Starting a new job often gives you a chance to look at ways to make the most of your income and super.
Though you may not be able to access it right now, super is your money. How and where it's invested is likely to make a difference to the amount you may have when you eventually retire.
Here are a few questions you might like to think about:
- What are your super fund choices?
- Can you combine your super if you have more than one account?
- How is your super invested?
- Can you add to your super?
Find out your super fund choices
When you start a new job, you don’t always have to agree to join the super fund that your employer chooses.
If you already have a super account, you might be able to ask your new employer to make payments into that account. You should talk to your employer to find out your options.
If you are able to choose your own super fund, Essential Super customers can send their employer a pre-filled Super Choice form directly from the CommBank app.
Log on to the CommBank app, select your Essential Super account and tap ‘Share account details with employer’. You can then either email the form to yourself, or send it directly to your employer.
Should you combine your super funds?
Having just one super account means you could save on fees and insurances. But if you decide to bring all your funds together, you want to make sure you choose the account that best suits you.
It’s important to compare any fees as well as the terms and benefits of your insurance cover before you make any changes.
You can search for any super you might have by contacting the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). If you are an Essential Super customer, you can do it anytime using the CommBank app or NetBank.
Log on, select your Essential Super account and tap ‘Consolidate my super’ to begin the process.
How is your super invested?
Most super funds let you decide how your money is invested, so you can change the investment strategy to suit you.
The right investments for you will depend on many factors, including:
- your financial situation, which might be different now you have a new job
- how far off retirement might be
- what you plan to do when you retire
- how much risk you are comfortable taking on.
Your super statement should explain how your money is invested and you can contact your super fund to discuss any alternatives to the strategy that might be offered by the fund.
Essential Super customers are opted into the ‘Lifestage’ investment option. This option automatically adjusts your investment mix as you get older.
The idea is to ensure your money is invested appropriately, based on your age and how long you have until you retire.
But you can also choose from three other investment options – Balanced, Australian Shares, and Cash Deposit – that you might feel better suit your risk profile and your investing goals at different times of your life.
Adding to your super
There are ways of adding to your super that you might want to look into. Some options might provide you with tax benefits, too.
You might want to consider salary sacrificing some of your pre-tax income into your super, but you would need to discuss if this is a possibility with your employer.
If you are able to salary sacrifice, you should check the concessional contributions cap on the ATO website to ensure that your salary sacrifice (along with any other pre-tax contributions such as your employer's super guarantee) doesn't exceed this cap and be subject to extra tax.
Depending on your income and any contributions you make to your super, you might be eligible for a government co-contribution of up to $500 a year.
You might also be eligible to claim a tax deduction when making personal super contributions, while a tax offset may apply if you make eligible after-tax contributions to your spouse's super account.