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Women’s super involvement getting stronger

Women were becoming increasingly confident in taking control of their superannuation, signalling it was time for the federal government to create a legislative and regulatory environment that further encouraged them to do so, according to the SMSF Association.

Evidence was mounting women were playing a far greater role in the management of SMSFs, so it was critical for the government to facilitate that development by removing structural impediments to allow women to improve their super balances before and after retirement, SMSF Association chief executive Andrea Slattery said today.

“Measures that give women greater control of their super 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 super contributions,” Slattery said.

Further, research undertaken for the SMSF Association and Commonwealth Bank of Australia highlighted some key indicators that demonstrated women were far more involved with super than they had generally been credited for.

“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 gen Y take the initiative,” Slattery noted.

“This is what you would expect. Many women of the baby boomer and traditionalists (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.”

On the issue of who made the investment decisions, SMSFs were almost evenly split three ways: those funds where one person was the decision maker, those that were users of professional advice and those that shared the decision-making process, reflecting the growing involvement of women in the process, the research said.

“But perhaps the most significant piece of data was the statistic showing 91 per cent of all SMSFs surveyed were either very confident, 49 per cent, or somewhat confident, 42 per cent, of having sufficient knowledge to take over the sole responsibility for managing their SMSF investments,” Slattery said.

“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.”

The research showed there was widespread appreciation from many women that SMSFs were the best option to take control of their super, as evidenced by the fact 47 per cent of the more than 1 million SMSF members and trustees were women.

“Women appreciate that fact that SMSFs offer greater choice, flexibility and control to help boost their super balances,” Slattery said.

“They are also increasingly disposed to seek out specialist SMSF advice to assist them on their super journey, mindful of the complexities in all areas of overseeing an SMSF, especially when the rules are undergoing constant change.

“Our SMSF specialists have the skills to deliver these services to them.”

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