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Start taking better care of your super

Is your super a little neglected? Sometimes it’s hard to make retirement planning and saving a priority. With a little extra effort, you could make a substantial difference to your balance and supercharge your savings for a retirement you can really look forward to.

When you retire, it’s your super that’s going to be looking after you. Your retirement savings could make a significant difference to how you’ll spend time after leaving work. So it’s important to follow these 3 simple steps to look after your super now so it can provide you with the retirement lifestyle you want.

1. Know where your money is

Employer contributions to your super are mandatory so if you’ve ever worked as an employee in Australia, you’ll have super savings. If you’ve moved job or changed address, it’s possible that you have a super account that you’ve forgotten about. Figures from the Australian Tax Office as at 30 June 2016, show there were a total of over 5.7 million lost and ATO-held super accounts with a total value of just over $14 billion.

If you want to check if some of this money is yours go to the Australian Tax Office website where you can track down your lost super accounts or balances.

Bringing your super together into a single fund is usually a smart move as you’ll save on account and management fees. You may be paying premiums for multiple insurance policies too. Before you consolidate your super, you’ll need to make sure you understand what benefits or insurance cover you may lose when you close your account.

2. Save more for your future

Extra contributions from your income are also worth considering if you want to have a retirement where your finances won’t hold you back. There are different ways to boost your super, with payments before or after tax and regular and one-off contributions. Salary sacrificing can be a very effective way to boost your super with regular contributions from your pre-tax salary. 2 These extra super payments are taxed at a rate of just 15%. Depending on your marginal rate, you could end up saving on the tax you’re paying as well as saving more for your future.

For members of a defined benefit scheme, it can be particularly important to check you’re making the correct contributions to your scheme. By maximising your contributions, you may be able to significantly increase the value of your retirement benefit.

An expert financial planner can offer valuable advice on a super boosting strategy that suits your circumstances, scheme and life stage. If you’re still paying off a home loan for example, they can help you decide if it makes more sense to put your spare cash towards your super or your mortgage.

3. Get your investment mix right

When you joined your fund, you may have chosen between growth, balanced and conservative options or your money may be invested in a default option. The type of investment that’s best for you now will depend on a number of things – including the amount of risk you’re comfortable with and how long your money will be invested for.

If you’re not retiring soon, you may be able to afford to take a little more risk for a better return in the long run. Retirees may need to take more care with exposure to volatile markets that could limit their income. Bear in mind that some public sector superannuation schemes have market exposure so your investment mix matters. An Aware Super planner can help you with an investment mix that balances short-term risk against long-term growth. A diverse and balanced portfolio will improve your chances of having a stable income to take care of all your needs when you retire.

So what next?

Getting expert advice can make a big difference to how prepared you are for retirement - both emotionally and financially. By discussing your lifestyle goals with an Aware Super financial planner you’ll have a much better understanding of the super and income you’ll need to make retirement a positive change in your life.

To get started, download our free Retirement guide or call us on 1800 620 305.

1 Australian Tax Office, Super accounts data overview
2 Salary sacrifice
This is general information and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. It is important to seek financial and taxation advice that takes into account your personal objectives, financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information.
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