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6.97%

$78

MTAA Super

$513

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MySuper Platinum
More details
6.63%

$92

smartMonday

$622

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
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MyChoice Platinum
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6.78%

$68

Legalsuper

$628

Advisory services
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Variety of options
MyChoice Platinum
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5.95%

$78

MLC

$913

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
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Variety of options
MyChoice Platinum
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5.54%

$78

Russell Investments

$203

Advisory services
Death insurance
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Online access
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Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
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6.02%

$635

BT Financial Group

$1.3k

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
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6.23%

$180

IOOF

$1.1k

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
More details
6.93%

$91

AMP Bank

$521

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
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6.31%

$0

OnePath

$425

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
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5.24%

$78

Australian Catholic Superannuation & Retirement Fund

$583

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

$84

Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation

$689

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
MyChoice Gold
More details

Learn more about superannuation

Whether you plan to retire by the beach, in an idyllic rural town or amidst the bustle of a capital city like Sydney, superannuation – the money that’s set aside as your regular income when you stop working – can make a significant impact on your future financial security.

Thankfully, super isn’t difficult to understand. Below are four basic things you need to know about how superannuation in Australia works.

Superannuation is a tax-effective way of saving for your retirement

Super is essentially money put in a fund by your employer throughout your working life, so you have an income to live on when you retire. You can access your super when you reach your ‘preservation age’, which ranges from 55 to 60 depending on the year of your birth.

Currently, employers must contribute the equivalent of 9.5 per cent of their employee’s ordinary time earnings to their super, thanks to a system called the superannuation guarantee. (The guarantee is scheduled to incrementally rise to 12.0 per cent by 2025-26.)

The contribution is only taxed at 15 per cent, which is less than half the average marginal tax rate for most workers. This means superannuation is tax-effective way to save for your retirement.

You can choose your own super fund

Unless you select your own fund, your employer will choose one for you. It’s worth knowing what options are available, as your fund’s performance impacts how much super you have at retirement.

There are different types of superannuation funds in Australia, ranging from not-for-profit industry super funds to retail funds run by banks. Things to consider when doing your research include:

  • What insurance cover is offered – you can get life insurance, disability cover and income protection cover with many funds. It’s worth checking the premiums charged, and what limitations and health checks are in place.
  • How the fund performs – funds offer different investment strategies with a mix of high and low-growth options. You can compare five-year investment performance of different super funds through RateCity.
  • Fees charged – these may include fees for administration, switching investments, advice or exiting.

You can make extra contributions to your super

The maths is simple: the more you save, the more super you accrue for your retirement.
One way to boost your super is to ‘salary sacrifice’, by asking your employer to send some of your before-tax salary to your super fund. The advantage of salary sacrificing is any money contributed to super attracts a much lower tax rate of 15 per cent. But take care: the amount of before-tax contributions you can make is capped at $25,000 a year.

Another way to increase your super is to make contributions from your after-tax income.

You can currently contribute up to $100,000 per financial year.

Finding lost super is easier than you think

If, for example, you’ve moved from Melbourne to Sydney to change jobs and you’re not sure where your super is held, or you have lots of multiple accounts, don’t worry: you can find your lost super by using the online MyGov service. Visit the ATO website for more details.

Rolling your super into one fund is worth considering, as it cuts down on fees and makes it easier to keep track of your savings. RateCity can help you compare super funds and find one that best suits your needs.

Frequently asked questions

Is superannuation taxed?

Superannuation is taxed. It 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.

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 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).

How many superannuation funds are there?

There are more than 200 different superannuation funds.

How much is superannuation in Australia?

Superannuation in Australia 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 ‘superannuation guarantee’, as it is known, has been 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 calculated?

Superannuation is calculated at the rate of 9.5 per cent of your gross salary and wages. So if you had a salary of $50,000, your superannuation would be 9.5 per cent of that, or $4,750. This would be paid on top of your salary.

The ‘superannuation guarantee’, as it is known, has been 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 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

 

How do you find superannuation?

Lost superannuation refers to savings in an account that you’ve forgotten about. This can happen if you’ve opened several different accounts over the years while moving from job to job.

You can use your MyGov account to see details of all your superannuation accounts, including any you might have forgotten. Alternatively, you can fill in a ‘Searching for lost super’ form and send it to the Australian Taxation Office, which will then search on your behalf.

What should I know before getting an SMSF?

Four questions to ask yourself before taking out an SMSF include:

  1. Do I have enough superannuation to justify the higher set-up and running costs?
  2. Am I able to handle complicated compliance obligations?
  3. Am I willing to spend lots of time researching investment options?
  4. Do I have the skill to make big financial decisions?

It’s also worth remembering that ordinary superannuation funds usually offer discounted life insurance and disability insurance. These discounts would no longer be available if you decided to manage your own super.

What are personal contributions?

A personal contribution is when you make an extra payment into your superannuation account. The difference between personal contributions and salary sacrifices is that the former comes out of your after-tax income, while the latter comes out of your pre-tax income.

How do you get superannuation?

You’re automatically entitled to superannuation if:

  • 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

What are the age pension's age rules?

Australians must be aged at least 65 years and 6 months to access the age pension. This eligibility age is scheduled to increase according to the following schedule:

Date Eligibility age
1 July 2019 66 years
1 July 2021 66 years and 6 months
1 July 2023 67 years

Can I carry on a business in an SMSF?

SMSFs are allowed to carry on a business under two conditions.

First, this must be permitted under the trust deed.

Second, the sole purpose of the business must be to earn retirement benefits.

What are reportable employer superannuation contributions?

Reportable employer superannuation contributions are special contributions that an employer makes on top of the regular compulsory contributions. One example would be contributions made as part of a salary sacrifice arrangement.

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 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.

What is salary sacrificing?

A salary sacrifice is where your employer takes part of your pre-tax salary and pays it directly into your superannuation account. Salary sacrifices come out of your pre-tax income, whereas personal contributions come out of your after-tax income.

How much extra superannuation can I add to my fund?

There is an annual limit of $25,000 for concessional contributions – that is, money paid by your employer and extra money you pay into your account through salary sacrificing. There is also a limit on non-concessional contributions. Australians aged between 65 and 74 have a limit of $100,000 per year. Australians aged under 65 have a limit of $300,000 every three years.

How does the age pension work?

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 compliance obligations does an SMSF have?

SMSFs must maintain comprehensive records and submit to annual audits.