Research indicates that women are increasingly taking control of their superannuation, but it is still imperative that the government removes legislative and regulatory barriers, according to the SMSF Association.
According to research conducted for the SMSF Association and the Commonwealth Bank, women are “far more involved with their superannuation than they have been generally credited with,” said SMSF Association CEO Andrea Slattery. This is “especially” the case for women with SMSFs.
“Although it shows more men than women are likely to initiate the establishment of an SMSF, when you dig deeper into the statistics it shows the disparity is narrowing as more women from Gen X and Y take the initiative.”
“This is what you would expect. Many women of the Baby Boomer and Traditionalist (over 70) generations lacked the opportunity to have the career focus of the younger generations, who now have the confidence and education to take control of their retirement income strategies.”
Slattery said one of the most significant statistics was that 91% of all SMSF trustees surveyed were either ‘very confident’ or ‘somewhat confident’ of having sufficient knowledge to take over sole responsibility for managing the investments in their SMSF.
“I take great heart from this figure. It suggests to me that the decision-making in SMSFs is far more collective than is reflected in the raw numbers, and that women have the confidence to take control of the fund in the event of divorce, separation or death.”
However Slattery also said it is imperative that the government takes advantage of this growing interest by women in their superannuation by creating the right regulatory framework, which will help narrow the superannuation savings gender gap.
“Measures that will give women greater control over their superannuation include extending the benefits of the low income tax offset, the ability to carry forward unused concessional contribution caps, removing the ‘work test’ for people aged 65 to 74 and abolishing the ‘10 per cent rule’ for personal deductible superannuation contributions.”
Several of these changes are currently government policy, though the repeal of the ‘work test’ has been dropped and the carried forward concessional contributions cap has been delayed by a year – if it is legislated as drafted.