Walking you through your superannuation statement
While we hope it’s not true, the story goes that when most people get their annual superannuation statement, they throw it into the bin. But your super statement is not just any old piece of paper – it’s essential for understanding how your super is doing, and it lets you know if you need to make any changes.
Here is a brief explanation of what all that writing on your statement means.
Balance and account summary
Just like any other statement, your super’s will also let you know how much money has accumulated on your account. Essentially, this is the amount of money you’d be entitled to if you left the fund.
This will usually be accompanied by a breakdown of the transactions on your account. This includes the value of your contributions, funds you might’ve transferred into your account, fees and other deductions that may have been taken out, and the value of taxes and premiums charged to your fund, among others.
Pay close attention to the fees you’re being charged. If they seem too steep, it might be worth comparing them to what other providers offer.
Your statement should have a separate section on insurance. Generally, you should automatically have life insurance provided to you through your super, as well as total and permanent disability cover. If you wish, you can also have income protection insurance paid from it.
Have a careful look and make sure you’ve got the cover you want. If not, it may be time to call your adviser.
Most super funds have one or more beneficiaries listed: The individual(s) who will receive the money you’ve built up if anything should happen to you.
Study this section closely – is there anyone on there who shouldn’t be listed for whatever reason? Alternatively, is there any one who you are yet to add as a beneficiary? Remember, personal circumstances are always changing, and your super has to change with it. Just watch out for the tax ramifications here if you nominate a non-dependant person. If you’re unsure, you should get some advice.
Performance and investment summary
For many, this is the part of the statement that interests them most. It’s a breakdown of the way your super is invested, including in which asset classes, and tells you the return on your investments over a particular period of time.
If you’re not happy with how things are going, or believe an alternative fund can provide you with better returns, this section will be important to look at closely. Maybe you should move up or down the super product scale from SMSF (self-managed super fund) to Retail Wrap Super or an Industry Super Fund. Just be careful not to be too hasty just because one fund has performed particularly well – the long term performance of a fund is more important than a single year.
Like most things financial, unless you’re sure you know what you’re doing it makes sense to engage with a qualified adviser to guide you in your decisions.