Super in a nutshell

If your super's in the too-hard basket, read on so you can take control and make the most of your money.

The Australian superannuation system comprises money from working and retired Australians. All up, it’s projected to total $8 trillion by 20331  and some of that is likely to be your money. If you take an interest in your super today, you may have more in your hand down the track.

What is super?

In 1992, the Australian government introduced a compulsory superannuation system in response to the financial challenges posed by a growing aged population.

In Australia many of us are able to choose our super fund and have a say in how our money’s invested. But unlike the systems of other countries—in Europe for example there is an expectation that in retirement you’ll receive 60–80 per cent of previous earnings as a pension—our pension system offers only around 25 per cent of the average wage. And it’s means tested so many Australians do not receive any pension payments at all.

That’s why choosing the right super fund and managing your super money as soon as you start working is essential.

At the moment, your employer pays at least 9.5% of your salary into a super account on your behalf. But the trick is to take an interest early on―now. That way you can have the chance to have more in your hand down the track. By using your super as a way of saving for retirement, you may accumulate more than you might think. Because unlike many other types of investments, super can be a tax-effective way of building wealth.

When can I access my money?

You generally need to reach preservation age (usually between age 55 and 60) before you become eligible to access your super money. The date will depend on your birth month and year―find out more in our superannuation jargon buster article. You will then need to decide if you want to take your super as a lump sum. Leaving it in super will allow you to continue earning interest.

How much do I need to retire?

There’s a different answer to this question for everyone.

The thing to remember is that once you’ve retired, the money you’ve accumulated in super may still be able to work hard and earn money for you. So you don’t need 30 years’ worth of income sitting in your account when you arrive at retirement.

But you may need more than you think.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) estimates the lump sum needed to support a comfortable lifestyle for a couple is $510,000 and $430,000 for a single person, assuming a partial government pension. The table2 below estimates annual and weekly living costs, based on retirement spanning from age 65 to 853.

Use our what’s my number calculator to work out how much you may need and then do some salary sacrifice calculations to see the difference you can make using pre-tax dollars, with little if any impact on your take-home pay.

What’s the best super fund for me?

When it comes to choosing a super fund, start by finding out why AMP is Australia’s favourite for super4.

Consider the investment options you’ll have access to and the quality of insurance on offer. You may also want to look into buying insurance with super money.

Investment performance is important too. Take a look at AMP’s super funds to find out more.

Who’s managing my money?

If your super’s with AMP, people like Debbie in AMP’s Investment Management team will manage your super investments. Our investment managers are highly skilled and qualified. And they live and breathe investment markets with the aim of making your money grow.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have to do anything when it comes to your super. Remember, it’s your money. Start by taking an interest in where your money’s invested and choose the right investment option for you.

Four steps to more

Super is naturally a long-term investment and taking charge of yours now can help it compound into a small fortune. Be sure to get your super on track for growth today. It may be one of the most rewarding things you look back on:

  1. Save on additional fees by bringing all your super together and consider taking your super with you when you change jobs. It’s easy to do—find out how we can help
  2. Find the right super balance to aim for using our what’s my number calculator
  3. Consider salary sacrificing to build your super balance without affecting your take-home pay
  4. Call us on 133 888 if you’d like to know more about taking charge of your money.

Super basics

This education module gives you some general information to help you understand that super is your money and taking an interest now is worth it in the long run.

Learn more

My super simulator

Calculate the lump sum you could have in your super and the choices you can make today that will affect how much you may have at retirement.

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© AMP Life Limited. This provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.