If you’re looking at retiring in the near future, your savings will soon turn into an income stream. So the more you’ve saved, the better. Here are some ways you could top up your retirement savings before you retire. 


1. Make the most of after-tax contributions

Making personal contributions to your super from your after-tax money can be one way to boost your super. These are known as non-concessional contributions and, while there is no tax deduction available, an annual cap of $110,000 applies1

If you were under 67 on 1 July 2021, then depending on your overall super balance, you may also be able to bring forward up to three years of this cap, allowing you to contribute a total of $330,000 in the same financial year. However, this will depend on your total superannuation balance as at 30 June of the previous financial year. For more information check out the ATO website.

If you have super assets of $1.7 million or more as at 30 June of the previous financial year, you can’t make after-tax contributions to your super or you may be penalised.

Note: You will need to meet a work test (or be eligible for the work test exemption) if you intend on making super contributions after you’ve turned 67.

2. Consider tax-effective contributions like salary sacrifice

If you’re an employee, making voluntary contributions from your before-tax salary to your super (also known as salary sacrifice) could not only help you boost your super but also potentially reduce the amount of tax you pay.

And if you’re self-employed, or if salary sacrifice is not for you, you don’t need to miss out. Consider whether a personal contribution to your super (using your own cash) and claiming this amount as a personal tax deduction is right for you.

As these contributions reduce your personal taxable income, they will generally be taxed at 15%when received by your super fund, meaning there could be tax benefits if your personal marginal tax rate3 (the amount of tax you pay on your income) is higher than 15%.

These types of tax-effective contributions are known as concessional contributions. Concessional contributions are capped at $27,500 per financial year (including any compulsory superannuation guarantee from your employer). However, you may be able to increase your annual cap if you’re eligible to access unused concessional contribution cap amounts from previous years4.

Get a rough idea of how much tax you might save while boosting your super with AMP’s salary sacrifice calculator

3. Review your investment options

While the contributions you make may have a significant impact on your super balance when you retire, the investment returns generated by your super fund also matter, as well as how long your money was invested.

Check whether your super is invested in appropriate options based on your needs and financial circumstances such as age, goals and your level of risk tolerance. If you’re unsure, contact your super fund or a financial adviser for guidance. It’s worth reviewing your investment options regularly. 

4. Consider spouse contributions

In some circumstances, you may be eligible for a tax offset if you make an after-tax contribution to your spouse’s super (husband, wife or de facto) and satisfy eligibility criteria.

If you make after-tax contributions to your spouse’s super fund, you may be able to claim an 18% tax offset on a spouse contribution of up to $3,000 when completing your tax return at the end of the year5.

To receive a spouse contribution, your spouse must be under the age of 67, or if they’re aged 67 to 74 they must meet the requirements of the work test. The work test broadly requires that they are in paid employment (or self employment) of at least 40 hours within a 30-day period.

To qualify for the full tax offset, which works out to be $540, your spouse’s income must be $37,000 or less. Their income must be less than $40,000 for you to receive a partial tax offset.

5. Look into downsizer contributions

You may be able to top up your super using the proceeds from the sale of your main residence. If you’re 65 or over, you can make an after-tax contribution into your super account of up to $300,000 from the sale proceeds of your home if you have owned the property for at least 10 years. Couples can contribute $300,000 each, regardless of their work status, super balance or history of contributions.

From 1 July 2022 the Federal Government is planning to open downsizer contributions up to more Australians by reducing the eligibility age to 60 years or over.

Here are some more tips for how to make the most of your super in the lead up to retirement. And consider giving some thought to how you’re going to access your super savings once you’ve retired.

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Important information

Any advice and information is .provided by AWM Services Pty Ltd ABN 15 139 353 496, AFSL No. 366121 (AWM Services) and is general in nature. It hasn’t taken your financial or personal circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances and read the relevant product disclosure statement or terms and conditions available from AMP at amp.com.au or by calling 131 267, before deciding what’s right for you.

The retirement health check is provided by ipac Securities Limited ABN 30 008 587 595, AFS Licence No. 234656 (IPAC) to eligible members in the Super Directions Fund and is a general advice conversation only. IPAC is a wholly owned subsidiary of AMP. Products in the Super Directions Fund are issued by N.M. Superannuation Proprietary Limited (N.M. Super) ABN 31 008 428 322 (trustee), which is part of the AMP group.

You can read our Financial Services Guide online 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. You can also ask us for a hardcopy. All information on this website is subject to change without notice. AWM Services is part of the AMP group.