Six questions you need to ask about your superannuation account

For many people, superannuation isn’t something we spend too much time thinking about. We’ve got a super account, our employer pays our contributions, and that’s that.

However, super isn’t a set and forget – and if you leave it on autopilot now you may well regret it in the future.

“A lot of people think retirement is a fair way off, so it’s not something they need to think about now,” says Catherine Allen, Financial Advisor at Fennell West.

“But superannuation is something you should always be focused on, because it’s your retirement savings, and different strategies apply to different age groups.”

It can literally pay to give your super some regular care and attention – whatever your age.

Here are six questions to ask about your super. Your future self will thank you.

How’s my Super performance?

With any investment – and ultimately your super is just that – you should pay attention to how it’s performing. How is it doing when compared to other super schemes?

“We do an assessment looking at the performance of your super and compare that with how other funds have been performing,” says Catherine.

“Super is a long-term investment, and past performance isn’t necessarily indicative of future performance, but it’s good to do that comparison to get a sense of how it’s performing.”

If you’re stuck in a scheme that’s severely underperforming, it can have a hugely detrimental effect on the performance of your super in the short, medium and long term, so it’s smart to understand exactly what you’re dealing with.

What risk profile am I?

The performance of your super will in some part be influenced by your risk profile, as this determines how your super is invested. Are you in a high-risk category, which could mean higher rewards, or are you in a more conservative profile?

Your risk appetite is usually influenced by your age – in younger years you may be more comfortable with a riskier approach, as there’s more time for any dips to be levelled out. In later years, you may want to protect what you’ve grown.

“It’s important to know how your money’s invested,” says Catherine. “I spoke with a client recently who didn’t realise that the majority of their funds had been invested in cash for the past seven years – a box had been ticked somewhere along the way and they had subsequently received minimal returns for this period of time.”

What are my super fees?

Fees are deducted from your super for the management of your investment, but just how much are you paying?

“Some funds charge more than others, so if excessive fees are eating away at your super balance, it might be worth considering your options” says Catherine.

 Can I make additional super payments?

Making additional super payments is the best thing you can do to boost your super balance in later years. Putting in the equivalent value of a cup of coffee a day, for example, can have a tremendous impact over a couple of decades.

“Contributing that extra amount on a regular basis can really assist in boosting your super balance over the long term,” says Catherine.

As an added bonus, depending on your circumstances, you may also be able to claim these contributions as a personal tax deduction.

What insurances are within my super policy?

Sometimes, super schemes include some form of life insurance, but it’s important to know exactly what you’re covered for, and how much that cover is.

“Sometimes you might be paying excessive premiums, other times you may not have enough insurance,” says Catherine.

“It’s good to have an idea of what you’re being charged for, and ensure you have adequate coverage for your circumstances.”

How can I check if my super is right for me?

Fennell West offers a complementary superannuation health check, during which the team will assess your super performance and offer any recommendations to help improve the outcomes you’re getting.

Call 03 5557 3355 or email [email protected] to book an appointment.