If you’re in your 50s, the likelihood of you having some money in your super fund is quite high. Even in your pre-retirement years, the prospect of retiring may seem a long way off, which is why most don’t stay motivated and engaged with their fund.
While knowing more about your fund won’t necessarily make you wealthy, getting to know your fund and getting yourself more engaged with it may help you build it up at an even faster rate. No matter how much money is in your fund today, we could all use a little extra help to ensure we are ready to enjoy our retirement years on our terms.
We’ve provided some simple steps below to help you become better acquainted with your super.
1.Log in to Your SMSF Account.
A great place to start getting a better understanding of where your SMSF is currently at, is from your actual super account. Log in and review the details so you cab see how much you have contributed so far. MoneySmart* did a poll and found that approximately 4 out of 10 people do no not know how much they have saved or were only able to guess at best. Their findings showed that more Australians may benefit from knowing what is actually in their super today.
Most super funds will have a website full of useful information about super along with an online portal for clients to log in to so they can view their account. If you’ve never looked at their website or have never logged into your account, then now may be the right time to do so.
If you’ve never logged in before, you may need to create a username and password so you can login and learn more about your fund. Take a moment to view your account details and to call your fund with any questions you may have about the information you see. Here, you should also have the ability to download your fund’s statements to see your balance, the fees you are paying, and any additional insurance and investment possibilities.
Quite a few people in Australia have more than one super account. If this is the case, then you may want to consider transferring it all into one fund. Before doing so, it is important to make sure you understand the benefits of each fund and which one might work best for your goals and retirement plan.
2.Learn about Which Investment Options You Are Currently in.
As you may or may not know, if you did not make any active choices or decisions about how your super is being invested, then your money is automatically (by default) put into a MySuper option. A majority of super funds actually offer a wide range of investment options and it may be a good time to see what other options you have to ensure you are getting the most out of your fund.
Once you take the time to learn more about the different options your fund may offer for investing, you will discover that you may have the option of taking on higher risks for higher returns or lower risks to secure what you currently have. Neither option is wrong, it comes down to what you’re more comfortable with and what works for you.
3.Learn about What Fees You Are Paying.
Every super fund charges different fees. These fees are charged for managing your fund, including contributions and your insurance as well as anything else that needs to be managed or may have a fee attached to it. The less fees you pay; the more your fund grows. Take the time to understand what you’re paying in fees and start comparing to see where you may be able to save yourself some money.
By downloading or requesting an annual statement, you will get an idea of how much you are paying. Compare your fund to other similar funds to see if you are paying low or high fees. You can compare by using a super calculator or similar resource, if available.
4.See What Insurance You Have in Your Super.
If you’re currently in the My Super investment option, you will have been given the default life insurance cover. You have the option of opting out if you like or you can also change the level of cover you currently have. For example, you may be able to get other types of cover such as income protection, which could be worth having but you won’t know which options exist unless you take the time to learn more about your fund and what it has to offer.
5.Up Your Super Contributions.
If you’re looking to give your super a nice boost, you can do so by contributing extra yourself into your fund. You can do this through either a salary sacrifice or through after-tax contributions.
One really only needs to make small, regular additional contributions over time in order to see the results. For example, if you are 50 years old and plan to retire at age 65, contributing an additional $150 every fortnight will provide you with an extra $54,000 (plus interest) at retirement.
An important point to think about when contributing more to super is to make sure you choose an amount you can comfortably do without since once this money is paid into super, it is more or less locked away until you retire.
6.Stay Engaged and Be Consistent.
In order to continue building a stronger relationship and understanding of your super, it is essential that you consistently keep yourself engaged with your fund. After getting to know your fund and making some changes to better suit your needs and goals, it is important to continue checking up on your fund to see how it is doing.
It is also important to compare funds every so often to see how you can get the most out of your money and your fund. By playing a more active role in managing your super, you could find more ways to help you build up your fund faster. If you aren’t sure where to begin, how to compare, or which investment options are best for you, then this might be a good time to give your financial planner on the Sunshine Coast a call to help you take a closer look at available options for your super fund.