Following the game-changing shake up of the superannuation system that is promising to save young workers as much as $407,000 over their lifetime, we look at the five things you need to do about your super right now.
1. Check you are being paid the correct amount/ at all
If you have doubts about whether you are being paid the correct amount of super, use the ATO’s tool to estimate how much your employer should be paying. Speak to your employer and ask how much they’re paying, how often they’re paying it and which fund they are paying it into, then confirm by checking your super fund member statements. If it still seems like you’re not getting your fair share, lodge an enquiry with the ATO.
2. Find out how many accounts you have and merge them
This is one of the biggest issues with the current super system, and most workers don’t even realise they’re losing thousands of dollars across their working lifetimes. If you have more than one account, which is quite likely if you have worked for more than one employer in life, you will be paying multiples of all the fees associated with super accounts, which will be slowly draining accounts of your hard earned money. Use the ATO online services through myGov to see details of all your super accounts and consolidate them into one of your choice. It should be simple, but even if it’s not, persist until they’re all merged.
3. Look at what fees you are paying
On the subject of fees, look at what you are paying on your super account. The administration fee covers the cost of the administration of your account and is probably charged as a percentage of your balance. The management expense ratio is charged by your super fund manager for managing your investment, and is likely also charged as a percentage. The performance fee is charged if the fund manager exceeds their target performance for the year. Other fees can include the contribution fee charged by your financial advisor, an establishment fee, a termination fee, a switching fee or a withdrawal fee. These fees vary across different funds and can make a huge difference to your super balance over your lifetime. Compare super funds and see which one has the lowest fees – the lower the fees, the higher the amount available for investment.
4. Have a look at the highest performers
There are more than 40,000 super funds, according to Productivity Commission deputy chief Karen Chester, which makes it difficult to choose the one you want, but several superannuation researchers release an annual ranking showing the top performers each year. It’s worth having a look at their performance over several years, taking their fees into account, and seeing whether it would benefit you to move your super.
5. Top up your super
The average super balance for Australians between 30 and 34 years old is $38,665, so if yours is looking a little low you might want to top it up. Consider salary sacrificing, a personal tax-deductible contribution or an after tax contribution. Also, if you’re a low or middle-income earner, you may be eligible for contributions from the government when you add after-tax money to your super.