How to use superannuation to build your wealth

Published in the 21st Century News, August 2013 by Janine Cox

Most Australians will now have heard about the new reforms to superannuation. 

In reality most people don’t like change whether big or small, and we are all guilty at times of not stopping long enough to read the detail and instead react to talk of changes to taxation that could take a bite out of our savings. 

But perhaps this is a call to us all to take a closer look at our own financial health? 

Generally, I see the recent changes around superannuation as quite conservative so forgive me if I don’t get on my high horse in support of those with very healthy super fund balances, who according to the changes will soon be paying 15% tax on any earnings above $100,000 for a fund balance of $2M or more.

Over two decades ago superannuation was implemented as an inflation control device and then in the 90’s it became compulsory, creating a crucial control to ensure we shift the retirement burden away from draining government coffers. 

In my opinion it has also been operating as an open ended tax break to the wealthy and I have questioned this for some time.

Will you have enough savings to fund your lifestyle in retirement?

The unfortunate reality is that present and future governments are going to tinker with the superannuation framework, so the question we need to ask ourselves is are we just going use the ‘hope and pray’ method or take steps to ensure we have the money for a wonderful retirement? 

As with anything, taking control of your money is not hard when you know how.

To help you to get up to speed with your own superannuation here are five questions to answer:

  1. How much money will you need to retire? Most people can’t answer this question. But how can you plan your future when you have no idea whether you are going to be able to pay for it? The government site Money Smart has a retirement planning calculator to help you work this out.
  2. Do you know your current super balance, and how often do you check up to find out how much your balance is growing? If not, alarm bells ought to be ringing.
  3. Do you know and understand what your funds are invested in? When asked I find most people are not well informed when it comes to their investments whether the money is invested inside or outside of super. You can access information on the share market to build your knowledge. 
  4. How has your super fund performed in the last financial year? It is important to keep track of how your fund is performing so that you know whether you are on track to achieve your investment goals.
  5. Have you considered whether the type of fund you have is right for you? I recently began looking at my options including how a Self-Managed Super Fund could help me to have more control over my super. 

When we hear about changes being made to super it could be a wake-up call. 

One hour a week building your knowledge about investing now could mean $1000’s more in savings for your account.

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