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Strategies to bulk up your super before retirement

To retire comfortably, you should be doing everything you can while still in the workforce to make sure your superannuation is as fruitful as possible.

Consider the following:

Consolidate super into one account
Super account fees can eat away at your super balance, especially if you have numerous accounts. If you find yourself in this position, take the time to organise your super contributions into the one account to reduce unnecessary and excessive fees.

Outstanding super payments
Check you have been paid all the super you are entitled to, as well as interest, as this can uncover large amounts of unpaid super. Employers have a legal obligation to pay all employees who have earned more than $450 in the space of a month, and these payments are required to be paid at least quarterly. If you have not been paid what you are owed, you are also missing out on accumulated interest. It is now compulsory for employers to report the super contributions they make, but this was not always the case, meaning you may need to contact previous employers or the ATO to access unpaid super you are entitled to.

Salary sacrifice
This is an efficient way to grow your superannuation while also incurring worthwhile tax benefits. To practice salary sacrificing, you will have to come to an agreement with your employer. You can contribute money from your pre-tax salary into your superannuation account, on top of the 9.5 per cent SG contribution that your employer must make. You will only be taxed 15 per cent on this additional contribution amount, but it does mean taking home a smaller figure each paycheck.

Spousal contributions
If your spouse is a low-income earner who is receiving less than $13,800 annually, you can contribute up to $3,000 into their super each year while getting an 18 per cent tax offset. This can save you up to $540 in tax.

Posted on 7 September '17 by , under Super.

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Superfund categories and what they mean

There are four different categories of super funds. These have different primary features and are more applicable to certain people than they are to others.

Retail super funds

Anyone can join retail funds. They are mostly run by banks and investment companies:

  • Allow for a wide range of investment options.
  • Financial advisors may recommend this type of fund as they receive commissions or might get paid fees for them.
  • Although they usually range from medium to high cost, there may be low-cost alternatives.
  • The companies that own these funds will aim to keep some of the profit they yield

Industry super funds

Anyone can join bigger industry funds, but smaller ones may only be open to people in certain industries i.e. health.

  • Most are accumulation funds but some older ones may have defined benefit members
  • Range from low to medium cost
  • Not-for-profit, so all profits are put back into the fund

Public sector super funds

Only available for government employees

  • Employers contribute more than the 9.5% minimum
  • Modest range of investment choices
  • Newer members are usually in an accumulation fund, but many of the long-term members have defined benefits
  • Low fees
  • Profits are put back into the fund

Corporate super funds

Arranged by employers for employees. Large companies may operate corporate funds under the board of trustees. Some corporate funds are operated by retail or industry funds, but availability is restricted to employees

  • If managed by bigger fund, wide range of investment options
  • Older funds have defined benefits, but most are accumulation funds
  • Low to medium costs for large employers, could be high cost for small employers

Self-managed super funds

Private super fund you manage yourself. Many more nuances to this type of fund. Most prominent feature is the autonomy over investment.

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