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Triggers to review your superannuation

I was at a superannuation industry event a while back and one of my industry peers told me it was her personal crusade to make superannuation top of mind for each member of her fund. Gees, that's taking things seriously. I sometimes wonder how that's going for her.

To me superannuation is like going to the dentist. I don't really enjoy thinking about and looking after my superannuation, but I sigh and acknowledge that it's better to give it some attention from time to time rather than waiting until I have pain to deal with.

Armed with this less than inspiring vision I've worked out four triggers that cause me to call in for a superannuation checkup.

  1. Changing jobs. We are more mobile between jobs and careers today. The biggest driver of lost superannuation is people changing jobs and losing track of their super. That never happens to me anymore. Years ago I recorded my super fund details in my smartphone. When I sign-on with a new employer I have my fund details right where my bank account details are when I'm filling in the forms at induction.

  2. Changing relationships. It's a good idea to think about your superannuation (and related personal insurance) when you get married, divorced, become a parent, or widowed. Does the person coming into or leaving your life have an interest in your superannuation or are they dependent on you in any way? Key things to look at will be nominating beneficiaries, insurance adequacy and projected balances for your super.

  3. Changing address. If you move around it's easy to forget something like super unless you're with that fund my crusader colleague works at. Be organised and use a checklist to make sure you tell the people you need to when you change address. The Australian Government has a Change of Address Checklist for this purpose. There are also plenty of Apps available for your smartphone, like All Household Checklists. While most funds will now have your email address and stay in touch with you that way it always pays to make sure your residential address is correct too.

  4. Changing financial circumstances. Events like getting a mortgage, paying one off (yay), or big changes to your salary are a trigger to consider whether your superannuation and related insurances need changing. A couple of years back I had my future freed up (sounds nicer than 'my role was made redundant') and decided to have some extended time off. I thought about what it would mean for my superannuation if I had a year off and decided to use some of my separation payment to make a personal contribution. I put $5,000 into super and reduced the impact of having a year off paid work was going to have on my retirement plan.

The only other time I think about superannuation is when I get my annual statement around the end of each year. Now when you receive your statement it will likely contain a projection for your super balance based on your current contribution rate. It's a good time to check where you are headed financially, just in case you missed a check up during the year.

This article first appeared on Mark's LinkedIn. Click the button to find out more about RCSA's Principal Partner, Prime Super.

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