Maitland workers are lagging behind Newcastle and the entire country when it comes to superannuation balances, new data has revealed.
The average superannuation balance in the 2320 postcode, which includes Maitland, is $129,166, Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) figures show.
That's $15,866 less than the average balance in Newcastle, $4477 less than other parts of NSW and $3480 less than the Australian average.
Each Novocastrian has, on average, $145,032 in superannuation. That's more than $12,000 higher than the rest of the country which has an average balance of $132,646.
Meanwhile, the average balance in Raymond Terrace is $129,836; Ashtonfield is $126,222; Beresfield is $108,430; Greta is $88,512 and Kurri Kurri is $87,574.
ASFA CEO Dr Martin Fahy said income levels, job stability and voluntary super contributions were the main reasons for the discrepancy between suburbs.
He said suburbs considered "more desirable to live in" also saw a rise in the average superannuation balance.
"We've seen that in Newcastle in recent years with people moving back into the city to be near the beach where property prices are higher," Dr Fahy said.
"You get a self-fulfilling prophecy of higher incomes with higher super balances moving to similar suburbs and then it exposes these contrasts in average balances."
ASFA is a not-for-profit research and advocacy body for Australia's superannuation industry. Dr Fahy said making voluntary super contributions - especially decades before retirement, would considerably lift the balance and create a more comfortable retirement.
He said employees with low incomes, inconsistent work patters and those who took time off for parental leave should put extra money aside.
A couple who own their own home need about $640,000 to have a dignified and comfortable retirement, he said. Those who will rent during retirement also need to factor in that cost.
"The good thing is if you start contributions early you get the benefit of compounding and you get the benefit of returns across the cycle.
"Maybe buy one less cup of coffee - make it in the kitchen at work instead of going and buying it and put the money aside into super. It seems like a long time away, but in 40 years time you will have a better retirement.
The amount you earn, how consistently you earn and how long you've been earning it for all have impacts on your balance.
Self-employed workers are also urged to make extra contributions.
Dr Fahy said residents should make sure they only have one superannuation account and check their position annually.
"Check the fees you are paying ... if you feel your fees are too high then move funds. Once a year do your life administration. Go online and check your super balance, check that it makes sense, that you've got contributions from the work that you have done," he said.
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