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How to cultivate your greatest financial asset

  • Whether you’re 25 or 65, superannuation is most likely your greatest financial asset.

    While super presents a more tax-efficient income strategy than property, you need to make sure you cultivate your super in order to make it worthwhile.

    The earlier you can start growing your super the better; this is key to securing a comfortable retirement.

    Here are three steps you can take today to overhaul your super: 

    Consolidate your accounts

    According to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), $16 billion worth of superannuation was ‘lost’ in 2014.

    This ‘lost’ money is just sitting in unclaimed superannuation accounts, waiting to be claimed by the people who own the account…i.e. YOU.

    Each employment position has its own super fund – which is where your employer will pay super contributions unless you specify a particular superannuation account you’d like to use.

    Many people don’t specify a particular account to use and end up with many different super accounts.

    If you are worried you have lost super, it’s easy to track it down. A couple of options include creating a myGov account or using the ATO’s SuperSeeker tool.

    Review the fees on your current super account

    You should always check that your employer is paying the required 9.5 per cent contribution and that your balance is growing over time.

    If you’re worried it’s growing too slowly, it’s a good idea to review your fund’s fees and charges – or get your accountant to help you.

    Many accounts include various insurance covers by default, but if the insurance isn’t appropriate for your age and stage of life, you’re paying for a service you don’t need.

    Compare your fund with other super funds out there and get some advice to ensure you’re getting a good deal.

    Start salary sacrificing

    It’s never too late to start contributing to your super balance (although the earlier you start the better!).

    Making extra contributions can be effective at any income bracket, as you can claim back tax advantages or claim the government’s co-contribution.

    And any contributions you make are not counted as part of your total salary package for income tax purposes.

    If you make super contributions through salary sacrificing, these contributions are taxed in the super fund at the maximum rate of 15 per cent. Generally, this tax rate is less than your marginal tax rate.

    If you want some help making the most of your super, talk to your MWM Advisory accountant today.

  • Posted On: February 1, 2016