Ask Paul: I only have $16k in super after migrating from Brazil


I'm 38, married and have a two-year-old daughter. My husband and I are Brazilian.

We migrated to Australia in 2015 and built a life here. I've always been quite naive when it comes to money, but now I realise that I need to save money and boost my super for retirement.

I have $16,000 in my super fund - not much, I know.

ask paul clitheroe emigrated from brazil low super balance

What is the best investment option to get a good return in 20 years? And what kind of investment could I make for my daughter's future? - Ana

Firstly, Ana, I am pleased you have built a life here. It is never a simple task to move to the other side of the world and start again.

The good news is that at age 38, you have ample time to build assets for your future.

Super is a terrific way of doing this. What I would like you to do is to take a close look at your current super fund.

Examine its performance over the medium to longer term and make sure it compares well with other large funds. Then check the fees - they should be low.

Also look at any insurance cover you have in your fund to ensure you have the amount you want.

With 20-plus years to build super, I would choose a growth option. This will be mainly shares and assets such as property and global infrastructure.

This is a higher-risk option than a balanced fund, but the best way to offset risk is time.

At your age you have plenty of time to let investment markets work for you. Do expect to have some years where your investment goes backwards, but over time risk should deliver you higher returns.

With your daughter, you could just buy a different share for her each year or use an exchange traded fund and add to it each year.

Also, most investment managers offer a diversified fund that you could add to.

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Paul Clitheroe AM is founder and editorial adviser of Money magazine. He is one of Australia's leading financial voices, responsible for bringing financial insight to Australians through personal finance books, the Money TV show, and this publication, which he established in 1999. Paul is the chair of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and is chairman of InvestSMART Financial Services. He is the chair of Financial Literacy at Macquarie University where he is also a Professor with the School of Business and Economics. Ask Paul your money question. Unfortunately Paul cannot respond to questions posted in the comments section. View our disclaimer.