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Catholic Super 50th anniversary - with Jeanette Sands

Fund updates | | 2 min read


From delivering babies to raising savings: Midwife urges Australians to be financially aware

Jeanette has dedicated most of her life to bringing others into the world.

Delivering babies as a midwife for more than four decades and with two children and three grandchildren of her own, Jeanette has seen the ups, downs and in-betweens of life across several generations. Now, Jeanette has plans to create the best version of her own life... in retirement.

At 65, Rockhampton resident Jeanette will hang up her nursing uniform next year to make way for the retirement she’s always dreamed of, with an important message for Australians: it’s never too early (or late) to start thinking about your financial future.

Ahead of her time

“I’m lucky to have been employed ever since leaving school at 18 to become a nurse. There is always work to be done in the healthcare industry,” said Jeanette.

“Back in the ‘70s however, even women who were in the workforce were not expected to manage their money, or have much of an understanding of finances once married. That was typically the responsibility of their male counterparts.”

“Thankfully, I didn’t take on this view which I can attribute to my parents’ upbringing. As graziers who lived through terrible droughts, which can leave you without income for long periods, my family knew the significance of financial burdens and finances were strictly managed – usually by my mother.”

“I leant from this and have since closely monitored my expenses, savings and super balance. Without that awareness, and without making super contributions throughout my career, I may not be in the financially independent position I am today.”

Why Jeanette has been a Catholic Super member for 33 years

“I joined Catholic Super in 1988, shortly after the Australian government introduced mandatory super contributions. I’ve had opportunities to switch funds over the years but decided to stay with Catholic Super, as they’ve always provided great guidance and support, advising me on where to invest my earnings.”

“Investments can be unpredictable, so it's important to be with a fund that allows you to choose investment options based on your lifestyle stage. Catholic Super's guidance on how to monitor investment trends and my return rates have helped me grow my savings over the years. I now have a decent nest egg for retirement.”

Jeanette’s plans for retirement

Jeanette’s motto has always been to ‘live within your means’. “My advice to anyone is to live comfortably but always think ahead when it comes to finances. It’s useful to ask yourself, ‘what luxuries am I spending on that could be saved to improve finances.’”

When Jeanette retires, she plans to review annual finances and keep track of her super to provide a comfortable lifestyle. “Travelling, camping and bushwalking are on the list but it will mostly be nice to spend more time with those important to me.”

“I look forward to seeing friends more often and being involved in the lives of our wonderful children and grandchildren. I also can’t wait to have more time for myself - reading books, looking after my garden and catching up on arts and crafts.”

“My decision to retire hasn’t been an easy one to make. I love my job and care a lot about the people I’m able to help and my wonderful colleagues, but I know it’s the right time for me.”

Women and finance: then and now

Thanks to the experts at Catholic Super monitoring investment markets[2]  round the clock, Jeanette feels comfortable knowing her investments are in good hands – because investments, like life, can be unpredictable.

“I’ve seen women forced to become financially independent without much warning. This can be due to divorce or separation, or suddenly needing to solely support their spouse or children.”

Over the years, Jeanette has seen a significant change in the relationship women have with their finances over the decades. “I believe financial management has become more of an equal responsibility across Australian households, which is great to see.”

“In my view, it’s very important to be financially independent, regardless of gender - men shouldn’t hold full control of household finances like they generally used to. Women should have just as much financial security as men because they could end up needing it.”

Jeanette’s suggestions for young Australians

Jeanette says when it comes to building a secure financial future, the most important place to start is by choosing a good super fund.

While I‘m happy with Catholic Super, it’s important to do your own research. Reach out to your friends and family and spend time comparing fees, investment options and return rates across the leading funds.

“Make sure your chosen fund provides support and guidance so you are able to make informed decisions about where your income is going. You will thank yourself in later life for taking these early steps.

“I find it's trickier these days to be across all of your expenses, with electronic accounts, direct debit and bank cards. When I started working, I would receive a literal pay packet with cash inside - that really made you think about where your money was going!

“Given the automated nature of the world now, it’s crucial to track your expenses and have a strong understanding of your current and future financial situation. Be aware that the future can throw unexpected curveballs, and have enough money tucked away for emergencies.

“Fortunately, most of my emergencies have been relatively small but it was still necessary to have savings to prevent creating debt.”

Financial education should start from an early age

Jeanette says it’s never too young to start thinking about building a strong and secure financial future.

“I believe school students should receive the basics of a financial education well before they join the workforce. This is particularly important for young women while there is still a gender pay gap in Australia.”

According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the gender pay gap in Australia is currently 14.2% with women earning an average of $261.50 less per week than their male counterparts.

“It’s important to mitigate this imbalance by developing an understanding of budgeting as early as possible, voluntarily contributing to super and having a long-term view about how to achieve financial security in retirement. These are all things my Catholic Super financial planner helped me with.

“School students should be taught the basics such as how to track and plan expenses, how to consolidate super accounts to avoid unnecessary fees, and the benefits of nominating a preferred fund once they do start working.

“Later on, a great way for young Australians to learn more about super can be the online resources available to them through most super funds, and government websites relating to superannuation. Funds like Catholic Super also have extremely helpful staff available to speak with over the phone to answer any questions members may have. There are also easy-to-use online resources that members can access.

“I trust that Catholic Super will continue to support my plans for retirement by helping me set up a pension account tailored to my lifestyle and needs. To young Australians, I say, ‘Work hard, save hard and enjoy every step along the way’!”

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