Smart super tips for women

Unless you want to work 15 years past retirement age, that is?

Let’s be honest, most of us would rather discuss Nina Proudman’s love life than talk about superannuation, but with the election looming, the latter is top of mind. Right where it should be, the experts would argue.
See, as it stands, Australian women are getting a pretty rough ride when it comes to super.
A 2015 Westpac Report found that, on average, a woman’s super balance is $145,000 less than a man’s come retirement age. To match, women would have to work for an extra 15 years. No biggie.
Now, that could all change on July 2 – and we sincerely hope it does – but one thing is set to stay the same: how you manage your super matters.
Always add your TFN
When setting up a superfund, always link it to your tax file number straight away. This will help you avoid getting taxed incorrectly on your super contributions and can help you find lost super in the future. While you’re at it, register for online access. Some funds, such as BT Super for Life, make life simple. They allow you to manage your super and online banking in one so you can transfer money and keep track of both balances easily.
Super is savings
It’s easy to think of super as someone else’s money. Your employer pays it directly to your fund so the contributions often feel separate to any personal finances or savings plans you have. However, experts argue that you should see super not just as your money, but your savings too. It’s your nest egg for the future so take responsibility for it, manage it wisely and watch it grow.
Find and consolidate
According to the ATO, $13.5 billion in lost super is floating around unclaimed. Why? How? Well, a recent Westpac Lost Super Report found that 48% of Aussie workers weren’t even sure if they have lost super. Avoid being one of them by always filling out the choice of superfund form whenever you start a job. If you don’t specify a chosen fund, your employer will do so for you. That’s fine if this is your first job, but if you already have a super account, you could end up paying multiple fees on multiple funds. Your current fund or an online super search tool can then help find any outstanding contributions or ATO-held funds for you. Because the report also found that if everyone claimed their share of lost super today, it could equate to a whopping $42.4 billion by retirement.
Know your worth
Super isn’t just for full-time employees. Anyone over the age of 18 earning $450 a month (or more) is entitled to super contributions from their employer. Be sure that you’re getting what you’re entitled to and keep in mind that the Government revealed post-election plans that benefit part-timers, providing a refund for the higher tax they pay on some super contributions.
Make additional contributions
Employer super contributions equate to just under 10% of your gross salary. However, experts advise that higher super contributions – around 12% of your gross salary – will stand you in better stead for the future. You’ve got two options: salary-sacrifice super contributions that go straight into your fund before you get paid or personal contributions from your take-home salary after tax.
Brought to you by Ruby Connection and Westpac

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