What is super?
‘Super’ is short for superannuation.
To understand more about your super, it helps to think about how you’ll have money to spend when you retire and won’t have your regular salary. In Australia, our system for providing for people in their retirement is made up of three pillars:
- Age Pension
The Commonwealth Government provides the Age Pension as a safety net if you have little or no super or other savings. This only covers you for very basic needs.
- Compulsory super savings
While you’re working, your employer has to contribute to your super fund on your behalf. This is called the Superannuation Guarantee (SG). The current rate is 9.5% of your salary - and this is a legal requirement.
- Voluntary super savings
For most people, SG and the Age Pension (if you’re eligible) wouldn’t provide you with enough to live a comfortable lifestyle in retirement. This is why the government encourages people to save extra for retirement and offers tax incentives to help you grow your savings.
The term ‘super’ generally refers to the compulsory retirement savings system.
Your employer pays SG into your super account
If you’re a GESB member, we invest this money on your behalf and any earnings on these investments are added to your account. When you retire, you can use this money to create an income to make up for no longer getting a salary or wages from your work.
The SG rate will be 9.5% until 1 July 2021, so your employer currently needs to pay at least 9.5% of your salary into your super account. The rate is set to gradually increase to 12% by 1 July 2025.
These contributions from your employer help to grow your super but there's much more you can do. The best way to be more certain that you’ll be able to afford a comfortable retirement is to make your own regular contributions. Super is one of the best ways to save for your retirement because you can take advantage of special tax rules.
Most people working in Australia are entitled to super
It doesn’t matter if you work part time, full time or even work casually. Generally, your employer has to pay a minimum of 9.5% of your salary into your super fund if:
- You’re over 18 and are paid more than $450 (before tax) in a calendar month
- You’re under 18 and are paid at least $450 (before tax) in a calendar month and work 30 or more hours a week
For each pay period, your employer calculates how much super you’re entitled to and then pays that money into your super account. If you work for the WA public sector, your super is paid fortnightly and you’re entitled to the SG regardless of how much you earn.
Your super money gets invested
When your super gets paid into your account, we invest the money into your chosen investment plan. If you haven’t chosen a plan, your super is invested in the default plan for your scheme - My GESB Super plan if you’re a GESB Super member, or My West State Super plan if you’re a West State Super member.
Super funds charge fees for managing your account
Your fees include administration fees, investment fees, fees for any insurance included in your account and service fees.
Find out more about:
How to take charge of your super
Here are some simple steps you can take today which could make a big difference to the way you manage your super:
- Register for Member Online This is a secure service which allows you to manage your account and see your statements online.
- Choose an investment plan Learn more about your investment options, compare our investment plans or choose an investment plan to suit your goals.
- Contribute extra to your super You can make extra contributions now to grow your super to help you afford a more comfortable retirement.
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 23 November 2019.