Get to know your super

How Australians can find out about superannuation

money-plantThe chances are you've got some money in a super fund. But it can be hard to find the motivation to engage with your super because retirement may seem a long way away.

Here at MoneySmart we think it is important to 'get to know' your super. Take a few small steps to understand your situation and you will be able to improve your financial future through super.

Log in to your super account

In a MoneySmart poll, around 6 in 10 people said they know how much they have in super. Around 4 in 10 said they either didn't know or only sort of know how much super they have. This suggests many Australians could benefit from finding out about their super.

Most super funds have a lot of information online. If you've never checked out your super fund's website then this is the first thing you should do.

Smart tip

Consolidate your super into one account so it is easier to manage your super and you will only pay one set of fees.

You may need to create a username and password. Once you've done this, log in and find out about your fund. Have a quick scan over their information and feel free to phone them if you have any questions.

You may also be able to download statements about your account and see your balance, fees, insurance and investment options.

If you have money in more than one super fund you may decide to consolidate it into a single fund. It is a good idea to see what each fund offers when making this decision.

Video: Why is super important to you?

Why is super important to you?

Superannuation can make a big difference to your lifestyle in retirement. People explain why superannuation is important to them.

Find out what investment options you're in

If you've never made an active choice about how your money is invested within a super fund, your money will be put into a MySuper investment option. This is a simple default option.

It is a good idea to see what types of investment options your super fund offers. Most funds offer a range of investment choices. Find out about super investment options.

By investigating what investment options your fund offers, you may decide to take on more risk for possible higher investment returns, or reduce your risk and secure what you've got. There is no right or wrong approach. It is a personal decision that only you can make based on your circumstances.

Find out what fees you're paying

Super funds charge different fees for managing your account, contributions, insurance and more. As a general rule, the less you pay in fees the more your super will grow. Find out more about super fees.

You can find out what fees you're being charged in your annual statement, on the fund's website or in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). You can also phone your fund and ask them.

To work out whether your super fund is charging you high or low fees, compare it to other similar funds. Our superannuation calculator can help you do this.

Compare the impact of fees on your super fund.

Superannuation calculator

What insurance do you have in super?

If you're in a MySuper option, you'll most likely have default life insurance covering Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) and death. You can opt out of this or you may be able to change your level of cover. Other forms of insurance such as income protection might also be available.

If you have money in more than one super fund, you could be paying multiple insurance premiums. Consider whether you need all of this cover, particularly since in some cases you may only be able to claim once. Talk to your super fund to find out more about your insurance including the limits of your cover.

Consider contributing more to super

You can give your super a boost by making extra contributions to your super account from your own money. This can be done by salary sacrifice or by after-tax contributions.

Contributing more to super is a great way to build your wealth. You only need to make small, but regular contributions to see a big impact over time. Of course, keep in mind the extra money you contribute is locked away until you retire.

Case study: Jean-Luc finds out about his super

Young Man With Coffee CupJean-Luc, 35, working full-time, decides it is time to take a look at his super. He goes to his fund's website and finds out he is in the MySuper investment option which he is happy with because of the balanced/growth approach.

Jean-Luc thinks carefully about his situation and decides he can afford to salary sacrifice $100 every fortnight into super. By doing this he increases his projected super balance at retirement by the equivalent of around $100,000. That means Jean-Luc can have a better lifestyle in retirement.

Assumptions: Projection calculated using the superannuation calculator, assuming $100,000 in super and retirement age of 65.

Getting to know your super is something that many Australians put off because there may be more pressing financial issues. But if you can take some time to love your super, over time, it will love you back.

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Last updated: 28 Aug 2018