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Showing superannuation funds based on investment performance of
and a super balance of
Past 5-year return
8.75

% p.a

FYTD return

2.77

% p.a

Company
Calc fees on 50k

$513

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
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Which is the best super fund?

Finding the best super fund may seem more complex than you expect. Because every Australian’s financial situation is different, the best superannuation choice may be different for everybody.

For example, an Australian starting their career and wanting to quickly grow their super balance may prefer a super fund with a growth investment option. Another Australian closer to retirement age may prefer a super fund with a Conservative investment option to help protect the savings they’ve already built up.

Other Australians may prefer an ethical super fund, whose investment choices align with their values, or a super fund offering access to insurance, features and other benefits that suit their lifestyle.

What is the best performing super fund?

Finding the super fund with the best past performance can be as simple as using one of RateCity’s comparison tools to compare the past 5-year performance of various super options side by side. However, it’s essential to remember that past performance does not reliably indicate future performance.

Before you consider switching to a better-performing fund, remember to compare the available options and consider other factors, such as the fees, features and other benefits, to help ensure it also provides the best value in your financial situation and can help you to achieve your personal goals.

How much superannuation do I need to retire?

How much super balance you need to retire will depend on what retirement lifestyle you want. If luxury travel is part of your retirement plan, you might need to make extra contributions yourself to achieve this goal.

To help you estimate your retirement’s budget, you can refer to organisations such as the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia to help with your calculations.

Budgets for various households and living standards (June quarter 2021, national)

65 year old singles65 year old couples85 year old singles85 year old couples
Modest lifestyle$28,514$41,170$27,011$38,640
Comfortable lifestyle$44,818$63,352$42,713$59,286

Source: Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia - assumes that the retirees own their own home outright and are relatively healthy

To determine how much money you’ll have available in your super fund by the time you retire, you can use a government calculator to estimate how much you’ll receive from your employer. If this isn’t enough to afford the retirement lifestyle you’d like, you may want to consider making additional super contributions.

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What is the superannuation guarantee?

The superannuation guarantee is the term given to compulsory superannuation contributions made by employers to complying superannuation funds.

From 1 July 2021, the federal government stipulated that an employer must contribute 10 per cent (as the minimum) of an employee’s wage or salary to their superannuation, although this is scheduled to gradually rise to 12 per cent by 2025.

Super guarantee percentage

PeriodGeneral super guarantee (%)
1 July 2002 - 30 June 20139.00
1 July 2013 - 30 June 20149.25
1 July 2014 - 30 June 20159.50
1 July 2015 - 30 June 20169.50
1 July 2016 - 30 June 20179.50
1 July 2017 - 30 June 20189.50
1 July 2018 - 30 June 20199.50
1 July 2019 - 30 June 20209.50
1 July 2020 - 30 June 20219.50
1 July 2021 - 30 June 202210.00
1 July 2022 - 30 June 202310.50
1 July 2023 - 30 June 202411.00
1 July 2024 - 30 June 202511.50
1 July 2025 - 30 June 202612.00
1 July 2026 - 30 June 202712.00
1 July 2027 - 30 June 2028 and onwards12.00

Source: ATO

How to find the best super fund for you

To determine the best superannuation fund for you, a good starting place is your current fund. When was the last time you examined your quarterly or annual superannuation statement?

When looking at your super statement, or looking for a superannuation fund to invest with, there are some easy items to consider which can help with your decision:

  • Fees: What are the administration fees and fund management fees? Are there any other super fees, such as investment fees or annual fees? Could you get lower fees with a different super fund?
  • Investment options: Does the fund offer Australian or international shares, cash, bonds, property or a mix of all? What kind of asset allocation is involved?
  • Track record: How long has the fund existed and what investment returns has it recorded for members? Keep in mind that past investment performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
  • Insurance: Can you take out life or income protection insurance? Are the insurance options more competitive than your current provider? How do the insurance premiums look compared to other options?
  • Other services: Does the fund offer additional member services such as financial planning and advice?
    These factors can help to narrow down your choices when you're looking for the best super fund based on your needs. 

As well as looking for low fees and positive past performance (which is not a reliable indicator of future performance), you can go even further and compare some of the top RateCity super products based on their ratings. If you compare the badges from SuperRatings, you can get an idea of how some of the top-rated super funds have performed, and which options may be best for your needs.

Using RateCity’s filters, you can further narrow down your superannuation search. For example, you could look for a fund that suits your super account balance, offers specific investment options, and provides special features and benefits.

It’s important to compare super funds and check the product disclosure statement (PDS) before making any superannuation decisions. You may also want to contact financial advisers to get personal financial advice on which super funds may best suit your financial situation.

What type of superannuation funds are there?

Some of the types of super funds that exist in Australia include:

  • Retail funds are usually owned and operated by banks or investment companies. Anyone can join a retail fund.
  • Public sector funds were created for federal, state, and local government employees. Some public-sector funds also accept members who are not public servants.
  • Industry funds generally represent employees from specific industry sectors such as manufacturing or hospitality. Many industry funds also accept members from outside their industry.
  • Corporate funds are privately owned and operated by an employer specifically for its employees. You need to be an employee to be a member of this type of fund.
  • MySuper is a default superannuation account where employers can make contributions on behalf of an employee. This is a no-frills account that does not offer defined benefits. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) conducts an annual performance test of MySuper products - consider checking if yours is underperforming.
  • Self-managed funds are controlled by you. Also referred to as SMSF accounts, self-managed funds require a thorough understanding of superannuation and investing to manage.
    Some super funds offer a range of different options for investing your superannuation, such as whether you want to invest in high growth assets, or prefer a more balanced option. 

When choosing the best super fund for you, you can decide based on your occupation or industry, or on your preferred investment strategy, or on which funds are more in line with your values. Many superannuation funds represent specific interest groups and advocate for certain principles. For example, you can choose a fund that invests in renewable energy or one that donates a percentage of profits to charity.

How do I change superannuation funds?

Now that you’ve considered whether you want, say, a retail fund run by one of the big banks or a not-for-profit industry fund that gives profits back to members, what's next in your search for the best super fund for you?

Most superannuation funds let you open an account online or over the phone. This step is relatively straightforward, although you will need your tax file number on hand for this process.

Once you’re up and running, you may need to roll over any existing superannuation accounts to the new fund. There are a couple of ways you can do this:

  • Find out if your new super fund will do this for you (in many cases they will)
  • Roll over your existing account/s yourself via the MyGov portal (you will need to have the Australian Taxation Office linked to your profile)

Voila! All done.

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 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

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.

When can I access my superannuation?

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

The preservation age – which is different to the pension age – is based on date of birth. Here are the 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

A transition to retirement allows you to continue working while accessing up to 10 per cent of the money in your superannuation account at the start of each financial year.

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

 

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