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Catholic Super 50th anniversary - with Regina Rowan

Fund updates | | 2 min read

Regina Rowan CS


School’s out: Former Deputy Principal retires early with Catholic Super

When Regina Rowan began her teaching career in 1979, Bee Gees were topping the charts, the Sony Walkman had just been invented and chalkboards were a mainstay of Australian classrooms.

Over four decades, Regina has seen the rise of the Internet, iPads and remote video learning. Now, Regina plans to close her schoolbooks and open a new chapter of life in retirement.

At 64, Regina is the age she had always dreamed of retiring, yet never thought it would be possible. “When I joined the workforce in 1979, women were not encouraged to save extra towards their retirement,” Regina recalls. “A lot has changed over the years when it comes to women and their finances.”

“My life until this point has been dedicated to teaching and my students, and I’ve had a long and fulfilling career. But after 43 years teaching, with 25 of those as Deputy Principal, I’m ready to prioritise myself. Now feels like the right time and, thanks to Catholic Super, I can afford to make the jump from full-time employment to full-time retirement,” said Regina.

“I’m extremely lucky to have the option of retiring at a time that feels right for me. That’s what a well-performing superannuation fund can do for some people.”

Why I turned to Catholic Super for advice

“When it comes to finance, I haven’t always been the most confident person or felt in control of my savings. Not knowing where to begin, I turned a blind eye over the years,” said Regina. “So when I started thinking about retirement in my 50s, I sought financial planning advice through Catholic Super to find out what age I might be able to retire and learn about my options.”

“The advice and support Catholic Super gave me has been invaluable. They simplified seemingly unintelligible terms, such as compound interest, and explained how they would impact me and my super. I was never made to feel silly for not knowing what was seemingly the basics.

“Catholic Super went above and beyond in not only educating me, but empowering me. As a lifelong teacher, I know only too well what a difference this approach makes to student outcomes. It was quite the experience for me, a deputy principal of 25 years, to become a student once again! My planner took the time to understand what I was prepared to risk, and what I wasn’t. Without their guidance and support, I would not be able to retire at 64.”

How Catholic Super is helping me achieve an early retirement

“When my planner said I could retire before 90, I nearly fell off my chair! Not only that, I’ve been able to pay off my mortgage much sooner than I first expected, which means going into retirement without a mortgage, a feat I never would have thought possible.

“The super contributions I’ve made in addition to my employer’s has significantly boosted my superannuation account, meaning I will be able to retire with financial stability and comfort.”

Regina says financial planning advice has made a huge difference to her savings. “I now have the confidence and financial freedom to truly enjoy my retirement, and I can’t wait. I look forward to having time to enjoy my hobbies, such as golf, reading and gardening, and also to pick up new skills and interests. I’d love to learn Italian. Italy is just one of the places I want to visit… travel will be high on my agenda. Lots of travel!”

“Mostly though, I want more time for myself while I’m still healthy, mobile and motivated enough to explore new things.”

Women’s super in the ‘80s

Reflecting on her early exposure to superannuation, Regina says she was lucky to be surrounded by women and family members that encouraged her to begin contributing to a super scheme. 

When Regina joined the workforce in 1979, there was no compulsory superannuation. “This was generally only offered to married men, with the view that women should get married, stay home and raise children. Superannuation options for women were on an opt-in basis only.”

“There really was a view that ‘wasting’ money on women for things like superannuation was pointless,” said Regina.

“Thankfully, I was lucky to be working with an enlightened Principal and Bursar, both female, who did not share these views. They encouraged me to start contributing to a super scheme at the very beginning of my career. This was echoed by my father and grandparents, who always told me to look after myself. ‘You have no idea what the future may bring’ was their mantra.”

Why I’ve been a Catholic Super member for 43 years

“Because I was working with a Catholic school, Catholic Super was the default super fund. Later on, as more superannuation choices became available to Australian workers, we were given a choice to explore alternatives but I always chose to stay with Catholic Super.

“In my 43 years as a member, the fund’s performance has been strong, and the support for members and member benefits is always there. I was impressed with the executives who headed up the fund in the 80s, and am equally impressed by the modern day leadership. I would definitely recommend Catholic Super as a fund.”

Women and finance: then and now

When it comes to women and finance, Regina has observed a huge shift over the years.

“Women are much more involved, respected and listened to these days when it comes to finance. It’s fantastic to see women heading up banking and financial institutions - you absolutely didn’t see that in the ‘70s or ‘80s!

My 19-year-old niece knows much more about finance than I ever did at her age. I believe financial literacy is just as important for women as any other type of education. If you don’t know what options and risks are out there, you can’t make informed decisions about the current and future state of your finances. What I’ve learnt through my Catholic Super planner is the financial income and decisions you make at every stage of your life, even many decades before retirement, have far-reaching implications as you enter your 60s and beyond.”

Suggestions for young Australians

Regina says young Australians would do well to “take an active interest in their finances and use tools to help calculate expenditures.”

“Young people should be aware of the importance of consolidating their balance into one super fund. It’s also very important to belong to a good super fund who can provide a dedicated support person to speak with upon joining the workforce, to help get super sorted early. Keep contributing as much as possible throughout your working life. The miracle of compound interest… is true!

With the modern challenges faced by younger Australians today, it can be challenging to save but it’s definitely possible and it starts with working out a simple budget. Putting money aside for the essentials, as well as enough to treat yourself occasionally, will give a clearer picture of the amount available to contribute to super.

Spending a little less here and there over the years to top up my super meant I can call the shots when I retire.”

Togethr Trustees Pty Ltd (ABN 64 006 964 049; AFSL 246383) the trustee of the Equipsuper Superannuation Fund (ABN 33 813 823 017) (the “Fund”). Catholic Super is a division of the Fund.

This is general information only and has been prepared without taking into account your personal investment objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed in any way as investment, legal or financial advice. You should assess your own financial situation before making a decision about your superannuation and may wish to seek assistance from a qualified financial adviser. Before you make a decision, you should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and the Target Market Determination (TMD) for the product which are available on the Catholic Super website. Personal financial advice may be provided by Togethr Financial Planning Pty Ltd (ABN 84 124 491 078; AFSL 455010), which is a related entity of Togethr Trustees Pty Ltd.

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