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Protecting your superannuation

Here's how to protect your super and make sure you're not losing your retirement savings to unnecessary fees and charges.

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Your superannuation is the main way of saving for retirement. Given the importance of your super, it's important to make sure it's protected and be sure that it's in good hands. Luckily, the Australian superannuation sector is heavily regulated.

Protecting Your Super legislation

In 2019 the government introduced new legislation called the 'Protecting Your Super package. This legislation was introduced to try an stop young people, and people with low super balances, from having their super eaten away by fees and charges.

Here's what's included in the legislation, and why:

Inactive super accounts closed

If your super account balance is less than $6000 and hasn't received a contribution for 16 months it will be deemed as 'inactive'. If your super is deemed as inactive the money will be sent to the ATO and the ATO will try and track down your current super fund instead, where it'll send the money. Then, your inactive account will be closed. This is to prevent your super being eaten away by fees if you've since opened a new account and forgotten about it.

Inactive insurance cancelled

If your account is inactive (that is, hasn't received a contribution for 16 months) the fund will also need to cancel your insurance and stop charging you insurance fees.

Cap on annual fees

If your super balance is less than $6000 there will also be an annual cap on the annual fees, so they can't be more than 3% of your account balance. Again, this is to prevent your balance being erroded by fees while you might not be working, earning a low income or taking time out of the workforce.

However, annual fees of 3% is still very high, and you should be looking for a super fund that has fees less than 1.5% of your account balance.

No exit fees

Super funds are no longer allowed to charge you an exit fee if you want to leave the fund. You can change super funds at any time, with no fee to do so.

Super stapling

Your super fund will be 'stapled' to you and come with you from job to job. Previously, you could open a new super fund every time you started a new job. This would result in many people having several super funds in their name, and several sets of fees to pay. Now when you start a new job you will take your fund with you, unless you want to switch.

Promoted
Virgin Money Super Lifestage Tracker invests in a mix of assets in line with your age, investing in more growth assets while you’re young and reducing your risk as you near retirement. It has achieved a return of 10.07%p.a. over the last 5 years, with annual fees of $392.99 for a $50k balance.
Promoted
Green Company
Certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.

This fund invests in renewable energy, innovative technology and sustainable products while avoiding coal, oil, tobacco and live animal exports.

Common questions regarding the safety of superannuation

Can money from your superannuation fund be used by your employer?

If you are concerned about your employer being able to use money from your superannuation fund, don't be. The money that is accumulated in these funds is held in trust, which means that it is not available for your employer to use.

What if your employer goes out of business?

There is no need to worry about losing your superannuation in the event that your employer goes out of business. Your super fund will be protected even if your employer has to cease operations. Super is completely separate from your employer, and the money is managed by the super fund.

If the economy is bad, will I lose all my super?

Your super is one big investment portfolio. So yes, when the sharemarket is down this means your super will be too. However, super funds are very diversified and invest in a lot of different things, not just shares. Your super is also invested in things like property, infrastructure, commodities like Gold and Silver and private investments. This helps to minimise your losses as while one market might be down, another market will be up. Another thing to remember is super is a long term investment. While you might have some years of poor performance due to the economy, over the long term it'll keep going up.

Tips for protecting your super

  • Keep your account log in details secret and don't share these publicly
  • Check your payslips regularly to ensure your employer is paying the correct amount of super into your fund
  • Check your superannuation statements regularly to ensure you're not being overcharged any incorrect fees
  • Lastly, compare super funds to make sure you're not paying more in fees than you need to be.

Compare your super options today

1 - 16 of 35
Name Product 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.)

Virgin Money Super - LifeStage Tracker

Virgin Money Super - LifeStage Tracker
+17.29%
+13.78%
+10.07%
New Fund
$392
This is a high-risk investment option that aims to deliver higher returns over the long term.

Virgin Money Super LifeStage Tracker is a lifestage super product, so your mix of investments will be continually readjusted in line with your age. This means you'll be invested in more growth assets while you're young.

Australian Retirement Trust (formerly Sunsuper for Life) - Lifecycle Balanced Pool

Finder Award
Australian Retirement Trust (formerly Sunsuper for Life) -  Lifecycle Balanced Pool
+16.31%
+11.45%
+9.58%
+10.14%
$557
Sunsuper and QSuper have merged to create Australian Retirement Trust, one of Australia's largest super funds with more than 2 million members. Its Lifecycle Balanced product invests your super in a mix of growth assets, and reduces your risk when you're near retirement.

AustralianSuper - Pre-mixed, Balanced option

Finder Award
AustralianSuper - Pre-mixed, Balanced option
+15.02%
+12.42%
+10.31%
+10.66%
$472
AustralianSuper is an award-winning industry super fund and the largest super fund in Australia. The Balanced fund invests in a mix of different assets like shares, property and cash.

Australian Ethical Super Balanced

Green Company
Australian Ethical Super Balanced
+13.19%
+12.82%
+9.71%
+9.78%
$622
Certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.
Australian Ethical seeks to invest in companies that have a positive impact on the planet, people and animals, such as renewable energy and healthcare while avoiding investments in coal, oil, tobacco and gambling.

QSuper Lifetime - Aspire 1

QSuper Lifetime - Aspire 1
+12.67%
+10.33%
+9.03%
New Fund
$385
QSuper is part of Australian Retirement Trust. QSuper Lifetime automatically adjusts your investment mix in line with your age and your Lifetime account balance. Eligibility criteria and conditions apply to open a QSuper account (refer to 'More Info').

Aware Super High Growth

Aware Super High Growth
+18.15%
+14.45%
+11.63%
+11.83%
$694
This is a high-risk investment option that aims to deliver higher returns over the long term.
If you join Aware Super's default MySuper Lifecycle option your super will be invested in the High Growth option while you're under 55, giving more exposure to local and international shares.

Australian Catholic Super Lifetime - Grow

Australian Catholic Super Lifetime - Grow
+13.2%
+10.02%
New Fund
New Fund
$488
A Catholic super fund open to all Australians and designed for people working in Catholic education, healthcare or aged care.The Lifetime One fund option changes your investment mix as you get older.

AustralianSuper - Socially Aware

AustralianSuper - Socially Aware
+14.97%
+10.9%
+9.05%
+10.1%
$501
The AustralianSuper Socially Aware option doesn't invest in Australian or international companies that directly own coal and fossil fuel reserves, produce tobacco or those which have single-gender boards.

Bendigo SmartStart Super - Growth Index

Bendigo SmartStart Super - Growth Index
+14.46%
+12.38%
+9.08%
+10.4%
$338
Bendigo SmartStart is a retail super fund. The Growth Index Fund is the default MySuper option for members under 55.

Kogan Super - Enhanced Indexed Growth

Kogan Super - Enhanced Indexed Growth
+14.81%
New Fund
New Fund
New Fund
$332
Kogan Super offers low-fee, high-performing indexed investment options that are managed by Mercer, Australia's largest super administrator. The Enhanced Indexed Growth product invests around two thirds of your balance into Australian and global shares.

Australian Catholic Super Bonds

Australian Catholic Super Bonds
-1.66%
+3.98%
+3.87%
+3.83%
$278

Australian Catholic Super Conservative

Australian Catholic Super Conservative
+6.86%
+6.56%
+5.55%
+6.17%
$463

Australian Catholic Super Conservative Balanced

Australian Catholic Super Conservative Balanced
+10.43%
+8.31%
+6.77%
+7.47%
$478

Australian Catholic Super Growth

Australian Catholic Super Growth
+15.54%
+11.3%
New Fund
New Fund
$488
This is a high-risk investment option that aims to deliver higher returns over the long term.

Australian Ethical Super Australian Shares

Green Company
Australian Ethical Super Australian Shares
+14.35%
+20.21%
+13.81%
+15.36%
$842

Australian Ethical Super Growth

Green Company
Australian Ethical Super Growth
+17.1%
+14.16%
+10.66%
+11.21%
$807
This is a high-risk investment option that aims to deliver higher returns over the long term.
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The information in the table is based on data provided by Chant West Pty Ltd (AFSL 255320) which is itself supplied by third parties. While such information is believed to be accurate, Chant West does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in such information. Chant West’s Financial Services Guide is available at https://www.chantwest.com.au/financial-services-guide . Finder offers no guarantees or warranties about the data and we recommend that users make their own enquiries before relying on this information. Performance, fees and insurance data is based on each fund's default MySuper product. Where the performance, fees and insurance data for the MySuper fund vary according to the member's age, results for individuals between 40-49 years of age have been shown. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

*Past performance and fee data is for the period ending December 2021.Disclaimer: Performance, fees and insurance data is based on each fund's default MySuper product. Where the performance, fees and insurance data for the MySuper fund vary according to the member's age, results for individuals between 40-49 years of age have been shown. This article is general advice. You should consider your own personal circumstances before deciding if a superannuation product is right for you. Superannuation is a long term investment and past performance is not indicative of future performance.

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