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6 ways to grow your super balance

There are a few ways to help your superannuation balance grow including salary sacrificing, changing your investments and making extra contributions.

6 ways to grow your superannuation

Here are six strategies for growing your super balance.

1. Choose a low-fee, high-performing fund

Superannuation fees eat into your returns, so the more you pay in fees, the less you'll have left when you retire. Each super fund charges different annual admin fees, investment fees and indirect fees. This can make it a difficult and confusing process when you're trying to compare funds. As a general rule, if you're paying over 1.5-2% of your super balance in fees each year, this is considered to be on the expensive side.

While past performance isn't an indicator of future performance, it's wise to look for a super fund with a long history of strong returns. To do this, take a look at the returns over 5 and 10-year periods, instead of just looking at the past 1 year's performance. The better your fund performs, the higher your super balance will be.

Compare superannuation funds

1 - 16 of 446
Name Last 1 year performance (p.a.) Last 3 year performance (p.a.) Last 5 year performance (p.a.) Last 10 year performance (p.a.) Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
Australian Ethical Super Australian Shares
Australian Ethical Super logo
Green CompanyEthicalHigher risk
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+17.41%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+4.72%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+10.15%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+10.62%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$778
Go to siteMore Info
Hostplus Balanced
Hostplus logo
Industry fund
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+9.47%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+7.56%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+7.82%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+8.56%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$606
Go to siteMore Info
Aware Super High Growth
Aware Super logo
Industry fundHigher risk
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+13.8%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+7.86%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+8.96%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+8.97%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$497
Go to siteMore Info
Australian Retirement Trust - Growth
Australian Retirement Trust logo
Industry fundHigher risk
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+14%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+10.01%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+9.75%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+9.49%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$542
Go to siteMore Info
Virgin Money Super - LifeStage Tracker
Virgin Money Super logo
LifestageHigher risk
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+16.36%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+8.3%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+8.59%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
N/A
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$346
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Australian Ethical Super Growth
Australian Ethical Super logo
Green CompanyEthicalHigher risk
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+12.18%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+6.6%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+7.66%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+7.92%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$733
Go to siteMore Info
Spirit Super - Balanced (MySuper)
Spirit Super logo
Industry fund
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+10.98%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+6.37%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+6.7%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+7.71%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$452
Go to siteMore Info
HESTA Balanced Growth
HESTA logo
Industry fund
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+11.12%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+7.48%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+7.58%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+7.8%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$477
Go to siteMore Info
Equip MySuper
Equip Super logo
Industry fund
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+11.59%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+6.46%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+6.92%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+7.39%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$467
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UniSuper - Balanced
UniSuper logo
Industry fund
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+10.94%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+6.42%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+7.39%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+8.11%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$351
Go to siteMore Info
Australian Retirement Trust - International Shares Index (unhedged)
Australian Retirement Trust logo
Finder AwardIndustry fundIndexed investmentHigher risk
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+24.8%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+12.4%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+12.43%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+12.39%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$187
Go to siteMore Info
Australian Ethical Super Balanced
Australian Ethical Super logo
Green CompanyEthical
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+10.42%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+5.19%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+6.84%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+7.21%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$603
Go to siteMore Info
Spaceship - GrowthX
Spaceship logo
Higher risk
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+24.75%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+7.06%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+10.7%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
N/A
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$503
Go to siteMore Info
HESTA High Growth
HESTA logo
Industry fundHigher risk
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+14.85%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+9.63%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+9.83%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+9.29%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$557
Go to siteMore Info
UniSuper - Conservative Balanced
UniSuper logo
Industry fund
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+6.88%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+5.24%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+4.86%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+6%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$366
Go to siteMore Info
Australian Retirement Trust - Australian Shares
Australian Retirement Trust logo
Industry fundHigher risk
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+14.8%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+9.85%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+9.35%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+8.53%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$347
Go to siteMore Info
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Showing 16 of 53 results

Unless indicated otherwise, the information in the table is based on data provided by SuperRatings Pty Limited ABN 95 100 192 283, Australian Financial Services Licence 311880.

*Past performance data and fee data is for the period ending Mar 2024

2. Salary sacrifice into your super

You can elect to contribute a portion of your salary or wages into your super via the process of salary sacrifice. With this process, the money you elect to send into your super is directed from your income before you pay tax on it. This means that the money will be taxed at the concessional super rate of 15% instead of your marginal tax rate, which could be up to 45%.

Because you're effectively reducing your take-home pay, you'll also be reducing your taxable income in the process. Adding an extra $10-$20 a week into your super when you're young can help you retire with tens of thousands of dollars more. You can learn more about how this process works in our salary sacrificing guide.

3. Make extra contributions

If you don't want to set up an ongoing salary sacrifice arrangement, you can choose to make random, one-off payments into your fund. Your employer is legally obligated to pay you super as part of the compulsory superannuation guarantee. However, you can also make additional contributions to your super at any point in the year.

There are limits in place around how much you can contribute. Currently (as of 2021), you can contribute up to $27,500 in concessional contributions (these are pre-tax contributions like what your employer pays and money you contribute via salary sacrifice). You can also contribute another $110,000 a year in non-concessional contributions.

4. Accept more risk

Generally, the greater the risk, the greater the potential return. If you're comfortable, consider switching your investments to a higher-risk option. Most Australians are in the default super option, which is generally a Balanced or Growth option. Take a look at the High Growth option and see if you're comfortable switching to this, instead.

One of the best ways to get more from your super involves adopting an age-based investment strategy. This includes working out how much risk you can afford to take based on your years to retirement. Age is crucial because if you have longer to wait until your retirement, you'll have more time to recover from a major setback and can comfortably accept more risk.

5. Start early, make more

Starting to save from an early age can make a huge difference to how much you have when you retire, mainly due to the power of compounding. For example, if someone saved $10,000 a year for 20 years while someone else saved the same amount for 35 years, both earning a return of 6% a year, the 20-year compounding amount would generate $367,856 compared to the 35-year saver which would generate $1,114,348 – more than three times as much.

So, if you're planning to start adding more to your super later on in life, you should consider doing it now instead.

6. Combine your superannuation into one fund

If you have worked several jobs, chances are you have contributed to various funds that you may have lost track of. Take time to contact all your super funds and consolidate your superannuation into one fund. This way, you can stop paying multiple sets of super fees. If you have more than one super fund, read our guide on how to consolidate your super.

Finder survey: What investment risk level are Australians most commonly exposed to?

Response
Balanced44.8%
Moderate19.83%
Conservative (least risky)15.81%
Growth12.62%
High Growth (most risky)6.93%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1016 Australians, December 2023

It’s never too late to grow your super

A little sacrifice that you make today will allow you to live a more comfortable lifestyle when you're no longer working. Even if you're only a few years out from retirement, you'll still benefit from contributing more to your super via salary sacrifice or making extra personal contributions.

Written by

Alison Banney

Alison Banney is the money editorial manager at Finder. She covers all areas of personal finance, and her areas of expertise are superannuation, banking and saving. She has written about finance for 10 years, having previously worked at Westpac and written for several other major banks and super funds. See full profile

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2 Responses

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    GoblinMay 10, 2023

    Which super is better Australian Super or Rest ??

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