SPECIAL ISSUES

2015 Super Guide

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Your 2015 Super Guide is coming your way in September 2015!

Super is an amazingly powerful wealth-creation and preservation weapon for many millions of Australians. Anything over $37K and we pay tax, including the medicare levy, at a rate of 34.5%. Above $80K it becomes 39% and anyone fortunate enough to earn over $180K pays 49% on income above that.

Yet for anyone earning under $300K, our money can go into super from our pay at a tax rate of 15%. For someone earning $100K and salary sacrificing, say, $20K into super, after the 15% tax they would have $17K invested in super and pay only 15% tax on earnings inside the fund.

Compare that with having normal tax taken out and ending up with $12,200. It has all of the key elements for wealth creation. And inside a super fund pre-retirement, earnings are taxed at 15%. Once we move to a retirement pension phase there is no tax on earnings. So super is a highly tax-effective investment!

Your 2015 Super Guide

On sale Thursday August 13, 2015, here's a little taste of what's in Your 2015 Super Guide .

Comparison websites

Most Australians don't know how their super or pension fund compares with other funds.

But you can find out by doing your own research or using a ratings website. You may discover something vital - such as fees, insurance or investment returns - that could impact your long-term wealth. Money reveals how to check whether your super fund is doing a good job or not.

13 ways to boost your super balance

If you act early, a few simple strategies can boost your super by tens of thousands of dollars.

It's a concessionally taxed savings structure designed to fund your retirement and you have plenty of choice as to where and how it's invested, so take control today, learn a few little tips and reap the massive benefits by being on the front foot.

Common mistakes: five traps to avoid

Contributing to super is a great way to save but it pays to be aware of the rules as there are penalties for getting it wrong such as accidentally going over your non-concessional contribution limit.

Money asks the experts to reveal the five common mistakes they see people making with their super and how to avoid them.

Fast-track you kid's super

$20 into your kid's super fund each week would make them eligible for a $500 government handout.

Over a working life their one-off $1000 contribution, plus the $500 from the government, could grow to over $10,000, even on a modest return of say just 5%.

Setting up an SMSF: The dos and don'ts

Self-managed super funds (SMSFs) have really taken off in Australia, with more than 1 million Aussies now a member of a DIY fund. But it's important to remember that SMSFs are not for everyone. Money provides a handy guide on the dos and don'ts of setting up an SMSF.

25 key super questions answered

If you know how the super system works, you can make the most of the opportunities to maximise your retirement savings.

Money answers key questions such as choosing what fund your contributions go into, other perks your fund may provide and how safe is your super?

Smart strategies 20's, 30's, 40s, 50+ - How you can retire on $65K a year

In your 20's, a decision you make now could make the difference of you retiring early or working until you are 80. In your 30's, you might be paying off a mortgage and this should still be a top priority.

But, depending on your family income and the size of your loan, you may still be able to reduce your mortgage and top up your super at the same time. In your 40's - this is a crucial time for building up your retirement savings but make sure you get the home loan under control first.

In your 50's, you're cruising towards retirement so it's time to get the asset mix right and to maximise your contributions to make sure you can fund your dream lifestyle. Money reveals smart super strategies for different stages of life.

Six steps to take before you retire

If you are counting down the years until you stop working, you will need a stockpile of money for a retirement that can stretch for 30 years.

Once the mortgage is paid off, it's time to get serious about building up enough wealth to become financially independent. So Money has devised a six-point checklist to help you get ready for retirement.

Accessing your super

When the time is right you can take your super as a lump sum or pension but make sure you follow all the rules.

Because super attracts generous tax concessions, there are strict rules on when and how you can access your money - and severe penalties if you try to dip into the pot before you're entitled to. And should you take your entitlement as a pension or a lump sum?

All this and more in Money's special edition, Your 2015 Super Guide

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