Catholic Super 50th anniversary – with Lisa Taylor

The primary school teacher with plans to ‘give something back’ in retirement

Over four decades of teaching literacy at a primary school level, Camberwell resident Lisa Taylor has observed a seismic shift in the views held by her students.

“Young Australians today are incredibly in tune with social matters. They are extremely passionate and vocal about matters such as children’s rights and the future of our environment. They want to drive positive change,” tells Lisa.

“There are many role models that young people can look up to, like Greta Thunberg and Australia’s Molly Steer, a ten year old Queensland girl who helped convince her local government to phase out using plastic straws. These campaigners show them that anyone can make a positive difference to the world, regardless of age.

“It’s really moving to see how much the younger generation cares about issues larger than themselves, but it’s also a telling sign of how much work remains to be done in our communities. It makes me want to do more and make a positive contribution to my local area.”

Inspired by her students’ commitment to social change

Lisa spent fifteen years as a deputy principal before deciding to return to the classroom. “I teach literacy to prep, first grade and second grade students, and reading recovery to students who need extra help in that area. I came back to the classroom because I missed being a first hand part of the learning process – the reason I became a teacher in the first place.”

Lisa says her students’ impressive commitment to community contribution over the years has inspired her to ‘give something back’ as she approaches her retirement. “I’ve had a great career which I’m very thankful for, but it’s time to take a page out of my students’ book and do more for my community. With the support of Catholic Super, I plan to retire in the next two years and will be able to make proper time for community contributions,” said Lisa.

Once a teacher, always a teacher

Using her skill set in literacy, Lisa wants to volunteer by tutoring adults from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. “I want to provide people, particularly those who may not come from English-speaking families, with the language skills needed to reach their full potential in Australian society.”

“I also plan to volunteer for my local council and assist non-profit organisations where possible. Most of all, I’m looking forward to having the time to help my family members who need that extra support, and spending more time with my grandchild, nieces and nephews.

“My husband and I want to also travel while we are fit enough to do so, and get back into hobbies like hiking and golfing. I believe retirement should be a healthy balance between having more time to yourself, while finding time to contribute to the community that helped build your life and career.”

Lisa’s path to retirement

“I’ve been a Catholic Super member for my entire career, about 40 years. My husband works in the corporate superannuation sector,” said Lisa, “and he always recommended Catholic Super due to the fund’s strong performance, considered investment options and excellent support for members.”

“Catholic Super has been proactive in communicating important information to members, and have been aware of my changing circumstances over time, such as taking time off when pregnant. The fund has provided useful and relevant advice on managing and achieving my retirement goals, even when it was a long way off.

“Over the decades, the most useful advice provided by Catholic Super’s online resources and staff has been around investments. The flexibility to contribute more toward investments, or dial it back, has helped me grow and optimise my super balance over time.

“I’ve used Catholic Super’s support and advice in conjunction with making voluntary contributions throughout my career, always thinking toward my retirement goals. I’ve probably spent twelve months out of the workforce during my career, due to having two children, and worked part-time at stages. I stopped making contributions during these times but resumed once the kids grew up and we had more financial freedom. These contributions have made benefits greater at the end of the road.”

Suggestions for young Australians

“I have friends and colleagues my age who turned a blind eye to their super over the years, ones who have never looked into it or made contributions on top of their employers’. They definitely regret this upon approaching retirement, wishing they’d paid it more attention… being financially restricted reduces your amount of options and can impact your overall quality of life,” said Lisa.

“To younger Australians, I say it’s never too early to start thinking about your super – start as soon as possible! If you’re new to the workforce, make sure you research the super fund you choose to ensure you’re getting the best return possible. Start thinking about how much you are prepared to contribute each paycheck, on top of your employer contributions – don’t just sit by and let it all happen.

“Making small, regular contributions will provide significant long-term reward. Perhaps later on in your career, consider making contributions via salary sacrifice – if that’s something that works for you. I did for most of my career, and it paid off.”

Women and superannuation: then and now

“The beauty of primary school children lies in their endless aspirations and open mind, somewhat oblivious to social expectations we come to recognise in later life. It’s not until kids start to become more involved with society that they become more aware of their peers and the world around them.

“There is incredible pressure on young females today, compared to when I began teaching in the ’80s. With this however, comes opportunity to seize possibilities and take hold in areas of life women traditionally didn’t have much control over.

“Finances and superannuation, for example, were typically a male’s domain. Nowadays however, females are more career-driven and generally play a much bigger role in household finances.

“While there has been a positive shift in this direction, I believe there’s still a lot of work to be done. Women need to know what options are available to them when it comes to superannuation, and the importance of thinking about retirement goals from day one of their career.

“I can’t wait to put into practice the wonderful things my students have taught me. I’ll miss teaching dearly but I know it’s the right time to embark on this new chapter of life in retirement.”

/Public Release. View in full here.