by Georja Ryan
GRAFTON mother-of-two Dale Boulton fears she won't have the comfortable retirement she once dreamed of - and she is not alone.
One in three Australian women have not one cent in their superannuation and like Mrs Boulton, brace for a hard road down the track.
"It's becoming really concerning now, especially with the politics and them wanting to increase the pension age," Mrs Boulton said.
At 36, she has two young children and, like many mothers, has held casual work throughout their upbringing, not earning enough to qualify for super, meaning no money was being put into her retirement fund.
"I did have super, but I had to dip into it in 2000-2001 and since then haven't had a job that earned
enough to contribute to super," Mrs Boulton said.
"Now, we are pretty much a single-income family as my husband works, but I don't get any family benefits or anything, so with the cost of living I just can't afford to contribute to my super on what I am earning."
A report tabled by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia found 35% of women were in the same boat.
It revealed women in the 65-69 age group were the worst affected and with the aged population set to double by 2050, could face homelessness and poverty due to inadequate savings.
There is a strong gender gap when it comes to current superannuation account balances, with women having an average of $44,866, while men have, on average, almost double this, with a balance of $82,615.
ASFA CEO Pauline Vamos said the disparity was universal across all age groups.
"The data confirms that females still have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to their superannuation savings," she said.
"We know people are time poor and for many women, who are juggling things such as work, kids and other chores, sorting out their super is the last thing they have time for.
"However, the tough reality is that around 90% of women will retire without enough in their super account to fund their lifestyle."
Make the most of your super
Here are a few tips from Money Smart:
Leave your money in your super fund until you know exactly what to do with it. Taking your money out without planning what to do might end up costing you money in tax or affect other payments you get.
Think about how you can get the most out of your super money (for example, as a super pension or a lump sum). Find out if your super fund charges fees and costs for paying out your super money in different ways.
Use the free resources available through Centrelink and ASIC to help you plan how to take out and use your super. You could also think about talking with a professional financial adviser about your situation.