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Australia’s superannuation is renowned as one of the best retirement programs in the world. The scheme entitles all employees in Australia to retirement savings as part of their salary and offers an accessible way to make personal contributions to your retirement fund.
The trade-off with Super being so automated and easy is that many Australians won’t take the extra time to actually track their account and maximise their savings. Indeed, many Australians don't know what is going on with their Super at all. Here are five things everyone should know:
1. SMSFs are great, but you should get expert help
Especially popular with businesspeople, Self-Managed Super Funds are a great option if you want more control over your investment options. If you choose the self-managed route, it’s a good idea to get expert support from an SMSF Accountant. These professionals can help you customise your fund according to your goals and remain confident that everything is correctly managed.
2. Employers do make mistakes with super payments
Superannuation contributions are deducted from your salary every week or fortnight and should be visible on your payslip. It makes sense to assume that your Super is being paid correctly, especially when you are receiving your income to your bank account as expected. However, employers are not exempt from making mistakes.
A few times a year, contact your fund provider or the ATO to review your history and make sure your super payments are being made. If you notice your employer has missed any payments, follow up with them to see if you can reach a compensation agreement. If this is to no avail, report your employer to the ATO as they will be able to organize the collection of your unpaid super.
3. You might have multiple super funds and not know it
There are billions of dollars in unclaimed super languishing in forgotten accounts at this very moment. These forgotten funds have been left to accrue interest over time, and most people have no idea that they are a part of this statistic.
To double-check that you are not missing out on all the superannuation you’re entitled to, head to the ATO website and follow the instructions to find your Super. If you find that you do have other accounts, you can consolidate them quite easily by requesting a form from your preferred fund.
4. It’s worth shopping around for your super fund
Although it is a government program, superannuation providers are privatised and extremely competitive. It can pay to shop around for a super fund that aligns with your values and long-term goals.
You can choose to entrust your retirement savings to a provider that manages everything for you (it may cost more), one that invests in certain assets that you are interested in, or one that is simple and low in fees.
5. You may be eligible for a government co-contribution
Yes, that’s an extra payment from the government designed to assist part-time workers, students, and low-income earners. If you earn less than a certain annual salary and make a personal contribution to your Superannuation, you may be eligible for a co-payment of up to $500. This is essentially free money that will earn interest over time. If you pay a smaller amount, you can still be eligible. It will just be a smaller co-contribution. Contact the ATO for more details.
So, now that you know more about how to maximise your Super, make sure to pass this information on to help more people.