Super is prone to the ‘set and forget’ strategy.
Once you set your investment direction, simply sit back, let it grow, and reap the rewards at retirement, right?
Not necessarily. Super can fluctuate significantly over time, so it is generally wise to take an informed and diligent approach.
But, we get it. In today’s hustle and bustle world it’s tricky to find the time to manage this essential fund. So we’ve compiled 3 quick and easy steps to help you master your super.
1. Track superannuation contributions
Like any savings, the first step is to put money in. As most contributions to Super are made by employers on your behalf, it is easy to lose track. As such, it is important to keep an eye on your contributions and make sure your employer is making payments for the right amount and at the right time and that your super fund is processing them correctly.
What’s the best way to track Super contributions?
- Check super balance: set a reminder to log in to your super account online, on a monthly or quarterly basis
- Check pay slips: every time you get an employer pay slip, make sure the correct amount is going to your superannuation fund
For most people, you will see your superannuation guarantee (SG) contributions contributed on a regular basis. This should amount to 9.5% of your gross pay and should be paid into your superannuation account at a minimum on a quarterly basis. Some employers may pay on a more regular basis. If you have opted to salary sacrifice each pay cycle, you’ll see this as well.
These two contribution types are only the start of what could be going in, however. Have you put in any of your after-tax earnings? Has your spouse done so as well? When you know what’s going in, you can more accurately create a savings plan to reach your retirement goals.
Read our guide ‘Jargon-B-Gone: Retirement saving simplified‘ to learn more about the different aspects of your account.
Related: ‘5 strategies to reach your retirement goals‘
2. Know your situation
If you contribute to your super regularly and follow good financial habits, you will be building your nest egg at a steady rate. However, what if we told you that there’s a chance you have more than one account, and you are paying fees for each? You may also be paying extra tax which could be easily reduced.
This possibility is why it’s important you always check with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) whenever you change jobs, address or even names. You can access the Superseeker through the myGov tool. Superseeker will show you all your Super accounts, including the ones you might have lost or not be aware of and will also let you consolidate them into one or more accounts, thus removing any unnecessary fees you are paying on an account you don’t contribute to anymore.
According to the ATO, this generally takes three working days to complete.
Your Tax File Number (TFN)
Linking your TFN to your super is important. Firstly, if your TFN is not linked to your super account, you might be paying significantly more tax, depending on your situation. In addition, you won’t be able to make an after-tax contribution if your TFN is not provided to your super fund.
Your Life Stage
Typically, the closer you are to retirement, the more conservative you want you investment approach to be. After all, you wouldn’t want to see your hard earned nest egg diminished by stock market fluctuations.
In this series of Virgin Super videos, we outlined superannuation considerations for each decade of your working life. For a teaser, here’s what to consider during your 40’s.
3. Check in regularly
In addition to logging into your account on a regular basis, and checking your pay slips as they arrive, the easiest way to get a quick snapshot of your superannuation status is to review your Annual Member Statement.
The ATO recommends reading through this vital document to check that your employer is paying the SG that they should be, your asset investment is what you requested, any insurance policies are appropriate, fees and charges are as expected, and your contact details are up to date. If you aren’t sure about something on the statement, read our handy article ‘How to check your Virgin Super Annual Member Statement‘.
If you’d like to find out more about our superannuation options, visit Virgin Money Super.
Are you on the way to mastering your superannuation?