The average Australian has $28,426 in savings, but that varies greatly depending on age and gender, according to the latest figures.
Australians aged 56 to 74 have the most money sitting in their savings, with an average of $40,463 to their name, Finder data has revealed.
At the other end of the spectrum, Australians aged eight to 23 have the smallest sums, at $10,568.
Average savings by age
Aged 56-74: $40,463
Aged 40-55: $34,025
Aged 24-39: $22,532
Aged under 24: $10,568
Watch: How to make money in 2021.
Average savings by gender
While Australian men aged 56 to 74 have $48,644, Australian women in the same age group have a significantly smaller amount in savings: just $30,162.
And that major gap is reflected in all age groups, with women aged eight to 23 saving $7,554 to $16,349.
Australian men’s savings by age
Men aged 56-74: $48,644
Men aged aged 40-55: $41,118
Men aged aged 24-39: $26,618
Men aged aged under 24: $16,349
Australian women’s savings by age
Women aged 56-74: $30,162
Women aged 40-55: $26,436
Women aged 24-39: $18,570
Women aged under 24: $7,558
The average Australian will save $717 per month, with women saving $598 and men saving $839.
Where does the gender pay gap start?
Financial expert and founder of the Financy Women’s Index Bianca Hartge-Hazelman said the gap isn’t surprising given the higher average earnings of Australian men.
According to the Australian Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), the base salary gender pay gap is 15.5 per cent, or $15,176 per annum, and that earnings gap can start as early as women’s first job.
“What the huge disparity in those aged 8 to 23 could reflect is the fact that men are likely to start working sooner than women who are more likely to undertake formal studies,” Hartge-Hazelman said.
“We see this in trades and apprenticeships with more men doing on the job work and training than women. By contrast women are more likely to study beyond high school and seek out degrees which can restrict the amount of earnings a woman can earn until she graduates.”
Women represent 58.4 per cent of students in higher education.
Once students graduate, men’s undergraduate starting salaries are higher than women’s in 16 out of 20 fields of study.
Dentistry (23.5 per cent), architecture and building environment (12.2 per cent), agriculture and environmental studies (12.1 per cent), pharmacy (10.3 per cent) and law and paralegal studies (7.7 per cent) had the large differences in starting salaries between genders.
GPG (Gender Pay Gap).
Finder savings and super editor Alison Banney agreed that the wage gap is one of the biggest contributors to the ultimate savings gap.
She noted that women are more likely to be employed in nursing, social work and childcare.
“Professions such as these are notoriously underpaid compared to male-dominated industries like construction, mining and transport – especially as a junior or recent graduate,” Banney said.
“On top of this, women are also more likely to work part-time to juggle family commitments or take years out of the workforce to start a family.
“All of these factors can have a detrimental impact on how much women can save or add to their superannuation.”
Tips for closing the savings gap
Banney noted Finder research shows women are less inclined to negotiate their salary than men, and that it’s critical women negotiate their salary from their first job so their earnings can grow from a strong starting point.
And when it’s time for salary reviews, she suggested women come prepared with a list of their major achievements and what others in similar roles are paid elsewhere.
Additionally, she said superannuation is a great way to increase savings, as is using a high-interest savings account.
“You can do this by increasing your ongoing salary contributions, or adding the occasional lump sum [to your superannuation] at tax time,” she said.
“[And] if you can afford it, try and set aside a portion of your salary into a high-interest savings account, even if it’s only 5-10 per cent. This might not seem like a lot, but this can grow into a sizable amount over time.”
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