Making additional contributions 

  • Put any spare money back into your super: You may have withdrawn more super than you needed. If this is the case, consider adding any unused amounts back into your super account as a one-off contribution.  Keep in mind that the ATO is imposing penalties if they deem anyone has withdrawn super for the main purpose of recontributing the released amount to claim a tax advantage. Read more at the ATO website .
  • Top up your super: Grow your super with personal contributions, either as a concessional (before-tax) or non-concessional (after-tax) contribution (contribution caps apply).  For example, if you receive a tax refund, proceeds from a sale, or a redundancy payout, you could put some or all of this money into your super.   
  • Spousal contributions: If your partner would like to help rebuild your super, they can put money into your super for you. They may be eligible for a tax offset of up to $5401 if they make contributions for you and you are a low income earner or not working.

Keep in mind that there are limits on how much you can contribute each year, these are available at the ATO website.

How to make an additional contribution? 

You can transfer money from a CommBank account directly into your Essential Super through the CommBank app or NetBank. Use reference code ‘MV’ in the description field so we know you’re making a personal contribution. Learn more about other transfer options.

Consider salary sacrificing

If you’re working, check whether your employer supports salary sacrificing arrangements. Salary sacrificing is when your employer pays part of your before-tax income straight into your super account, on top of the 9.5% super guarantee contributions that they already make for you.

Putting in a little extra each week can make a big difference over the long term. For example, by salary sacrificing an extra $10 per week of before-tax income, a 30 year old on a salary of $45,000 could save an extra $16,165* by retirement at age 65.  

How does it apply to me?  

If you're 25

  • earn $40,000/year
  • plan to retire at 65

If you want to salary sacrifice $10/week ($520 annually) and have a $10,000 super balance

No salary sacrifice
With salary sacrifice $10 per week
Take-home pay per week
Tax savings per year
Super balance at retirement
$198,382 (an extra $18,619)

If you're 30

  • earn $45,000/year
  • plan to retire at 65

If you want to salary sacrifice $10/week ($520 annually) and have a $15,000 super balance

No salary sacrifice
With salary sacrifice $10 per week
Take-home pay per week
Tax savings per year
Super balance at retirement
$197,032 (an extra $16,165)

If you're 40

  • earn $50,000/year
  • plan to retire at 65

If you want to salary sacrifice $10/week ($520 annually) and have a $20,000 super balance

No salary sacrifice
With salary sacrifice $10 per week
Take-home pay per week
Tax savings per year
Super balance at retirement
$160,326 (an extra $11,369)

*Assumptions:  Projection starts at 1 July 2020; annual salary has a marginal tax rate of 32.5% + 2% Medicare levy (low income / low and middle income tax offsets apply); salary sacrifice is $10 per week; 15% contributions tax applies to pre-tax contributions; salary and salary sacrifice contributions increase each year by salary growth of 3.2% pa; employer super guarantee contributions of 9.5% pa (increasing gradually to 12% in line with legislation); the investment rate of return based on a balanced earning rate of 3.46% pa compound weekly net of tax and fees; results in today's dollars discounted by CPI inflation of 3.2% pa.  Take home pay figures do not include the net salary sacrifice amount.

What are the tax advantages? 

There are tax advantages to salary sacrificing, as the examples in the table above illustrate. The extra amounts contributed to your super are taxed at 15%, as opposed to your take home salary which may be taxed at up to 47% if you are a mid to high income earner. Salary sacrifice may reduce your taxable income, which may mean less tax withheld from your take home pay. An additional 15% tax will be paid on super contributions by individuals whose combined income and contributions are greater than $250,000. For details, refer to the ATO website. You may want to consider getting financial advice to decide if salary sacrifice is right for you.

How to set up a salary sacrifice arrangement? Speak to your payroll or HR team at work.

Check your Investment strategy

How your super is invested may make a difference to how long it takes your balance to recover. Typically, growth assets like property and shares have higher returns than defensive assets like cash and fixed interest, but carry more risk. Most investment options in super funds have a mix of both growth and defensive assets.

If, like over 90% of Essential Super members, you are invested in the Lifestage investment option, your investment mix automatically changes to suit your life stage as you get older. To check your investment strategy, go to NetBank > Essential Super > Investment. Then consider if it’s appropriate for you. You can change your Investment Strategy by calling us on 13 4047.

Before making any major decisions around your investment options, it’s a good idea to seek a financial adviser to understand the risks associated with your current investment strategy and any changes you may like to make.  


What other government contributions may I be eligible for, with regards to my super?

You may be eligible for the low income super tax offset (LISTO) if you are a low income earner. LISTO is a government contribution of up to $500 per year to help reduce the tax paid on contributions, which helps you save more for retirement. If you earned less than $37,000 and received concessional contributions during the year, this payment into your super will happen automatically when you lodge your tax return, providing your super fund has a copy of your tax file number. If you’re an Essential member and are eligible, check that you have provided your TFN by logging into NetBank or CommBank app> Settings > Tax file number.

Additionally, if you are a low or middle-income earner and make a non-concessional (after-tax) super contribution, the government may also make a contribution to your super of 50 cents for every dollar you contribute, up to $500 (called a co-contribution). You don’t need to apply for the super co-contribution, it is automatically paid into your super account if you’re eligible. Learn more.

How much of an impact did withdrawing my super early have on my balance?

You can use the government’s moneysmart super withdrawal estimator to see what impact the super withdrawal may have on your retirement balance, so you can determine how much you may need to get back on track. 

I am still in financial difficulty after withdrawing from my super. What are my options? 

We’re here to support you during these challenging times. Visit our Coronavirus support page to find more about the financial support available.

I’m in Australia temporarily. What does this mean for me?  

Eligible temporary residents were able to access $10,000 of their super prior to 30 June 2020 as part of the coronavirus support measures. If you’re a temporary resident, generally, the next time you will be able to access your super will be when you leave Australia. Learn more.

Things you should know

1 The ATO defines a spouse as another person (of any sex) who:

  • You’re in a relationship with, registered under a state or territory law; or
  • Although not legally married to you, lives with you on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.

If you’re in a relationship and have made contributions under the threshold to your spouse’s super fund or retirement savings account (RSA) during the financial year, you may be entitled to a spouse contribution tax offset if your spouse was under 75 at the time the contribution was made.

From 1 July 2020 your spouse must be under 75 years old (prior to 1 July 2020 your spouse had to be under 70) to receive a spouse contribution. Your spouse’s income must also be less than $40,000. Refer to the ATO link for more details. Learn more.

Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468 (CFS) is the issuer of interests in Commonwealth Essential Super ABN 56 601 925 435 (Essential Super) and is a wholly owned but non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 (Bank). This document may include general financial product advice but does not consider your individual objectives, financial circumstances or needs. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and the Reference Guide for Essential Super carefully and consider whether the information is appropriate for you before making any decision regarding this product. Download the PDS and Reference Guide, or call us on 13 4074 for a copy. The Bank and its subsidiaries do not guarantee the performance of Essential Super and an investment in this product is subject to risk, loss of income and capital invested. An investment in Essential Super is via a superannuation trust and is therefore not an investment in, deposit with or other liability of the Bank or its subsidiaries. Where we mention ‘we’, ‘us’ or ‘our’, we mean CFS. 

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. Colonial First State Investments Limited is also not a registered tax (financial) adviser under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009, and you should seek tax advice from a registered tax agent or a registered tax (financial) adviser if you intend to rely on this information to satisfy the liabilities or obligations or claim entitlements that arise, or could arise, under a taxation law.