Money for when you finish working
The idea of superannuation (super) is to save money during your
working life so that you and your family have money when you stop
working and retire. Some people will also get the age pension after
retirement. Super funds also offer insurance benefits, which can
help protect you and your family if you die or are too sick to
Your employer must put money into a super fund for you. Make
sure you get the super you are entitled to.
What is super?
Here are some things you should know about super:
- Money for your retirement. You can't use it
for anything else. The money stays in the super fund and is
invested so it can earn interest and grow. You can choose your own
super fund or your employer can put your super money into a fund of
its choice. For more information see choosing a super fund.
- Your employer must pay money into your super
account. While you are working, your employer must put
9.5% of what you earn into a super fund for you. For example, Bec
is a health worker and earns $26,000 a year. Her boss pays Bec her
wages and puts an extra 9.5% of her salary into a super fund. For
Bec that is $2,470 a year.
- Keep track of your super. It is
important that you read your statements and the materials provided
to you by the super fund. If you do nothing your account will go
into the default investment or standard option, which may
not be the most appropriate for you.
- You may get insurance with your super. Super
funds may also provide you with insurance for a fee. This will help
your family with some money if you die or are too sick to work. See
insurance through super for
Make sure you are getting your super
Your employer must pay money into your super fund if you
- Paid more than $450 per month
- Over 18 and work more than 30 hours a week
Work out how much your employer should be paying into your super
Keep your contact details up to date so you don't lose track of
your super and your fund doesn't lose track of you. This will also
help prevent delays when you contact your super fund, for example,
about insurance payments.
Contact your super fund if you have any questions or difficulty
understanding the information they send you.
If you are on a Community Development Employment Project (CDEP),
your boss must pay super on any 'top up' wages that take your total
wages (including your CDEP payment) to $450 or more a month. For
more information on CDEP, call the Indigenous Coordination Centre
on 1800 079 098, or if you are in:
- Nhulunbuy, call 1800 089 148
- Kalgoorlie, call 1800 193 357
- Kununurra, call 1800 193 348
Talk to your boss if you're not sure you are being paid super.
You can also visit the unpaid super page at the Australian
Taxation Office (ATO) website or call their National
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resource Centre on 13 10
Choosing a super fund
Every time you start a new job you should be
given a form that lets your employer know which super fund you want
your super paid into. Make sure you fill in your tax file number (TFN) on the form so you
aren't charged too much tax.
If you're not sure what your TFN is, call the Australian
Taxation Office's National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Resource Centre on 13 10 30.
What if you don't want to choose?
If you don't choose a super fund your employer will pay the
super into a fund they choose. Super funds now offer accounts with
basic insurance and low fees called 'MySuper' accounts. If you
don't choose a fund your employer must pay your super into a
MySuper account from January 2014. Make sure the fund your employer
has chosen is the best fund for you. Your boss can give you general
facts about super, but can't give you advice about which super fund
is best for you.
See our MySuper
webpage for more details.
Each super fund will charge you fees for keeping your super with
them. These fees can add up over time, so try to find a super fund
with low fees.
Compare the impact of fees on your super fund.
Case study: Dan compares two super funds
Dan is starting a job and is trying to decide which super fund
to choose. The first super fund charges 1% management costs and the
second charges 2%. Dan worked out by choosing the first super fund
he will save more than $70,000 in fees by the time he retires at
Move all your super into one fund
If you have worked in a few jobs, your super might be in a few
different funds. You'll be charged fees for each fund. It is much
cheaper and easier to keep track of your super if you only have one
Here are the steps to take when moving your super into one
- Check whether you have to pay an exit fee -
Before you move your money out of a super fund, check whether you
have to pay a fee to leave that fund, called an exit fee.
- Make sure you don't lose your insurance benefits
- If you do lose your insurance you might not be able
to get the same benefit through your new fund and you might want to
rethink moving your money.
- Decide which fund you want to use - Choose a
fund that has low fees and good features.
- Contact all of your super funds - Phone each
of your other funds and tell them you want to move your super into
your chosen fund. Each fund will send you a form and ask for some
identification. Fill out the forms and get your super moved into
Searching for lost
Have you kept track of all your super? If you've
ever changed your name, address, job, or done casual or part-time
work, you may have lost track of some super.
The Australian Taxation Office's (ATO's) online tool
Superseeker can help you see if you have any lost or
unclaimed super. Do a quick search by providing your:
- Date of birth
- Tax file number
To find out more, see keeping track and lost
Putting extra money into your
You can put some of your own money into your super fund so you
have more when you retire.
If you put more money in you might get extra money from the
government for your super. This is called a 'government
Find out if you can get a government
Case study: Auntie Kelly saves for her retirement
Auntie Kelly is 52 and teaches at her local primary school. She
decides to put some of her own money into her super so she can live
more comfortably when she retires. She knows that contributing to
her super is good value for money because she will earn a high
interest rate on her savings and the government will put some money
Low income super tax offset
If you earn $37,000 or less you may also get a 'low income super
tax offset' of up to $500 from the government every year. You will
get this whether or not you add extra money to your super. The ATO
will automatically make these payments if you meet the
To find out more, see low income super tax
Getting super is your right and helps you have a
more comfortable retirement. Always check your pay slip to make
sure you are being paid the right amount of super and read your
super statements when you get them. For more information see getting
superannuation and listen to our audio segment learning about your
Last updated: 12 Jan 2018