Despite recent changes, superannuation still remains a very tax effective way to build wealth for the majority of Australians. And when coupled with a clearly defined retirement objective, a smarter superannuation approach can significantly improve your retirement prospects, giving you a greater sense of control and confidence.
So if you're serious about living well in retirement (and enjoying the journey along the way), getting the most out of your super should be a top priority.
which way forward?
Generally, there are three types of superannuation funds - industry, retail and self-managed (SMSF). Each have their own unique sets of advantages and disadvantages, so it's worth getting qualified financial advice.
However, despite what you may have read, any one of these alternatives is a perfectly acceptable option and available to most Australians whether in pension or accumulation phase. Of course, finding the best superannuation solution for you will ultimately depend on your investment experience, your desired level of control, and how much you've already saved.
So don't get discouraged by the advice 'tug-of-war' out there in the marketplace - losing faith in superannuation (quite possibly your second largest financial asset), and settling for mediocre, would be a serious financial mistake.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Super.
For most people, superannuation is likely to be the most important investment they make in their lifetime, apart from the family home. It's also one of the most tax-effective ways you can save your retirement.
This is the first in a series of booklets, called Your super, that Macquarie has developed to help you understand how superannuation works and to give you some tips on how you can get the most out of your super. The focus of this booklet is on the accumulation phase which is the period of time when you are likely to be working and/or contributing to your super.
It aims to answer some common questions about superannuation, including:
the advantages of saving through super
super contribution caps and the tax penalties that may apply if the caps are exceeded
eligibility to contribute to super and restrictions that apply from age 65
the different types of super contributions
how to share some super with a spouse, and
other considerations such as choosing a fund and investment strategy, insurance cover through super and accessing benefits.
Read 'getting the best out of your superannuation savings' from Macquarie.
Super (when life Changes).
When you experience a change in your circumstances, whether planned or unexpected, there are often some important superannuation-related issues to consider.
In this booklet, Macquarie outlines some superannuation-related issues that you will need to consider whenever you go through a lifestyle transition. Often a lifestyle change raises questions about whether you can withdraw your super.
The booklet starts by looking at the superannuation preservation rules, which generally prevent you from accessing your benefits before reaching your preservation age except in limited circumstances, such as if you become permanently disabled and can’t work. It also covers the general tax arrangements for superannuation benefits.
Read 'Superannuation when life changes' from Macquarie.
Making Your Super Go Further.
There are a number of ways to use your superannuation to fund your retirement income. One of the options available
is an account-based pension which can provide you with a convenient, flexible and tax-effective income when you retire.
An account-based pension is a common way for retirees to receive their accumulated superannuation benefits in retirement. They can offer significant flexibility in investment choice and how you can receive your income.
This booklet will help you understand the pros and cons of account-based pensions, including:
how to invest in an account-based pension
what levels of income you must receive
how investment returns and payment levels can affect your balance
the tax treatment of payments
what happens to your account-based pension should you die
alternatives to account-based pensions, including fixed payment income streams.
For many retirees, superannuation pension income is supplemented by a full or part-rate age pension. How your account-based pension will be treated under the social security rules is also examined.
Read 'Account-based pensions: Making your super go further' from Macquarie.
Super & Estate Planning.
Estate planning is the process of arranging your financial affairs while you are alive so that when you die, your assets pass to the people you want to receive them, in the way you intend.
Estate planning can also involve taking steps to ensure that your assets are passed on in a tax-effective manner. Superannuation is an important part of estate planning.
This is the fourth in the 'Your super' series of booklets that Macquarie has developed to help you understand how superannuation works and to give you some tips on how you can get the most out of your super. The focus of this booklet is on the treatment of superannuation death benefits and how you can use your superannuation as an estate planning tool.
In this booklet, Macquarie outline how superannuation wealth is treated on death and steps you can take to have some control over who gets your benefits and in some cases, how they are paid. They discuss some issues to consider if you want to provide for specific classes of beneficiaries including minor and adult children, and explain how you can use life insurance to top up your super death benefit. Finally, Macquarie emphasise the importance of taking an integrated approach between super and your broader estate plan.
Read 'Super & estate planning' by Macquarie.
SMSF: Self Managed Super Funds
Thinking about setting-up an SMSF? Please take a look at your dedicated SMSF page for helpful information.