Will the current superannuation arrangements in Australia provide adequate retirement incomes for women? To address this question, this paper provides estimates of how much superannuation low, medium and high income women can expect to accumulate over their working lives. The estimates are based on 1995 income data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The lifetime inflation-indexed pension which could be purchased with this amount of superannuation is then calculated and compared with the present value of the age pension. The analysis shows that many women will derive little benefit from superannuation. Even if they are in paid work continuously for forty five years, women at the lowest end of the income range are likely to accumulate a retirement income less than the current age pension. Breaks from paid work, especially during a woman’s early or late twenties, will reduce many women’s retirement incomes from superannuation to below the age pension. Those women who do not begin superannuation contributions until after the age of thirty are particularly disadvantaged. In particular, the accumulated superannuation of women who begin contributing at the age of forty is unlikely to produce an income higher than the age pension, even for high income women.
7th Australian Women’s Studies Association Conference