How to check your super and get it sorted to help ensure your retirement savings are on track.
Why super is important
Your super is an investment in your future, as the money in your super fund will help support your retirement and could have a big impact on the type of retirement you live.
It’s built up by super guarantee (SG) contributions your employer makes on your behalf throughout your working life, as well as any additional contributions you choose to make.
Many people think of their super as an investment they don’t need to worry about until retirement, but it pays to get better acquainted now, as the earlier you sort it, the more effectively you could grow your retirement nest egg.
Check your employer is paying your super
The SG contributions made by your employer are the foundation of your nest egg, so it’s worthwhile ensuring that they’re being paid correctly. You can do this by reviewing your pay slips, which should show the amount of super being paid. This should typically equate to no less than 9.5% of your ordinary (not overtime) earnings if you’re aged over 18 and earn more than $450 in a month.
You can also check your super fund statements to see exactly what’s been paid into your account. Bear in mind, super contributions only have to be paid quarterly even if your wages are paid weekly or fortnightly, so there can be a delay of several months between contributions being recorded on your pay slip and actually showing up in your fund.
- TIP: If you’re an AMP super customer you can set up an alert on the AMP app to notify you every time your employer makes a contribution to your super.
Also ensure that you’ve provided your super fund with your tax file number to prevent extra tax being taken out of your SG contributions.
If you think there might be a problem with your SG contributions, you can speak to your employer, follow it up with your super fund or the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
Check how much super you have
Knowing your super balance is an important step in taking control of your super. In many cases you can check this online with your super fund (or funds if you have multiple accounts), or via the statements they send you.
- TIP: If you’re an AMP super customer you can check your super balance using the AMP app or by logging into My AMP.
It’s one thing to know what your balance is, but another thing to understand whether it’s on track to help you achieve the kind of retirement lifestyle you’re hoping for.
The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) estimates that to live a comfortable life in retirement a couple collecting a part Age Pension will need combined super savings of $640,000 while singles will need $545,000.1
If retirement is a long way off – or even if it’s not – you can use our super simulator to project your super balance at retirement based on your current balance, contributions and investment options.
Find lost super
It can be easy to lose track of your super, and for your super fund to lose track of you. This could happen when you change jobs, as you might opt for your new employer to make SG contributions into a new fund and forget to rollover what you’ve accumulated in a previous one.
If you change jobs and wish to remain with your existing super fund rather than have your employer set up a new one for you, ask your employer for the necessary forms to fill out, and have your existing super fund account details handy.
- TIP: If you’re an AMP super customer you can download these forms with your details already filled in from the AMP app or by logging into My AMP. You’ll also find an email template you can use to notify your employer of which account you’d like them to pay your super into.
Another common way that super gets lost is forgetting to update your details with your super fund when you move house. In fact, lost super is so common there’s a total of around $18 billion sitting in more than six million lost super accounts in Australia – but all of that money belongs to people just like you, and it’s waiting to be claimed.2
You can check if you’ve got any lost super by doing a super search - in many cases this is a service offered by your super fund – or by contacting the ATO.
Consider consolidating your super
Of the 14.8 million Australians with super, around 40% have more than one account.3 If that’s you, there may be advantages to rolling your accounts into one super fund. These include paying one set of fees which could save you hundreds of dollars each year and even thousands over many years.
Consolidating your super will also make it easier to keep track of and could save you money in insurance premiums if you have insurance cover through several super funds.
But there are some important things to consider, such as whether you’ll be charged exit or withdrawal fees, and whether you risk losing features and benefits that may be attached to the account you’re considering closing. To help you better weigh up the pros and cons of consolidating, you might like to talk to your financial adviser.
Review your investment options
Your super balance grows largely due to contributions made and also due to how your super is invested. Most funds allow you to choose how your super is invested, and generally, the main difference between the investment options available will be the level of risk you’re willing to take.
Contact your super fund to explore the investment options they offer and determine which one is right for you. Remember that the most appropriate investment option may change depending on the economy, your age, circumstances and stage of life so its worth considering and reviewing your investment options regularly.
Check the insurance cover in your super
Your super account may include a range of personal insurance options, which are paid for from your account balance. Super funds generally offer three types of insurance cover - life insurance, total and permanent disability and income protection.
Insurance through super can often be cheaper than personal insurance bought outside of super because super funds purchase insurance policies in bulk, and it is usually available without health checks.
Contact your super fund to review the insurance options available and also consider whether the insurance cover doubles up on anything you have outside of your super fund. It’s also worth checking that the insurance suits your needs – which may change throughout your life – as you may be able to increase, decrease or cancel your cover accordingly.
Keep your beneficiaries up-to-date
How, and in what proportion, your super is distributed in the event of your death is known as nominating your beneficiaries. It’s important to notify your super fund of your choice and keep it up-to-date if your circumstances change, as super is treated differently to other assets in your will.
There are two types of beneficiary nominations you can make; binding and non-binding.
If you make a binding nomination, your super fund is required to pay your benefit to the person or people you’ve nominated, as long as the nomination is still valid at the time of your death. Bear in mind that you can’t always make binding nominations and that they generally only remain valid for three years.
If you make a non-binding nomination, your super fund will make a decision about who to pay your death benefit to. Your benefit will be paid to those people considered to be financially dependent on you and, in some cases, this mightn’t be the person or people you’ve nominated.
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This information is provided by AMP Life Limited. It is general information only and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances and the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Terms and Conditions, available by calling 13 30 30, before deciding what’s right for you. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relation to products and services provided to you.
All information on this website is subject to change without notice. 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 professional advice before making any financial decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.