Selecting your super’s investment options may be your first experience in the world of investing. At UniSuper, you have the flexibility to select pre-mixed investment options, or you can choose from our range of sector options.

Understanding investment basics such as investment options, risk, returns, investment strategy, and investment time frame, can help you make informed decisions to build a greater retirement.

What’s an investment option?

Investment options are different ways you can choose to invest your super.

Here are some things to consider when choosing an investment option:

  • How long you have until you begin drawing on your super. This is called your investment time frame and for most people it’s the time they retire or start transitioning to retirement
  • How much risk you’re comfortable taking
  • How hands-on you want to be with your super.

If you want to be less hands-on with investing your super, our pre-mixed options may be right for you. Our fund managers do the work and allocate investments in line with the strategy you choose.

Prefer to be hands-on and build your own portfolio? Sector options may be a better fit. We offer a range of sector options, and you can mix and match these to align with your strategy.

Find the option that suits your retirement goals

Discover the risk profile, asset allocation, average performance, and suggested minimum investment time frames for each of our 16 investment options and learn about our sustainable and environmental branded investment options.

What are the risks to investing?

Risk is part of investing. Key risks to consider when choosing an investment option are:

  • the risk of your investment falling in value
  • the risk of not having enough savings for your retirement

Some investments (like shares) may fluctuate more in value over shorter periods than less risky investments like cash, but history shows that over the longer term they’re more likely to deliver greater returns.

Your risk tolerance or how much risk you’re willing to take with your super may be affected by:

  • your personal circumstances
  • how close you are to retirement

Super is a long-term investment and some people have the time to ride short-term falls in the market.

Read our article Riding the Volatility Wave for a closer look.

Compare the performances of our investment options over time.

What are investment returns?

Investment returns are what you could earn (or lose) on your investment. The amount is usually expressed as a percentage per year, for example 5% per annum.

What is an investment time frame?

Your investment time frame is the length of time you’re investing for.

When it comes to superannuation, this is generally the amount of time until you start drawing on your super. For most people, this will be when they start transitioning to retirement or when they retire.

Setting your strategy

When setting your strategy, consider how comfortable you are with risk and how long you will be investing for.

As we’ve already covered, investment options with a higher exposure to assets like shares may fluctuate more in value and can generate negative returns (lose money) over shorter periods. However, we expect them to deliver higher returns over the longer term compared to lower risk options.

As everyone’s circumstances are different, it's important that you make the right choice for you. This may be a good time to talk to a UniSuper consultant and find out more about the different types of advice we offer.

Consider reviewing your strategy from time to time or if your circumstances change.

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Frequently asked questions

View the FAQs below or book an appointment to talk to a one of our friendly super consultants to get help with your super.

  • Which superannuation account do I have?

    At UniSuper, you will have either an Accumulation 1, Accumulation 2, Personal Account, or a Defined Benefit Division (DBD) account. How and when you joined, as well as your employment type will determine which of the four superannuation accounts you will have.

    What is an Accumulation 1 account?

    Accumulation 1 account holders can choose their own investments. It’s easy to manage and you can keep it throughout your working life regardless of whether you leave the higher education sector.

    Accumulation 1 accounts are generally open to people who are on at least the minimum contribution percentage (currently 10.5% for FY23) who join through one of our employers.

    Learn more about the features, fees, and other important information of Accumulation 1 accounts.

    What is an Accumulation 2 account?

    An Accumulation 2 account lets you choose your own investments and gives you greater control of your contributions and insurance.

    Accumulation 2 accounts are open to members who had a Defined Benefit Division (DBD) account for less than two years.

    Learn more about the features, fees, and other important information of Accumulation 2 accounts.

    What is a Personal Account?

    A Personal Account is easy to manage and can be taken with you from job to job throughout your working career. A Personal Account with UniSuper allows you to boost your superannuation savings with extra contributions at any time.

    Personal accounts are open to all Australians aged 15 or over.

    Learn more about a Personal Account with UniSuper.

    What is a Defined Benefit Division account?

    A Defined Benefit Division (DBD) account allows you to choose your own investments for the accumulation component of your superannuation. A DBD account is designed to give reliable growth over your life and give you better idea of how much you’ll have to retire on. The DBD is open to eligible higher education employees receiving 14% or 17% employer contributions.

    Unsure which superannuation account you have?

    You can find your membership on your UniSuper statement, via MemberOnline and the UniSuper App. Still unsure? Contact us on 1800 331 685 from Monday to Friday (Melbourne time).

  • What is long-term and short-term investing?

    Time plays an important role when it comes to investing. Generally, it’s your time in the market, not your timing of the market, that gives you the greatest chance of good long-term returns.

    Some people may try to time markets by predicting when they’ll go up or down and then changing their investments. This strategy can be risky, as it’s difficult to predict what markets will do and getting the timing right can be tricky.

    Why can it be risky?

    If you change your investments in response to market movements, you’re often responding after the event. By switching an investment option that’s declining in value into an option that’s reaching its peak, you’re more likely to lose money.

  • What is compounding interest?

    Compounding interest is investment returns earned on your investment returns.

    It happens when you reinvest your positive investment returns (which occurs automatically with super).

    The longer you invest your super, the more time you’ve got to take advantage of compounding interest. The younger you are when you start saving for your retirement, the more time you’ll have to benefit.

    An example: Sue and Ewen

    Meet UniSuper members Sue and Ewen. They’re both 60 years old and have been regularly topping up their super with extra after-tax contributions.

     Sue Ewen
    Starts investing at age 25


    Invests until age 60 60
    Investment timeframe 35 years 20 years
     Investment per year
    $2,000 per year $5,000 per year
    Total additional amount invested $70,000 $100,000
    Investment value at age 60 $372,204 $247,115

    For the purpose of this illustration, the modelling assumes an investment return of 8% p.a. No allowance has been made for tax or investment fees and charges. Please note that lower investment returns and/or periods of market volatility, and the inclusion of tax or investment fees and charges could change the comparison.

    We’ve assumed both contributions ($2,000 each year and $5,000 each year) to be after-tax contributions. This example is for illustrative purposes only and doesn’t relate to any of UniSuper’s investment options. Figures are nominal values and haven’t been adjusted to reflect the impact of future inflation.

    Sue invested less, but ended up with more

    Sue invested $2,000 each year (less than $40 a week). Ewen invested $5,000 each year.
    Even though Sue invested less money in total than Ewen, she has $125,000 more than Ewen.

    Why? Sue had more time. Sue's 15-year head start meant that her money had more time to benefit from compound interest.

  • What are the impacts of inflation?

    Inflation is a term used to describe a rise in the cost of living (measured by the Consumer Price Index or CPI).

    Over the time your super is invested, the cost of living will generally rise. While $1 might have bought you a litre of milk 15 years ago, due to inflation you’ll need more than $3 to buy the same thing today.

    Real return = investment return − CPI

    It’s important to ensure the growth rate of your investment outpaces inflation. Otherwise, while the dollar amount of your balance may increase over the years, the actual buying power of your investment might not.

    So, when we talk about the ‘real return’ from an investment, we’re talking about the return over and above inflation. At a minimum, your returns should keep pace with inflation. Ideally, to make real gains from your investment, your returns need to outpace inflation.

    Our investment options aim to outperform CPI by a specific percentage (or more) each year. Exceptions to this are the Cash, Australian Bond and Australian Equity Income options, which target different types of objectives.

Get help with your super

Book an appointment with one of our super consultants and take the guesswork out of setting your investment strategy and managing your superannuation.

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Investment switching

It’s important to keep track of and manage your investments. Find out how to monitor the progress of your investments and adjust your portfolio if you need to.

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