For most Australians, superannuation will grow to become one of their largest financial assets, usually second only to the family home. But are you making the most of it? Small changes can make a big difference to your super over time and how long it will last you in retirement. Here are some ideas to help you get active with your super.
1. Get active online
Out of sight is out of mind – and superannuation is easy to neglect because if we don’t look at very often. So the first step is to establish visibility. Like most super funds, Active Super has a secure online portal so members can log in any time and check their super balance. You can also switch investment options, review your insurance, keep your contact details up to date and more. So get online and get active.
2. Check how your superannuation is tracking
Do you have the right amount of super for your age? And how can you tell if you’ll have enough in retirement? With Active Super, you can use our online retirement projections calculator to input your current balance and then see an estimate of the difference it could make when you adjust simple variables like retirement age, additional contributions or switching investment options. That way you can make changes if necessary to keep your super on track.
3. Consider adding a little more
Aside from the regular payments your employer makes into your super, there are lots of ways to give your super a boost.
Add a little more yourself
Thanks to the power of compound interest, every little bit counts when it comes to contributing to your super. While there are limits on how much you can contribute – the before-tax contributions cap is $27,500 per annum (which includes the payments you get from your employer) and the after-tax contributions cap is $110,000 per annum – it’s a great opportunity to get ahead.
Get the government to chip in
Low to middle-income earners who make after-tax contributions to boost their super may be eligible for the government top-up of up to $500. Other eligibility criteria apply, so visit ato.gov.au to find out more.
Catch up on contributions
If you don’t use up your before-tax contribution cap each year, it carries over into the next year – for up to five financial years.* This could be handy for those who have irregular income – like contractors, freelancers or seasonal workers – because it gives them a chance to make additional contributions they might otherwise miss out on.
*To qualify, your total super must be under $500,000 at 30 June of the previous financial year. Other eligibility criteria apply, so visit ato.gov.au to find out more.
Ask your spouse to help out
If you have a spouse who contributes to your super and meets the ATO’s eligibility criteria, they could receive a tax offset of up to $540 while boosting your super. Other eligibility criteria apply, so visit ato.gov.au to find out more.
4. Plan for the best
Whether you’re in your first job or heading into retirement, talking to a financial planner can help you make the most of your money at any stage of life. Active Super has a team of financial planners ready to help you, no matter where you live in Australia. To make an appointment at a time that suits you, call 1300 547 873 or visit activesuper.com.au.
5. Combine all your superannuation in one place
If you have more than one super account, it could be costing you in unnecessary fees (and maybe insurance premiums too) that can really eat into your retirement savings over time. So consider the benefits of consolidating your super into one fund.
If you’re with Active Super, you can consolidate your super through Member Online. You’ll need your driver’s licence, passport or Medicare Card to verify your identity. You may also need your tax file number.
Note: To find out what to consider before you consolidate, visit activesuper.com.au or go to ato.gov.au, particularly in regard to insurance that you may hold in your current fund.
6. Use superannuation to save for your first home
If you’re a first home buyer, you may be able to use voluntary super contributions to help you save a deposit – now up to $50,000 of contributions, plus earnings (less tax). This could be a great way to use super to get ahead. Other eligibility criteria apply, so visit ato.gov.au to find out more.
7. Downsize your house, upsize your superannuation
If you’re over 65 and you sell your house, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria, you may be able to make a one-off ‘downsizer’ contribution to your super of up to $300,000 (or $600,000 for a couple) from the proceeds of your home. Other eligibility criteria apply, so visit ato.gov.au to find out more.
To find out more about any of the tips discussed here, go to activesuper.com.au or visit ato.gov.au