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The four rules on superannuation’s cheat-sheet

Topping $2.5 trillion, Australia’s pool of superannuation money is larger than what the economy makes in a year. Savvy savers know how to make the most of their chunk.

According to senior financial planner at Omniwealth Andrew Zbik, women who leave work to raise children and those employed in the part-time workforce face additional hurdles in making superannuation work for them, while “some retail funds are gouging fees due to disengaged superannuants”.

All this means, he continued, is that Australians are taking their superannuation more seriously, and at a younger age.

Bearing this in mind, he presented four quick tips to maximise long-term savings:

1.       Count your funds

“Make the effort to collate all your superannuation fund statements and figure out how many superannuation funds you have,” Mr Zbik advised, noting that savers should also look at the insurance that comes with each fund as some funds may grant default life and total and permanent disability cover, while others will also provide income protection insurance.

2.       Pick a fund, consolidate and track

The next step is to select the best fund for your circumstances, while considering your insurance needs.

“There is a tax benefit in having your life and total and permanent disability insurances owned in your superannuation fund,” Mr Zbik said.

He added, “It’s a good idea to know how much you are paying in premiums. I am a very strong believer that if you are working you also need income protection insurance.

“If you don’t have enough cash flow personally to pay for an income protection policy this can also be owned by your superannuation fund.”

The financial planner said there’s no excuse to not know how much you have in your superannuation, thanks to budget tracking apps.

“Do the exercise of consolidating your superannuation once and do it properly,” Mr Zbik said.

3.       Have you thought about the government co-contribution?

If your income sits below $51,813 then you qualify for his contribution. This means that if you make a $1,000 deposit from your own bank account into your super fund, the government will match it with up to $500.

Those earning less than $36,813 will receive the full $500 for the $1,000 contributed, while those in between the two amounts will see the government contribution decrease by three cents for every dollar earned over the bottom threshold.

“This is a really good way for part-time and casual workers to top up their superannuation, Mr Zbik said.

4.       And what about spouse contributions?

Those earning less than $40,000 can make the most of the spouse contribution offset in which those who have a working spouse can make a special contribution of up to $3,000 from their personal account to their super fund, with a benefit of a tax offset of up to $540.

“Again, this is beneficial if you are working part time,” he said.

Reflecting on the superannuation system, Mr Zbik said mothers who have taken time out of the paid workforce to raise children should pay special attention to the third and fourth tips.

The four rules on superannuation’s cheat-sheet
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