Find and compare the best Australian super funds

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5.79%

$92

smartMonday

$622

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Platinum
More details
5.86%

$68

Legalsuper

$623

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Platinum
More details
6.44%

$78

MTAA Super

$443

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Platinum
More details
-

$78

MLC

$723

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MySuper Platinum
More details
6.90%

$73

WA Super

$513

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
5.64%

$0

Electricity Industry Superannuation Scheme

$365

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
4.27%

$39

Energy Industries Superannuation Scheme

$554

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
-

$91

AMP Bank

$366

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
4.35%

$0

Netwealth

$563

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
5.06%

$50

OnePath

$325

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
5.31%

$0

Qantas Super

$660

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
-

$60

AvSuper

$630

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MySuper Gold
More details
4.92%

$86

REI Super

$601

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
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Superannuation is one aspect of our finances that (for most of us) gets less attention than it should, possibly because superannuation seems more complex than it actually is.

Being a good money manager requires you to periodically assess your finances and evaluate whether your current financial position is benefitting you in the short and long term.

Your superannuation account shouldn’t escape the same scrutiny that you would place on your credit card or home loan.

With the variety of superannuation funds out there, it’s important that you choose your superannuation fund wisely, simple because you can!

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 and fund management fees?
  • Investment options: Does the fund offer Australian or international shares, cash, bonds, property or a mix of all?
  • Track record: How long has the fund existed and what returns has it recorded for members?
  • Insurance: Can you take out life or income protection insurance? Is it more competitive than your current provider?
  • Other services: Does the fund offer additional 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. You can go even further and pick a fund based on what type of fund it is.

What type of superannuation funds are there?

The following list is a snapshot of the type of super funds that exist in Australia (of course, this list is subject to change):

  • 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 accept members who are not public servants.
  • Industry funds generally represent employees from specific industry sectors such as manufacturing or hospitality. Many industry funds 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.
  • 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.

When choosing the best super fund for you, you can decide based on your occupation or industry, or even decide on a fund that’s 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 superfund for you?

Most superannuation funds let you open an account online or over the phone. This step is relatively straight-forward, 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 a couple of ways you can do this:

  • Find out if your new super fund will do this for you (in most 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 the superannuation guarantee?

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

From 1 July 2014, the federal government stipulated that an employer must contribute 9.5 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

Period General super guarantee (%)
1 July 2002 - 30 June 2013 9.00
1 July 2013 - 30 June 2014 9.25
1 July 2014 - 30 June 2015 9.50
1 July 2015 - 30 June 2016 9.50
1 July 2016 - 30 June 2017 9.50
1 July 2017 - 30 June 2018 9.50
1 July 2018 - 30 June 2019 9.50
1 July 2019 - 30 June 2020 9.50
1 July 2020 - 30 June 2021 9.50
1 July 2021 - 30 June 2022 10.00
1 July 2022 - 30 June 2023 10.50
1 July 2023 - 30 June 2024 11.00
1 July 2024 - 30 June 2025 11.50
1 July 2025 - 30 June 2026 12.00
1 July 2026 - 30 June 2027 12.00
1 July 2027 - 30 June 2028 and onwards 12.00

Source: ATO

How much superannuation do I need to retire?

How much super 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 (March quarter 2018, national)

65 year old singles 65 year old couples 85 year old singles 85 year old couples
Modest lifestyle $27,368 $39,353 $25,841 $36,897
Comfortable lifestyle $42,764 $60,264 $40,636 $56,295

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.

FAQs

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.

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

 

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).

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).

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 long after divorce can you claim superannuation?

You or your partner could be forced to surrender part of your superannuation if you divorce, just like with other assets.

You can file a claim for division of property – including superannuation – as soon as you divorce. However, the claim has to be filed within one year of the divorce.

Your superannuation could be affected even if you’re in a de facto relationship – that is, living together as a couple without being officially married.

In that case, the claim has to be filed within two years of the date of separation.

Either way, the first thing to consider is whether you’re a member of a standard, APRA-regulated superannuation fund or if you’re a member of a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF), because different rules apply.

Standard superannuation funds

If your relationship breaks down, your superannuation savings might be divided by court order or by agreement.

The rules of the superannuation fund will dictate whether this transfer happens immediately, or in the future when the person who has to make the transfer is allowed to access the rest of their superannuation (i.e. at or near retirement).

Click here for more information.

SMSFs

If your relationship breaks down, you must continue to observe the trust deed of your SMSF.

So if you and your partner are both members of the same SMSF, neither party is allowed to use the fund to inflict ‘punishment’ – such as by excluding the other party from the decision-making process or refusing their request to roll their money into another superannuation fund.

This no-punishment rule applies even if the two parties are involved in legal proceedings.

Click here for more information.

Financial consequences

Superannuation funds often charge a fee for splitting accounts after a relationship breakdown.

Splitting superannuation can also impact the size of your total super balance and how your super is taxed.

Click here for more information.

How many superannuation funds are there?

There are more than 200 different superannuation funds.

What age can I withdraw my superannuation?

You can withdraw your superannuation (or at least some of it) when you reach ‘preservation age’. The preservation 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

When you reach preservation age, you can withdraw all your superannuation if you’re retired. If you’re still working, you can begin a ‘transition to retirement’, which allows you to withdraw 10 per cent of their superannuation each financial year.

You can also withdraw all your superannuation once you reach 65 years.

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.

What is an SMSF?

An SMSF is a self-managed superannuation fund. SMSFs have to follow the same rules and restrictions as ordinary superannuation funds.

SMSFs allow Australians to directly invest their superannuation, rather than let ordinary funds manage their money for them.

SMSFs are regulated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). They can have up to four members. All members must be trustees (or directors if there is a corporate trustee).

Unlike with ordinary funds, SMSF members are responsible for meeting compliance obligations.

What is superannuation?

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

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.

Can I take money out of my superannuation fund?

Superannuation is designed to provide Australians with money in their retirement. The government has strict rules around when people can take that money out of their fund because it wants to prevent people eroding their savings before they reach retirement.

As a general rule, you can only take money out of your superannuation fund when you reach:

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

That said, you can take money out of your superannuation fund early based on one of these seven special conditions:

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

How do I combine several superannuation accounts into one account?

The process used to consolidate several superannuation accounts into one is the same process used to change superannuation funds. This can be done through your MyGov account or by filling out a rollover form and sending it to your chosen fund.

How do I set up an SMSF?

Setting up an SMSF takes more work than registering with an ordinary superannuation fund. 

An SMSF is a type of trust, so if you want to create an SMSF, you first have to create a trust.

To create a trust, you will need trustees, who must sign a trustee declaration. You will also need identifiable beneficiaries and assets for the fund – although these can be as little as a few dollars.

You will also need to create a trust deed, which is a document that lays out the rules of your SMSF. The trust deed must be prepared by a qualified professional and signed by all trustees.

To qualify as an Australian superannuation fund, the SMSF must meet these three criteria:

  • The fund must be established in Australia – or at least one of its assets must be located in Australia
  • The central management and control of the fund must ordinarily be in Australia
  • The fund must have active members who are Australian residents and who hold at least 50 per cent of the fund’s assets – or it must have no active members

Once your SMSF is established and all trustees have signed a trustee declaration, you have 60 days to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN).

When completing the ABN application, you should ask for a tax file number for your fund. You should also ask for the fund to be regulated by the Australian Taxation Office – otherwise it won’t receive tax concessions.

Your next step is to open a bank account in your fund’s name. This account must be kept separated from the accounts held by the trustees and any related employers.

Your SMSF will also need an electronic service address, so it can receive contributions.

Finally, you will need to create an investment strategy, which explains how your fund will invest its money, and an exit strategy, which explains how and why it would ever close.

Please note that you can pay an adviser to set up your SMSF. You might also want to take the Self-Managed Superannuation Fund Trustee Education Program, which is a free program that has been created by CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand.

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.

How is superannuation regulated?

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) regulates ordinary superannuation accounts. Self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) are regulated by the Australian Taxation Office.

How can I increase my superannuation?

You can increase your superannuation through a ‘salary sacrifice’. This is where your employer takes part of your pre-tax salary and pays it directly into your superannuation account. Like regular superannuation contributions, salary sacrifices are taxed at 15 per cent when they are paid into the fund.