Experts answer: How to boost super at any age

By Alexandra Cain

This content is produced by the Good Weekend in commercial partnership with MLC.

Superannuation strategies differ depending on age and circumstances. Take an individual approach to secure a solid retirement balance, as guided by these industry experts.

We know that women have much lower super balances than men. How can we redress the balance?

Research shows that on average, women end up with almost half the super of men at retirement. Time spent out of the workforce to raise a family can play a big part in this. Raising a family is a full-time job in its own right.

It can be easy for any of us to become disconnected from our finances – especially super.

The best first step you can take is to review your super accounts: have a look at where you are today. From there, you can think about what next steps you need to take to review how you’re tracking towards retirement, and look at what opportunities you might have to boost your balance.

The great news is that when cashflow allows, there are plenty of ways that women can boost their super balances. With so many contribution options, there is bound to be a contribution strategy that suits your circumstances. If your situation changes, so can your super strategy.

If you’ve taken time out of the workforce, those lost contribution opportunities may not be gone forever. Caps apply to limit the amount you’re able to contribute to super, but if you meet certain requirements and haven’t maximised contributions in an earlier year, you may be able to top up your super with extra contributions once your cashflow allows, using the catch-up contribution rules.

Or, if you have a spouse, the spouse contribution strategy or contribution splitting could be utilised. If your income is below $37,000 and your spouse makes a contribution to super for you, they may be eligible to receive a tax offset of up to $540.

Contribution splitting involves rolling over a portion of certain contributions you make to super to your eligible spouse.

Learning about how to grow your super is paramount to building financial security in retirement. Accessing knowledge and tools to control your own financial journey cannot be underestimated. Utilise tools and resources available from the government or your superannuation fund.

Small, consistent steps can build great wealth and confidence over time

DEBBIE FING – MLC Advice senior financial planner

What do people in their 40s need to know about improving their super balance?

When you’re in your 40s you may still have significant household expenses, which might include the costs of raising children, and you may have a reasonable mortgage. The thought of contributing to superannuation for retirement might be way down on the priority list.

The good news is that your super contribution strategy can be tailored to your circumstances to ensure you can deal with what’s important to you and your family today, while also preparing for the future.

Even small contributions can make a huge difference over time, and your contribution strategy can be reviewed if your circumstances change, or if the super rules are amended and new contribution opportunities arise.

Also, certain types of super contributions could help you to reduce the tax you pay, which means you may have even more cash available to save for retirement, or to keep chipping away at that mortgage.

JENNEKE MILLS – Manager, MLC technical services

Closer to retirement age, what are the best ways to make super contributions?

Trying to work out what income you’ll need in retirement, where the income will come from, and whether you have saved enough for retirement can be complex.

It’s never too late to think about steps to take to give your retirement savings a final boost.

Whether you’re pushing to make that final mortgage repayment, contemplating a sea or tree change, or selling shares or an investment property to help fund your retirement savings, there are some really great opportunities to contribute these amounts to super to make sure your retirement goals are on track in those final pre-retirement years.

As well as boosting retirement savings, some of these contribution strategies may also help to manage tax, including capital gains tax, for example, if you sell property or shares.

For instance, if you’re 65 or older and downsizing or selling a home that was your main residence, you may be able to make a downsizer contribution to your super fund of up to $300,000 using the sale proceeds. This is a great opportunity to invest a significant amount in a tax-effective investment for retirement, without affecting your other contribution caps.

If you haven’t maximised your super contributions over the past few years, you may also be eligible to take advantage of unused concessional or pre-tax contribution cap amounts to make even larger contributions now or in the future.

A financial planner can work with you to help you achieve the best possible retirement.

JENNEKE MILLS – Manager, MLC technical services

Source – MLC September 2021 

Important information and disclaimer
This article has been prepared by NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited ABN 80 008 515 633 AFSL 236465 (NULIS) as trustee of the MLC Super Fund ABN 70 732 426 024. The information in this article is current as at June 2021 but may cease to be accurate in the future.

NULIS is part of the group of companies comprising IOOF Holdings Ltd ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (IOOF Group).

Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of preparation. In some cases information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way.

To the extent that the information in this article is or contains advice, it does not take into account any particular person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, you should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, consider the product’s appropriateness to you having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs, and consider obtaining independent advice. The Product Disclosure Statement for the MLC Super Fund is available at https://www.mlc.com.au/personal/superannuation/products or can be obtained by calling 132 652 (Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm AEST/AEDT). Returns are not guaranteed and past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The value of an investment may rise or fall with the changes in the market. You should not rely on this article to determine your personal tax obligations. Please consult a registered tax agent for this purpose. Subject to terms implied by law and which cannot be excluded, neither NULIS nor any member of the IOOF Group accepts responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in the information in this communication.

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