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Easy ways to grow your super for a better retirement

Updated on 14 December 2023

6 minute read

If you worry about being able to afford the lifestyle you want when you retire, you're not alone. Research shows 61% of us aren't confident our super balance will be enough to give us the retirement we desire. But there are ways you can grow your super even more.

Welcome to Super Insider

Australian Retirement Trust podcast series covering investment markets,

money and strategies to make sure you maximise your retirement savings.

Today we're on Turrbal and Yuggera country, and I'd like to pay

respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

I'm Anne Fuchs, Head of Advice and the host of the podcast series

Super Insider, which is super cool.

And with me is April Smith,

one of our member education spokespeople.

And we're so excited to have you here.

Welcome to the podcast series.

I’m so excited to be here.

And you're looking fabulous for our listeners you can't see

that April is wearing the most fabulous tangerine dress and she's

going to bring some brightness and energy like that dress to our podcast today.

All about the fabulous five fantastic five strategies to make sure

that when you get to the end of your working life,

you haven't wasted an opportunity to maximise that money.

Isn't that right April?

So I'm going to be going through the five different tips that you can do now

to look after your future self.

Excellent. And for us, to look after our present self with the compliance department

we need to do a GA, general advice warning.

We definitely need to throw that disclaimer out there.

General information


So before we do start, I do need to let everyone know

that the information I'm providing today is just general information

so it doesn't take into account your personal circumstances.

So please consider your personal circumstances

and potentially get some advice through a qualified financial adviser

as they will be able to find the best strategies for you.

Good idea to actually read the product disclosure statement, which is on our website.

Alternatively, you can call the contact center

on 13 11 84 if you've got a Super Savings account

or 1300 360 750 if you have a QSuper account.

General advice warning, done. Tick. In the good books with compliance.

So five, let's just you know, let's start with number one.

Number one, the number one bit of advice.

Anne do you have a bank account?

I have a bank account.

Do you have a banking Internet? Internet banking?

I do, I do log in to that app every now and again. Yes.

So we check to make sure our employer pays in, what's going out, what's going in.

How much going out. But yes, teenagers.

Yes, yes, yes. Fun times.

Member online

So it's very important to have that as well with your superannuation.

So first tip is to make sure that you register yourself for online.

So, Member Online is the first thing to do.

You can go check your balances, see where you're at with your superannuation,

see what's going in.

So making sure your employer is paying and also what's going out

because you may not be aware that you've possibly got insurances on your account.

So definitely contact your super fund, make sure that you do have Member Online set up.

And one thing April, I do know, I remember this during COVID, there were

there were a couple of members that were literally logging in ten times

a day, checking their balance and every you know, certainly every day.

And then they were switching things around because they were panicking.

They were looking too closely. And it's it is a fine line.

You're not checking your house valuation every week.

So I think, you know...

And one of my tips we’ll be discussing investments.

Oh, okay. All right.

I guess talk about let's do it. Let's. Okay, all right.

So download the app or if you've got a, you know, a PC

or a laptop, go on to your Member Online and set that all up.

Yes, very easy to do.

Okay. So which is really code for don't put your head in the sand.

Pay attention.

Yes, pay attention.

Okay, we’re up to tip number two.


Yes, we are.

So tip number two is consolidating superannuation.

What I firstly want to make note of is if you have multiple

accounts, you are paying multiple fees, okay?

And insurance premiums as well.

Insurance premiums as well, you'll be forking out a lot more money.

And maybe you don't need to.

Maybe you don't need to, no.

And actually, in saying that those moneys that you are, I guess, forfeiting,

you're basically giving them away, it's compounding interest that...

You're losing, you're missing out using that.

So that could be quite a lot of money in your retirement.


So definitely look at where I would suggest to go is the myGov site.

So you can actually have a look at all your different superannuation accounts.

And they can find lost super too.

They can find your lost superannuation where it is just sitting with the ATO

doing nothing.

That's where you may have changed your name or your address

and the super fund may not have been able to contact you

or alternatively you can do

it through your superannuation fund Member Online.

As I said before, Member Online is very important

and you can actually use that to consolidate as well.

So you.


Yeah, well no, I guess not now I was thinking to if you've

if you've got lots of super

then there's all these different MOLs which would be so annoying.

So having it all one place


yeah, who needs that?

having is in one spot, but before you go and put it in one spot,

you got to be really thoughtful and considered about that.

So what are

what are the things members have to think through

before they go and hit the consolidate button?


So consider maybe potentially insurance because a lot of members

don't realise that insurances form a part of their superannuation.

So definitely have a look at if you consolidate, are you losing any insurances

and also any other benefits that you might have.

Because you might have a pre-existing condition where the insurance is covered

and that's a big deal.

So you really need to think about that.

It's a massive deal.

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And so consolidation.

And if you've got any questions, obviously you can

contact us as well around that and go to our website.

But that's really good.

A really great tip number two.

Okay so we've gone and we've gone and made that decision and we've consolidated.

So then what am I doing April?


Contributions is our third tip.

So in terms of contributions, there are multiple ways in which you can contribute.

So as we said right at the start with our disclaimer,

everyone's circumstances are going to be different.

So let's have a look at maybe potentially somebody in maybe the higher tax brackets.

They might want to consider something we call salary sacrifice

because potentially then you are going to be paying less tax. Legally as well.

So you can do that. If you wanted to also,

so maybe you're a lower income earner,

there's also other strategies for you where we might look at things.

If you put a dollar in your superannuation,

can you believe that you could get 50% return on that dollar?

I wouldn 't have believed it, or maybe I would’ve.

Maybe you would have. Yeah, yeah.

So that's called the government co-contribution.

So if you are a lower income earner, that's a strategy to look into.

So if you are earning under $42,000 now, you can go to the MoneySmart website

where there's a calculator for your contribution optimiser.

So definitely have a look at that also on our website as well, calculators

and you can actually see if you're putting in either salary sacrifice

or money for an after-tax contribution,

what you're actually going to receive, and on that note, for lower income

earners, there's also spouse tax offsets that you can look into as well.

But do you know April,

I remember

this being said at school that by one of these very sort of

progressive Sisters of Mercy, bless them. A man, is not a financial plan.

And so there's a lot of our members who are women now, our women listeners,

there is a risk that you've a high probability you're retiring

with half the balance of the male population because we're in employment

that doesn't have get the same salary levels

the caring professions where we do need to see, you know,

things like childcare workers, aged care workers.

And so you as listeners listen to what April said, is that, you know,

there are all these opportunities for you to make sure you're

not one of the statistics in terms of...

That get lost.

Yeah, because lots of women,

women are the fastest growing group of homelessness in this country.

And whilst I recognise as someone who has actually four teenagers,


Yes. That it's really hard

trying to make

the household budget work, particularly in cost of living.

Just the littlest bit you can maximise it and every bit goes towards

a better retirement where you just don't need to worry about money

at the end of your working life.

April, what is your next top tip to really maximise your superannuation?

Well, you've had some good ones so far. Yes.


So would you believe it?

Not just contributions are going to be growing your superannuation.

One thing you can do

that's not going to cost you anything extra because you might be looking at this

saying I don't have the extra funds to put in my super

simple thing to do is just choosing the right investment option for you.

Choosing the right investment option can mean

a massive difference for you in retirement.

If you don't make a choice, what happens is your superannuation

fund, Australian Retirement Trust, they put you in a default investment option.

The one that we have,

younger members are going to be invested a little bit more high risk.

Growth assets like shares.

Yes, yes.

So the markets will fluctuate a lot more.

However, as you can see,

I guess historically we think about it over the longer period of time.

So we might have ten, 20, 30 years of retirement.

So we're able to ride any waves that we can.

But coming closer to retirement, this is actually where

the funds get a little bit more conservative.

So you may be closer to retirement and you may actually if we talk about risk

now, you may not be comfortable

to see that risk because you are accessing your superannuation.

Being mindful though if you have something like an income account,

your funds are still invested in your superannuation.

I think Brian Parker, our Chief Economist who is also a regular on the Super

Insider podcast series, speaks about how our investment team are really there.

Well, we're all paid to worry and so that you don't need to worry

about your retirement savings.

And so, you know, the default really is being constructed

in such a way that you can, in essence, ignore the investments

until such time that you decide to pay attention.

And maybe it's you paying attention because you've just heard

April give you some really good top tips.

But I think, too, we would, you know, as the Head of Advice, I always

get nervous about people doing DIY investing and trying to time the market.

So if you are if you have itchy finger around

switching, I'd encourage you to speak to a financial adviser.

And that's where I would say just as an example,

if we looked at the COVID period, March 2020,

the contact centre had been the busiest it's ever been where a lot of members

actually called up to switch their investment to a lower risk.

They switched to cash at the bottom of the market.

So they may have lost a certain amount.

And by actually switching to a lower risk option they retained that loss.

They crystallized the loss.

And we wouldn't sell our houses really if unless we had to, when the market

and so why people do it. I mean you might want to.

Well you might have to you have to. Yeah.

You prefer not to. Yeah.

It's really good advice

in relation to making sure the investment option is right for you.

Yeah. And also timeframe.

So how long do you have to invest?

You can always see the objective.

So have a look at the website, the product disclosure statement.

It will tell you what the objective is.

On the expected volatility and that type of things.

Very good. Okay.

Thank you, April.

Okay, so we've gone now.

What are we up to? Number five?

Get financial advice

Number five!

So we've kind of been weaving this throughout our podcast today,

which is get financial advice. Okay.

So your circumstances may be very different to your neighbour’s circumstance.

I'll ask you a question.

If you broke your leg, would you go to your neighbour

or Bob around the water cooler to get you some medical attention?

If I could, probably not.

I was going to try say something amusing.

But it would not be my preferred option.

No, no.

So this is why if you need help with your finances, you see a qualified

financial adviser, they can actually get you set in the right spot.

If your neighbour tells you

a great strategy that they're in, may not necessarily be right for you.

So definitely speak to someone who's qualified

to make sure you are in the best retirement you can possibly be.

And look at Australian Retirement Trust.

We've got advisers who can help you with those your advice needs relating

to your either your QSuper or your Super Savings account.

But there's also

now 4,000 now external financial advisers but who are registered

with Australian Retirement Trust,

who understand our products really well and how we invest.

And so they're also able to provide you advice if you need advice

around Centrelink or other assets you might have, so they can help as well.

And the little amount of time that you can spend

on that advice appointment will be more time for you in retirement.

We did some analysis a few years ago, April, and we,

the members who were getting financial advice were really like not just a bit

but a whole lot better off at retirement because of the

top tips that you've that they had consolidated.

They were in the right investment choice

and they were making voluntary contributions.

They had a cash flow plan.

And in fact, the thing I loved the most was that women were really that

so close to catching up with their male counterparts at retirement

compared to the people who were doing nothing.

So I am so passionate about trying to get more of our 2 million members

to do something so that they're in a better position.

Because it is also quite complex superannuation.

So understanding it is hard just to begin with.

So get some professional help.

Yeah, and so April, you're someone who has gone all around this great state of Queensland.


Talking to members.

Are there any other sort of final messages

that you want to say to our members listening.

Because ultimately this podcast series is about bringing those education

seminars into where is best for you on the train to work or in your living room.

Is there anything else you'd like to leave our listeners with?

I would actually say, you know, I've spoken to many members.

A 20 year old will tell me that, you know, retirement is too far away,

I don't need to focus on my super. I’ll speak to a sixty year old

and they will tell me I wish I focused on my superannuation when I was 20.

Think about this when you do go to retire, most Australians, their biggest asset

outside their family home is going to be their superannuation.

You're not working anymore. How are you going to be

spending your retirement with the super you've accumulated?

Please, please contact us.

Please pay attention.

Don’t be disengaged like I was.

11 years ago.

Don’t put your head in the sand.

Oh, look, April, it's been wonderful having you on Super Insider,

the podcast series. Give us a review,

tell all your family and friends about it,

and we'll look forward to having you back and sharing some more tips about what

our members can do to maximise their hard earned retirement savings.

Brilliant. Thanks for having me.

Thank you April, see you.

Thanks, everyone.

How to boost your super

A good way to begin is to know how much super you need for the dreams you have. And then check that against how much you have now.

It’s never too early or late to start. Taking control now and getting the most from your super might make a big difference to your retirement outcome.

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of Australians are unsure how much super they need for their retirement goals.

Source: YouGov and Australian Retirement Trust, Finance and Superannuation, 2022. Surveyed 2,000 Australians.

5 ways to grow super

Once you know how much super you're aiming to have at retirement, it's time to look at the things you can do to get there.

Our 5 tips to boost your super can help you look after your future self.

Check your super account regularly

It's fair to ask how this boosts your super. It's not the most obvious way, but it's important, so bear with us.

By paying attention to your account, you're learning how to maximise superannuation. And you're making sure you're getting all you should from it.

You can access your super account online just like you log in to your bank account to check your balance. It's something you should do often.

Here are some things to check:

  • Your account balance and investments

  • Making sure your employer is paying you the right amount, and at least 4 times a year

  • Insurance cover premiums, and fees and costs – don't pay more than you need to.

If you're a member with us, log in to Member Online or download our app. You can also check your super transactions on myGov.


of men

two people full body icon



of women

check their balance monthly or more often

Source: YouGov and Australian Retirement Trust, Finance and Superannuation, 2022. Surveyed 2,000 Australians.

Combine your super

If you have multiple accounts, you're paying multiple fees, and possibly multiple insurance premiums, too. Which means you might be paying more money than you need to.

That could be quite a lot of money you're missing out on in retirement.

There are a few easy steps you can do now to avoid this.

Find lost super

It's common for people to lose super accounts when they move or change their email address and don't update their details with their super fund.

Sometimes this super ends up with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and it isn't invested.

Find any lost super in myGov and make sure your fund has your latest contact details so you won't lose any super in the future.

If you're a member with us, it's easy to find lost super and update your details in Member Online. The ATO transfers any money they find to your Australian Retirement Trust account. Too easy!

Consolidate super

If you’ve had more than one job, there’s a good chance you could have a few different super accounts.

As a member with us, you can easily combine other super accounts into your Super Savings account in Member Online, by using our rollover tool, or filling out our paper form.

Before you combine super

Check if your insurance cover will be affected by leaving a current super fund, and any tax impacts. Think about if the timing is right and whether you’ll be missing out on benefits like pension options.

Add extra to your super

At different times in your life, you may find yourself with a little extra income – perhaps from a bonus or tax return. Making contributions to your super can help give your balance a boost and may also offer some tax advantages.

Keep in mind there are some caps and rules which limit the amount you can add to your super.

Here's a few options to think about.

When you set up salary sacrifice with your employer, you pay some of your before-tax salary into your super account.

It can be an easy way to grow your super, as well as reduce your taxable income, since the money goes into your super before it's taxed at your normal tax rate.

You can make after-tax contributions (also known as personal contributions) on a regular or one-off basis, whatever suits. Generally, you make them via BPAY, direct debit, or payroll deductions through your employer.

If you're aged 55 or over, you may also be able to make a downsizer contribution to your super tax-free when selling your family home.

If you make an after-tax contribution and earn below a certain amount, you may be able to get up to $500 from the government added to your super. It's called the government super co-contribution.

How much you get depends on how much you earn and how much you personally add to your super. And you need to meet the eligibility rules.

Another way the government helps low-income earners is with the LISTO. It's a government payment to your super that you get if you or your employer make before-tax contributions.

It depends on your income and there are some rules you need to meet.

You could get a handy tax offset by adding to your spouse's super, depending on how much they earn. Making a spouse contribution from your after-tax income has a few other benefits, too.

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Use our Superannuation Contributions Calculator to see the difference a little extra could make to your super.

Pick the best investment options for you

Even if you don't have extra money to add to your account, choosing the right investment option can help grow your super. It can make a huge impact on your retirement.

You want to make sure that your investment options are right for your goals and your life stage. Let's explain.

  • In general, when you're young or have a low balance, you can focus on growth. That's because having plenty of time until retirement means plenty of time to ride out the market's ups and downs.
  • Once you're ready to retire, we find members often want investment options that offer less growth but protect their existing balance.

Of course, it depends on your risk appetite, too. Test your inner investor and check what options may suit you.

Before you switch: It's a great idea to check in with a financial adviser before changing any of your super investments.

You can check your super investments with us in Member Online or in our app.

Get financial advice

Everyone's situation is different, just like everyone's retirement goals are different. And when you're trying to maximise super contributions, you want to be confident you've got it right.

That's where personal financial advice can help.

More than 70% of Australians we surveyed say getting financial advice can help them achieve their financial goals.

Our financial advisers can help get your super on track. And the best part? You get advice about your accounts with us as part of your membership.1

If you want advice about more than your super, you can choose your own financial adviser. We can also refer you to an accredited financial adviser on our National Advice Panel.

Check what types of financial advice are available.

Other ways to increase your superannuation

Making sure you're with a good super fund is a key to reaching your retirement goals. When comparing funds, look for:

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Investment options that suit your goals
  • Insurance if you need it

Also check for extras. As a member with us, you get education and advice about your super included with your membership.

Plus you also get deals and discounts with brands across Australia. So, you can save money when buying and put those savings back into your super account if you want to grow your super even more.

Start growing your super today

Every little bit counts. Give your super a boost now, watch it grow, and thank yourself when you retire.

Add to my super

Not a member? It only takes a few minutes to join online.

How to choose super funds?

The superannuation market is flooded with options. So, it can be overwhelming to pick the fund that will work best for you. While the best choice will be different for everyone, there are things you can look out for to help you decide.

4 min read

Are you losing money by having more than one super fund?

Having more than one super account could hurt your retirement plans. Learn what it means to consolidate your super, why it's important, and how to go about it.

5 min read

Test your inner investor

The investor needs quiz is a guide to help you decide how you feel about risk and return, how you may like to plan for your goals and how those decisions may influence the way you invest your super.

5 min read

1. Sunsuper Financial Services Pty Ltd (ABN 50 087 154 818 AFSL No. 227867) (SFS) is a separate legal entity responsible for the financial services it provides. Eligibility conditions apply. Download the Financial Services Guide for more information.