Did you know it’s likely you’ll spend up to two decades or more in retirement?
It’s a long time, so will you be able to afford all the things you’ve thought of doing in retirement, before your savings run out?
By starting now and making small changes to how you approach your super savings, you can get closer to the retirement you’d like – and hopefully make your savings last longer.
Here are our Top 5 tips:
Consider Consolidating Your Super Funds
There are a few things to think about before you consolidate your super:
- Weigh up the benefits and features of your other super funds against your chosen super account.
- Check the tax implications and see if your tax and preservation components will be impacted. Speak to your financial adviser for further information.
- Compare the fees of your funds and check for exit or termination fees.
- Don’t forget your insurance. Check if your chosen super account will give you appropriate cover to replace any cancellation of insurance cover that will occur by consolidating your accounts. Appropriate insurance can include level and types of cover as well as policy terms. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, consider whether you’ll be eligible for the same level of cover if you cancel your existing insurance policy.
- If you intend to claim a tax deduction for personal contributions made into your other fund, there’s something you need to do first. Ensure your “Notice of intent to claim a deduction for personal contributions” is made and acknowledged by that fund. For more information about eligibility and/or to obtain this form please visit the ATO website.
- If you consolidate your super, you’ll have fewer funds to manage and it’ll be easier to keep track of your retirement savings.
Make Personal Contributions
By making a personal super contribution and claiming the amount as a tax deduction, you may be able to pay less tax and invest more in super. The contribution will generally be taxed in the fund at the concessional rate of up to 15 per cent instead of your marginal tax rate which could be up to 47 per cent, including the Medicare Levy. Additional 15 per cent tax applies to concessional super contributions if your combined income and concessional contributions exceed $250,000. Visit the ATO website to check the latest tax rates.
This strategy could result in a tax saving and enable you to increase your super balance.
To claim the super contribution as a tax deduction, you need to submit a valid ‘Notice of Intent’ form. You’ll also need to receive an acknowledgement from the super fund. You’ll need this before you complete your tax return, start a pension or withdraw or rollover money from the fund you made your personal contribution to. It’s generally not tax-effective to claim a tax deduction for an amount that reduces your taxable income below the threshold at which the 19 per cent marginal tax rate is payable. This is because you would end up paying more tax on the super contribution than you would save from claiming the deduction.
Make After-Tax Super Contributions
Maybe you’ve received an inheritance, a bonus, or sold an asset? If you are considering making non-concessional (after-tax) contributions to your super, there are important things to consider. The after-tax contributions cap is $100,000 pa, or up to $300,000, if you bring forward two years’ worth of contributions. To be eligible to make non-concessional contributions, certain requirements must be met. For more information visit the ATO website or book in a time to speak to one of our advisors.
Government super co-contributions also help eligible people boost their retirement savings. If you’re a low income earner and you make personal (after-tax) contributions to your super fund, the government also makes a contribution (called a co-contribution) up to a maximum amount of $500.
The amount of government co-contribution you receive depends on your income and how much you contribute. When you lodge a tax return, the ATO will work out if you’re eligible. If the super fund has your tax file number (TFN) they’ll pay it to your super account automatically. The way your co-contribution is calculated depends on the financial year in which you made your personal super contributions. You can visit the ATO website for specific income levels and amounts.
You may be able to make after-tax contributions to your super before you turn 65 even if you’re not working. After 65, you’ll need to meet a ‘work test’ each financial year to be able to make after-tax contributions (you’ll need to have worked 40 hours over a consecutive 30 day period), or are eligible for the work test exemption.View Disclaimer 1 And you can’t make after-tax contributions once you’re 75.
Top Up Your Spouse's Super
Is your spouse working part-time, earning a low income or currently not working (but not retired)? If so, you may both be able to benefit by making a ‘spouse contribution’ to their super account.