Money and Life
(Financial Planning Association of Australia)
Super statements come but once a year (or twice with some funds). When yours arrives, it’s important to take a proper look because it could become one of the biggest assets you’ll ever have. Here’s our quick guide to what you should watch out for and why.
1. Personal details
Check your name and address are present and correct. Not having the right details could lead to you having unclaimed super if you change jobs or move house. You can update these details with most funds by setting up a member login.
2. Tax file number (TFN)
Having the right tax file number means your super fund will be paying the right rate of tax on your super contributions and investment earnings. If your TFN is missing or incorrect, the fund may be deducting tax at a higher rate.
3. Personal contributions
Check for any personal contributions to this super fund for the period the statement covers. If you haven’t provided your TFN, your fund won’t be able to receive these payments.
4. Employer contributions
Check that any employer contributions you’re entitled to under the super guarantee (SG) are being paid in full at least once a quarter.
5. Your balance
Providing either you or your employer (or both) have been making contributions your balance is going to be higher than it was at the beginning of the statement period. Depending on your investment options, your current balance will include investment earnings too. And there will be deductions shown for tax, fees and insurance premiums.
6. Investment options
Most super funds offer a range of investment options. Your balance is likely to be invested in a default option if you haven’t made an active choice. Different investment choices carry different levels of risk, expected return and fees.
Your super fund may provide some guidance on investment choices or you can get in touch with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional for advice on selecting an investment option suited to your life stage and circumstances.
All super funds will charge a fee for administering your account. There will also be fees associated with your investment option/s or brokerage fees for direct investment in shares. Paying too much in fees can quickly erode your super balance so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough investment earnings to justify any fees you’re paying.
8. Insurance premiums
Super funds are required to provide certain types of personal insurance to their members by default and take premiums from your super balance to pay for the cover. However, legislation proposed in the 2018 Federal Budget will give account holders with lower balances the choice to opt in or out for paying for insurance through their super.
Paying for personal insurance through super can be a way to make your policy more affordable but there are lots of things to weigh up when it comes to getting personal insurance right.
If you’ve nominated a beneficiary or beneficiaries for your super – perhaps your spouse, partner or children – then this will be included on your super statement too.
Taking an interest in your super is important – regardless of your age. If you’re looking at multiple super statements from different accounts, then it may be worth consolidating your super into a single fund to save on fees. Before choosing one fund over another, it’s worth checking to make sure you’re continuing to get the right insurance cover and investment options with your preferred super fund and for a competitive fee.