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Eight ways to boost your super

Published 1 July 2021

Australians know they need to put money aside for life after work. The problem is finding that money.

We have more pressing needs than saving for retirement, such as repaying the mortgage and school fees.

The good news is that it’s possible to improve your retirement outlook without jeopardising your immediate financial goals. Here are eight ways to boost your super.

1. Consider less conservative investments

The return you receive on your investments depends on the amount of risk you take and the length of time you remain invested.

In the long run, returns from higher risk investments such as shares outpace cash and bonds by a country mile. If you still have 10 years or more until retirement, and even at retirement if you expect a long life, you can afford to accept more risk because you have time to ride out any short-term market fluctuations along the way.

2. Consolidate accounts

If you’ve changed jobs over the years, you may have ended up with more than one super account.

By consolidating your super in a single account you may be able to reduce the annual fees you pay. By reducing fees, you will have more money left to work hard for your retirement.

In some cases, depending on your circumstances, consolidation comes at a cost. You might decide to keep a second account to avoid losing insurance, or for certain tax benefits. You should also remember that other key features are relevant when choosing a super fund, such as performance.

3. Find lost super

Have you done work in the past and are unsure if you were paid super? Do a quick online check at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website for lost or unclaimed super.

4. Review your super

Get into the habit of reviewing your super when you receive an annual statement from your super fund. Check the fees, your investment option and long-term returns.

Are you getting value for money? Are the returns on track to meet your retirement objectives? If not, compare funds to see if there's a better option.

5. Take advantage of low income superannuation tax offset

If you're eligible and earn an adjusted taxable income up to $37,000, the government's low-income superannuation tax offset (LISTO) will be paid into your super account.

The LISTO will equal 15 per cent of the pre-tax (concessional) contributions that have been made into your account, up to $500. Just make sure your fund has your tax file number.

6. Make voluntary contributions

Salary sacrifice may sound like giving money away, but it’s just the opposite.

By ‘sacrificing’ part of your pre-tax salary, and having your employer re-direct it into your super account, you’re the winner. That’s because you pay tax on the ‘sacrificed’ amount at the concessional rate of 15 per cent (30 per cent for high income earners), instead of your marginal tax rate you might otherwise be on, and boost your super at the same time.

You can contribute up to $27,500 a year at this concessional rate, including your employer’s 10 per cent super guarantee payments.

You can also make after-tax super contributions. These are called non-concessional contributions because you don’t receive a tax deduction. But once your money is inside super, any investment earnings are generally taxed more favourably than earnings outside super, so your savings grow faster.

7. Make spouse contributions

If your spouse or de facto partner has taken time out of the workforce or is a low-income earner, consider making a super contribution on their behalf.

There’s an 18 per cent tax offset for contributions up to $3,000. That translates to a maximum tax rebate of $540.

8. Consider a transition to retirement strategy

If you have reached preservation age (55 to 60, depending on when you were born), you can potentially have your cake and eat it too with a transition to retirement pension strategy. This allows you to withdraw income from your super while you continue working. Combined with a salary sacrifice strategy, you can grow your super at the same time.

There are limits around how much you can contribute and withdraw, so please seek professional advice before you leap in.

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“ANZ Smart Choice Super” is a suite of products consisting of ANZ Smart Choice Super and Pension (PDF 189kB)ANZ Smart Choice Super for employers and their employees (PDF 186kb) and ANZ Smart Choice Super for QBE Management Services Pty Ltd and their employees (PDF 198kb). The ANZ Smart Choice Super and Pension product is distributed by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) (ABN 11 005 357 522). View the ANZ Smart Choice Super and Pension Target Market Determination (PDF 252kB). ANZ Smart Choice Super for employers and their employees and ANZ Smart Choice Super for QBE Management Services Pty Ltd and their employees are MySuper compliant products issued pursuant to the latest PDS available at anz.com/smartchoicesuper. ANZ Smart Choice Super is part of the Retirement Portfolio Service (the Fund) (ABN 61 808 189 263) and is issued by OnePath Custodians Pty Limited (ABN 12 008 508 496, AFSL 238346, RSE L0000673) (OPC), the trustee of the Fund. OPC is a member of the IOOF Group of companies, comprising IOOF Holdings Limited ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate. The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) (ABN 11 005 357 522) brand is a trademark of ANZ and is used by OPC under licence from ANZ. ANZ and the IOOF Group of companies (including OPC) are not related bodies corporate. ANZ does not stand behind or guarantee these products.

Before re-directing your super or moving your money into ANZ Smart Choice Super, you will need to consider whether there are any adverse consequences for you, including loss of benefits (e.g. insurance cover), investment options and performance, functionality, increase in investment risks and where your future employer contributions will be paid. 

The information provided is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal needs, financial circumstances or objectives. Before acting on this information, you should consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to your needs, financial circumstances or objectives. The case studies used in this article are hypothetical and are not meant to illustrate the circumstances of any particular individual. Opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors only.

All fees are subject to change. Other key features are relevant when choosing a super fund, including performance.

Taxation law is complex and this information has been prepared as a guide only and does not represent taxation advice. Please see your tax adviser for independent taxation advice. The information on insurance cover is a summary only of the terms and conditions applying to the insurance cover. To the extent there is any inconsistency with the terms of the insurance cover provided by the insurer, the terms of the insurance policy will prevail.

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Fee Analysis: Research conducted by SuperRatings Pty Ltd, holder of Australian Financial Services Licence No. 311880 at the request of OPC. For a copy of the latest SuperRatings research, click here (PDF 452kB) or call 13 12 87.

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