What’s the state of your superannuation? Honestly? Like most women in Australia it’s probably looking a little bit bleak. Unless you’ve been working full-time at the same job since you were 14 years old, chances are you’ll have chunks of cash in at least 5 different superannuation accounts and the thought of sorting it all out is so overwhelming you just want to build a blanket fort and run away from the whole thing.
On top of being slightly terrifying, superannuation also has that air of futurism about it. Until recently I was very la-di-da about my super. I was all ‘Whatever, I don’t need to worry about that for AGES!!! Look! A leprechaun!‘ and now all of a sudden I’m a female business owner being told that I’m almost guaranteed to have less superannuation than most men in my age group, by the time I retire. I’m a bit sulky about that to be honest. It’s like someone bought my brother a present and didn’t think to get me one.
The Strange Effect Being a Woman Can Have On Your Superannuation Fund
* Women get paid less than men so therefore earn less super over all.
* Most women will leave the work force to have children, leaving a gap in their super savings.
* When women return to the work force we often work part-time to support our families, halving the amount of super that we earn.
Ladies, we have to start taking control of our own financial futures.
A few months ago I started really getting my finances in order. I’ve made steps to start rolling my super and I’ve looked into the best funds that will support my freelance/casual/business owner revenue streams. I’m feeling much less like it’s a necessity to lock down a marriage to a geriatric millionnaire to survive my retirement, I’m in control of my own financial future. Here’s how you can set yourself up for financial independence and make sure that you can take care of yourself in retirement.
The 5 Step Super Check
1. Check Your Superannuation Statements
Your super fund(s) should be sending you regular statements. It’s important that you make sure that your employer is paying the correct amount of super at least each quarter. You also need to look at the fees that your fund is charging. Funds that have lower fees will help you save money faster because they aren’t gobbling up your super savings in admin charges.
2. Make Sure Your Super Fund has Your Tax File Number (TFN)
If your fund has your TFN it makes it much easier to roll your accounts into other accounts and will help you to claim lost superannuation. If you provide your TFN you also won’t miss out on government super payments and you’ll also be able to contribute to the fund itself which is mandatory for freelancers and those that are self-employed. You’ll also pay less tax on your super.
3. Keep Track of Your Super Using Super Seeker
In 2013, lost super accounts up to the value of $2000 were transferred to the ATO, while larger accounts stayed with super funds. To search for and claim your lost super all you need to do is register. You can register here and once your account is set up you can log in here. For more information on how you can use SuperSeeker to claim your lost super just visit here.
4. Consider Government Contributions
If you are a low or middle-income earner, the government may help boost your savings through the super co-contribution. The co-contribution is a government payment you may get if you make personal super contributions. To receive the maximum co-contribution of $500 paid into your super account, you need to earn $33,516 or less and put $1,000 into your super account during the financial year. You may still be paid some co-contribution if you earn more than this (up to $48,516) and add more to your super. This is a great way to get a head start on your super when you first enter the work force or if you have a part-time job while studying.
5. Put Extra Money Into Your Super
You can make payments into your super fund account over and above the 9.25% your employer pays on your behalf. This can really help to build your super over time, and can help you make up for periods when you are not working. Even small amounts will make a difference.
For more information on how you can boost your super and set yourself up for the future just check out the 5 Step Super Check you can also download the PDF here. Half the trouble of getting started on your superannuation is knowing where to start and who to contact. The ATO has taken the guess-work out of it with these fantastic free resources so make sure you take advantage of it.
I know what I’ll be doing this weekend…