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Three steps to take charge and manage your super now

Published 1 August 2017

Understand the control you have over your super and how making the right changes can positively affect your future.

While we understand the importance of super, we don’t always grasp the control we have over it and how making the right changes now can positively affect our future. Research on Australians’ attitude to independence by ANZ found 50 per cent of respondents believe super will support them in retirement, with another 20 per cent stating it's their main source of retirement funds.

By putting a little work into understanding super better, you can quickly get it on the right track: 

  • Choose one super fund and direct all contributions to it.
  • Roll over any other super accounts into that one fund.
  • Make the most of options in super, such as insurance and investment choices.

1. Choose the right fund

ANZ Head of Product Development and Platform Strategy, Patrick Clarke, says taking the time to set your super fund up properly puts you in a good position for an independent future. “Sort it out, get it into place and let the system work,” he advises. “Once you’ve set things up, particularly for younger people, you don’t have to look at it every day but you do need to take that initial action.”

The first step is to choose a fund, one that is preferably low in fees. Since 2005 most people have been able to choose where their super goes.

“But there is still this mindset that this is something your employer does for you: while employers make the contributions, the individual has control over where those contributions can be made.”

“The fund you choose depends largely on how much you want to be involved in the decisions around it,” he says. “If you don’t want to be involved then choose a super fund that offers lifestage options. These funds have professionals who choose your asset allocation based on your age and automatically change that allocation as you grow older.”

2. Roll it all together

At June 30, 2017, more than 14.8 million Australians had a super fund account, according to the Australian Taxation Office – approximately 40 per cent have more than one.

The more super accounts you have, the more you’re paying in fees, which can quickly eat away at your super balance. Centralising your retirement savings in one low-fee account is crucial to exercise greater control and make gains.

“The fact so many have multiple accounts shows they don’t fully realise the control they have over their super,” Clarke says. “Otherwise they would have consolidated their accounts.”

This is where education is critical. Clarke says in the past three years, ANZ has helped more than 100,000 customers consolidate their super. “Those customers have saved collectively about $17 million per annum in fees,” he says.

Consolidating your super is easy. Get started:

3. Making the most of super options

Nathan Bonarius, a consultant with Rice Warner, reinforces that two of the most critical steps are how you set up your super and making sure you have only one account.

And he adds a third critical step: choosing insurance and investment.

“You can also check if you have insurance and whether it’s the right level for your needs. Checking if the super fund’s investment strategy meets your risk, return and liquidity needs is also crucial.”

Some people may find these choices challenging. In that case, it may be worthwhile seeking advice from a financial planner or doing your own research until you’re comfortable you understand the best course for you.

Bonarius says this allows you to take control and see your way clear to the independence you desire.

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