6 superannuation admin tasks to complete before you turn 35
Taking control of your superannuation is one of the best ways to set yourself up for a better retirement. Here are some tips to get you started.
When you're in your twenties or early thirties, retirement can seem a lifetime away.
But it's never too early to start preparing for retirement. We've put together some key tips to help you take control of your super – all before you turn 35.
1. Check whether you need to make a switch
Super funds aren't all created equal. About once a year or so, it's worth looking at your current fund and seeing if it stacks up against other options in the market.
Some of the common considerations for a super fund – though not necessarily the only ones – include:
- Historical, long-term performance
- Services provided
- Investment options
- Insurance coverage.
If your current fund isn't stacking up, it might be time to switch to one that's better suited to your retirement goals.
2. Get advice to make sure your super is working hard for you
Managing your superannuation over a long-term period isn't something you have to do on your own. Getting third-party input can be helpful for identifying opportunities to make your super work harder for you.
Sometimes, this can be done via your super fund.
As one example, Spirit Super provides members with access to educational events and Super Advisers for no additional cost. They're able to offer advice about your current super arrangements.
With the right insights, you'll be able to set up your super for a better-funded retirement.
3. Consider whether you can benefit from growth options
Your superannuation plans don't need to – and probably shouldn't – stay static throughout your lifetime.
It's not unusual to change how your super is invested throughout your career as your life evolves.
Pursuing a growth-based approach while you are younger may be beneficial for your super balance long term.
With retirement still decades away there's more opportunity to absorb risk and bounce back.
However, everyone's situation is different. So it's worth speaking with a professional before making any significant changes to your super.
4. Look at making extra contributions
Your employer is obligated to make contributions to your super fund on your behalf.
But you're able to make contributions yourself, too.
Over the course of your career, this can significantly increase your super balance at retirement thanks to compound interest.
It's also worth looking at whether you should make additional contributions to your spouse or partner's super fund, too.
It's not unusual for one partner to find themselves with a lower super balance than the other.
Income disparity – not to mention time taken off work due to raising children – can lead to a significant imbalance.
If this is the case for your family, it may be worth speaking to a third-party adviser about your options.
Sometimes, the imbalance can be addressed by making extra contributions. For others, though, government co-contribution may provide a greater benefit.
There are different types of contributions available to address the imbalance. If you are considering your options, it may be worth speaking to a third-party adviser to discuss your options.
This can help create a better retirement – and relationship – for both of you in the long run.
5. Consolidate your old super funds
Have more than one account? Consider consolidating your super funds.
Many people end up with multiple super accounts over the course of their working lives.
Forgotten accounts from your first job, things getting lost during career changes – it's easy for it to happen!
But having more than one account can be a hindrance. You're paying multiple batches of fees and you're not benefiting from compound interest to its full potential.
Tracking down "missing" super doesn't have to be a massive process, either.
Use the ATO tab in your My Gov account or alternatively, your preferred super fund is able to do it on your behalf.
6. Insurance – do you need it?
Some people opt to take out certain forms of insurance via their super account.
The insurance offered by super funds tends to fall under 3 main categories: life insurance, total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance and income protection insurance.
These are all forms of insurance that are available elsewhere, too.
However, some people opt for them via their super fund as they may require fewer prerequisites for a policy.
It's worth considering what your current coverage is through your super fund (if any) and deciding whether you want to opt in.
For example, income protection insurance can be useful if you have an extended period of illness and are unable to work for a time.
Everyone's specific needs are different, though. So make sure your decision suits your particular needs.