Research on gender differences in KiwiSaver has thrown up some disturbing findings for women.
When it comes to balances under $5,000 women are disproportionately over-represented. And when it comes to balances over $50,000, women are significantly under-represented. Only 4% of women have balances bigger than $50K, while 13% of men do.
The disparity underscores a more general problem for female savers who still earn less (and save less) than their male counterparts.
Research also shows that men tend to contribute more than the minimum 3% into their account, that they’re more likely to know what their balance is, more likely to be in higher returning funds, and understand what they need to have saved by retirement. These are all big advantages in KiwiSaver.
When you consider that women are still more likely than men to take work breaks to raise families, that they’re more likely to live longer than men and be widowed in old age, it’s an even tougher picture.
Here are a few practical steps female KiwiSavers can take to tackle the situation:
If possible contribute a higher amount than the minimum of 3%
Minimise fees in order to maximise savings over the years.
Make sure they’re in the correct fund type for their age and risk appetite.
Make sure they contribute $1,043 annually to receive the maximum tax credit of $521. (Cut off is June 30th)
Have a plan for retirement that includes some numbers to target for 65.
Simplicity is the lowest fee provider on the market, so that’s one less concern for our female members. However, we encourage those who are raising young families and getting by on one income to ensure someone in the family is getting the member tax credits. There are some terrific tools and calculators to help you plan for retirement, including our website and at Sorted.org.nz