Superannuation

The aim of superannuation, since its introduction by the Keating Government in 1992, is to enable all working Australians to accumulate savings to fund their retirement. The most common means of contributing to superannuation is through employer superannuation guarantee contributions (SGC), which by law, must currently be paid at a rate of 9.5 per cent. There are plans to gradually increase this to 12 per cent by 2025.

Australians are encouraged to make contributions to superannuation by favourable tax benefits and many take advantage of these incentives by salary sacrificing to superannuation. This enables an employee to pay an amount of pre-tax salary into superannuation, which when taxed at 15 or 30 per cent, is often less than their own marginal tax rate. These are known as concessional contributions and are capped at $25,000.

Non-concessional contributions can also be made – these come from after-tax income. The current limit on such non-concessional contributions is $100,000 per year, although a scheme exists whereby $300,000 can be made in one year, as long as no other contributions are made in the following three-year period.

Other factors, such as age and hours worked, can determine whether an individual can contribute to superannuation.

Through investment of contributions by fund trustees, individuals hope to see their superannuation fund balances increase by payment of returns on investment and compound interest. As investments can go down as well as up, most people choose a mix of different investment types based on their risk profile.

Underperforming super funds to be handed their 'fail' rating today

Funds that don't pass the new performance test must inform their members in writing.

Will your super fund still be in business in five years?

Regulators carefully watching a shrinking sector.

Super steams ahead, but advice could drive a better retirement

Seeking advice from your super fund could help avoid retirement pitfalls.

Industry plea to change law to allow lost super accounts to earn interest

Super industry wants to ensure forgotten accounts don't miss out on returns.

The government's super changes will most help wealthy tax dodgers

Wealthy retirees the biggest beneficiaries of extension to changed minimum drawdown rates.

Soon it will be easier to track where your super money is spent

The government has released draft regulations for the next phase of its super legislation.

Backflip on super laws allows funds to hide fees, say critics

Funds could 'cook the books' and rip off millions, says Industry Super chief.

Friday Reflection: Superannuation in your later years

Once retirement arrives there's little more to do when it comes to super, right? Wrong!

'Hidden tax' costing Aussie women half a billion

Federal government still refuses to pay superannuation on top of parental leave.

Super splitting and how to maximise your tax-free entitlements

You can double the money you have in your pension fund by sharing with a partner.

New fund tops superannuation satisfaction rankings

Super satisfaction is through the roof, which is hardly surprising given last year's returns.

Treasury claims that Australians aren't spending their super rubbished

Treasury report claims not backed up by data, say financial industry figures.

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