1. Make sure your super fund has your TFN
If you super fund does not have your tax file number, your employer and pre tax contributions will be taxed at the highest marginal tax rate instead of being taxed at only 15%. You will also miss out on any government co-contributions or the low income super contributions (if you are eligible).
2. Make sure your super isn’t lost
If you super fund has the wrong address and cannot contact you, the government will class your super as lost and park it with the ATO until you reclaim it. Depending on what your read it has been suggested that one in two people have lost super.
If it turns out that the ATO has your super savings, you can still retrieve them, but the longer the ATO has your super, you longer you will miss out on investment returns.
At the time of me writing this, there was more than $16 billion dollars is sitting in 6 million lost super accounts just waiting to be claimed.
Two services you should try to help you track down any lost super include…
Set up a mygov account to help track down lost super. Go to mygov.
Go to https://ausfund.com.au.
You can also try asking your super fund for help or even contacting previous employees.
3. Check that your employer is making the right contributions
If you are an employee earning more than $450 per month, then in most cases your employer must contribute 9.5% of your gross annual income (defined as ordinary times earnings) to superannuation. Your employer must pay your super contributions at least quarterly into your super fund.
So it’s important you check this is happening and don’t just assume it is. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard of people whose employers weren’t paying into super when they should have been.
4. Consolidate your super and save fees
According to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), there are, on average, nearly 3 superannuation funds for every working Australian. For every super fund you have you can expect to be paying admin and investment fees and one quick way to boost your super is to consolidate your super funds and save on fees.
However, you do need to be careful here. Whilst consolidation can potentially save you a lot of money, if you don’t know what you are doing it can also cost you a lot of money. For example, it’s important to know what the best super fund is because consolidating your super into the wrong fund can actually increase fees and make you lose money.
There are thousands of super options to choose from and there is no one size fits all answer, which leads us to our last point…
5. Review and benchmark your super fund
Knowing which super fund is best for you is basically impossible if you are not an expert.
Firstly, there are hundreds of super funds to choose from, some good but a lot no so good.
Then there’s thousands of investment options within those super funds to choose from. All with different investment styles, fees, and structures.
No wonder why so many Australians simply leave their super in their default employer fund.
Here’s the thing though, investing needs to be a personal thing. Your super fund (or your employer for that matter) doesn’t really care about what the best investment plan is for you.
In my experience, I would argue that for most people, their default employer super fund is not the best option for them.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s better than nothing and it is probably the best “backup” system for somebody who hasn’t made an active choice on how to invest their super. But it’s definitely not the best way to go.
The best way is to take an active interest in your super and actually take the time to benchmark your fund against other options and make sure the investment plan within your super is actually suitable for you.
Our advisers specialise in benchmarking super funds and are not incentivised to recommend one fund over another. We can compare any fund out there and recommend what we believe is the best option for you which can save you thousands in the long run!
So if you’d like our help, click here to get in touch for a free initial consultation.
Important note: this advice may not be suitable to you because it contains general advice which does not take into consideration any of your personal circumstances. All strategies and information provided here are general advice only. Please arrange an appointment to seek personal financial and taxation advice prior to acting on this information.