Caroline's story: Accessing the benefits of super

Health concerns and a career change drove Caroline to better understand the benefits provided through super, and prioritise a plan for the future. These are lessons she hopes many people, particularly women, who move in and out of the workforce can learn from.    

Caroline Toyer knew the decision to slow things down and regain her health would come at some cost. Three years ago, the Townsville working mum was struggling with debilitating pain from hip dysplasia. After years of coping with the condition - which is the most common cause of hip arthritis in young women^ - she decided to take control and opted for medical help.  

“I ended up in quite a bit of pain and had to have major surgery to correct it to preserve my hip joints for as long as possible and hopefully avoid a hip replacement later,” Caroline says.  

The surgeries were intensive and required Caroline to be fully committed to recovery, meaning she ultimately had to resign from her customer service job.   Caroline was aware that when she joined AustralianSuper, income protection insurance was provided through super. Navigating this benefit was a simple process for her.

“It was a matter of contacting the AustralianSuper team and finding out whether I may be eligible, looking at the criteria and determining what I needed to do. They were very helpful.”

Caroline sitting

She was able to draw on this while she rested and rehabilitated – something she is very grateful for.  

“It was extremely helpful in the fact that I could focus on my health and my recovery and not worry about how I would have an income during that process,” Caroline recalls.  

Fully recovered, Caroline has opted for a career change and is studying to become a personal trainer to help others regain their health and happiness. But the mother of one has also returned to the workforce on a part time basis.  

Through these job changes, Caroline makes a point of looking at her super on a yearly basis to see how it’s tracking.

“I do think that I should be doing extra to help my super, especially having been out of the workforce for a period of time and not having super paid into it. I have looked at fees and I've looked at other funds when I've changed jobs. But I stay with AustralianSuper.”

Between all of the flux, one thing remained constant – Caroline’s desire to stay in control of her finances. She is now concentrating on saving money to build their new home in Townsville but hopes to be able to contribute more to her super in the future.  

“I will be looking at speaking to my employer to have extra deductions taken from my pay automatically before it even comes into my account. So, in that way, I don't miss it because it's not coming into my account. It’s already gone into my super.”  

In the meantime, Caroline’s prepping for her upcoming wedding, finalising her personal training certifications, getting settled into her new home, and enjoying all that Townsville has to offer.  

“We're liking it, and everyone’s really friendly. It's not as busy as being in one of the capital cities, and it’s a nice change of pace.”

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References:

^ International Hip Dysplasia Institute

Disclaimers:

The views expressed in this article are those of the member and not AustralianSuper. The member made their comments based on their particular circumstances. You should think about your own financial situation and needs and consider obtaining financial advice before making any financial or investment decision.

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