What is Super
If you’re new to Australia’s superannuation system for retirement saving, find out how it works and how to benefit.
Super is an Investment in Your Future
Australia’s superannuation system is the main way most people save for their retirement.
Superannuation (super for short) is a long-term investment that grows over time. The more you contribute during your working life, the more you’ll have for your retirement.
For most people, super begins when you start work and your employer starts paying a percentage of your salary or wages into your super fund. Your employer pays your super on top of your wages. You can also make additional voluntary contributions up to a cap. Your chosen super fund invests and manages this money for you until you retire. Your super fund will offer you a range of investment options and account types to help you choose what’s best for you.
What You Need to Do
You can generally choose what fund your super is invested in, and how it is invested. You need to keep track of your super, checking that your employer is contributing the right amount and ensuring it’s most effectively invested for your circumstances.
There are caps on how much you or others can contribute to your super without paying extra tax. Contributions made out of pre-tax income are called concessional contributions while contributions made from post-tax income are called non-concessional contributions.
Withdrawal and Retirement
Except in very limited circumstances, you can’t withdraw amounts from super or start an income stream until you’ve reached your preservation age (between 55 and 60 years of age – depending on your year of birth) and meet the relevant conditions of release. Penalties and fees apply if super is accessed illegally. It’s important you meet the requirements before you access your super. Be wary of anyone offering to help you withdraw your super early.
How the ATO Can Help You
Via the links below you’ll find information on your super entitlements and the rules and tax treatment applying to contributions and withdrawals.
If you’re unsure of what super accounts you hold, you can log in to ATO online services (including ATO App) through myGov to monitor and keep track of your super.
If you need help to choose a super fund, our YourSuper comparison tool will help you compare MySuper products (basic superannuation accounts without unnecessary features and fees) and choose a fund that meets your needs. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) MoneysmartExternal Link website also provides information on what to look for when comparing and choosing a super fund.
Other sources of information and support
As well as the information and tools on the ATO website, you can find out more to help you plan for your retirement from other sources:
- your employer, who should be able to explain how their contributions to your super are calculated and paid
- your super fund, on how your super is invested and your options
- a financial adviser, for advice on financial planning for your retirement
Want to know more? Accountplan has been providing qualified advice on superannuation and other investments to clients for over 30 years. Peace of mind and financial security is just one call away on 07 3883 8999.
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