Superannuation is simply accumulating savings that can be used later in life when you’re working less.
Saving for your retirement.
Superannuation (also known as Super) is there to help people be more self-funded in retirement in Australia, rather than relying on social security. There may be tax benefits for saving money in super. This money is saved for retirement and can generally only be accessed after age 65.
Your employer is required to pay a certain percentage of your wages into a superannuation fund on your behalf – this is known as the superannuation guarantee. Currently anyone over the age of 18 who earns more than $450 a month will have a percentage of their wage paid into their superannuation each payday. You will need to provide your employer with details of your superannuation fund for them to pay the money into.
Choosing your super fund.
It's a good idea to keep one super account so you don't pay fees on more than one account. If you don’t have your own super fund account your employer can set one up with their default fund for you, but don’t forget to get the details so you can take them with you if you ever leave.
Money paid into your super fund is known as contributions. In addition to the super guarantee contributions from your employer you can also make your own contributions. Money contributed to super is concessionally taxed to encourage you to save for your retirement, however remember that you generally aren’t able to access these savings until you turn 65 so it should only be used for retirement savings.
Investing your super.
The goal with super is to accumulate as much money as you can for your retirement savings. Your super fund provider may invest your savings in a managed fund that invests the savings of many people in several different investments including Australian shares, International shares, property and cash. Your super fund provider will charge you fees for managing and investing your super, which they will make you aware of in their communications.
You can access your super if any of the following apply to you:
- When you turn 65 (even if you haven’t retired).
- When you reach your preservation age and retire.
- Under the transition to retirement rules, while continuing to work.
There are other very limited circumstances where you can access your super savings earlier such as specific medical conditions, severe financial hardship, or when a temporary resident is eligible for a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment.
You can get more information on Superannuation on the ATO website or seek advice from a registered financial planner.
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This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.