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  • Super

    Your super is your future. The superannuation choices you make today will help shape your lifestyle in retirement. We can help you get your super sorted now so you maximise your super savings for when you retire.

    What is super

    Super, or superannuation, is important because the more you save, the more money you will have in retirement. Super is a long-term investment which grows over time.

    For most people, super begins when you start work and your employer starts paying a percentage of your salary or wages into a super fund account for you.

    Your super fund invests and manages this money for you until you retire.

    Why you need to manage your super

    The earlier you learn about what you are entitled to, what your employer needs to pay, and limits that apply, the better off you will be when you retire.

    Adding a little extra, choosing a fund whose investment strategies align with your circumstances and checking how much you are paying in fees and charges will help your super grow over your whole working life. The YourSuper comparison tool will help you compare MySuper products and choose a super fund that meets your needs.

    What you may need to do

    At different times in your life there are important decisions you can make that will greatly impact your retirement savings. From choosing the right fund to managing the number of funds you have and increasing the amount you put away, these are all decisions you can make to maximise your super.

    Find out about:

    Starting your first job

    For most people, your first job is where your super will begin and you will need to make some decisions to get your super started.

    Most people can choose the fund their super goes into. You can do so by using a Superannuation standard choice form (NAT 13080) when you start a new job. You should discuss your eligibility to choose a fund and this form with your employer.

    The YourSuper comparison tool helps you choose a super fund by displaying MySuper products ranked by fees and net returns. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC's) Moneysmart website also provides information on what to look for when comparing and choosing a fund at Moneysmart – choosing a super fundExternal Link.

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    If you don't (or can't) choose your own super fund, your employer will pay your super into a super account for you.

    You should provide your tax file number (TFN) to your employer and super fund. If you don’t, your super fund may take extra tax out of your super contributions and will not be able to accept your personal contributions.

    Where you have an income but no employer to pay super for you (for example, if you're self-employed), you could open a super account and start your super savings.

    If you are a temporary resident starting work in Australia, you may also be entitled to super.

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    Changing jobs

    When you change jobs, if eligible you will again be given the option to choose your own super fund. This is a good time to review your current super fund and consider whether you are happy with its fees, fund performance and investment strategies. Use the YourSuper comparison tool to help you compare MySuper products or see MoneysmartExternal Link for more information on choosing a super fund

    If you’ve already had a few jobs you may have other super accounts. You can save money on fees by combining your super into one account. A good place to start is to check your super using ATO online services through myGov. From there, you can find and transfer your super to consolidate your accounts.

    Before consolidating, check with your fund to see if there are any exit fees or if you will lose any valuable insurance. For more information, see Moneysmart External Link– insurance through super.

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    Keeping track of your super

    You may be at a point where you are happy with your current super fund and feel that there is no further action for you to take. However, there are occasions where there may be super being held for you that you don't know about, for example if it has been lost or forgotten about.

    You can log in to ATO online services through myGov to keep track of your super. You can see the super accounts held for you, and whether we are holding any super for you. You can also consolidate these into your preferred super account

    Keeping track of your super will help you maximise the amount available to you when you retire. You should also regularly check:

    • your payslips and super fund statements – make sure your employer is paying the right amount of super for you
    • your super statement – track your super and see how much you are paying in fees and charges
    • for options to add more money to your super and any limits that apply.

    MoneysmartExternal Link – super contributions has some good tips for keeping track of your super over the course of your working life.

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    Adding to your super

    Making extra contributions is a great way to boost your retirement savings. It could also help you reduce your tax. You may have different options depending on your age, how much you want to put in and your super balance.

    Some of the main ways you can personally make extra contributions include:

    Before you make decisions about your super, you need to understand what’s best for you. This will depend on your income and personal circumstances.

    It's important to consider any consequences of making super contributions as too much super can mean extra tax.

    In some circumstances the government can also make additional contributions to your super as a:

    You don't need to apply for these government super contributions. We will work out if you are eligible. If your fund has your TFN, we will pay it straight into your super fund account.

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    Accessing your super early

    You can generally only withdraw your super when you reach retirement. It is illegal to access super early without meeting a condition of release. Fees and penalties will apply for doing so.

    Be cautious of promoters and scammers who claim to offer early access to super and may ask for your personal information. If you are approached by someone about a scheme, phone us on 13 10 20 immediately to seek advice and protect your super. You can also check if your adviser is a registered tax practitioner at tpb.gov.auExternal Link.

    You may be able to access your super early in the following types of circumstances and if you meet certain requirements, where you:

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    Retiring

    Reaching retirement age is a huge milestone. After years of contributing, this is the time where you can finally begin to access your hard-earned super.

    There are rules around withdrawing and using your super. Severe penalties and fees apply for accessing it illegally. It's important you are confident you meet the requirements before you access your super.

    At this point you should also consider how tax will apply to your super benefits. This will depend on a number of different factors, such as your age and whether your super comes from a taxed or untaxed source.

    In retirement you may also think about downsizing your home and choosing to contribute some of the proceeds from the sale to your super.

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    Authorised by the Australian Government, Canberra 

     

    Last modified: 01 Jul 2021QC 23212