Women are struggling to put enough aside for retirement

RETIREMENT is supposed to be a time to relax and enjoy life, but for more and more Australian women that is not going to be possible.

Sandra Bell has worked hard all her life, and at 68, she is still going.

"My plan was that once I retired probably at 65, I would have done some travelling, I would have been able to spend more time with my grandchildren, I would have been able to help them financially, and that's nowhere near what the situation is," she told 7.30.

Ms Bell is among a growing number of Australian women who will not have the funds to retire comfortably, and will be forced to work well beyond retirement age.

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On average, Australian women retire with about half as much superannuation as men.

The growing crisis is the subject of a Senate inquiry, which is due to table its report next week.

An analysis of Australian Tax Office data conducted by Industry Super Australia shows the gender gap is widest for women on the lowest incomes.

For workers earning less than $18,200 a year, men, on average, have super balances of just over $113,000, compared with just under $80,000 for women.

Even more startling, the analysis shows 70 per cent of single women rely on the pension and 40 per cent of all retired single women live below the poverty line.

According to Jo-Anne Schofield, the national secretary at the union United Voice, there are a number of reasons for that.

"Women face a double whammy in the labour market," she said.

"They work in sectors that are highly feminised where work is undervalued, so their ability to accumulate super is already difficult.

"As well as that, they take periods out of work to bring up children or increasingly to care for older relatives so that places them at a further disadvantage."

Key points

·         70 per cent of all retired single women live on the pension

·         40 per cent of retired single women live below the poverty line

·         Women earning less than $18,200 per year have, on average, less than $80,000 in superannuation

As reported by the ABC. 

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