Retirement tips (Get ready for retirement)
It’s never too late to learn more about your super and how you can make the most of your retirement savings. We’re here to help you. Every step you take now will give you more control of your retirement savings.
Tip 1: review your insurance
Your life may have changed a lot since you started working in the WA public sector. Perhaps you’ve paid off your house or your children have left home, or your circumstances have changed in other ways.
As you get older, insurance premiums generally increase. Check that you’re only spending your retirement savings on insurance that you actually need. You might decide that you would be happier with more or less cover, or that you don’t need insurance, depending on your situation.
Tip 2: choose an investment plan to match your goals
Your super could be one of the largest investments you make. When you choose an investment plan, you might like to consider:
- How long you have until you retire
- How long you think you might live after you retire
- How much risk you’re comfortable with
In general, if you’re further away from retiring, you could probably afford to take more risk in your investment plan as you have time to recover from negative investment returns.
If you’re getting close to retirement you might want to look closely at your investment plan. A conservative plan might be limiting how much your super could grow.
Tip 3: make extra contributions to grow your super
Even small regular deposits or lump-sum payments to your super can make a big difference to your final super balance over time:
- If you’re nearing retirement, you should aim to make the most contributions possible to grow your balance
- If you’re a long time away from retirement, starting early to regularly add extra money to your super means you can make a bigger impact on your retirement savings
There are limits on the amount of contributions you can make to super, and they change depending on which type of account you hold with us.
Tip 4: find out if there could be tax benefits
One of the reasons you might choose to invest in your super over other types of investments is the chance to take advantage of certain tax benefits. Also, later in life, income you receive from your super might be assessed more favourably by Centrelink than other income sources, which could make you eligible for higher Centrelink payments.
Salary sacrifice contributions allow you to make the most of the favourable tax treatment that applies to super. If you compare salary sacrifice contributions to making contributions from your after-tax income (say to a savings account or managed fund), you’ll find salary sacrifice has three main benefits:
- You'll have more money to invest Your salary is taxed up to 47% (depending on your marginal tax rate), while a salary sacrifice contribution is generally taxed at 15%.
- You'll pay less tax on what your super investments earn The investment earnings on your savings or managed fund may be taxed up to 47%, while earnings within super are generally taxed at a maximum rate of 15%. If you have a West State Super or Gold State Super account, these are untaxed funds so tax only applies once you access your benefit.
- You could reduce your income tax Making salary sacrifice contributions means your taxable income is lower, so you might pay less income tax.
If you have reached your Commonwealth preservation age, salary sacrifice offers even more benefits. You can start a transition to retirement strategy and continue working. You can salary sacrifice to super while using some of your benefit through a retirement income stream. This means you can grow your super and still enjoy the same level of income.
Tip 5: combine your super
If you have more than one super account, it could be worth rolling your funds into one account. You'll save on fees and you'll be able to see your super balance, and what it is invested in, on one statement. It’s easier than ever to combine your super accounts using Member Online.
If you decide later to open an allocated pension account, you can only roll in money from one account. You’ll need to roll in other super before you transfer your super into a retirement income stream1.
Tip 6: look at your retirement options
When you reach your preservation age and decide to retire, you can choose what to do with your super. You could:
- Leave your money in super and make lump-sum withdrawals from time to time
- Open an allocated pension account to have a regular income stream with the option to make lump-sum withdrawals1
- Take your benefit as a cash lump sum
To find the right solution for your situation, you need to consider whether you’re likely to return to work, whether you’d like a regular income from your super and whether you would like to make lump-sum withdrawals.
Tip 7: keep learning about super and retirement planning
By reading these tips, you’re learning more about your super and how to make the most of your retirement savings. You could also learn more by signing up for our next retirement planning seminar or webinar or exploring our Retirement news section.
1 A $1.6 million transfer balance cap applies on the total amount of accumulated super that you can transfer into a tax-free retirement account, such as our RI Allocated Pension. Find out more about the $1.6 million cap.
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 30 September 2020.