Check you’re actually getting your Superannuation Guarantee (SG), which is at least 9.5% of your salary and wages but may include certain other payments too. The basic rate of SG is currently planned to rise to 12% by 2025, but some employers already voluntarily pay more than the current 9.5% basic rate of SG. If you’re topping up your super with contributions, make sure they’re included in there too.
For people who make personal deductible contributions, it's important to ensure these are correctly acknowledged and in the correct category (in terms of contribution type) by the super trustee to save on potential administrative hassles down the track.
Your statement will show your account balance at the start of the period and at the end of the period, so you can quickly see the value of your super.
The account/super balance explains how much you’re entitled to if you were to leave your fund on the statement date. Your super will also have a preservation status, which indicates whether you can access it or not.
- Preserved: you can’t cash out this portion of your super straight away unless you satisfy a condition of release, such as retiring after reaching your 'preservation age', you experience total permanent disability (TPD) or financial hardship
- Restricted non-preserved: only applies where certain contributions were made to your super before 1 July 1999. This portion of your super can be cashed out when you leave your employer (provided they contributed to the fund) or satisfy another condition of release
- Unrestricted non-preserved: you can cash out this portion of your super at any time. Note that tax may apply, depending on your situation
Your fund will charge you a range of fees which may include:
- Administration fee for administering and operating your fund
- Investment fees for managing your investment options
- Insurance fees for the provision of insurance cover through your fund
From 1 July 2019, investment and administration fees on accounts of less than $6,000 are limited to 3% per year, and exit fees have been banned for all accounts.
Investment and administration fees can impact on returns, so it’s useful to know what you’re paying, and if you’re juggling multiple funds, consider consolidating your accounts into one1.
How your money is invested
Investment options tell you where your money is invested in and how each investment option has performed.
Look closely at the investment mix. It should reflect your age, retirement goals, how long you’ll be working for and how comfortable you are with risk. Diversification may help limit the level of risk so you’ll probably see a mix of local and international shares, fixed interest, property and cash. Getting the right mix is crucial – speak to your super fund or a financial planner if you think your current investment strategy isn’t right for you.
Your super fund will usually debit costs for insurance cover from your account. Examples may include life insurance, Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) and income protection cover. Many super funds have a default insurance option. You can usually lower or increase your level of cover based on your needs and personal circumstances.
From 1 July 2019, trustees are required to cancel insurance in accounts that have been inactive for 16 months, and from 1 April 2020 trustees are required to cancel insurance in accounts with less than $6,000 (and whose account has never reached $6,000 or more after 1 April 2020) or accounts of new members under the age of 25 (unless they’re covered by a dangerous occupation exception). Some exceptions apply, and you may make a written election to keep your insurance if you don’t want it automatically cancelled. Your fund should contact you regarding these changes, but if you haven’t heard from them, contact your fund to see what is required to maintain any insurance cover you want to keep.
Not checking these could cost you time and money.
- Tax File Number (TFN) - make sure it’s there. Without it, you may pay extra tax. Also, your super fund can't accept any personal super contributions from you without having your TFN.
- Personal details – check your name and address are right. If they’re wrong your account could be classified as a lost member account and be sent to the ATO, or you could miss out on important communications, which could result in the cancellation of insurance cover or other adverse outcomes.
- Your nominated beneficiaries – check this is valid and up to date.
You should also look at whether your beneficiary nomination is a 'binding' or 'non-lapsing' nomination. If it is, your super death benefit must be paid as you’ve instructed if your nomination is valid.
If you only have a 'preferred' or 'non-binding' nomination, the trustee of your super fund will take your nomination into account, but may not follow it.