How to rebuild your super post-Covid
Close to 500,000 Australians dipped into their super during the pandemic via the early release scheme – and there’s no doubt it helped many financially through a very tough time.
But as the economy begins to recover and many of us head back to some sense of normality, you may be thinking, ‘Hang on – how much has this affected my retirement?’
And the answer could be quite a bit, depending on how much super you had to begin with, and whether you took out the full $20,000 you were entitled to withdraw during the scheme.
Super accounts grow via compound interest, so withdrawing a $10,000 chunk from your fund doesn’t just mean you’ll have $10,000 less on your super balance. It’ll also mean you’ll miss out on all the compounding on that money –which could add up to thousands. If you want to crunch the numbers yourself, it’s easy to do via a compounding calculator like this one at Moneysmart.gov.au.
The good news is, you can work toward rebuilding your super back to its pre-pandemic levels. There may be no better time like the present to start. Here’s some tips on how this could be done.
Although employers have to pay 9.5 percent super by law (set to rise to 12 percent by 2025), you are also able to boost your fund and potentially repair the damage from any withdrawals you made during Covid.
Siphoning a portion of salary into a super fund – before tax and before the money is even seen – is known as a concessional contribution, or salary sacrificing. Your employer will be able to put this in place if you wish to go down this path. You can choose to salary-sacrifice up to $27,500 (from 1st July, 2021) in a single financial year.
The percentage opted for will be calculated and sent directly to the super fund, and taxed on that contribution at a maximum rate of 15 percent.
Making extra payments into super manually, rather than automatically, can easily be done too.
Putting money into your super from your salary after the tax has been taken out is known as a non-concessional contribution. It’s not subject to tax in your super fund (because the money has already been taxed).
Reminders can be set to transfer a lump sum every month or every quarter using the details from your super fund on how to transfer it to your super via online banking.
You can transfer up to $100,000 in non-concessional contributions in one financial year, but if more than that amount is transferred, it may incur more tax.
Ad-hoc Non-Concessional contributions
Just received a decent tax return? A generous work bonus? Or an inheritance you weren’t expecting? Transferring any extra funds received straight into your super fund can also be a good way to turbo-charge your super. But remember, the cap on non-concessional contributions is $100,000 so anything above that may incur additional taxes.
Low income earners (earning up to $37,000 per annum), may be able to receive the super tax offset – this is a government superannuation payment of up to $500 to help save for retirement. When a tax return is completed, this refund is worked out and paid into the super fund automatically.
For a low income earner without much super to speak of, such as a part-time worker (or not working at all) or if raising a family, the knock-on effect of that can mean not a lot of super will be accumulating (if any).
However, if their spouse is earning, he or she can make super contributions on their behalf, and may be eligible to claim a tax offset from doing so.
Something known as ‘contributions splitting’ could also be considered, where the working spouse can roll over or transfer a portion of his or her super contributions to their partners super account.
Finding and consolidating your super
About 4 million Australians have two or more super accounts – and consolidating all super into the one account could help reduce the fees and charges payable.
If you’re not sure how many active super accounts you have, you can always access them via your MyGov account– just make sure to check what insurances or other benefits are attached to each account, as you will lose that cover or benefit by consolidating your super balance into another account.
With just the one super account, it can be much easier to track super balances, see how it’s growing and make contributions into the fund to build it up.
Even if you have withdrawn super during the pandemic, there are lots of ways you can repair the damage and get your super balance back on track.
Hopefully these tips have given you some ideas on getting started – so you can start rebuilding your super and treating it like any other investment.
10 Jun 2021