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How to read your super statement

How to read your super statement

Understanding your superannuation statement could make a difference to your retirement plans.

Your super statement tells you exactly how your retirement savings are tracking.

Knowing this, and adjusting your strategy accordingly, might help you achieve the lifestyle you want in retirement.

Here’s a few things in the statement to keep an eye on.

Contributions

Check you’re actually getting your Superannuation Guarantee (at least 9.5% of all eligible workers’ ordinary time earnings) paid in by your employer. The basic rate of SG will 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 self-employed 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 balance

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 if the value of your super has grown and by how much.

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 status, determined by what stage of life you are in.  

  • 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

Fees

Your fund will charge you a range of fees which may include:

  • Administration fee for keeping your fund
  • Management fee (MER) for managing your investment options
  • Contribution fees for receiving and investing your contributions

Management 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 one to save on fees.

How your money is invested

Investment options tell you what 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 helps 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 if you think your current investment strategy isn’t right for you.

Insurance cover

Your super fund will usually debit costs for insurance cover from your account. Examples may include life insurance, 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.

Basic considerations

Not checking these could cost you time and money.  

  • Tax File Number (TFN) - make sure it’s there. Without it, 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 it can cause a headache when it comes to consolidating funds into one or making spouse contributions
  • 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 have 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 might not follow it.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.