Most Australians realise that a Government pension won't give them the lifestyle they want in the years when they are not earning an income. The need to save money for the future has become a big wake up call to millions of workers who could take a massive hit to their lifestyle post-retirement due to low superannuation savings.
The superannuation industry in Australia is going through a remarkable period of growth and media awareness. (We have all seen the recent frenzy of advertising activity, press and TV coverage.)
Today, ordinary people are now realising that a Government pension won't give them the lifestyle they want in the years when they are not earning an income. The need to save money for the future is more than a hot topic, it has become a big wake up call to millions of workers who have low superannuation savings.
The standard superannuation contribution by employers is currently 9% of your salary, but the reality is this is not enough to cover basic living expenses and bills in retirement, never mind that elusive trip of a lifetime overseas.
So how about some easy ways to grow superannuation? Here are five top suggestions.
- Regular contributions really add up.
Starting early pays off. By putting more money each week into your superannuation account, (in addition to the 9% employer contribution) the difference can be remarkable. For example: if you added $50 a week starting from the age of 25, this grows to over $160,000 extra by age 60.
- Hold a garage sale. Turn trash into treasure.
No spare cash? Look around your house for old furniture, sporting goods and electrical items. Put the proceeds from your weekend sale into super. Your contribution will earn compound interest until retirement.
- 3 million Australians have unclaimed superannuation. Are you one them?
One in three workers have unclaimed super. It's a huge statistic. In total, there's AU$7.2 billion, or an average of AU$1,600 per account waiting to be claimed by Aussie workers. It may not seem a large amount, but if you dropped $10 in the street, you'd quickly pick it up! What's more, this is a no cost service and it also allows you to transfer old super into your current superannuation account.
- Roll your super into one fund. Pay less fees.
If you have worked casually or moved around from State to State, you may have several superannuation accounts with low balances - and you're paying fees for each one of them. Fees are taken from any investment returns you have made which mean less money in your account. The higher your fees are, the harder your fund's investments need to work to provide adequate returns.
It makes sense to consolidate all your balances into one account. One fund is easier to manage. Less paperwork to worry about. And of course, you save on paying fees. It is important to look around and select funds which charge low to reasonable fees.
- Choice of Fund. Your personal situation.
On July 1st 2005, a major industry initiative took place with the launching of "Choice of Fund". Are you one of the many eligible workers who can make a new choice about which fund you belong to and where your super is invested?
A word of advice, do your homework. Don't just listen to your mate Bob!
Compare industry performance and past results. Look at the entry fees and exit charges you may have to pay. Review member benefits such as life insurance coverage. (Will you need a new medical to get the same coverage you currently have?)
Changing funds could be a good move, or may not improve your returns at all.
- The final tip. Whatever you do with your super, think super carefully.
Calculations assume growth of 6.25% and inflation of 3%, which are common industry assumptions in Australia.