Growing your superannuation for retirement

It’s never too soon to think about your retirement. The more you can save for your retirement now, the more choices you’ll have in the future.

Giving your super a boost

No matter how near or far off your retirement is, you can still top up your super when you can afford it. There are a few options to maximise your balance while you’re still working to set you up for a great retirement.

Salary sacrifice contributions

Salary sacrifice contributions are super contributions paid on top of your employer's compulsory superannuation guarantee (SG) payments (before-tax). You can ‘sacrifice’ part of your take-home pay and add it to your super instead. It means your employer pays a portion of your salary before-tax directly into your super, rather than into your bank account. You can set this up through your employer, and you may get some tax benefits too.

These type of super payments are also known as ‘concessional’ contributions because they come from income that has not yet been taxed. Once the concessional contributions go into your super, they are generally taxed at a rate of 15%.

There are limits on how much you can add to your super each year, so if you’re interested in taking up this option, make sure you check your contribution caps so you don’t pay extra tax. Learn more about salary sacrifice contributions.

Voluntary or after-tax contributions

You can also grow your super with extra contributions from your own savings. Making contributions to your super from after-tax money can do wonders for your retirement savings. A voluntary contribution is when you add money to your super from your after-tax income or other money you have. A little now could grow to a lot later. It's easy to do with BPAY.

These type of payments are known as ‘non concessional’ contributions and there are limits (or caps) on how much you can add to your account each financial year. Read more about after-tax contributions.

Government super co-contributions

Are you eligible for a government super co-contribution? If you earn less than $60,400 (before tax) and make an after-tax contribution to your super during the financial year, then the government may also make a contribution. By contributing between $20-$1,000 to your super from your take-home pay, the government could match your contribution, up to $500. The amount you’ll receive depends on how much you earn and how much you contribute. Learn more about government co-contributions.

Selling your house and downsizer contributions

Deciding where to live once you’ve retired is an important decision. For many people, retirement means moving to a new community - and for many, that means selling the family home for something smaller.

Have you considered downsizing your family home? You may be able to put money from the sale of your house into your super. If you’re aged 55 or over and selling your family home for something smaller, it may be tax effective to add the money to your super. This is called a downsizer contribution. It’s considered an after-tax contribution, so you don’t pay tax when you add it to your super, and it doesn’t count towards your contribution caps.

If you’re eligible, as an individual you could add up to $300,000 to your super tax-free when selling a property you've lived in (or $600,000 as a couple). There are other eligibility criteria you’ll need to meet, and we recommend getting financial advice before you make any decisions. Learn more about downsizer contributions.

Super and your spouse

Saving for retirement with your partner? If your partner is out of work or on a low income, you can use your after-tax pay or your own super contributions to help boost their super. You could save on tax and create a better financial future for both of you.

There are two main ways you can help grow your spouse’s super: make a spouse contribution or split your own contributions with your spouse.

You could save on tax and create a better financial future for both of you.

Spouse contributions

A spouse contribution is when you add money to your spouse’s super account on their behalf, or vice versa. You can top up your partner’s UniSuper account at any time by making an after-tax contribution on their behalf and if you’re both eligible, you could be entitled to a tax offset of up to $540 based on the amount contributed to your spouse’s account.

Splitting your contributions

Another way to help boost your partner’s super is by transferring up to 85% of your own before-tax contributions to your partner’s super account – this is called ‘contribution splitting’. Unlike spouse contributions which are made from your after-tax savings, contribution splitting takes place before tax is taken out.

You don’t need to be married to split contributions, but you either need to be registered as a couple in your State or Territory or in a de facto relationship. There are a range of limits and eligibility criteria before you can split your contributions. Read more about spouse contributions and splitting.

Need help?

Before making any decisions about boosting your super, consider seeing a financial adviser to fine-tune your budget and create a retirement income plan.

You can use our retirement savings calculator to estimate how much super you’ll have when you retire and the income this can provide. If you want to hear more about retirement planning, our retirement considerations webcast can help.

If you’d prefer to speak to someone about your super, you can make an appointment with one of our super consultants. They provide information and general advice across a range of topics at no extra cost, whether you’re a UniSuper member or not. Book an appointment in-person, via video or over the phone, or call 1800 823 842.

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The information is of a general nature and doesn't consider your personal circumstances. Before making decisions, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for your circumstances otherwise seek financial advice.
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