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Making your Super Extra Super!

Written by Stu Varidel, Principal Financial Adviser at Heart Financial Advisers.

I read an article online that suggested you could retire with only $90,000 in super, but I want to warn you to ignore this view and try to build up your super as best you can. The article said that you could combine a small super balance with the aged pension and put together an amount of income to live on but let me explain why I suggest you try for more.

Let us say you own your home and have $90,000 in super, and your super fund returns, at best, 7 % cent, which is a remarkably high return and not always achievable unless you have an aggressive asset allocation.

This would mean you could expect at best around 7% of $90,000 at best from your super pension account of $6,300 a year.

Now, let us add to that the full aged pension of $25,678 a year. You are now living on about $32,000 a year. To me, that is 32,000 reasons to try to get your super up a lot higher.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) said individuals and couples who owned their own home, and retiring today, would need around $65,000 respectively to fund a comfortable lifestyle. If you were a couple with super of $400,000 and you had $19,000 worth of other assets, you could still get the full pension of $25,678.

And if your super fund averaged a return of 5% a year on $400,000, you would be getting $20,000 from your fund. That would give you $45,678.

This is still a lot less than ASFA’s $65K figure!

That is why I say it is best to get that super balance up as high as you can.

Here are some starter strategies:

Salary sacrifice

Get HR to contribute some of your take home into super over and above what your employer puts into your compulsory super, which is 10.5%.

If you are on $100,000, that is $10,500 going into super. You can put up $27,500 into super via concessional contributions.

Tax deductible contribution

If your employer will not sacrifice salary, you can simply make a tax-deductible contribution to your super fund - up to $27,500. Remember that this also includes employer contribution made

The Low-Income Tax Offset

If you earned $37,000 or less annually, and your employer made super contributions on your behalf, the government may refund the tax that was paid on those contributions back into your super account, up to a maximum of $500 per year.

These are some neat government-assisted ways of getting that super to a level that should ensure a comfortable retirement.

Spouse contributions

If eligible, you could contribute to your spouse’s fund and claim an 18 % tax offset - up to $3,000 - through your tax return.

To be eligible for the maximum tax offset - $540 - you would need to contribute a minimum of $3,000 and your partner’s annual income would need to be $37,000 or less.

If their income exceeded $37,000, you would still be eligible for a partial offset.

However, once their income reached $40,000, you would no longer be eligible for any offset, but could still make contributions on their behalf.


If your total income were equal to or less than $42,016 in the 2022/23 financial year and you made after-tax contributions of $1,000 to your super fund, you would receive a maximum co-contribution of $500.

If your total income were between $42,016 and $57,016 in the 2022/23 financial year, your maximum entitlement would reduce progressively as your income rose.

Stu Varidel and Your Choice Financial Planning Pty Ltd trading as Heart Financial Advisers are authorised representatives of Sentry Financial Services Pty Ltd AFSL (Australian Financial Services Licence) 286786. 

The information contained herein is of a general nature only and does not constitute personal advice. You should not act on any information without considering your personal needs, circumstances, and objectives. We recommend you obtain professional financial advice specific to your circumstances. The views expressed here are not ours. While the information contained in this article may contain or be based on information obtained from sources believed to be reliable, it may not have been independently verified. Where information contained in this publication contains material provided directly by third parties it is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be accurate at its issue date. To the maximum extent permitted by law: no guarantee, representation or warranty is given that any information or advice in this publication is complete, accurate, up to date or fit for any purpose; and no party or associated entities as mentioned is in any way liable to you (including for negligence) in respect of any reliance upon such information. This article may also contain links to websites operated by third parties who are not related to us. These links are provided for convenience only and do not represent any endorsement or approval by us. 

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