My hope for the future is that I can stop work one day (sooner rather than later) with the funds I need to enjoy my retirement. Some travel, yes please. A night out with my mates, yes again. Spoiling the grandchildren, haha we shall see.
Maybe everyone doesn’t think that way, but there is a vague concept of one day in the future growing old in comfort and being able to do the things we love. Us Aussies dream big. Not only do we want to own our home, we also want to live a self-funded, or at least comfortable retirement.
Since I’ve recently changed jobs it seemed the perfect time to brush up on my super fund. See where I’m at, think about where I want to be, check out my investment options and make sure I have access online to check where things are at regularly.
There is so much information. Important information. I’ve listed a few things I’ve learned below:
When you sign up to a super fund if you don’t select investment options you go in to a default option. I found out that mine is a Balanced Growth Fund. Although I thought this suited me 8 years ago when I joined the fund now that I’ve done some research it doesn’t suit me at all.
Lesson 1 – Ensure you understand your investment options and make a choice.
Lesson 2 – Check your super at least once a year – balance and investment options
How many super funds do you need?
Starting a new job can mean starting a new super account. One is all you need. One set of fees and one set of statements.
HOWEVER there are times where it may be advisable to hold on to an old fund as well – so top tips are to check your insurances and check your scheme. Seeking advice may help in this decision.
If you haven’t checked for old super accounts it’s very simple and can be done online at the ATO.
Understanding what you have
Super isn’t just a balance. There are many things to understand and consider on the way to making changes:
- Investment options
Make it visible
It’s easy to forget about super. Or ignore it. The first step to any decision making process is to understand what you have. The majority of super funds give you online access. This enables you to see your balance and investment options.
To see your balance regularly think about linking it to the MoneyBrilliant tool. Now I see my balance every time I log in to check my dashboard. It just reminds me it’s there and gets me thinking about boosting the balance.
How much will I need?
This is a really hard question to answer. Again there is so much information. Suffice to say 9.5% of your annual salary probably won’t be enough. Have a look online, there are lots of tools to help you calculate approximately what you will need.
You can boost your super balance in different ways, the most common being salary sacrificing and personal contributions.
And don’t think you’re too young. The power of long term investments cannot be understated.
Take your time
Do some reading. Talk to people. Talk to your super fund. Use some of the tools available online to understand how much you will need and how much that means you need to contribute. Consider talking to a financial adviser.
Now is a great time to look, see and learn.
Do you have any tips on understanding your super better? Please share in the comments below.
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