Miscellaneous 2020

Promoting and Protecting the Economic Outcomes of Older Partnered Women and Widows: Challenges for Australia's Retirement Income System

Source: Australian Tax Forum Journal Article

Published Date: 1 Jun 2020


Historically, retirement income policy has responded to women's relatively limited ability to secure an independent retirement income through either a state age pension or a surviving spouse benefit, payable to widows upon death of their partner. The shift towards accumulation superannuation schemes in countries such as Australia has made surviving spouse pensions less relevant and left many women financially dependent on their partner in retirement. The economic risks faced by many women within retired couple households as a result of this shift have been neglected by policy makers, at least in part because of the pervasive assumption that intra-household resource allocations are beyond the purview of government. This paper aims to address the resulting policy gap by examining two broad approaches to protect economic outcomes for partnered older women in Australia's superannuation-based retirement income system. One approach features measures aimed at enhancing women's capacity to influence decision-making on household superannuation wealth; and the other focuses on regulatory settings that can influence who owns superannuation wealth within the household. We conclude 214 (2020) 35 AUSTRALIAN TAX FORUM by identifying specific opportunities to address imbalances in the entitlements of older Australian women to the superannuation assets held in their households.

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Miscellaneous 2020

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