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Breaking the mould

Date: Dec 12th, 2013

Today’s modern family is almost unrecognisable from traditional households, according to the latest AMP.NATSEM report. 1

Life is more complex, family structures are more varied and the challenges of the modern age are placing ever greater pressure on the way we live. Today’s modern family usually starts with a couple living together before marriage, perhaps deciding to delay having children. And when they do start a family, while it’s more common for women to be the primary carer, most mothers will quickly return to work, at least part-time.

  • We’re having children later

First time mothers are on average 29 years old, compared to 30 years ago when they were just over 25. And almost one in four babies are born to mums aged 35 or over.

  • More women are in the workforce

More than half a million, or one in four Australian households, now have a female as their major breadwinner—140,000 more households than 10 years ago.


  • More children are in new family structures

Blended and step-families now make up almost 11 per cent of Australian families with dependent children, compared to 6.8 per cent in 1986.

  • Our marriages are lasting longer…

Divorce rates in Australia have stabilised at 2.2 divorces per 1,000 people and marriages are lasting longer—on average 12 years, up from 10 years in 1991.

  • …and we’re becoming more tolerant

The number of same-sex couples has increased 72 per cent in 10 years, with most of this growth coming from non-metropolitan areas. This significant increase is likely to be driven by same-sex couples being more comfortable about disclosing their relationship.

Changing families, changing finances

It’s important to take into account your family structure when you’re managing your finances.

If you’re the breadwinner, you should check you’re receiving a super boost. From 1 July 2013, the amount your employer is required to pay into your super increased to 9.25 per cent. Check your latest super statement or log in to My Portfolio to find out whether you’re getting the correct super payments.

If you have some disposable income to play with, you may want to put more money towards your super. You can put up to $25,000 of your pre-tax salary (including the super contributions your employer makes on your behalf) into your super at the concessional tax rate of 15% 2.

If you’re expecting an addition to your family, you should review your insurance. If something happened to you, could your family pay the bills, cover the mortgage and put food on the table? Our life insurance calculator can help you work out how much cover you may need. And don’t forget to keep your beneficiaries up to date so your benefits go to the right people.

If you’re taking time off to start a family, you should take advantage of every tax break out there. Whether you’re married, de facto or in a same-sex relationship, there’s a tax offset for couples when the higher earner makes extra contributions to their spouse’s super from their after-tax income. It’s a great way to boost your combined super, reduce your tax bill and build up your retirement nest egg 3.

Want to know more?


What you need to know

Any advice in this document is general in nature and is provided by AMP Life Limited ABN 84 079 300 379 (AMP Life). The advice does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of this advice having regard to those matters and consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about the product. AMP Life is part of the AMP group and can be contacted on 131 267. If you decide to purchase or vary a financial product, AMP Life and/or other companies within the AMP group will receive fees and other benefits, which will be a dollar amount or a percentage of either the premium you pay or the value of your investments. You can ask us for more details.

1 Cassells R, Toohey M, Keegan M, and Mohanty I (2013), ‘Modern Family: The changing shape of Australian families’, AMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report Issue 34, October.

2 This applies to those earning less than $300,000. For those earning above $300,000, the concessional tax rate is 30%.

3 Conditions apply – for more information, call AMP on 131 267 or speak to your financial planner.

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