Early release widening gender super gap

early release gender gap

Analysis of early release superannuation applications shows a gender gap in the impact of the relief measure on the balances of women compared to men.

Women choosing to access their super early under the federal government’s COVID-19 early release scheme are seeing their superannuation balance take a greater hit compared to men, leading to a widening of the gender super gap, analysis of early release applications has revealed.

According to analysis of AMP client applications for the early withdrawal of super under the government’s coronavirus relief measure, women are, on average, withdrawing 21 per cent of their starting super balances, compared to 17 per cent for men. In addition, 14 per cent of women accessing their super early are emptying their entire super balance, compared to 12 per cent of men.

“What we’re finding from our analysis is that the early release of super is having a deeper impact on the retirement savings of women,” AMP superannuation, retirement and platforms managing director Lara Bourguignon said.

“We know that women are already behind men in a number of financial measures, including longer-term savings, retiring with 31 per cent less at retirement. This is being further impacted by their greater proportion of early super withdrawals.”

Bourguignon noted the early release super scheme was providing much-needed relief for many during the financial crisis caused by COVID-19, but pointed out the widening gender super gap as a result of the measure was further proof the pandemic was having a greater impact on women’s finances compared to men’s.

“It will be a while before the full effects of COVID-19 on women’s finances are known, but as an industry we need to support women navigating the implications of early release, help them protect their wealth and rebuild as the economy recovers,” she added.

In April, Elite Super managing director Katrina Fletcher said members withdrawing super as a result of the early release measure should be allowed to make a “COVID-19 replacement super contribution” on top of current limits after the economic situation had improved.

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