How to double your super savings
Age is not a barrier when it comes to doubling your superannuation balance.
Whether you're in your 20s or recently retired in your 60s, there are incentives, tax breaks and strategies to grow super faster and enjoy a tax-free retirement.
Millions of Australians withdrew super during the pandemic through the Federal Government's early release scheme. Building it back up can deliver massive long-term gains flowing from compound interest.
For example, $10,000 earning a 6 per cent annual return compounds to $18,000 over 10 years and $33,000 over 20 years, before the multiplier effect really kicks in to deliver $60,000 after 30 years and $110,000 after 40 years.
Finance educator Vanessa Stoykov says many Australians underestimate the power and potential of superannuation.
"In a nutshell, your super will become the house of the future," she says.
Making extra contributions as soon as you can is a great way to double your super, Stoykov says.
"Even if you only contribute an extra $20 a month, the growth that this will have long term is significant," she says. "The more you can afford, the better."
The super co-contribution delivers an effective 50 per cent investment return for lower income earners who pump $1000 into super because the government then adds $500 of its own money.
Stoykov says younger people can accept riskier super fund investment option to potentially grow their nest egg faster because they have decades left before retirement.
Stockspot founder and CEO Chris Brycki says people should choose the right investment strategy for their age.
"Essentially, if you're in your 20s and 30s your strategy should be a growth or high growth oriented strategy, with the majority of your assets weighted towards riskier assets like shares and property," he says.
"If you're in your 40s and 50s, you should still have most of your assets weighted towards riskier assets, but a larger portion should be in low-risk assets like bonds. If you're 60 plus, you're looking at a more conservative strategy."
Brycki says fees are a huge factor affecting differences in super fund returns.
"Even though many young people aren't thinking about their superannuation, if you make the change to a low-cost super fund when you're young, you could earn yourself massive returns in the future," he says.
Fees are also vital closer to retirement as portfolios become more conservative and returns typically lower - so the fee impact can be greater, Brycki says.
INCENTIVES FOR ALL AGES
Australians approaching retirement can use government incentives to double their super quickly if they have other non-super assets.
Once you transfer your super to an account-based pension it's tax free, whereas investments held outside super attract income tax and capital gains tax.
Financial strategist Theo Marinis says in some ways it's harder for older people with bigger nest eggs to double their super "but in other ways it's easier if you have assets somewhere else".
"If aged 60 you have six or seven years to gradually sell down your non-super assets and contribute over time," Marinis says.
Tax-deductible contributions, called concessional contributions, of up to $25,000 a year can be made by most workers, and $100,000 of non-concessional contributions are also allowed.
There's also downsizer contributions, introduced by the Federal Government in 2018.
"If selling a home, a couple can put in up to $300,000 each after age 65," Marinis says.
He recommends people put extra money into super as soon as they can in life.
"It compounds and that does the heavy lifting for you - the more money you get in, the more multiplying compound effect you can get," Marinis says.
TAKING AN INTEREST
Queenie Tan, 24, sees her super as part of her overall investment strategy and has switched funds to save on fees.
"I also consolidated my super so that it's all in the one place and I'm not paying unnecessary management fees by having multiple super funds open," she says.
Tan regularly checks online to see how her fund is performing, and also plans to look into salary sacrifice later in life to save on tax.
"By switching my superannuation to a low fee super fund with a high net investment return I've saved myself hundreds of thousands of dollars over my lifetime," she says.
HELP TO MULTIPLY YOUR SUPER
• Extra concessional contributions, such as salary sacrifice, deliver tax deductions.
• Non-concessional contributions of up to $100,000 a year are also allowed.
• The government co-contribution for lower income earners can total $500 annually.
• Spouse contributions deliver tax breaks and help grow a partner's nest egg.
• Downsizer contributions of up to $300,000 per person aged over 65 are allowed from the sale of a family home.
Originally published as How to double your super savings