What is superannuation?
Superannuation, or super, is a way of saving money while you are working, so that you and your family will have money when you retire. Your employer pays money to your super fund and your super fund looks after your money for you until you are ready to retire.
If you do not know which super fund you are with, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) can tell you.
Ways to protect your super
Here are some easy things that you can do to better understand and connect with your super.
Collect your mail
Your super fund will send you information about your super at least once a year. If they have not been able to contact you, or no money has been paid into your account for a while, your super may be considered 'lost'.
By collecting and checking your mail regularly, you can avoid your super becoming 'lost'.
Let your super fund know if you have changed address
If you have moved house and have not told your super fund, you may miss out on important information about your money and your super may become 'lost'. To avoid this, tell your super fund that you have changed address by calling them. With some super funds, you can change your address online.
Tell your super fund who you want to leave your money to
Make sure your family is looked after by letting your super fund know who you want to leave your super to when you die. You can do this by filling out a binding death benefit nomination form from your super fund.
You can leave your super to your spouse,1 your children,2 someone who depends on you financially,3 or your legal representative, who must pay the money out according to your Will. Make sure you update your binding death benefit nomination if your circumstances change.
Put all your super in one account
If you have had lots of different jobs, you might have many super accounts and could be paying extra fees. By putting all of your super into one account, you can save on fees and it will be easier to keep track of your money. Most super funds have an online tool that automatically finds all of your accounts. Otherwise, you can speak to your super fund in person. To put all your super in one account in person, you will need to show your super fund some ID. This could include your:
- Tax file number (TFN)
- Birth certificate
- Truck/boat/bike/driver's licence
- Centrelink card
- Community ID card with photo
- Medicare card.
If you don't have any of the ID listed above, the AUSTRAC ID guidelines can show you other ways to prove your identity to your super fund.
Get your super in tough times
If you are facing severe financial hardship, you may be able to get your super early. You may also be able to get some of your super money on 'compassionate grounds' to pay for things like medical treatment or medical transport. Contact your super fund to find out more.
Marlee and Jarrah's super story
Marlee and Jarrah live together in a remote community in far North Queensland. When Marlee moved house to live with Jarrah, she forgot to let her super fund know about her new address. Because of this, her super fund was unable to contact her and they classified her super account as 'lost'. When Marlee got some advice about her super, she was told to contact her super fund to let them know her new address. Through this process, Marlee was able to find over $5,000 of super which is money she can spend when she retires next year.
Jarrah also retires soon but is unsure which super fund he is with. By contacting the ATO, he found out that he had three super accounts from different jobs. He decided to choose one super fund and used that fund's online tool to combine his super accounts together. By doing this, he avoided paying extra fees and may retire with more money.
Sign up for MyGov
MyGov is a simple way to access online resources from the Government. These can include Medicare, Centrelink, Child Support online accounts, the ATO, and Australian Job Search.
To sign up for a MyGov account, you will need an email address. More information about signing up for MyGov.
For more information
Here are some important links.