Showing superannuation funds based on investment performance of
and a super balance of
Past 5-year return
8.52

% p.a

FYTD return

14.32

% p.a

Company
Calc fees on 50k

$485

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
SuperRatings Platinum 2021 MySuper
Go to site
More details
Past 5-year return
8.20

% p.a

FYTD return

18.81

% p.a

Company
Calc fees on 50k

$928

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
SuperRatings Platinum 2021 MyChoice Super
Go to site
More details
Past 5-year return
8.25

% p.a

FYTD return

15.20

% p.a

Company
Calc fees on 50k

$513

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
SuperRatings Platinum 2021 MyChoice Super
Go to site
More details
Past 5-year return
7.89

% p.a

FYTD return

14.66

% p.a

Company
Calc fees on 50k

$623

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
SuperRatings Platinum 2021 MyChoice Super
Go to site
More details
Past 5-year return
8.05

% p.a

FYTD return

15.98

% p.a

Company
Calc fees on 50k

$622

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
SuperRatings Platinum 2021 MyChoice Super
Go to site
More details

Superannuation funds we compare at RateCity

Superannuation (also known as ‘super’) is a compulsory savings scheme. It puts aside some of your income 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.

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Learn more about superannuation

What's new in superannuation in July 2021?

The long-forecast increase of the Super Guarantee (SG) from 9.5% to 10% of every eligible employee’s base salary has finally arrived. Additional SG increases are forecast each year up until 2027, where the SG should reach 12%.

While these SG increases are intended to help Australians save for a more comfortable retirement in the future, some employers are understood to be taking the extra 0.5% out of their employees’ take-home pay, rather than footing the bill themselves. Depending on your contract, and the nature of your employment, you may want to check your upcoming payslips to find out if you’ll need to recalculate your household budget.

The start of a new financial year also means that it’s tax time (remember, personal super contributions may be tax deductible), which can offer a convenient opportunity to take a good look at the state of your personal finances. While you’re conducting your financial health check, you could consider comparing super funds, to work out whether you’re getting value out of your current fund, or if switching to a different fund could better suit your needs.

Updated by Mark Bristow on 6 July 2021

How does superannuation work?

Your employer is responsible for paying your superannuation.

Your annual superannuation must be at least 9.5 per cent of your ordinary time earnings. For example, if you earn $100,000 (before tax), your employer must pay you at least $9,500 in super per financial year. This is known as the ‘superannuation guarantee’ or SG. Employers must make SG contributions into your super account at least once every three months. 

You qualify for the superannuation guarantee if you are over the age of 18, earn $450 or more before income tax each calendar month, or work 30 hours or more a week. 

This applies to full-time and part-time employees, and some casual employees. It also includes temporary residents to Australia. 

The super guarantee contribution rate is scheduled to increase every year, starting from mid-2021. Each year, the SG rate should increase by 0.5 percent, until superannuation guarantee contributions reach 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 - check with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for more details.

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 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.

Which superannuation fund should you choose?

Put simply, you should choose whatever superannuation fund you believe is the best.

Each person will have their own definition of ‘best’, depending on their preferences. For example, you may want to look for:

  • The fund that has delivered the highest net returns over the past five years
  • The fund that has earned the highest approval ratings on online review sites
  • The fund that has the most appealing investment options

Those are just examples – you might have your own definition of what constitutes the best super fund.

The key is to do your research, compare your options and then choose the super fund you believe is the best.

What are the benefits of superannuation?

There are two main benefits of superannuation:

  • You build a nest egg for retirement
  • You save and invest in a tax-effective structure (super is taxed at only 15 per cent)

What are the disadvantages of superannuation?

The main disadvantage of superannuation is that it is compulsory. So instead of getting access to your money today (in the form of a higher take-home salary), it gets locked away – potentially for decades.

What can you use superannuation for?

Superannuation is meant to fund your retirement. Apart from a few exceptions, 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.
  • If you’re still working and you turn 65.

However, you may be able to access your superannuation early in some special circumstances, such as:

  • 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

What types of superannuation are available?

There are six types of superannuation funds:

 Fund Description Availability
Retail super funds Run by for-profit institutions such as banks and financial services companies Everyone
Industry super funds Run by not-for-profit institutions Some industry funds restrict membership to certain industries 
Public sector super funds Created for federal and state government departments Public servants
Corporate super funds Run by companies Employees of those companies
Eligible rollover super funds Special holding accounts; can’t receive contributions from employers For lost members or inactive members with low balances
Self-managed super funds SMSFs are for Australians who want to manage their own investments Everyone

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.

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. Choosing the wrong super fund or investment option can be costly.

There are five main ways to compare superannuation funds:

1. Fees

You may prefer to pay lower fees than higher fees when it comes to your superannuation. However, a fund with higher fees might still offer better value than one with lower fees.

These fees may include:

  • Administration fees
  • Investment fees
  • Advice fees
  • Switching fees
  • Buy-sell spread fees
  • Activity-based fees
  • Indirect costs
  • Insurance premiums

2. Investment options

You may want to research the different investment options being offered with different super funds. You want to make sure you’re comfortable with:

  • The amount of risk you would be taking
  • The asset classes you would be investing in
  • How much of your super that would be going to each asset class

3. Investment performance

You may also want to research how each fund's investment options have been performing, such as by looking at their net returns (i.e. after fees). Moneysmart suggests comparing the performance of different funds over the last five years.

4. Insurance options

Super funds commonly offer three different types of insurance:

  • Life insurance
  • Total and permanent disability insurance
  • Income protection insurance

If you’re interested in a super fund with insurance, consider investigating the premiums and conditions.

5. Customer service

You may also want to learn more about what sort of customer service you might receive from different super funds. This might involve comparing the promises made by funds in their marketing with the feedback left on online review sites.

How do you find the best superannuation 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 over the past five years
  • The fund that has earned the highest approval ratings on online review sites
  • The fund that has the most appealing investment options

Those are just examples – you might have your own definition of what makes for the best super fund.

Does the best super fund have the best performance?

Looking at a super fund’s investment performance can be a useful comparison benchmark in some cases. For example, you could compare your current fund’s recent performance to another fund’s over the same period. 

However, just because a super fund has performed well over the past few years, that doesn’t guarantee it will be the best super fund for your financial situation. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. 

It’s important to consider the fees you may need to pay, as this could reduce the overall value offered by the fund. Additionally, a high-performance super fund may not offer the features and benefits that you’re interested in, such as ethical investing or access to insurance. 

Are performance-driven super funds more expensive in the long term?

Performance-driven super funds are more likely to offer active management of the fund’s investments, possibly with the help of professional fund managers. This could mean paying extra fees, such as admin fees, advice fees, and investment management fees. 

Some super funds also charge performance fees when the fund reaches a certain target. These fees may be calculated as a percentage of the investment returns in excess of the target. While these fees may be capped at an upper percentage limit, it’s still an extra cost.

It’s also important to keep in mind that if a super fund performs significantly better than its competition, you could still find yourself financially better off, even taking the performance fees into account.  

What is the cheapest superannuation fund?

Identifying the cheapest superannuation fund in Australia is difficult, for two reasons.

First, there are many different types of fees. The same super fund might charge different fees to different members, depending on each member’s balance, activity, investment preferences and insurance preferences. The fees might also differ from person to person. So an apples-for-apples comparison may not always be possible.

Second, there are many different super funds, which may change their fees at any time. Even if you could make an apples-for-apples comparison to find the cheapest super fund, the cheapest fund might change regularly.

How can you apply for superannuation?

Once you’ve chosen what you believe is the best super fund for your situation, contact the fund or visit their website for more information. Joining a super fund is usually a straightforward task.

You apply for superannuation by filling out a standard choice form. You will need to provide:

  • Personal details
  • Information about your preferred super fund

Your employer will also need to fill out part of the form.

How much does superannuation cost?

You don’t have to pay money to join a superannuation fund. However, the fund will charge you fees to manage your money, which will be taken out of your super balance.

How can RateCity help you save on superannuation?

You can use RateCity to compare superannuation funds and superannuation products, including:

  • Investment performance
  • Fees
  • Features
  • SuperRatings awards

You can then use that information to choose what you believe is the best superannuation fund for your situation.

Using RateCity's tables, you can quickly compare the rates of return for various super funds over the past five years, as well as fees, features and benefits. Remembers that a super fund's past return rates do not guarantee that you'll enjoy similar rates of return in the future.

Frequently asked questions

What is a superannuation fund?

A superannuation fund is an institution that is legally allowed to hold and invest your superannuation. There are more than 200 different superannuation funds in Australia. They come in five different types:

  • Retail funds
  • Industry funds
  • Public sector funds
  • Corporate funds
  • Self-managed super funds

Retail funds are usually run by banks or investment companies.

Industry funds were originally designed for workers from a particular industry, but are now open to anyone.

Public sector funds were originally designed for people working for federal or state government departments. Most are still reserved for government employees.

Corporate funds are arranged by employers for their employees.

Self-managed super funds are private superannuation funds that allow people to directly invest their money.

How do you open a superannuation account?

Opening a superannuation account is simple. When you start a job, your employer will give you what’s called a ‘superannuation standard choice form’. Here’s what you need to complete the form:

  • The name of your preferred superannuation fund
  • The fund’s address
  • The fund’s Australian business number (ABN)
  • The fund’s superannuation product identification number (SPIN)
  • The fund’s phone number
  • A letter from the fund trustee confirming that the fund is a complying fund; or written evidence from the fund stating it will accept contributions from your new employer; or details about how your employer can make contributions to the fund

You might want to provide your tax file number as well – while it’s not a legal obligation, it will ensure your contributions will be taxed at the (lower) superannuation rate.

What superannuation details do I give to my employer?

When you start a job, your employer will give you what’s called a ‘superannuation standard choice form’. Here’s what you need to complete the form:

  • The name of your preferred superannuation fund
  • The fund’s address
  • The fund’s Australian business number (ABN)
  • The fund’s superannuation product identification number (SPIN)
  • The fund’s phone number
  • A letter from the fund trustee confirming that the fund is a complying fund; or written evidence from the fund stating it will accept contributions from your new employer; or details about how your employer can make contributions to the fund

You should also provide your tax file number – while it’s not a legal obligation, it will ensure your contributions will be taxed at the (lower) superannuation rate.

How do I choose the right superannuation fund?

Different superannuation funds charge different fees, offer different insurances, offer different investment options and have different performance histories.

So you need to ask yourself these four questions when comparing superannuation funds:

  • How many fees would I have to pay and what would they cost?
  • What insurances are available and how much would they cost?
  • What investment options does it offer? How would they match my risk profile and financial needs?
  • How have these investment options performed historically?

How do you set up superannuation?

Before you set up a superannuation account, you’ll need to check if you’re allowed to choose your own fund. Most Australians can, but this option doesn’t apply to some workers who are covered by industrial agreements or who are members of defined benefits funds.

Assuming you are able to choose your own fund, the next step should be research, because there are more than 200 different superannuation funds in Australia.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred superannuation fund, head to that provider’s website, where you should be able to fill in an online application or download the appropriate forms. You’ll need your tax file number (assuming you don’t want to be charged a higher tax rate), your contact details and your employer’s details (if you’re employed).

What fees do superannuation funds charge?

Superannuation funds can charge a range of fees, including:

  • Activity-based fees – for specific, irregular services, such as splitting an account after a divorce
  • Administration fees – to cover the cost of managing your account
  • Advice fees – for personal investment advice
  • Buy/sell spread fees – when you make contributions, switches and withdrawals
  • Exit fees – when you close your account
  • Investment fees – to cover the cost of managing your investments
  • Switching fees – when you choose a new investment option within the same fund

How do you create a superannuation account?

Before you create a superannuation account, you’ll need to check if you’re allowed to choose your own fund. Most Australians can, but this option doesn’t apply to some workers who are covered by industrial agreements or who are members of defined benefits funds.

Assuming you are able to choose your own fund, the next step should be research, because there are more than 200 different superannuation funds in Australia.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred superannuation fund, head to that provider’s website, where you should be able to fill in an online application or download the appropriate forms. You’ll need your tax file number (assuming you don’t want to be charged a higher tax rate), your contact details and your employer’s details (if you’re employed).

Can I choose a superannuation fund or does my employer choose one for me?

Most people can choose their own superannuation fund. However, you might not have this option if you are a member of certain defined benefit funds or covered by certain industrial agreements. If you don’t choose a superannuation fund, your employer will choose one for you.

How many superannuation funds are there?

There are more than 200 different superannuation funds.

How do I change my superannuation fund?

Changing superannuation funds is a common and straightforward process. You can do it through your MyGov account or by filling out a rollover form and sending it to your new fund. You’ll also have to provide proof of identity.

How do you access superannuation?

Accessing your superannuation is a simple administrative procedure – you just ask your fund to pay it. You can access your superannuation in three different ways:

  • Lump sum
  • Account-based pension
  • Part lump sum and part account-based pension

However, please note that your superannuation fund will only be able to make a payout if you meet the ‘conditions of release’. The conditions of release say you can claim your super when you reach:

  • Age 65
  • Your ‘preservation age’ and retire
  • Your preservation age and begin a ‘transition to retirement’ while still working

The preservation age has six different categories:

Date of birth Preservation age
Before 1 July 1960 55
1 July 1960 – 30 June 1961 56
1 July 1961 – 30 June 1962 57
1 July 1962 – 30 June 1963 58
1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964 59
From 1 July 1964 60

There are also seven special circumstances under which you can claim your superannuation:

  • Compassionate grounds
  • Severe financial hardship
  • Temporary incapacity
  • Permanent incapacity
  • Superannuation inheritance
  • Superannuation balance under $200
  • Temporary resident departing Australia

What is superannuation?

Superannuation is money set aside for your retirement. This money is automatically paid into your superannuation fund by your employer.

What is the superannuation rate?

The superannuation rate, or guarantee rate, is the percentage of your salary that your employer must pay into your superannuation fund. The superannuation guarantee has been set at 9.5 per cent since the 2014-15 financial year. It is scheduled to rise to 10.0 per cent in 2021-22, 10.5 per cent in 2022-23, 11.0 per cent in 2023-24, 11.5 per cent in 2024-25 and 12.0 per cent in 2025-26.

What happens to my superannuation when I change jobs?

You can keep your superannuation fund for as long as you like, so nothing happens when you change jobs. Please note that some superannuation funds have special features for people who work with certain employers, so these features may no longer be available if you change jobs.

What are ethical investment superannuation funds?

Ethical investment funds limit themselves to making ‘ethical’ investments (which each fund defines according to its own principles). For example, ethical funds might avoid investing in companies or industries that are linked to human suffering or environmental damage.

Am I entitled to superannuation if I'm a contractor?

As a contractor, you’re entitled to superannuation if:

  • The contract is mainly for your labour
  • You’re over 18 and earn more than $450 before tax in a calendar month
  • You’re under 18, you work more than 30 hours per week and you earn more than $450 before tax in a calendar month

Please note that you’re entitled to superannuation even if you have an Australian business number (ABN).

How does superannuation work?

Superannuation is paid by employers to employees, at least once every three months. The ‘superannuation guarantee’ is currently 9.5 per cent – which means that your employer must pay you superannuation equivalent to 9.5 per cent of your salary. The guarantee is scheduled to rise to 10.0 per cent in 2021-22, 10.5 per cent in 2022-23, 11.0 per cent in 2023-24, 11.5 per cent in 2024-25 and 12.0 per cent in 2025-26.

Superannuation is generally taxed at 15 per cent. However, if you earn less than $37,000, you will be automatically reimbursed up to $500 of the tax you paid. Also, if your income plus concessional superannuation contributions exceed $250,000, you will also be charged Division 293 tax. This is an extra 15 per cent tax on your concessional contributions or the amount above $250,000 – whichever is lesser.

You can withdraw your superannuation when you meet the ‘conditions of release’. The conditions of release say you can claim your super when you reach:

  • Age 65
  • Your ‘preservation age’ and retire
  • Your preservation age and begin a ‘transition to retirement’ while still working

 

Is superannuation paid on unused annual leave?

If your employment is terminated, superannuation will not be paid on unused annual leave.

How does superannuation affect the age pension?

Most Australians who are of retirement age can qualify for the age pension. However, depending on the size of your assets and post-retirement income, you might be entitled to only a reduced pension. In some instances, you might not be entitled to any pension payments.

What will the superannuation fund do with my money?

Your money will be invested in an investment option of your choosing.