Checklist: six ways to increase your super

It's a simple fact that the more you have in super, the better.

But what you might not know is that there are six things you can do now to grow your super - and some don't even require you to dip into your own money.

1. Find your lost super

If you’ve had more than one employer in your lifetime, you could have super sitting in multiple accounts and not even be aware of it.

Fortunately, you can easily search for it using the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)'s SuperSeeker tool.

2. Consolidate your super into one account

The ATO’s SuperSeeker also lets you transfer your super into your preferred account, which can reduce your fees and make your super easier to manage.

When you’re choosing a fund for your super, look at all the costs and benefits to make sure you pick one that best suits your needs.

If you decide to switch, consider exit fees, investment implications and whether your existing insurance arrangement will be affected. Speaking to a financial planner is one way to help make sure you maintain adequate levels of insurance. 

Also be sure to consider any tax implications of switching super funds.

3. Salary sacrifice to increase your super

If your employer offers salary sacrifice arrangements, you can choose to make additional contributions to your super from your pre-tax income, also known as concessional contributions.

While this option reduces your take home pay, the tax concessions and effect on your super balance could make it worthwhile.

Salary sacrifice contributions don't attract income tax and are instead taxed at 15%. Considering your marginal tax rate could be as high as 45%, depending on your income bracket1, the savings you can make by salary sacrificing - provided you stay within the contribution limits - can be significant.

Need to know more about the super contributions limits? Let's go.

Want to know more about salary sacrifice? Let's go.

Ben, 48, is starting to think more about his future and if he'll have enough money to do all the things he wants to when he eventually retires. He earns $80,000 a year and has a super balance of $100,000. He decides to sacrifice $40 a week to his super.

By the time he retires at age 67, he'll have an estimated super balance of $309,805. If Ben didn't sacrifice $40 a week, he'd end up with a super balance of $273,953.2

4. Make after-tax super contributions

These are also known as non-concessional super contributions and they're generally made to your super after you’ve already paid tax on them.

They could be from sources such as your take home pay, profits you receive from your business or selling an asset, contributions made by a spouse, an inheritance or the balance of a foreign super fund.

You don't need to pay additional tax when you make these types of super contributions.

There are rules around making after-tax contributions - want to see what they are? Let's go.

5. Access the Government's co-contribution scheme

If you earn less than $50,454 during the 2015-16 financial year and you make personal (after-tax) super contributions, you may be eligible for a Government co-contribution of up to $500. The ATO website contains more information about the super co-contribution.

6. Take advantage of a spouse super contributions tax offset if your spouse is a low income earner

If your spouse is eligible and your super fund allows it, you could get a spouse contributions tax offset when you make a super contribution on behalf of your spouse.

Your contribution up to a limit of $3,000 could attract an 18% offset. The maximum offset amount is $540.

You can find out more about the spouse super contributions tax offset on the ATO website.

All figures apply to the 2015-16 financial year.

1Does not include the Medicare Levy plus other applicable levies.

2ASIC’s MoneySmart Superannuation Calculator, Calculation made on 14/09/15. Calculated assuming contribution fees of 1% and management fees of 0.50%, investment return of 5.7% and earnings tax of 7%.

Things to know before you Can:

This document contains general advice only. It does not take account of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial planner before making a financial decision.

Taxation considerations are general and based on present taxation laws and may be subject to change. You should seek independent, professional tax advice before making any decision based on this information.

While care has been taken in the preparation of this document, no liability is accepted by Commonwealth Financial Planning, ABN 65 003 900 169, AFSL 231139, its related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document.