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What is super in Australia?

Superannuation (super) is a way you save money in Australia for when you get older and retire from work.

It's made up of payments from your employer, money you put in yourself, and any money your super investments earn. The sooner you start saving, the more you'll have for retirement.

Your savings go into a super fund, where they stay until you're allowed to start using them. This is usually when you retire or reach a certain age.

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How does superannuation work?

Choose your fund

You can usually pick the super fund you'd like to look after your savings. Your choice could make a big difference to how much you end up with. So it's a good idea to compare funds first.

Your employer pays you super

Your employer usually has to send at least 11% of your pay to a super fund for you. Run a business in Australia? You can pay to a super fund for yourself.

Your money's invested

Your super fund invests your money to help your balance grow over time. As a member with us, you can choose your investment options, or leave it to us to decide for you.

Think about insurance

Many super funds also offer insurance cover. This gives you a safety net for injury, illness or death. And it helps your family feel prepared and protected too. You may need to opt-in.

Retire with your savings

You can generally take out your super when you retire. You can also use our Retirement Income account or Lifetime Pension to turn it into a regular income. In special situations, you can get your super earlier if you need it.

Watch: 5 easy ways to grow your super today

Add extra for the future

You can add to your super through your payroll or from your bank account. Sometimes the Australian Government puts money into your super too.

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Over 2.3 million members trust us to take care of over $260 billion of their retirement savings. Join one of Australia’s largest super funds.

How your account works

Your superannuation builds up over a long time – often decades. But it's not like a regular bank account.

How much super should I be paid?

By law, your employer has to pay 11% of your ordinary time earnings (OTE) into your super account. We call this the superannuation guarantee (SG) contribution.

Your employer has to pay super at least 4 times a year. So check your super account transactions or myGov regularly.

To get the SG contribution, you must be:

Full-time, part-time, or casual

If under 18, working 30+ hours a week

If a private or domestic worker, working 30+ hours a week.

What happens to your money?

Starting earlier, rather than later, can really help grow your balance. That's because of one of the most powerful forces in finance – compounding.

Compounding is the process of earning investment returns on the returns your super's already earned.

It's like throwing a stone in a pond – the earnings paid on earnings can cause a ripple effect that gets your balance expanding over time.

Keep in mind earnings in your super can be positive or negative.

Want even more savings and maybe pay less tax? You can add extra money on top of what your employer pays.

FAQs about super

Got a question? Check our frequently asked questions (FAQs). Or learn more about super with our podcast or webinars.

Learn more

Superannuation can go to a few different types of accounts. The most common is an accumulation account.

It's where your money accumulates, or grows, over time.

Here's how it works.

  • You or your employers pay money (contributions) into your account.
  • Your super fund invests your balance, and your super grows over time.
  • You can choose different investment options.
  • You generally pay up to 15% tax on earnings from your investments.
  • When you retire, you can take out your money or open an income account and get regular payments.

Your money's usually locked away until you turn 60 and retire, or turn 65. But you can sometimes get it earlier.

MySuper is a default investment strategy (also called a product). When you start a job, if you don't choose a super fund or have existing account that’s linked, or ‘stapled', to you, your employer must pay your super into a fund with a MySuper option.

MySuper products generally have fee limits and simple features. Each fund usually has a different name for the option – ours is called the Lifecycle Investment Strategy.

They also need to have automatic insurance cover for members over 25 years old and with more than $6,000 in their account balance (depending on your super fund's rules).

Some people prefer to leave the investment decisions to their fund, so MySuper suits them best.

You can also chose to have part of your super in other investment options, while keeping some of your balance in a MySuper option.

When choosing a superannuation fund, there's no one-size-fits-all. It's best to look at both fees and investment performance, and the benefits and tools on offer to see how much better off you'll be.

Find out more about how to compare super funds.

Actually, you can usually choose your own fund. If you don’t pick one and don’t already have a super account, then your employer will open one for you.

If you're a member with us, you can log in to your account online using Member Online or our app.

If you haven’t logged in online before, you'll need to set up your online access first.

If your employer hasn't paid any money to your super account, ask them which fund they're paying it to. You can forward your account details to your employer with our online form if you’re a member with us.

If they're still not paying you or the payments are late, you can report it to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Some employers, including the Queensland Government, may make extra contributions to your super.

You can check with your payroll office to see if this applies to you. Or find out more on our QSuper website.

Super is there for you to spend once you stop working. Your super fund looks after your savings until you reach your access age and/or retire.


  • If you're 65 years or older, you can get your super even if you're still working.
  • If you retire after turning 60, you can get your super.
  • If you leave a job after turning 60, you can start using the super you've saved up until then.
  • If you're between your access age (usually 60) and 65 and still working, you may be able to get some of your super with a Transition to Retirement (TTR) Income account.

There are a few cases when you might be able to get your super early, such as medical conditions or financial hardship.

Great, what should I do next?

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See how you compare

Find out how much super you should have compared to others your age, and what you can do to improve your balance.

Compare your super
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Provide your tax file number (TFN)

Avoid paying extra tax by giving your super fund your TFN. It also allows you to make other types of super payments.

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Check your super payments

Log in to check your employer is paying you super. You can also use our contributions calculator to see what works best for you.

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