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Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Himashini Weeraratne’s tips on how women can grow their super

By Vaseline May30,2024

Himashini Weeraratne, Partner and Head of Financial Services Tax at Grant Thornton, has always been a changemaker, no matter what industry she has worked in during her career.

“I used to do law,” says Weeraratne, “and the reason I did law was to become a change maker.”

“I loved taxes, and of course tax is an amalgamation of law, accounting and commercialism of all principles. That’s when I fell in love with retirement.”

Weeraratne has more than 20 years of experience providing tax advice and compliance services to financial services providers, fund managers, managed funds, pension funds and their advisors.

Now at Grant Thornton, she says retirement won her heart because of its ability to give the best back to its members, especially women.

“Research shows that women live longer than men, which can be a challenge. Living longer means that what you have saved may not be enough for the future,” says Weeraratne.

To mitigate this, she suggests women consider working longer and moving into other careers to keep longevity in their super balance.

“Planning for longevity is critical,” she says, adding that women need higher super contributions for their longer lives and should seek professional advice and keep up to date with changes in the law that could affect their super contributions.

“Recent changes, such as catch-up payments on concessional contributions and caps, are significant and need to be understood,” she says.

All of this is especially important as women in Australia are more likely to take career breaks and work part-time, which can impact their ability to grow their superannuation balance.

“To mitigate this, consider return-to-work or part-time work programs,” she says, noting that “part-time work can also impact your retirement savings. It is therefore important to further train yourself or negotiate better positions to improve your pension. retirement savings.”

The gender pay gap is unfortunately another factor that can have a huge impact on women’s retirement savings.

Weeraratne says that “circumventing this is not only a responsibility of us, but also of employers and the government.”

“We need to lobby for policies that allow higher super guarantee rates and advocate for employer contributions, as well as tax incentives for women who work part-time or have career breaks,” she says, as these “proactive steps” can help ensure a better retirement. strategy and future savings for all women.

Every woman in Australia should remember to start early and start small when it comes to retirement savings, Weeraratne advises.

“Early savings contribute significantly to your future super performance,” she says. “Start saving consistently, and during career breaks, ask your spouse or partner for help to support your contributions.”

It’s also important to achieve small, measurable goals and educate yourself about investment options by talking to the right advisors. One way to do this is by taking advantage of employer contributions and government co-contributions if you have a low or middle income, she adds.

Preparing for unexpected events is another piece of this puzzle, as Weeraratne says “the pandemic has taught us how important it is to be aware of income protection policies and TPD insurance, which will support you when you need it.”

And finally, Weeraratne advises women to network and stand up for themselves.

“Find women like you to network with and educate yourself on the benefits and incentives available. Finances and pensions are complicated areas, so taking proactive steps, networking and joining advocacy groups can help you navigate this complex world.”

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