you’re not employed or because you’re self-employed, start now!
If you contribute $20 per week you will also receive the member tax credit of $521 per year.
It’s a start.
The system is unfair and unbalanced and it’s not getting better.
I urge you to do whatever you can to plan for your own financial future, independently.