Not reading your superannuation statement? You should be.
Your super statement tells you exactly how your retirement savings are tracking. Knowing this, and adjusting your strategy accordingly can mean the difference between retiring with a healthy nest egg, or not.
Here’s a few key points to pay attention to on your superannuation statement.
It’s important to check you are actually getting your superannuation guarantee. Your employer is required to pay at least 9.5% of all eligible workers’ ordinary time earnings. Some employers voluntarily contribute more than the 9.5% basic rate of SG. If you are also contributing into your super, make sure they’re included too.
Your statement will show your account balance at the start of the financial year and at the end of it, so you’ll be able to how your super balance has grown based on how you have it invested.
The account/super balance explains how much you’re entitled to if you were to leave your fund on the statement date. Your super will also have a status, determined by what stage of life you are in.
- Preserved: you can’t cash out this portion of your super straight away unless you satisfy a condition of release, such as retiring after reaching your ‘preservation age’, you experience total permanent disability (TPD) or financial hardship
- Restricted Non-preserved: only applies where certain contributions were made to your super before 1 July 1999. This portion of your super can be cashed out when you leave your employer or satisfy another condition of release
- Unrestricted Non-preserved: you can cash out this portion of your super at any time. Note that tax may apply, depending on your situation.
Your fund will charge you a range of fees which may include:
- Administration fee for keeping your fund
- Management fee (MER) for managing your investment options
- Contribution fees for receiving and investing your contributions
- Insurance premiums for life insurance, Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance and/or income protection insurance cover
Unnecessary or multiple fees and charges can impact your returns. It is essential that you know what you are paying, if you have multiple funds you may consider consolidating them into one to save on fees.
How your money is invested
Investment options tell you what your money is invested in and how each investment option has performed.
Look closely at the investment mix. It should reflect your age, retirement goals, how long you’ll be working for and how comfortable you are with risk. Diversification helps limit the level of risk so you’ll probably see a mix of local and international shares, fixed interest, property and cash. Getting the right mix is crucial – speak to your us if you think your current investment strategy isn’t right for you.
Your super fund will usually debit costs for insurance cover from your account. Examples may include life insurance, TPD and income protection cover. Many super funds have a default insurance option. You can usually lower or increase your level of cover based on your needs and personal circumstances.
The little things
Not checking these could cost you time and money.
- Tax File Number (TFN) – make sure it’s there. Without it, you’ll pay extra tax and miss out on interest. Also, your super fund can’t accept any personal super contributions from you without having your TFN
- Personal details – check your name and address are right. If they’re wrong it can cause a headache when it comes to consolidating funds into one or making spouse contributions
- Your nominated beneficiary – see if it’s up-to-date – because this is the person who will generally get your super in the event you pass away
It’s worth noting that only certain beneficiaries can receive your superannuation death benefit directly from the super fund.
Only a spouse, child, your financial dependant or interdependent relation can receive this benefit directly. It’s important to know this to make sure the person you nominate can actually receive the benefit.
You can also nominate your legal personal representative (LPR) if you want your super death benefit to be paid to your estate and distributed according to your will.
You should also look at whether your beneficiary nomination is a ‘binding’ or ‘non-lapsing’ nomination. If it is, your super death benefit must be paid as per your instruction if your nomination is valid.
However if you only have a ‘preferred’ or ‘non-binding’ nomination, the trustee of your super fund will take your nomination into account, but might not follow it.
Don’t open your super statement and disregard it – your future could depend on it.