Your super is an investment for your future and your passport to a comfortable retirement.
Superannuation is a tax-effective way to save money for your retirement.
So it is to your advantage that your super fund is working as hard as it should be.
Mercer Super is one superannuation option you might want to consider. And if you want to register, Mercer Super is just an online application or phone call away.
When you embark on a new job, you will be asked by your employer to nominate a super fund. If you don’t have a super fund in mind, they will simply choose one for you.
Most employees have the right to nominate their own super fund, rather than having to accept the company’s default option.
Whatever fund you choose, most will give you the option of online access so you can check your super balance at any time.
Which super fund is right for you?
Fees, long-term benefits and reliability are three factors you might want to consider when choosing your super fund.
Taking some time to review your superannuation and comparing it with others online, as part of a ‘super health check’, will give you the opportunity to assess whether there are better options out there.
Mercer, which has been in business for more than 40 years, is one of dozens of different funds you can choose from.
Making salary sacrifice or non-concessional contributions to super can be an effective way to boost your retirement savings.
You may also earn additional tax benefits this way, but be warned to stay within the limits as you can be penalised if your contributions are too high.
Who will receive your super when you die?
Your nominated beneficiary will receive your super if you die early. Have you nominated a beneficiary on your account? Some nominations are valid for only three years, so is yours still current?
Does your super fund provide any insurance cover?
Your super may provide some level of insurance cover, but check if it is enough. It pays to review your super every year, as not only may your personal circumstances have changed, but so may the government’s super regulations.
Mercer Super provides an insurance package with built-in benefits, although this comes at a price.
Can I access my super early?
Super savings are for our retirement, but financial strife can strike without warning. The positive news is that there are ways to unlock your little pot of gold, but the negative is that the conditions of accessing your funds are very limited.
Early release of your super funds is allowed under severe financial hardship, like the bank threatening to repossess your home, and compassionate grounds, like funeral costs, medical expenses or palliative care.
You can also withdraw between $1,000 to $10,000 if you have been on government support payments for 26 consecutive weeks and cannot meet immediately family living expenses.
The bad news is that you can’t withdraw your super to pay for that new sports car you fancy.
However, you can withdraw your super when you reach the ‘preservation age’. The current preservation age ranges from 55 to 60, depending on when you were born.
You can also ‘transfer’ or ‘rollover’ super funds from one fund to another easily. Under current regulations, these must be processed within three business days.
How do super funds invest my money?
Your funds automatically go into a default investment option unless you choose a different investment option. There are many higher-interest-paying-but-riskier investments to choose from, and you can also mix and match by spreading your money over multiple investment portfolios.
Most superannuation funds like Mercer Super offer a range of investment options for you to choose from. Here you will come across terms like growth, balanced, conservative and cash.
Other superannuation funds have investment alternatives like international equities, Australian equities, property, sustainable shares and fixed interest.
Depending on your risk appetite, it might be feasible to invest some or most of your savings in ‘growth’ products for longer-term gain – although these products might produce significant short-term losses.
How does money get paid in my super fund?
There are three kinds of super contributions: employer contributions, personal contributions and government contributions.
For most workers, your employer must pay 9.5 per cent of your salary into your super fund.
This amount is on top of your regular earnings, and these funds will then be invested by your chosen super fund.
You can also bump up your super balance through salary sacrifice and personal savings.
If you put your after-tax money into super, you can also receive government co-contributions, depending on your salary. If you earn less than $37,000 you may be eligible for a ‘low-income super tax offset’ of up to $500 from the government.
Choosing a super fund can be difficult, so it is advisable to do your research before making the plunge.