Super contributions

Grow your nest egg

If you want to retire comfortably your employer's 9.5% contributions may not be enough to build your nest egg.

By making extra contributions, you will boost the amount of super you have when you stop working. The key is to start now so you can relax later.

Why grow your super?

There are lots of good reasons why you should grow your super as much as possible:

  • You might live to be 100 so your money needs to last
  • The cost of living will increase over time
  • The age pension alone will not be enough for a comfortable lifestyle
  • The tax benefits of super make it a good way to invest
  • You might be eligible for bonus contributions from the government

Before you throw all your money into your super fund, look at your finances as a whole. If you have credit card debt or home loan repayments, it may be better for you to pay off these debts first before you put money into super. Read our super vs mortgage webpage to find out more.

Need help deciding whether super or your mortgage is better for you?

Super vs mortgage calculator

Ways to boost your super

Your employer puts 9.5% of your salary into your super. See employer contributions for more information. You can do your bit to grow your super in the following ways.

Sacrifice some of your salary

This is when you and your employer agree to pay a portion of your salary as an extra contribution to super. This can be a tax-effective strategy if you earn more than $37,000 per year.

Make after-tax super contributions

You simply deposit your personal money into your super. These are called after-tax super contributions. This is different from salary sacrificing, which happens before your income is taxed.

Government co-contributions

If you earn less than $51,021 per year (before tax) and make after-tax super contributions, you are eligible to get matching contributions from the government. This is called the government co-contribution.

If you earn less than $36,021 the maximum co-contribution is $500, based on 50c from the government for every $1 you contribute. The amount of co-contribution reduces as your earnings increase.

Low income super contribution

If you earn up to $37,000 you may also get a 'low income super contribution' of up to $500 from the government. You will get this payment whether or not you add extra money to your super. The ATO will automatically make these payments if you meet the criteria. See low income super contribution.

Self-employed super contributions

If you're self-employed, you can claim a tax deduction when you contribute to your super, up to a limit. If you don't put money into super, you may have nothing when you retire. See super for self-employed people.

Changes to super in 2017

Super contribution limits and tax concessions are changing in 2017. Details of the changes are available on the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website.

Contribute for your spouse

You may be able to claim an 18% tax offset on super contributions of up to $3,000 you make on behalf of your non-working or low-income-earning spouse.

Go to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for the rules on the superannuation spouse contribution tax offset.

You can also split your employer super contributions with your spouse. Contribution splitting can only be done after the end of the financial year. Your super fund will be able to guide you through the process. See the ATO's fact sheet on contributions splitting.

Case study: Lei builds her super

Part-time working mum at home with her babyLei, 40, is working part-time after taking some time off to have her 3 children. During the 10 years she was a full-time mum, no contributions were made to her super. Lei is worried that she won't have enough super when she retires.

After talking with her husband, they decide to take advantage of the spouse super-splitting rules. Each year Lei's husband will divide his employer's super contribution between his fund and Lei's. This will help her build her nest egg.

Work out your best mix of super contributions

If you can afford to contribute more to your super, you'll want to know the best way to grow your nest egg.

Work out whether to make extra contributions before or after tax.

Super contributions optimiser

Making extra super contributions is a great way to boost your super savings. Then you'll have the money you need for a happy and comfortable retirement.

Related links

Last updated: 20 Jun 2017