Archive for April, 2011

Mean medians

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Women have it pretty rough. They have to carry the baby, then push it out, they have to find a man who will not be unfaithful, and they have to juggle family and career in a way that’s acceptable to society. The statistics are against them.

At retirement, the amount that the average woman has in her super is half that of the average man. This is shocking enough ’til you look at these stats a bit closer.

If you have 10 people sitting in a room, one millionaire and 9 bankrupts, the average (mean) amount of money held by all these people is $100,000. But the median shows the amount of money the person in the middle has. Huh? Ok, your 10 people are spread out evenly across Australia from Perth (where the millionaire is) to Sydney (where the last of the bankrupts is). The median is the worth of the person who is (roughly) in Adelaide. The median tells you a bit more about the evenness of the spread – in this example the Adelaide person has $0. So if you have a small number of people with a lot of money and a large number with bugger all, the average will not show you this but the median will.

So, back to the average woman’s super balance. The median woman, at retirement doesn’t have half the average man’s amount. She doesn’t have a quarter. The median account balance for a woman at retirement is zero. Not a brass razoo. Looking at this another way, at least half of retiring women have no superannuation. Bloody scary stuff.

Does your super need some attention?