Five easy ways to boost your super


Growing your super doesn't have to mean dipping into precious cash reserves.

Here are five easy ways to give your super a much-needed boost.

1. Track down lost super

five easy ways to boost your super

This one's a no-brainer. It takes just minutes and costs nothing.

An Everest-sized mountain of lost super worth $16 billion is sitting with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

That's 6.9 million unclaimed balances.

Some of it could be yours.

Postcodes with the highest levels of lost super include 2170 in Sydney's south-west, 4870 in Cairns, and 3030 in Werribee, Victoria.

No matter where you live, jump onto your myGov account, and link to ATO online services to reunite with any lost or forgotten super.

2. Consider folding multiple super accounts into one balance

When it comes to the number of super accounts we have, less is more.

Three million Australians have multiple superannuation balances.

Yet the Productivity Commission found Australians are collectively paying $690 million each year in excess administration fees, and $1.9 billion annually in unnecessary insurance premiums simply by having more than one super account.

There can be valid reasons for having two or more super funds.

But for most of us it just drains our nest egg.

If you have multiple super balances, it can be worth choosing your preferred fund, then folding additional balances into the one account.

It's a process known as a 'rolling over'. Your super fund can walk you through the steps involved.

3. Check your fund charges competitive fees

All super funds charge fees either as a dollar amount, a percentage, or both.

Generally speaking, the lower the fees, the better.

To know what your fund charges, check your latest super statement, review your account online or pick up the phone and ask your fund.

Then head to the ATO's online YourSuper comparison tool to see what other funds are charging.

Out of 64 MySuper products, the ATO's comparison tool shows that on a balance of $50,000 you could pay annual fees ranging from $200 to $785.

Fees can differ in line with the investment option you select. The key is to check your fund isn't at the pricey end of the spectrum.

4. Choose the investment option that's right for you

Most of us have our super invested in a 'balanced' investment option.

If you're happier to wear more risk, a growth option can deliver higher returns over time.

Whatever your choice, remember super is an ultra-long term investment.

Poor returns in one year aren't always a sign of a dud fund.

The thing to watch for is that your fund isn't a repeat underperformer.

For reference, SuperRatings found that over the last 10 years, annual returns on super have averaged:

  • 8.0% - growth investment option
  • 6.9% - balanced option
  • 4.3% - capital stable option.

5. Add to your super

Your employer is likely contributing to your super. But there are good reasons to chip in a bit more.

Super contributions made from pre-tax income are usually tax deductible - up to $27,500 annually (though this includes your employer's compulsory 11% contributions).

Even small extra contributions can make a valuable difference.

A 35-year-old who adds just $1 a day more to their super could have an extra $23,000 in super by age 67.

If cash is tight, as it is for many of us right now, another option is cash rewards.

Super-Rewards lets you earn cash rewards paid direct to your super when you purchase online through the Super-Rewards platform.

BoostYourSuper works along similar lines.

Members of Guild Super and Child Care Super can take advantage of SUPERSUPER, a program where cash rewards are paid into a member's super account when they shop with a participating retailer.

Learn to Love Your Super with Money!

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.