Finding financial advice about your West State Super
If you need professional financial advice that relates to your super, we can help you find the right person to speak with. On this page you’ll find:
- Questions to ask when choosing an adviser
- Questions to ask about your West State Super account
- Questions to ask about your super in general
It’s important to choose a financial adviser who understands our unique super schemes, especially when you have a West State Super or Gold State Super account. These schemes have complex features and unique benefits that are not generally available with other super funds.
Questions to ask when choosing an adviser
‘Do you hold an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence?’
Your adviser should have an AFS licence provided by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). To check whether a business or person is licensed, visit the ASIC’s Money Smart website or call ASIC’s information line on 1300 300 630.
’Who is the owner of the business?’
The ownership of the business can affect the products and services you are offered, for example if the business is owned by a large financial institution such as a bank.
Ask for a copy of their Financial Services Guide (FSG). The FSG will tell you who owns the business or if the business is associated with other companies. It will also include information on the products and services they offer, their fees and commissions and their complaints resolution process.
‘What are your areas of expertise?’
Advisers can have a large portfolio but may not cover all the products you have or need. If your super is not on their approved product list they might not be able to advise you, so always check for the products and services you need.
‘Are you a member of a professional association?’
Check if your adviser is a member of an industry organisation such as the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA), the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA), Certified Practising Accountants (CPA) Australia, the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia (ICAA), the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA) or the Stockbrokers Association of Australia (SAA).
‘What are your fees?’
Financial advisers set their own fees and can charge a commission on the products they sell, or by the hour for their time. Some advisers may also charge an ongoing fee. The FSG should also explain these fees.
‘How long have you been a financial adviser?’
The more experienced, the better. You would hope they have more than five years' experience. If they have less than two years' experience, ask if anyone else in the business will be helping to prepare your advice.
‘Who are your typical clients?’
If your adviser helps clients who are similar to you, then they’ll have experience in the type of advice you’re looking for. You could even ask for a reference from an existing client.
‘What products do you advise on?’
You’re looking for a wide range of products from numerous providers, so that the advice you get is not limited to a narrow product range from only a few providers.
‘What information will you need to provide me with financial advice?’
Your adviser should ask you about your personal circumstances and what you are looking to achieve. You’ll need to provide information on income and expenses, what you own, what you owe, your family situation including any dependants, and your short and long-term financial goals.
Questions about West State Super to ask your adviser
Your West State Super account isn’t like many other Australian super products. Here are some important questions you and your adviser should consider before making any decisions about your account:
- ‘What type of scheme is my West State Super account?’
- ‘What are the contribution caps for my West State Super scheme?’
- ‘What happens if I have a service period that commenced before 1 July 1983?’
- ‘Are there any other implications to be aware of as a member of West State Super?’
- ‘What would I need to know if I’m thinking about moving from my West State Super fund into another accumulation fund?’
- ‘What insurance do I have with my West State Super fund?’
- ‘If I have both a West State Super and a Gold State Super account, what should I be aware of?’
General super questions to ask your adviser
‘What are the benefits of investing in super?’
Super is a tax-effective way to save for your retirement. You can work with your adviser to make the most of your super with ongoing contributions from your employer, your own personal contributions and the right choice of investment plan.
‘Should I combine my super into one account?’
In most cases this is a good idea, but it really depends on the features of your super accounts.
Every time you’ve changed jobs you may have opened another super account. Combining your super accounts will help you to keep track of your super and means you won’t need to pay duplicate fees and charges for each account. You can roll in money from other funds to your West State Super account. All you need to do is login to Member Online or download and complete a super consolidation form.
If you’re considering rolling out of your West State Super account, your adviser should be able to explain the implications of this to you. Your scheme has some unique features that aren’t available in most other Australian super funds. West State Super and Gold State Super are both closed to new members, so if you change your mind you cannot re-join.
When you transfer your super, your entitlements under that fund will probably end and you may pay a fee when you withdraw or exit. You should consider all relevant information before you make a decision to transfer your super. If you ask for information, your super provider must give it to you.
‘What fees will be charged in my super account?’
Your adviser should explain your super account’s management costs, which includes the administration and investment costs to run your account. They should also inform you of the cost of any contribution, withdrawal or transaction fees.
‘Is insurance included or do I have the option of insurance with my super account?’
You may want to check the insurance options for your super account such as the premiums, the level of cover, and the type of cover such as death, disability, and salary continuance.
Your adviser could help you find out if you have the option to receive cover and if any medical examinations are required. You’ll need to check restrictions for age, type of work you do, part-time or casual employment and maternity leave.
‘How has my fund been performing?’
Make sure your adviser can demonstrate how your fund has been performing at least over the last one, three and five years, while keeping in mind that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
‘What are contribution caps and are there any caps on my super contributions?’
Concessional (before-tax) contributions
Concessional contributions are generally taxed at the concessional rate of 15%1.
Concessional contributions to West State Super and Gold State Super are not capped, but they count towards your cap when making these contributions to a taxed scheme. For example, if you made $50,000 concessional contributions to West State Super (including your employer contributions) you would not be able to make any further concessional contributions to a taxed scheme.
However, there is an untaxed plan cap (indexed annually) which applies to the total untaxed benefit. You can accumulate up to this amount and still be taxed at the concessional rate when you withdraw the benefit or roll over to a taxed fund or retirement income stream. The untaxed plan cap for the 2018/19 financial year is $1.480 million2.
There may be tax implications if you exceed your super contributions cap.
For more information, speak with your adviser and read our Tax and super brochure.
Non-concessional (after-tax) contributions
Non-concessional contributions are contributions that are not included in the assessable income of the fund. They are often referred to as after-tax contributions.
All non-concessional contributions to all of your super funds in a financial year are counted towards your non-concessional contributions cap.
The non-concessional contributions cap is:
- $100,0003 p.a. or
- If aged under 65, you may be able to bring forward one or two years of contributions i.e. $100,000 plus $200,000, giving you a cap of $300,000 over three years.
Eligibility for the bring forward rule will depend on the size of your total super balance and transitional arrangements4 .
Please note for the 2018/19 financial year, transitional arrangements only apply to individuals who brought forward their non-concessional contributions cap in the 2016/17 financial year.
There may be tax implications if you exceed your non-concessional contributions cap.
For more information, speak with your adviser and read our Tax and super brochure.
‘How can I contribute to my super account?’
Your adviser can help you understand the ways you can grow your super – and which of these options are likely to work best for your situation.
- Superannuation Guarantee (SG) - For the 2018/19 financial year, your employer is legally required to contribute 9.5% of your eligible salary into your super account.
- Salary sacrifice - These contributions are made from your before-tax salary. The money you ‘sacrifice’ gets paid directly from your salary into your super account before you pay income tax. This is generally one of the most tax-effective ways to make additional contributions to your super account. You can set up salary sacrifice contributions through an agreement with your employer.
- Co-contributions - This is a Commonwealth government initiative designed to increase the retirement savings of Australians, who meet certain eligibility criteria, by matching up to 50 cents for each dollar of your personal after-tax contributions up to a maximum payment of $500. You need to provide your fund with your tax file number (TFN) to be able to receive a co-contribution.
- Spouse contributions - Spouse or partner contributions allow you to contribute money to your spouse or partner’s super account. These contributions will help to grow your joint retirement savings. You may also be eligible for tax benefits if you meet certain criteria.
1 If you are a high income earner whose adjusted taxable income and low tax contributions exceed $250,000 then you may be liable for Division 293 tax. It applies to both GESB Super and West State Super members. For more information, see the Tax and super brochure.
2 For the 2018/19 financial year, indexed annually in line with Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings, in increments of $5,000 rounded down. The untaxed plan cap applies for each untaxed scheme you are a member of.
3 For the 2018/19 financial year, indexed annually. This cap is equal to four times the general concessional contributions cap (which is currently $25,000). Where the bring-forward rule has been triggered, the two future years' entitlements are not indexed.
4 Transitional arrangements apply for members who brought forward their non-concessional contributions cap in the 2016/17 financial year and haven't fully used their cap. If you are unsure about how these transitional arrangements may apply to you, we recommend seeking advice from a suitably qualified professional adviser.
- Attend a seminar
- Call us on 13 43 72
Thank you for printing this page. Remember to come back to gesb.wa.gov.au for the latest information as our content is updated regularly. This information is correct as at 21 January 2019.