Considering your super fund options? Although we rarely stop to think of it in this way, the superannuation fund that you choose is one of the most important personal finance decisions that you will make in your lifetime.
A good super fund will help to set you up with enough money to retire comfortably. The wrong super, however, could cost you tens of thousands of dollars over your working life. So it’s always worth doing your research when deciding which super fund is right for you.
Plum Superannuation Fund is a retail super fund open to the general public, and one of hundreds of super funds in Australia. Here’s what to figure out when deciding if Plum Super is right for you.
Types of superannuation funds
There are a number of different types of super funds available in Australia:
Retail super funds such as Plum Super can be joined by anyone, and are usually run by banks or investment companies. Due to the fact they’re open to anyone, they have many members and make up a large sector of the super fund industry.
Industry super funds were once available only to workers within a particular industry, often because they are covered by certain industrial agreements. However, some larger industrial super funds are now open to the general public.
Public sector super funds are only available to current or former government employees. In some cases, employers can make more than the standard minimum contribution. Importantly, you cannot join a public sector fund if you are no longer a government employee, but you can choose to remain a member.
Corporate super funds are available only to members of a particular corporation or employer. If you are eligible for a corporate super fund, your employer will most likely tell you during your onboarding process.
MySuper is now the default option if you do not choose your own super fund. Your employer can now pay your contributions into a MySuper account, as opposed to a default fund offered by another superannuation provider.
Self-managed super funds are private funds managed by members. These types of super funds generally require more time, money and expertise to manage, and more work to make profitable.
Can you choose your super fund?
Most Australians have the ability to choose their own super funds, except for workers in particular industries who are covered by industrial super funds.
If you can choose your super fund, your employer will provide a ‘standard choice form’ when you commence employment. Many employers also have a preferred super fund, but you are under no obligation to choose this fund.
What to check before switching super funds
If you have recently changed jobs, or are simply looking to change or consolidate your super, you may be thinking of changing to Plum Super. Depending on your circumstances, this could be a great opportunity to lower your fees or increase your contributions.
When switching funds, make sure to check if your current employer has a preferred super fund. If they do, they may make higher contributions than the standard rate, so this is worth considering.
Make sure to also check if your current fund will charge you an exit fee, and if the fund you are switching to has consolidation or contribution fees.
Another important consideration is how your life insurance cover will change. Make sure you’re not losing benefits that you want or need.
How to compare super funds
If you are thinking about switching to Plum Super, it’s always prudent to compare at least a few different funds to see which one is right for you.
When comparing super funds, MoneySmart recommends considering the following points:
- Contribution amount – your employer may make higher contributions to a preferred fund
- Fees and charges – these will differ fund to fund, so make sure to work out how much each fund will leave you with, after fees, over a long period of time
- Investment options – most super funds will give you at least some options for how your money will be invested
- Performance – check the performance of your super fund over the last 5 and 10 years and make sure you’re taking the long-term performance into account
- Insurance and other benefits, such as financial planning – ensure that you’re not losing benefits that you need
How do I know if Plum Super is right for me?
Like all financial and superannuation decisions, you will need to do your own research when deciding if Plum Super is the right superannuation fund for you.
Make sure to check that you can choose your super fund, and compare fees, contributions, insurance and investment options. If everything adds up and Plum Super comes out on top, it may just be the right superannuation fund for you.