Making a Break

How likely are you to
financially plan for your
career break?

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About the research

Rest commissioned new research*, Making a Break, to better understand the circumstances surrounding Australians taking breaks from their careers and the financial impact this has on their superannuation and retirement.

It explores the number and types of career breaks that working Australians take, including the stages of life these occur. Notably, it explores the behaviours of men and women in financially preparing for time off work and the consequences of these actions on their retirement savings.

The research revealed that two-thirds of working Australians have taken at least one career break at some stage in their working lives, with an average of 3.5 career breaks overall. Health breaks were reported as the most common reason for career breaks, particularly among men, while maternity and leave to care for children were the top reasons for women.

Just 6 per cent of women sought financial advice before taking their career break and less than one in five women made a superannuation contribution during their break.

The research also found that 53% of career breakers did not consider the long term financial impacts of their break, costing women an average super saving of nearly $160,000 +.

At Rest we want to equip women at every life stage with simple ways to maximise their super when taking a career break.

Whether career breaks are planned or come out of the blue it's important to speak with a Rest Adviser either before, during or after a career break. They can help you identify which strategies may be available to you now, that may not have been before. For instance, you may be eligible to receive the Government's co-contribution scheme or spouse contributions.

If you're having a baby or thinking about it, our simple tips and resources may also help you to plan ahead.

Kate Messenger / The Mother

Kate Messenger was working in retail when she fell pregnant at 23. This meant she had to cut back on her working hours, and needed to rely upon her husband's income to support their family. As a result, she was not receiving compulsory employer contributions. After the birth of her second child at 26, she began studying to become a pre-school teacher, and is now in a permanent part-time position, which provides regular super contributions.

Kate is now 36, and with the kids getting older, she is beginning to look towards her future, returning to full-time work and her retirement. Here, she discusses her journey, and the planning she wishes she'd done earlier, to set her up for a better retirement.

Here's what our research told us

2 in 5 (42%) career breaks taken by Australians were forced by circumstance

Home ownership

Women are 30% less likely than men to financially plan for their career break in terms of their superannuation

By retirement, men have 47% more retirement savings than women (with one career break each)

The average working woman has 4.2 career breaks; costing their retirement balance $159,590

Health breaks are the most common type of career break taken by working Australians (33%)

Women returning to work after a career break earn 29% less than their male counterparts

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