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Choosing an appropriate super fund could be a crucial step in planning for your retirement. Explore and compare super funds from a wide range of providers on RateCity.

40+ superannuation providers in RateCity’s database

120+ superannuation products in RateCity’s database

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  •  A variety of providers 
Using our comparison tool to help find a super fund is free. However, we might receive a commission from partners if you apply through our site.Our team of Superannuation research experts evaluates super funds for value (including price and features), offering detailed ratings to aid your comparison. Our seasoned editorial team has extensive experience in financial comparisons, aiming to simplify complex terms into useful information for Australians.We review and rate super funds from various providers, offering a wide selection of super funds for informed decision making. 

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What’s new in superannuation in June 2024?

As we approach the end of the financial year, it’s a time when many Australians take a look at their personal finances and consider what changes may be needed over the next twelve months and beyond.  

One significant change to consider in your calculations is the increase in the Superannuation Guarantee from 11% of your income to 11.5% as of 1 July 2024. Also, the caps for both concessional and non-concessional contributions (e.g. super deposits made before or after tax) are also set to rise, allowing you to potentially put more money aside for your retirement without affecting your taxes too much.

A new financial year can also be as good a time as any to look at your super fund’s performance (remembering that past performance does not reliably indicate future performance), and consider whether it’s still a good match for your life stage and retirement goals. You could consider switching investment profiles to favour more risk or more security, or even to switch super funds altogether.

As well as looking at the returns of alternative funds, you could also consider looking at what extra features and benefits alternative super funds may offer, and how well they align with your needs and values. For example, you could look for a super fund that invests in renewables and avoids investing in fossil fuels.

Updated by Mark Bristow on 7 June 2024

What is superannuation?

Superannuation (also known as ‘super’) is a compulsory savings scheme through which some of your income is set aside so you can have a nest egg waiting for you when you retire.

Different super funds offer different investment options to help you grow your retirement savings. There are also extra features, benefits, fees and charges to consider. It's important to compare different super options to make sure you choose a fund that best suits your financial situation.

How does superannuation work?

If you are an eligible employee in Australia, your employer is responsible for paying your superannuation into your super fund account throughout the duration of your employment. Your employer will pay your super into your existing super fund, or set you up with a MySuper product if you are new to the workforce.

In accordance with current Australian Government outlines, your annual superannuation entitlements must be at least 10 per cent of your ordinary time earnings. For example, if you earn $100,000 per annum (before tax), your employer must pay you at least $10,000 in super per financial year. This is known as the ‘superannuation guarantee’ or SG.

The super guarantee contribution rate increased from 9.5 per cent to 10 per cent in July 2021, and is scheduled to increase by 0.5 per cent each year until it reaches 12 per cent in mid-2025. However, these increases to the super guarantee rate could be delayed, depending on Australia's economic situation. 

You may choose to pay extra money into your super fund, on top of what your employer is required to pay. This could include one-time payments, or a regular salary sacrifice arrangement with your employer. Some of these extra super contributions may be tax deductible. For more details, check with the ATO by visiting ato.gov.au.

Many super funds invest your super contributions into an investment portfolio. This may help grow your wealth faster than you’d likely earn in interest simply by depositing this money in a retirement savings account or term deposit. Different investment strategies may mean different returns on your investments.

Once you reach a certain age, you can start accessing money from your super fund as an income stream. This can help pay for your retirement lifestyle, reducing your reliance on the age pension.

What types of superannuation funds are there?

There are five main types of superannuation funds:

Fund Description Availablity
Retail super fundsRun by for-profit institutions such as banks and financial services companiesEveryone 
Industry super fundsRun by not-for-profit institutions to benefit membersMany larger industry funds are available to everyone, while some restrict membership to certain industries
Public sector super fundsCreated for federal and state government departmentsPublic servants
Corporate super fundsRun by companiesEmployees of those companies
Self-managed super fundsSMSFs are for Australians who want to manage their own investmentsEveryone

Most super funds are accumulation funds. When you retire, the fund will pay you whatever superannuation you saved up during your working life.

Some corporate or public sector super funds are defined-benefit funds, though most are closed to new members. When you retire as an eligible employee, you’ll receive payment based on a formula. For example, you might receive ongoing retirement income calculated as a percentage of your final salary. You might instead receive a lump sum calculated on the number of years you spent with your employer.

What is a MySuper fund?

MySuper is a government initiative that was introduced to replace the previous default funds system in order to provide lower cost, more simplified alternatives. If you don't have an existing super fund account when you start a new job, and don't nominate a new one yourself, your employer must pay your employer contributions into a MySuper fund.

MySuper products typically offer:

  • Lower fees
  • Simple features so you don't pay for services you don't need
  • Life insurance unless otherwise requested

How do you compare superannuation?

Australians have access to hundreds of superannuation funds and tens of thousands of investment options. It’s important to do your research to find the best super fund and best investment option for you, as choosing the wrong super fund or investment option can be costly.

There are five main factors to consider when choosing a superannuation fund:

How do you claim your superannuation?

Generally, you can only access your superannuation if:

  • You’re permanently retired and you reach your ‘preservation age’, which is between 55 and 60, depending on when you were born, or;
  • You’re still working and you turn 65.

Once you are eligible to withdraw your superannuation, you will typically have the option to receive it as a lump sum, an ongoing retirement income stream, or a combination the two.

Can you withdraw your superannuation early?

There are a number of special circumstances in which you may be eligible for an early release of your super, including the following:

  • If you’ve suffered permanent or temporary incapacity
  • If you’ve received commonwealth benefits for 26 continuous weeks but still can’t meet your immediate living expenses
  • If you’re seriously ill and need to pay for medical treatment
  • If you have a terminal condition and are likely to die within two years

Consider visiting the ATO website for more detailed information on early super withdrawal.

How do you find the best super fund?

The best superannuation fund is the one you believe will offer you the best value. Each person will have their own definition of ‘best’, depending on what they prefer.

For example, you may want to look for:

  • The fund that has delivered the highest net returns/strongest performance over the past five years
  • The fund that has earned the highest approval ratings on online review sites
  • The fund that has investment options that best align with your own values

Those are just examples – you might have your own definition of what makes for the best super fund. Using comparison tools such as RateCity's superannuation comparison table can make it easier to focus on the factors that matter to you most.

How much superannuation should you have?

Your superannuation will make a big impact on the kind of lifestyle you'll be able to afford once you retire. So, regardless of how far off retirement is for you, it's a good idea to keep an eye on your super balance and be proactive if it's below where you'd like it to be.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) has estimated how much money you'll need in retirement, based on your preferred lifestyle.

Budgets for various households and living standards for those aged around 65 (June quarter 2021, national)

 Modest lifestyle Comfortable lifestyle
Total per year$28,514$41,170$44,818$63,352

Source: ASFA. Notes: The figures in each case assume that the retiree(s) own their own home and relate to expenditure by the household. This can be greater than household income after income tax where there is a drawdown on capital over the period of retirement.

ASFA figures show that the amount you should have in your super when you retire to support a comfortable retirement lifestyle is $640,000 for a couple and $545,000 for a single person - assuming a partial Age Pension.

Meanwhile, ASFA estimates that a modest retirement lifestyle is mostly covered by the Age Pension. In which case the amount of superannuation needed to support a modest retirement lifestyle for a single or couple is $70,000.

According to ASFA, a modest retirement lifestyle is "considered better than the Age Pension, but still only able to afford fairly basic activities", while a comfortable retirement lifestyle "enables an older, healthy retiree to be involved in a broad range of leisure and recreational activities and to have a good standard of living through the purchase of such things as; household goods, private health insurance, a reasonable car, good clothes, a range of electronic equipment, and domestic and occasionally international holiday travel".

If you plan to retire at 65, it's important to keep in mind that you'll likely need a retirement income for at least 20 years.

Parents who have taken time out of the workforce to care for children, as well as low income earners, will tend to have less superannuation than those who have been employed continuously, on an average to high income, for the four or five decades of their career. If this is the case for you, you may want to consider making voluntary contributions on top of the super guarantee if your budget allows.

Moneysmart's retirement planner calculator can help you calculate the income you're likely to get from super and the age pension when you retire, based on your personal financial details.

How can you grow your super?

  1. Pre-tax super contributions: Also known as salary sacrifice, pre-tax super contributions can be paid out of your pre-tax income by your employer, at your request. These payments, along with the super guarantee, make up what is known as your concessional contributions.
  2. After-tax super contributions: If you reach the concessional contribution cap, there’s also the option to make super contributions from your after-tax pay. These payments are known as non-concessional contributions, as you will have already paid tax on this money. Low and middle-income earners who make after-tax super contributions may also be eligible to receive a co-contribution from the government, up to a maximum amount of $500.

These types of contributions are considered voluntary superannuation contributions, and can be made in addition to employer contributions (namely the super guarantee).

To find out more about government co-contributions and to see if you are eligible, visit the ATO website.

How do you find lost superannuation?

Lost superannuation refers to savings in a super fund account that you may have forgotten about. This can happen if you've opened a new super fund account each time you've started a new job, instead of nominating an existing account.

You can use your MyGov account to see details of all your superannuation accounts, including any you might have forgotten. Alternatively, you can fill in a ‘Searching for lost super’ form and send it to the Australian Taxation Office, which will then search on your behalf.

Once you've found your lost super, the next step is to consolidate your funds into a single account of your choice. You can either do this yourself via your MyGov account, or get in touch with your chosen fund to see if they are able to consolidate for you.

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Mark Bristow before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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^Words such as "top", "best", "cheapest" or "lowest" are not a recommendation or rating of products. This page compares a range of products from selected providers and not all products or providers are included in the comparison. There is no such thing as a 'one- size-fits-all' financial product. The best loan, credit card, superannuation account or bank account for you might not be the best choice for someone else. Before selecting any financial product you should read the fine print carefully, including the product disclosure statement, target market determination fact sheet or terms and conditions document and obtain professional financial advice on whether a product is right for you and your finances.