It’s easy to forget about your super until you’re nearing retirement. But when you consider you’re putting 9.5% of your earnings into your super every pay cycle, it’s worth taking control and making the most of it. Here are a few very quick and simple hacks to make yours grow even faster.
Show of hands if you’ve ever worked in a bar, retail store or corporation? What about if you’ve ever had part-time or casual work? (Hint: almost everyone) Well, there’s a high chance you’ve got money you don’t even know you have hiding in a random super fund somewhere. The good news: you can claim it.
Once you’ve located all your super funds (there’s lots of great advice online about how to do this), it’s time to consolidate your money into one account. Why? Having one superannuation fund means your only paying one set of fees. Compounding interest on the larger sum of money grows faster too, rather than having small amounts spread over multiple accounts. Let’s not forget that by having one account it’s easier to keep track of your savings and watch your next egg grow as well!
Choosing the right fund to consolidate into is key. You need to assess what fees you’re paying and if there are any exit or termination fees written into the terms and conditions of each of the accounts. Investing the time to look into your options here will pay off in the long run. Why not read our article on how to know if your super fund is rip-off to get you started.
2. Pay less fees
Your super is a long term investment so the fees that you pay can have a dramatic impact on your balance at retirement. For example, for a Sydney income earner, a drop in fees from an industry average of 1.4% to what we consider best practice at 0.2%, will give you an extra $125,000 at retirement (adjusted for inflation). That’s a massive difference that will cost you absolutely nothing!
3. Top up
Opting to make personal super contributions not only boosts your super balance, but also helps you to pay less tax. Personal super contributions are usually taxed at the concessional rate of 15 per cent, instead of the marginal tax rate, which, depending on your income, could be as high as 47 per cent.
The process can be tricky but worth it in most cases, so we recommend seeking the help of a financial advisor if you feel this is something you want to explore. You’ll also need to keep in mind that there are limits to how much you can personally contribute and note that you will not be able to access any personal contributions until retirement.
Salary sacrificing your super means giving up a portion of your income now to build up your nest egg down the track. It’s an arrangement between you and your employer, where they agree to pay a set amount of your pre-tax salary into your super account in addition to your current 9.5%. The combined total of your employer’s super guarantee contributions and your own salary sacrificed contributions can’t exceed more than $25, 000, but concessional contributions are taxed at a low 15% when they hit your super account, making them a great option if you earn more than $37,000 a year. And if you’re self-employed, these contributions are tax deductible.
5. Save for your spouse
As it currently stands, if your spouse earns less than $40,000 a year then you’re entitled to make super contributions into their account on their behalf, while earning yourself a tax offset of up to $540 a year. Not bad, really. There are other conditions that apply so it’s worth seeking professional help to make sure you have all the information you need to make the decision for you.
6. Seek help
There’s no denying boosting your super through clever hacks like this is worthwhile, but the key is being informed on all the rules, regulations, benefits and potential risks before embarking on a new financial decision. Seeking help from a financial advisor can save you time and money down the track, so don’t be afraid to ask for you help when you need it.