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16 September 2014

Starting your first job? 4 tips to help you understand your super

Goodbye student life and hello work life. If you’re one of the thousands of high school, TAFE and uni students about to start your first job, here are four tips to help you understand your superannuation.

1. Super is important – it’s your money for the future

In a nutshell, super is money set aside for your retirement. You contribute throughout your working life to have the funds to enjoy later on.

You can’t normally dip into your super savings while you’re in the workforce, but it’s still your money. So it’s worth keeping tabs on your super throughout your career and taking control of your retirement planning to help you enjoy a better lifestyle.

2. You can choose your own super fund

Most of us are free to choose our preferred super fund though there are exceptions. These include workers covered by certain awards or workplace agreements, and some public servants. Your employer will let you know if you fall into one of these categories.

When you start work, your employer is obliged to give you a standard choice form. This lets you nominate the fund you’d like your super contributions paid into. If you don’t provide details of your preferred fund, your employer will select a fund for you.

Along with your employer contributions, you can add to your super through contributions of your own if you choose.

3. Watch for fund fees

With hundreds of superannuation funds to choose from, it can be hard knowing which one is right for you. One factor that may narrow the choice is fund fees.

Australians pay on average around $1300 a year in super fund fees annually according to research by Grattan (April 2014), which can add up substantially over time. In fact, Grattan also calculated that a 30 year old paying super fees until retirement could possibly be reducing their super balance by $250,000.

With this sort of money at stake, it’s worth checking the fees that apply to any fund you’re considering.

4. Keep track of your investments

One of the best ways to track the returns on your nest egg is by checking out your annual super statement. This shows the earnings as well as any fees and other information about your super account. By reviewing your statements you’ll get a clearer idea of how your super is shaping up. Many funds provide online account access, or allow you access to your balance through your mobile app, and that’s even better.

All investments come with risk, and you need to decide the level of risk that you are comfortable with. If you’re not sure what to look out for, consider speaking to a financial advisor for advice on making investments which are right for you. Taking interest in your super sooner rather than later can give you a head start in building your future wealth, and pave the way for greater financial wellbeing in retirement.

The information is current as at publication. Any advice on this website does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you. Deposit products, savings products, credit card and home loan products are issued by ING, a business name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229823. ING Living Super (which is part of the ING Superannuation Fund ABN 13 355 603 448) is issued by Diversa Trustees Limited ABN 49 006 421 638, AFSL 235153 RSE L0000635. The insurance cover offered by ING Living Super is provided by Metlife Insurance Limited ABN 75 004 274 882, AFSL 238096. ING Home and Contents Insurance is issued by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited (AGIC) ABN 42 111 586 353 AFSL Licence No 285571 as insurer. It is distributed by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd (AGS) ABN 61 003 617 909 AFSL 241411 and by ING as an Authorised Representative AR 1247634 of AGS. All applications for credit are subject to ING's credit approval criteria, and fees and charges apply. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Terms and Conditions, Fees and Limits Schedule, Financial Services Guide, Key Facts Sheet and Credit Guide available at ing.com.au when deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, a product. Before interacting with us via our social media platforms, please take a minute to familiarise yourself with our Social Media User Terms https://www.ing.com.au/pdf/Social_Media_User_Terms.pdf.

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