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1 NOV, 2022
When it comes to super, most Australians have a “set and forget” approach. But there are simple and easy things you can do today to maximise your super contributions.
Join Australian Retirement Trust Member Education Officer, April Smith, in conversation with Head of Advice, Anne Fuchs, as she shares her top five tips for making the most of your super right now. Future you will thank you.
Welcome to Super Insider, Australian Retirement Trust’s podcast series covering investment markets, money, and strategies to make sure you maximise your retirement savings. Today we're on Turrbal and Yuggera country, and I'd like to pay respects to Elders past, present and emerging. I'm Anne Fuchs, Head of Advice and the host of the podcast series Super Insider, which is super cool. And with me is April Smith, one of our member education spokespeople. And we're so excited to have you here. Welcome to the podcast series.
I’m so excited to be here.
And you're looking fabulous for our listeners you can't see that April is wearing the most fabulous tangerine dress and she's going to bring some brightness and energy like that dress to our podcast today.
All about the fabulous five fantastic five strategies to make sure that when you get to the end of your working life, you haven't wasted an opportunity to maximise that money. Isn't that right April?
So I'm going to be going through the five different tips that you can do now to look after your future self.
Excellent. And for us, to look after our present self with the compliance department we need to do a GA, general advice warning.
We definitely need to throw that disclaimer out there.
So before we do start, I do need to let everyone know that the information I'm providing
today is just general information so it doesn't take into account your personal circumstances. So please consider your personal circumstances and potentially get some advice through a qualified financial adviser as they will be able to find the best strategies for you. Good idea to actually read the product disclosure statement, which is on our website. Alternatively, you can call the contact centre on 13 11 84 if you've got a Super Savings account or 1300 360 750 if you have a QSuper account.
General advice warning, done. Tick. In the good books with compliance. So five, let's just you know, let's start with number one. Number one, the number one bit of advice.
Anne do you have a bank account?
I have a bank account.
Do you have a banking Internet? Internet banking?
I do, I do log in to that app every now and again. Yes.
So we check to make sure our employer pays in, what's going out, what's going in.
How much going out. But yes, teenagers.
Yes, yes, yes. Fun times.
So it's very important to have that as well with your superannuation. So first tip is to make sure that you register yourself for online. So, Member Online is the first thing to do. You can go check your balances, see where you're at with your superannuation, see what's going in. So making sure your employer is paying and also what's going out because you may not be aware that you've possibly got insurances on your account. So definitely contact your super fund, make sure that you do have Member Online set up.
And one thing April, I do know, I remember this during COVID, there were there were a couple of members that were literally logging in ten times a day, checking their balance and every you know, certainly every day. And then they were switching things around because they were panicking. They were looking too closely. And it's it is a fine line. You're not checking your house valuation every week. So I think, you know...
And one of my tips we’ll be discussing investments.
Oh, okay. All right. I guess talk about let's do it. Let's. Okay, all right. So download the app or if you've got a, you know, a PC or a laptop, go on to your Member Online and set that all up.
Yes, very easy to do.
Okay. So which is really code for don't put your head in the sand. Pay attention.
Yes, pay attention.
Okay, we’re up to tip number two.
Yes, we are.
So tip number two is consolidating superannuation. What I firstly want to make note of is if you have multiple accounts, you are paying multiple fees, okay?
And insurance premiums as well.
Insurance premiums as well, you'll be forking out a lot more money.
And maybe you don't need to.
Maybe you don't need to, no. And actually, in saying that those moneys that you are, I guess, forfeiting, you're basically giving them away, it's compounding interest that...
You're losing, you're missing out using that.
So that could be quite a lot of money in your retirement. Okay. So definitely look at where I would suggest to go is the myGov site. So you can actually have a look at all your different superannuation accounts.
And they can find lost super too.
They can find your lost superannuation where it is just sitting with the ATO doing nothing. That's where you may have changed your name or your address and the super fund may not have been able to contact you or alternatively you can do it through your superannuation fund Member Online. As I said before, Member Online is very important and you can actually use that to consolidate as well.
Yeah, well no, I guess not now I was thinking to if you've if you've got lots of super then there's all these different MOLs which would be so annoying. So having it all one place
Yeah, who needs that?
Having is in one spot, but before you go and put it in one spot, you got to be really thoughtful and considered about that. So what are what are the things members have to think through before they go and hit the consolidate button?
Okay. So consider maybe potentially insurance because a lot of members don't realise that insurances form a part of their superannuation. So definitely have a look at if you consolidate, are you losing any insurances and also any other benefits that you might have.
Because you might have a pre-existing condition where the insurance is covered and that's a big deal. So you really need to think about that.
It's a massive deal.
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And so consolidation. And if you've got any questions, obviously you can contact us as well around tha and go to our website.
But that's really good.A really great tip number two.
Okay so we've gone and we've gone and made that decision and we've consolidated. So then what am I doing April?
Contributions is our third tip. So in terms of contributions, there are multiple ways in which you can contribute. So as we said right at the start with our disclaimer, everyone's circumstances are going to be different. So let's have a look at maybe potentially
somebody in maybe the higher tax brackets. They might want to consider something
we call salary sacrifice because potentially then you are going to be paying less tax. Legally as well. So you can do that. If you wanted to also, so maybe you're a lower income earner, there's also other strategies for you where we might look at things. If you put a dollar in your superannuation, can you believe that you could get 50% return on that dollar?
I wouldn't have believed it, or maybe I would’ve.
Maybe you would have. Yeah, yeah. So that's called the government co-contribution. So if you are a lower income earner, that's a strategy to look into. So if you are earning under $42,000 now, you can go to the MoneySmart website where there's a calculator for your contribution optimiser. So definitely have a look at that also on our website as well, calculators and you can actually see if you're putting in either salary sacrifice or money for an after-tax contribution, what you're actually going to receive, and on that note, for lower income earners, there's also spouse tax offsets that you can look into as well.
But do you know April, I remember this being said at school that by one of these very sort of progressive Sisters of Mercy, bless them. A man, is not a financial plan. And so there's a lot of our members who are women now, our women listeners, there is a risk that you've a high probability you're retiring with half the balance of the male population because we're in employment that doesn't have get the same salary levels, the caring professions, where we do need to see, you know, things like childcare workers, aged care workers. And so you as listeners, listen to what April said, is that, you know, there are all these opportunities for you to make sure you're not one of the statistics in terms of...
That get lost.
Yeah, because lots of women, women are the fastest growing group of homelessness in this country. And whilst I recognise as someone who has actually four teenagers.
Yes. That it's really hard trying to make the household budget work, particularly in cost of living. Just the littlest bit you can maximise it and every bit goes towards a better retirement where you just don't need to worry about money at the end of your working life. April, what is your next top tip to really maximise your superannuation? Well, you've had some good ones so far.
Yes. So would you believe it? Not just contributions are going to be growing your superannuation. One thing you can do that's not going to cost you anything extra because you might be looking at this saying I don't have the extra funds to put in my super simple thing to do is just choosing the right investment option for you. Choosing the right investment option can mean a massive difference for you in retirement. If you don't make a choice, what happens is your superannuation fund, Australian Retirement Trust, they put you in a default investment option. The one that we have, younger members are going to be invested a little bit more high risk.
Growth assets like shares.
Yes, yes. So the markets will fluctuate a lot more. However, as you can see, I guess historically we think about it over the longer period of time. So we might have ten, 20, 30 years of retirement. So we're able to ride any waves that we can.
But coming closer to retirement, this is actually where the funds get a little bit more conservative. So you may be closer to retirement and you may actually if we talk about risk now, you may not be comfortable to see that risk because you are accessing your superannuation. Being mindful though if you have something like an income account, your funds are still invested in your superannuation.
I think Brian Parker, our Chief Economist who is also a regular on the Super Insider podcast series, speaks about how our investment team are really there. Well, we're all paid to worry and so that you don't need to worry about your retirement savings. And so, you know, the default really is being constructed in such a way that you can, in essence, ignore the investments until such time that you decide to pay attention. And maybe it's you paying attention because you've just heard April give you some really good top tips. But I think, too, we would, you know, as the Head of Advice, I always get nervous about people doing DIY investing and trying to time the market. So if you are if you have itchy finger around switching, I'd encourage you to speak to a financial adviser.
And that's where I would say just as an example, if we looked at the COVID period, March 2020, the contact centre had been the busiest it's ever been where a lot of members actually called up to switch their investment to a lower risk.
They switched to cash at the bottom of the market.
So they may have lost a certain amount. And by actually switching to a lower risk option they retained that loss.
They crystallized the loss. And we wouldn't sell our houses really if unless we had to, when the market and so why people do it.
I mean you might want to.
Well you might have to you have to. Yeah. You prefer not to. Yeah. It's really good advice in relation to making sur the investment option is right for you.
Yeah. And also timeframe. So how long do you have to invest? You can always see the objective. So have a look at the website, the product disclosure statement. It will tell you what the objective is.
On the expected volatility and that type of things. Very good. Okay. Thank you, April. Okay, so we've gone now. What are we up to? Number five?
Number five! So we've kind of been weaving this throughout our podcast today, which is get financial advice. Okay. So your circumstances may be very different to your neighbour’s circumstance. I'll ask you a question. If you broke your leg, would you go to your neighbour or Bob around the water cooler to get you some medical attention?
If I could, probably not. I was going to try say something amusing. But it would not be my preferred option.
No, no. So this is why if you need help with your finances, you see a qualified financial adviser, they can actually get you set in the right spot. If your neighbour tells you a great strategy that they're in, may not necessarily be right for you. So definitely speak to someone who's qualified to make sure you are in the best retirement you can possibly be.
And look at Australian Retirement Trust, we've got advisers who can help you with those your advice needs relating to your either your QSuper or your Super Savings account. But there's also now 4,000 now external financial advisers but who are registered with Australian Retirement Trust, who understand our products really well and how we invest. And so they're also able to provide you advice if you need advice around Centrelink or other assets you might have, so they can help as well.
And the little amount of time that you can spend on that advice appointment will be more time for you in retirement.
We did some analysis a few years ago, April, and we, the members who were getting financial advice were really like not just a bit but a whole lot better off at retirement because of the top tips that you've that they had consolidated. They were in the right investment choice and they were making voluntary contributions. They had a cash flow plan. And in fact, the thing I loved the most was that women were really that so close to catching up with their male counterparts at retirement compared to the people who were doing nothing. So I am so passionate about trying to get more of our 2 million members to do something so that they're in a better position.
Because it is also quite complex superannuation. So understanding it is hard just to begin with. So get some professional help.
Yeah, and so April, you're someone who has gone all around this great state of Queensland.
Talking to members. Are there any other sort of final messages that you want to say to our members listening. Because ultimately this podcast series is about bringing those education seminars into where is best for you on the train to work or in your living room. Is there anything else you'd like to leave our listeners with?
I would actually say, you know, I've spoken to many members. A 20-year-old will tell me that you know, retirement is too far away, I don't need to focus on my super. I’ll speak to a 60-year-old and they will tell me I wish I focused on my superannuation when I was 20. Think about this when you do go to retire, most Australians, their biggest asset outside their family home is going to be their superannuation. You're not working anymore. How are you going to be spending your retirement with the super you've accumulated? Please, please contact us.
Please pay attention.
Don’t be disengaged like I was. 11 years ago.
Don’t put your head in the sand. Oh, look, April, it's been wonderful having you on Super Insider, the podcast series. Give us a review, tell all your family and friends about it, and we'll look forward to having you back and sharing some more tips about what our members can do to maximise their hard-earned retirement savings.
Brilliant. Thanks for having me.
Thank you April, see you. Thanks, everyone.
This podcast is brought to you by Australian Retirement Trust Pty Ltd (ABN 88 010 720 840, AFSL No. 228975) the trustee for Australian Retirement Trust (ABN 60 905 115 063) (the Fund).