Christmas is known as a great time for giving and receiving gifts, while also spending time with friends and family. During the festive period, Superannuation isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. However, as far as gifts go, it’s one of the best you could give yourself at retirement. So take a moment these holidays to check up on your Superannuation retirement gift.
When it comes to protecting and growing your retirement gift, consider:
1. Salary Sacrifice
No one likes paying tax, and a great way to reduce your tax in 2020 while also boosting your retirement savings is to put some of your wage into super as a Salary Sacrifice. This is done by contributing the money prior to paying tax on it. The outcome is that more money is saved from each pay inside Super than if you were to take the money as an after tax wage. The catch is you normally can’t get the Salary Sacrifice amounts until you reach age 60 and retire.
There are also some important limits and caps on Salary Sacrifice that you need to be aware of before starting. However, if Salary Sacrifice is done properly the combined tax savings and compound growth can really boost your retirement gift.
2. Government Co-Contribution
The Government Co-Contribution is another great way to boost Super and is available if you earn between $1 and $53,000 pa. This scheme can see up to $500 automatically contributed to your Super by the government, if you put $1,000 of your own money into Super. The trick to obtaining this benefit is to ensure that you put the $1,000 in after tax (the opposite of Salary Sacrifice as described above) and check that you meet the other criteria related to the Co-Contribution.
3. Binding Death Nominations
Did you know, by law your Superannuation fund has to decide who gets your benefit in the event that you die. Therefore, it is really important that you inform your Superannuation fund how and to whom you want your hard earned Super funds to go. One option is putting a non-lapsing Binding Death Nomination on your fund (not all Superannuation funds offer these). Your nomination must also fit the Superannuation trustee rules and be made to a valid beneficiary. So these holidays, why not check who is currently nominated on your fund and make sure that this is in line with your overall estate plan. We always recommend that any changes to a Superannuation Death nomination be made in conjunction with an estate planning expert.
4. Lost Super
Lost Super normally ends up going to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and currently it is estimated that the ATO have over $14 billion in Lost Super waiting to be claimed. Superannuation can get ‘lost’ for many reasons, including when you change employers, address or your name. However, based on a recent rule change, Super can now also be sent to the ATO if your fund has not received any contributions for over 16 months and has dipped below the $6,000 balance.
Any Lost Super should eventually show up on your MyGov account or can be searched for via the ATO website. It’s worth making sure these holidays that you don’t have any ‘Lost Super’.
5. Protecting yourself and your family via Super
Nothing disrupts retirement plans like an untimely illness, death or accident. Loss of a loved one, or even just lost earnings for a prolonged period can have a negative impact on your family and Superannuation retirement gift.
Therefore, the first step is to make sure you have the right amount and types of insurances in place to protect you, your loved ones and your retirement goals. Unfortunately, we find most people don’t take this important first step which can lead to a situation where either they won’t have enough insurance cover when it is needed or pay too much in premiums over the years. Both of these situations can hurt your retirement gift over the short and long term.
6. Super Consolidation
While Super Consolidation is often considered to be a good option to save fees and make managing your retirement gift easier, it is not always the best option for an individual. It is important to first know how many funds you have, what each one costs, how they are invested and what benefits each fund provides. Only once you have completed a full comparison of your current funds can you make an informed decision on which to consolidate. So as a first, why not locate each of your funds and make sure that they have your accurate contact and personal details on file.
7. Financial Advice
Conducting some simple checks on your Super over these holidays is a great place to start, however, this is just the beginning of the process. There are many aspects to be considered when it comes to Superannuation and we strongly recommend that you engage a professional financial planner to help guide and advise you on your path to retirement and beyond.
Why not make your 2020 New Years Resolution to engage a professional financial planner, so that you can build a Superannuation benefit worth unwrapping at retirement.
This article is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information.