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Women lag in retirement savings

It is good to see this topic raised again, this is something that needs to be discussed at length and on an ongoing basis.

The NZ Herald article Women lag in retirement savings highlights some important issues.

1. While women are nearly equally represented in the number of members of KiwiSaver, Westpac reports that the average balance for women is 30% lower than that for men.  This is not surprising, given the number of women not in the workforce, working part-time,  and with lower incomes.

2. Susan St John raises the issue of future equality, and women being disadvantaged, if KiwiSaver is seen as a replacement for, or a good reason to reduce the current universal entitlement to NZ Superannuation.

At present, there is full equality in entitlement to NZ Superannuation in NZ.  You are not discriminated against based on your sex, your income or your assets, or how much you have earned during your life.  If the success of KiwiSaver (and if it becomes compulsory) is used as a reason to change this equality in the future, this is a big concern.

3. I agree with Westpac that all people aged over 18 should be trying as hard as they can to contribute the $87 a month to KiwiSaver, not just women.  This entitles KiwiSaver members to the Government matching tax credit of 50c for each $1 contributed.  This means an instant 50% return on your money.

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