A healthy super balance can be a key ingredient in being able to live the life we want in retirement. But for many people, retirement is a long way off, and it can be hard to know if your super is on track.
How does your super compare?
The table below shows the average super balances for Australian men and women of different ages (excluding those with no super) so you can compare your balance to others your age.
|Age||Average balance - men||Average balance - women|
Do you stack up?
If your balance looks low, there could be a number of reasons why your super is lagging your peers, such as taking time out of the workforce to study, travel, raise children, care for older relatives, or being out of work, working part-time, or earning a lower wage than others your age.
As the figures show, these issues particularly affect women, as they have lower super balances than men across all age groups.
But even if your balance is above others of your age, will you have enough for a comfortable retirement? The MoneySmart superannuation calculator can help you work out how much super you will have at retirement based on your current balance.
What to do if your super needs a boost
- Firstly, search for lost super. Money belonging to you might be sitting in an account you've forgotten about.
- Secondly, if you have super with multiple funds, think about consolidating it into one account and you could save on fees and charges that could be eating into your balance. However, you’ll need to check for exit or termination fees, and ensure that your insurance cover isn’t affected.
- And thirdly, you could consider changing how your super is invested, for example, by switching it into a more growth-focused investment option. But bear in mind that returns are not guaranteed, and that higher risk accompanies the opportunity for high returns. To change your investment option, contact your super fund.
Once you've got your super sorted with these quick wins, you can consider ways to boost your balance, including:
- Salary sacrificing: you can contribute extra cash into your super from your before-tax salary and it will only be taxed at 15%1, rather than at your usual marginal tax rate. However, your total super contributions (including any your employer makes on your behalf) don’t exceed $25,000 per year. Speak to your payroll department to set up a salary sacrifice.
- Personal tax-deductible contributions: if your employer doesn’t offer salary sacrifice, you’re unemployed, self-employed or don’t want to salary sacrifice, you can make a personal tax-deductible contribution to your super, which is also taxed at 15%, and subject to the $25,000 per year limit.
- After-tax contributions (also known as non-concessional contributions): There’s a $100,000 limit per financial year on the amount of after-tax contributions you can make. If you are under age 65, you can also ‘bring forward’ the next two years’ worth of after-tax contributions, and make up to $300,000 contribution in a financial year.2
- Spouse contributions: If your partner is out of work, a stay-at-home parent, working part-time or earning less than $40,000, adding to their super could benefit you both financially.
Need more help?
For more help to ensure you're on track for a comfortable retirement, speak to your financial adviser. If you don't have an adviser, use our online tool to find one or contact us on 131 267.
1 Or 30% if you earn $250,000 a year or more.
2 Providing your total super balance is less than $1.4 million.
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If you’d like your super money to make a difference to the world as well as to your future, ethical investing may be for you.