Ask Paul: My partner is 15 years older - should we top up his super?


Q. I'm 31 and my partner is 46. I earn about $82,000.

After caring for our daughter for the past couple of years as a full-time dad, my partner has just started picking up some freelance work, earning about $200 a week.

With another baby on the way, we don't expect this to increase much in the next few years.

ask paul partner is older age difference top up super apartment

We have about $200 a month to spare after bills, savings and the extra $600-700 going into our mortgage each month, and I'd like to start investing this rather than just sticking it in a savings account.

Would it be wiser to buy shares in an indexed fund, or make a regular contribution into my partner's super, which is virtually zero at the moment?

I already put some extra into my super each month but considering our age difference my partner would be 80 before I reach retirement, and we'd like to be able to access the money before then. Our mortgage is $326,000 and we have no other debt. - Clare

A. Hi, Claire, I enjoyed reading your commonsense views on being in a relationship with an age difference and the need to plan to enjoy life together.

And congratulations on news of another baby. Exciting times!

I am delighted you are paying an extra $600-$700 into the mortgage each month.

Children grow up very quickly (our youngest just turned 24) and I would really like you to have the mortgage out of the way once your new baby is 18 and your partner around 64.

As I am 63, I have to say I am delighted to be one of the many people of my age full of vim and vigour and enjoying life and our adult kids.

As you will not be able to access your super in 18 years, I agree that building wealth inside your partner's super, or via a low-cost investment such as an indexed fund, makes a lot of sense. I'd have a chat to your super fund about the benefits of contributions into your partner's fund.

A combination of getting rid of the mortgage and adding to your partner's super and your share portfolio looks like a pretty good plan to me.


Paul Clitheroe AM is a respected financial adviser and Money's founder and editorial adviser. He is chair of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board, and author of several personal finance books. Click here to email Paul your money question. Unfortunately Paul cannot respond to questions posted in the comments section.
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