lifestyle

Hey You. Why did you just throw $86,000 away?

Superannuation: not something people spend a lot of time thinking about on a daily basis.

Superannuation isn’t something that many people spend a lot of time thinking about on a day-to-day basis (unless, you know, you work in superannuation). It can seem complicated, time-consuming, and – more than anything else – a problem for Future You.

Present You is probably concerned with more pressing, immediate worries. Kids. Day care. Work. Deadlines. Lunchboxes. Washing up. Reality television. Trying to remember which day is ‘bin day’.

But here’s a fact that might make you a bit more concerned: the average woman’s super retirement payout is $112K, compared to $198K for men.

To put that in perspective, the average woman’s retirement payout is 43 per cent less than men.

There are a number of factors that contribute to this. Women often stop work to start a family, work part time while raising children, and live almost five years longer than men – while having less money to support them during those years.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by The Australian Taxation Office. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

The earlier you start thinking about it, the stronger and safer a position Future You will be in.

This is why it’s so important that, as women, we start thinking early on about how we can maximise our savings.

The earlier you start thinking about it, the stronger and safer a position Future You will be in.

Taking small, manageable steps now will put you in a far better position in the future – and it doesn’t have to be hard. The Australian Taxation Office has created the 5 Step Super Check, to give women the power to control their super situation. Here’s what you can do:

1. Check your super statement

It’s entirely likely that you’ve been receiving snail mail from your super provider – and recycling the letters immediately. (Okay, maybe that’s just me.) But it turns out it’s actually a good idea to open those envelopes, and take a look at your super statement. How can you grow your super, if you don’t know how much is in there in the first place?

Keep an eye on how your super grows over time, and become aware of what fees and insurance costs you might be paying. Basically, get informed about your situation.

2. Make sure your fund has your TFN

You can check if your super fund has your Tax File Number (TFN), by looking at the statements they send you (yet another reason to open that snail mail). There are a few reasons you should make sure your fund has your TFN; the first of which being that without it, your fund is liable to pay extra income tax on contributions your employer makes for you – and they might take this money out of your account.

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You will also miss out on government contributions, even if you’re eligible; and it will be harder to keep track of your super.

You can check up on all of your super accounts on SuperSeeker.

3. Keep track of your super using SuperSeeker

If you haven’t been paying that much attention to your super in the past, it’s also possible you’ve let some super fall by the wayside. Whether you’ve changed jobs, name or address – some of your retirement savings may have slipped through the cracks.

Particularly if you have a number of super accounts with different funds – perhaps you’ve allowed each new employer to set up a super account for you with their fund of choice – then the different fees you’re paying could significantly decrease your super overall.

You can use the ATO’s SuperSeeker services to check up on all of your super accounts, find lost super, and transfer all your super into one account.

4. Consider government contributions

Depending on your income, you may also be eligible for help boosting your super savings through the super co-contribution.

I don’t want to sound unprofessional here, but it’s FREE MONEY, PEOPLE. Look into it.

5. Put extra money into your super

The last step you can take to increase your super savings – while not quite as exciting as the concept of ‘free money’ – is definitely something you have more control over. You can put extra money into your account, either through salary sacrificing (which means you can also get you a tax deduction) or after-tax contributions (also known as non-concessional contributions, which don’t earn you a tax deduction).

After-tax contributions are probably the easiest way to contribute to your super – you simply need to deposit money from your personal bank account, into your super account.

Still need a bit more convincing? If this animated video doesn’t do it for you, nothing will.

It’s time to take control of your super. Future You will thank you.

Are any of these on your bucket list for retirement?

How have you taken control of your super? Is it something you think about when starting a new job, or at the beginning of a new work year?

Managing your super doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming, simply:

• Find out about your super entitlements

• Do the 5-step super check to help sort out and grow your super (check your super statements, make sure your fund has your TFN, Keep track of your super using SuperSeeker, Consider government contributions, Put extra money into your super)

• Watch the 5-step super videos on YouTube: www.ato.gov.au/5stepsuper

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