Super rules change, but if you want to maximise your superannuation, there are some key things to do no matter what.
The rules and regulations around superannuation change often and you need to keep up with things. First things first, read your super statements when you receive them each month. That way you can check that your employer has made the expected contributions and everything else is generally in order.
This will help: How to read your superannuation statement
Once you’re in the habit of going through your statements, there are a few things to be looking out for. Check these four key things to maximise your superannuation, always.
1. Consolidate your accounts
Multiple accounts means multiple sets of fees eating away at your savings, so it’s crazy not to pool them together.
To figure out which of the super accounts you want to keep, hop onto the government’s Your Super website. You can compare your super accounts to see which one is giving you the best return. Don’t just check the super funds you’re currently a member of – you might end up finding a better option elsewhere and moving all of your super to the new account.
Once you’re ready to consolidate, jump onto your MyGov account and click on the ‘Manage my super’ link. Then select ‘Transfer super’ (you’ll only be able to see this link if you have more than one super account).
There’s currently $13.8 billion in lost super out there – if you think some of it could be yours, call the automated super search line on 13 28 65.
Time for a check up: Money focus: How healthy is your super balance?
2. Nominate a beneficiary
If you pass away unexpectedly and haven’t nominated a beneficiary, your super fund will decide who gets your money.
This is because super is held in trust for you by the trustee of the super fund. It’s not covered as part of your will because wills only cover assets you own, like property, cars, investments and personal items.
To make sure that your super, and any life insurance you hold inside super, goes to the person you want, you need to nominate your beneficiaries. Take the time to lodge a beneficiary nomination form with your fund. Most funds let you do this online.
More help on this: How to control what will happen to your estate when you die
3. Review your insurance
Super funds often automatically provide new members with some combination of death, disablement and income protection insurance.
But this cover can be fairly basic and may not be suitable for your personal situation, so take the time to review it carefully.
Do you have enough cover?
And is it cost-effective for you to make the premium payments out of your superannuation?
You might find your better off holding your life or income protection insurance outside of your super.
4. Choose your investment option
Most super funds offer a choice of different investment options to cater for a range of investment strategies. To maximise your superannuation, you may need to move to a different investment option.
Think about what you want to achieve and how comfortable you are with risk, and invest accordingly.
Also keep in mind the time frame between now and when you’ll need to access your super. The risk you’re willing to take at age 30 will probably be very different to the risk you’re prepared to take on at 60 years. That’s one of the many reasons why you need to keep a close eye on your account if you want to maximise your superannuation when it comes time to retire.