Do you really know about your superannuation and your retirement? Do you know how much you have in superannuation, how long it will last you, what fees you pay and what you will do in retirement?

There have been a few changes to superannuation with the current government you need to be aware of. Superannuation doesn’t have to be tricky and since it is an important part of your financial independence as you age, you should know how to maximize it.

Simple superannuation basics
Retirement age
When most people say ‘retirement age” what they often mean is preservation age, which is the age you can access your superannuation. Preservation age varies depending on when you were born but is between 55 and 65. With the current life expectancy of 82.10 years in Australia, that is 12 – 27 years you will need to support yourself.

How much the average Australian has and how much you need
The average male Australian has less than $200,000 in their superannuation fund and the average female has almost half that with less than $120,000.

This infographic from CareSuper based on figures from The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) helps illustrate the gap.

If you have been living a $50,000 per year lifestyle and wish to continue that lifestyle into retirement, then you really only have a few years worth of retirement based on average superannuation accounts. How much you need is determined by your lifestyle.

Employer contributions
Your employer is required to pay the equivalent of 9.5% of your income to your super. Check your employment contract for specifics. The average Australian income is around $75,000 a year. If we take out the first few years after university and count from ages 30 to 60, in that 30 years if you earn $75,000 a year, your employer will have contributed $208,125. This doesn’t take into account government super contributions tax, interest, any time off unemployed/with family/illness or account fees.

Co-contributions
The Australian Government offers a co-contribution up to $500 for those earning under $48,000 per annum. This means if you are eligible and you contribute extra into your super, even $10 a week which equates to $520 a year you are personally contributing, the government will deposit up to $500 extra into your super account.

Consolidate accounts
According to research by the Grattan Institute, Australians pay an average of one third of their superannuation in fees – one reason is we pay the highest super fees in the world, another is because we haven’t consolidated our superannuation accounts. Many of us have had multiple jobs by the time we are 30. Gone are the days of getting a job and sticking with that employer until you retire. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 50% of Australians have been employed with their current employer less than 5 years and 20% less than 12 months. If you start working at 15, something part time while at school and change jobs every 5 years, by the time you retire that is potentially 9 superannuation funds and you would be paying fees on all of them, unless you take the time to consolidate your accounts into one and nominate your chosen super fund when you start a new job.

Consolidating your accounts needn’t be difficult and you need to do it now. On May 31st, 2013 the ATO started collecting lost superannuation funds with under $2,000 in. Previously the limit was $200. Would you willingly give the ATO $2,000? If you wouldn’t then you should take the time to consolidate your superannuation accounts and check the ATO’s lost member register for your lost super.

Industry Super Funds
There are many different funds, it can be hard to know which are best. Typically industry super funds have lower fees and great knowledge about your industry, for example CareSuper, which has won Industry Fund of the Year for the second consecutive at the Smart Investor Blue Ribbon Awards.

Superannuation investing
There are various levels of risk and ways to invest your superannuation within your fund. You may have the ability to change this risk at any time. For example, you might feel safer with a low risk option such as cash, whereas your partner may prefer a higher risk option such as shares. Low risk often means low returns, but is safer. High risk often means higher returns, which can be great for your retirement, but as the risk is greater, it does mean there is more potential to lose money. As with all investments, do your research and invest at a level you are comfortable with.

How to get the most out of your superannuation
Hopefully the above has made superannuation clearer for you, so how do you get the most out of it?

  • Check insurance

Some insurance such as life insurance is available through your superannuation. Check what is, check the level of cover and stop paying double for insurance. If you were paying for life insurance separately, you could redirect that money to your superannuation account.

  • Co-contributions

As mentioned above, this is a great way to grow your superannuation if you are eligible.

  • Salary sacrificing

Another option to contribute more to your superannuation is to salary sacrifice some of your salary into your superannuation. This reduces your taxable income, helps grow your superannuation and as a result you may pay less tax but are better prepared for retirement.

  • Consolidate super

Another tip mentioned above, but it is so important. Get all your superannuation together, stop paying excess fees and get a fund that works best for you.

  • Watch your superannuation

Instead of being set and forget, be proactive about your finances. Check you balance regularly to see how it is performing and how close you are to your retirement goal.

  • Pay yourself superannuation

Many sole traders do not pay themselves superannuation. It is not a requirement by law for them to, but it can leave you severely short when it’s time to retire.

  • Protect what you have

One issue many face is being scammed. The most common scam for superannuation funds are phishing scams where they ask for personal details or require you to click on a link within an email. These scams allow the scammers to glean your information and gain access to your accounts, taking the money and leaving you with nothing. Never give out information or click on links in emails. Always check directly with your superannuation fund yourself.

  • Have a plan

It is much easier to save when you have a plan. Know how much you need to retire on, what you want to do in retirement and plan accordingly.

Superannuation doesn’t need to be complicated and it is a great way to support yourself when it comes to retiring. With the added benefits such as life insurance, it makes sense to get to know your superannuation better.

Do you know how much is in your superannuation account, how many accounts you have or how much you need for retirement?

What are your retirement plans?

This post contains factual information and my own opinion about super in general. It doesn’t take into account your situation. While I am not personally recommending CareSuper, information about superannuation can be obtained from their website caresuper.com.au and it’s always good to get your own advice about financial matters.  CareSuper has paid a fee for me to post this blog about super.

Statistics and information referred to in this post were obtained through the ATO, Australian Bureau of Statistics, ASFA, The Grattan Institute and MoneySmart.

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I am officially one of four finalists for Young Australian Of The Year 2015, in the ACT. I am so amazed. There are four categories for the Australian Of The Year Awards. Here are the ACT finalists:

2015 ACT AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR
Glenn Keys – Business and philanthropic leader
Lieutenant General David Morrison AO – Equality advocate
Anna Rose – Environmental campaigner
David Savage AM – Aid worker and wounded ambassador

2015 ACT SENIOR AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR
Dr Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM – Dancer and choreographer
Sandra Mahlberg – Humanitarian and volunteer
Glenn Rees AM – Alzheimer’s advocate
Sue Salthouse – Disability activist

2015 ACT YOUNG AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR
Jarrett Anthoney – Brain tumour advocate
Dr Lachlan Blackhall – Engineer and entrepreneur
Patrick Mills – Basketballer and Indigenous community leader
Kylie Ofiu – Homelessness advocate

2015 ACT LOCAL HERO
Viola Kalokerinos – Community helper
Damian De Marco – Child sexual assault campaigner
Robert Pastor – Educational leader
Gordon Ramsay – Humanitarian

From these finalists, the ACT Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Local Hero Award recipients will be announced at a cocktail reception to be held at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra on Monday 3 November 2014.

The ACT Award recipients will then join recipients from all other States and Territories as finalists for the national Awards, which will be held in Canberra on 25 January 2015.

National Australia Day Council CEO, Mr Jeremy Lasek, said “the ACT finalists are among 137 great Australians being recognised as State and Territory finalists in the 2015 Australian of the Year Awards.”

I am in awe of my fellow finalists. The work everyone has done both in their fields and for the community is inspiring. It’s an honour and very humbling to be among them.

Canberra Community Sleepout #CBRsleeout Kylie Ofiu

I am a finalist because of my work with the homeless such as the upcoming Community Sleepout and what I have overcome in my life personally (eg homelessness, domestic violence and other things). I feel very fortunate to be able to do the work I do now, volunteer, raise awareness and funds. I have met so many wonderful people through it all and the stories people have shared with me have truly touched my heart. I cannot think of anything else I would rather be doing.

This week is Anti Poverty Week. There are so many events happening all over Australia. You can find them here, from seminars through to restaurants having special nights where the price of meals is donated, there is even a “Masterchef” style event in Canberra.

I am attending a few events and speaking at the two listed below.

FINANCIAL IMPACT WOMEN LIVING WITH AND LEAVING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Monday October 13th
2:00pm-4:00pm
Level 2, Theo Notaris Multicultural Centre
180 London Circuit, Civic

The seminar will aim to strengthen local knowledge and understanding in the ACT about the links to poverty and hardship for women living with and leaving domestic violence. The seminar will also explore how financial vulnerability can put women at a greater risk of violence and provide information about what financial supports and services are available for this group of women.

Organised by: ACT Domestic Violence Prevention Centre & Women’s Centre for Health Matters
Email: [email protected]

HEADLINE EVENT: PATHWAYS OUT OF POVERTY
Thursday October 16th
12:30pm-1:30pm
Ann Harding Conference Centre, University of Canberra (Building 24) 2600
Listen to some courageous Canberrans who have experienced poverty and disadvantage. Hear how through their own efforts and with the assistance of local government, community and charitable organisations they have found pathways out of poverty. Be inspired by their stories and reflect on the nature of poverty in our local community.
Organised by: Anti Poverty Week Canberra Group and University of Canberra
Email: [email protected]

I’d love to see you there if you are in Canberra, otherwise I’d love it if everyone could try to attend events where they are, donate, raise awareness, share the events on social media and work towards reducing poverty.

What will you do for Anti Poverty Week? What do you think can be done to help those who are disadvantaged for any reason?

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How to get money fast without a loan

by Kylie on October 7, 2014

How to get money fast without a loan

How can you get money now? You’ve got a bigger than expected bill or your car tyres just blew or something happened and now you need an extra $500. How can you possibly find it?

Having been in this situation myself before, I know a few ways you can find or make money quickly.

Look for lost or forgotten money

Survey sites - Are you a member of any survey or mystery shopping sites? Check if you have money sitting there waiting to be cashed out. Some take weeks, others I have been paid within a few days. Some of my favourites are SwagBucks and WDYT.

Medical rebates – Is there a claim you could process from health insurance? Medical receipts you could take to Medicare to get a rebate from? Have you checked all government rebates to ensure you are getting all you are eligible for?

Nooks and crannies – Clean out everything and everywhere such as behind the fridge, under the lounge and between the cushions, in the car etc. Coins often roll under things and get lost.

Bank accounts – Do you have any forgotten bank accounts? Forgotten superannuation or anything financial? While super you cannot usually access until retirement age, if it is under a certain amount you can get it paid out in cash, but you will be taxed.

Get money back
Does anyone owe you money? – Now is a good time to ask for it back, if they can’t pay it all right now, set up a payment plan. It is also a good idea not to lend unless you can afford to lose that money altogether.

Return items – If you have receipts you may be able to return recent purchases to the store if they have not been used and still have their tags attached. Only do this if the purchases are not necessities/will not cost you more to buy in the future.

Make money
Sell your stuff – This is the first one everyone thinks of generally because many people have excess stuff. You could try eBay, it will take a week or two to get your money, but you usually get a decent price. You could have a garage sale, list items on Gumtree or Facebook or check out my 10 ways to sell your items.

Services – Are there any services such as ironing, baby sitting, cleaning out gutters, washing windows, lawn mowing, paint numbers on driveways or wheelie bins, cleaning, cooking, odd jobs such as grocery shopping, mending or anything you could offer to others? Put an ad in Gumtree, do a letter box drop, flyers on noticeboards or even go door to door. The more dirty the job the more likely someone is to pay you to do it.

Sell other people’s stuff – Much like selling your own, just charge a fee to sell on behalf of others. They can drop stuff off to you to sell or you pick it up. You can charge per hour, a percentage of the sale or per item.

Boarder – If you financial situation is going to be tight for a little while, you might want to consider getting in a boarder if you have the room. Check this post before you do it!

Rent space – Along similar lines to a boarder you could rent out your driveway, garage or attic, even your garden. People have boats and caravans they want to store, some people want to have a little garden plot and others only have a few things they want to store, so don’t want to pay for a storage unit and you could offer cheaper prices. Check out this post for more ideas to make money from your house and property.

Your body – If you have really long hair you could possibly sell it, although it can be tricky. There are ads every now and then for medial trials and it doesn’t always require you to actually test product, or if you live in the USA you can get paid to donate blood (not in Australia, but please donate blood anyway because not everyone can and it saves lives!). There is modeling, movie and TV extra’s or busking if you are skilled.

Lastly…

PLAN! That’s right, get a budget, decrease your expenses, increase your income on a permanent basis and save so you are never in this situation again. Emergencies happen, life can throw massive curveballs, but the better prepared you are, the less stress you will have and the more cash in your account.

What do you do when you need to make money fast?

You might also like:
15 ways to make money this week
Make more money
How to find more money without cutting expenses
Top 10 ways I have made money from home

Originally posted January 2013. 

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JAXQuickfit Tyres Taree New Store – Sponsored

September 30, 2014

JAX Tyres Taree is now open for your convenience at 62-64 Victoria St. The store provides tyres, wheels, brakes and suspension servicing for local residents. Glenn Porter, a local since 2011, will use his experience from Porter’s Tyres in Rockhampton and management of Capricorn Tyre and Brake in Yeppoon to provide peace of mind around […]

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How to stop being poor

September 26, 2014

At times throughout my life I have been poor. I’ve been homeless, when I was married my now ex husband lost his job and for 12 months had no permanent job, we managed but sometimes we had to borrow money from my parents, we got into some debt and when I separated from him the […]

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Budgeting on a variable income

September 18, 2014

Budgeting and living on a variable income can be hard to figure out, but once you do, it’s a breeze. Not knowing week to week what money will be coming can be very stressful. I’ve been there and still have a variable income. It is not as easy as knowing exactly how much you have […]

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