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 will 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. The money
stays in the super fund and is invested so it can earn interest and
- 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.
- 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 your super is being paid
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
trouble 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
- 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 30.
Nathan Boyle on super outreach in the APY Lands
Susan Tilley from Anangu Lands Paper Tracker
interviews ASIC's Nathan Boyle about the 2018
outreach trip to the APY Lands to help people with their
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.
What if you don't want to choose a super fund?
If you don't choose a super fund your employer will pay the
super into a fund they choose. Super funds 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. 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 types of super funds.
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.
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, so it will
be much cheaper and easier to keep track of your super if you only
have one fund.
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
- Before you move your money, make sure you won't lose
insurance benefits if you switch to a new fund.
- 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
See choosing a super fund for more
information on how to choose the best super fund for your
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
See super contributions to find out if
you can get a government co-contribution.
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 super contributions.
Getting your super
You get your super when you reach the minimum age set by
You can choose to receive your super as a lump sum, a regular
income stream (e.g. $400 a month) or a combination of
both. For more information see income from super.
Work out when you can get your super.
pension age calculator
Getting your super early
You are usually not allowed to touch
your super until you reach a certain age or until you retire. In
special cases, super funds may give you some of your super money
early for hardship or compassionate reasons. But the law is very
strict about when super funds can do this.
If you think you might need to get some of your super money
early, talk to your super fund, a financial counsellor or a
financial capability worker.
Stay away from people who say they can help you get your super
early for a fee. This is illegal, and these people are scammers who
just want to get your super money. Some people have lost all their
super savings and risked paying extra tax because they got caught
up in one of these scams.
If someone tries to convince you to get your super out early,
call ASIC's Indigenous Help Line on 1300 365
957 or ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630 to report
them. See superannuation scams for more
What happens to your super when you
Your super fund will pay your dependants (e.g. your husband or
wife, children and other people who depend on you financially):
- the money in your super account
- your life insurance if you have this with your super.
Most funds let you name your dependants either as a non-binding
or binding nomination.
Keep your super nominations up to date, especially if you marry,
re-marry or have children.
For example, if you make a binding nomination that you would
like your super to be paid to your children, then the super fund
must follow your instructions and pay your money to your children.
A non-binding nomination will guide the super fund to pay your
money to your children but does not force them to.
It is important to name your dependants in your will so that
when you die, the super fund will be able to pay out your money in
the way you want. For more information, see getting your super.
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.
Last updated: 14 Feb 2019