Ever wondered what superannuation is all about? Get to know your super and your future self may well thank you.
Superannuation (or super) is a compulsory scheme that helps Australian workers save to provide income for themselves in retirement.
If you earn more than $450 before tax per month, your employer must contribute 9.5% of your salary to a super fund on your behalf. This is known as the Superannuation Guarantee (SG).
Super is considered one of the most tax-effective ways to save for retirement. Generally, employer contributions and any amounts you elect to sacrifice to super from your pre-tax salary (salary sacrifice) and any returns are taxed at 15%, rather than your usual tax rate.
If you make personal contributions to super using after-tax money, no tax is applied to those contributions. While investment earnings made within super attract 15% tax.
It’s important to keep all your super in one account and know where it is. This is the easiest way to avoid extra fees and costs, as well as extra paperwork. You also eliminate the risk of losing track of accounts.
Watch your super grow and ensure your employer is making regular contributions. Most super funds have online account access, just like accessing your internet banking.
Super funds offer a range of investment options and you have the freedom to choose the option best suited to your needs. If you don’t make a choice, your money will be invested in a MySuper generic option. Either way, your retirement savings will be managed by professional investment managers.
Making additional contributions from your pre-tax or after-tax money. Even small regular contributions can make a big difference to the value of your savings in retirement.
There are also two government initiatives designed to help you save for retirement. The government co-contribution scheme and the low income super contribution scheme. Both are designed to help low to middle income earners grow their super. If you qualify, the government will contribute up to $500 on your behalf (conditions apply). See ato.gov.au/super for more information.
Insurance is an important part of your super account which provides protection for you and your family should the worst happen.
It is common for death and total and permanent disability insurance to be automatically provided with your super account and the cost of cover (the premium) deducted from your account balance. Insurance through super may be lower than insurance purchased directly from an insurer.
This depends on a lot of things and is different for everyone. Industry group ASFA* suggests you need $545,000 when you retire to maintain a comfortable lifestyle – but this may not suit everyone.
Contact your local dedicated super guru from NFF sponsor, Prime Super.
*AFSA Retirement Standard 2016
This article contains general information only and does not take account of your personal circumstances. You should obtain personal advice where appropriate. This article is current as at the date of publication and may be subject to change. Prime Super (ABN 60 562 335 823) is issued by Prime Super Pty Ltd (ABN 81 067 241 016, AFSL 219723). A Product Disclosure Statement is available from the issuer by calling 1800 675 839 or at primesuper.com.au.