Building your superannuation in your 30s & 40s

In your 30s and 40s Superannuation is probably the last thing on your mind. Between family commitments, paying off a mortgage and leading a busy life, there’s not much time (or brain space) left to think about saving for retirement. After all, you’ve got about 20-30 years before you actually retire, so why not wait until you’re closer to that stage of your life. Right..? Wrong!

The power of compounding returns means that the longer you invest, the more you’ll save.

In other words, the earlier you get on top of your super, the better off you’ll be when it’s time for you to retire.

So here are our 4 tips for building your super in your 30s and 40s:


1.      Make sure you’re in the right fund.

Super funds are not all the same, and if you’re like a lot of people in their 30s, you might still be with the same old ‘default’ fund your first employer put you in.

Things to check include:

·      Administration fees

·      Investment fees

·      Insurance (what your cover is and how much it costs)

·      Investment returns

Comparing investment returns can also be tricky. The asset allocation can be very different between funds, so it’s important to match the asset allocation of any funds you compare.


2.      Review your investment option

You’ll be placed in the default fund when you first join a super fund, but you can change this at any time. It’s worth taking the time to look at your investment options, and to make a considered decision on which option is best for you.

Things to consider include:

·      The risk level of the investment option

·      The long term average return

·      Investment fees

Your age and how long your money will be invested also needs to be a consideration. Being in your 30s or 40s might mean you’re willing to take on a riskier option with the chance of earning higher longer term returns as you’ll have time to ride out the market highs and lows.

3.      Make regular contributions & claim whatever government incentives you can

Saving smaller amounts over a long time is easier than trying to make big payments. So setting up a regular direct debit or BPay transfer of $100 per month ($23 per week) can really help your end balance.

You might also qualify for:

·      A Government Co-Contribution up to $500  


·      A Spouse contribution tax rebate of up to $540

Anyone with a taxable income over $18,200 will also benefit by salary sacrificing to superannuation.  This way you’ll get a tax deduction each pay period for your super contribution.  Just ask your employer what they need to set this up for you.


Compound interest is a beautiful thing. So the earlier you can boost your super balance, the more you’re going to earn on those contributions in the long run.

Graph one shows the power of compounding returns.  This shows how saving just $100 per month over 20 years can add to your final balance.  Graph 2 shows the same amount invested as a once off lump sum over a period of just 5 years.  

So, if you wait until you can afford to make big contributions, you’ll be missing out!


4.      Consolidate your super

If you’ve worked in various industries over the years, you’ll probably have a few different superfunds.  If you do, you’ll be paying multiple account fees and you might even be paying for insurance in each fund.  Moving these into just one account will save you time and money.

But before you move your super:

·      You’ll need to choose the fund that’s right for you.

·      Check to make sure you won’t be losing any insurances that you want to keep.

·      Replace any insurance you’ll lose before you move.

·      Make sure the insurance options in your chosen fund suit your needs, and replace any insurance you want to retain before you move.

·      Nominate a beneficiary in your chosen fund.

You should also check for any lost super.  From 1 July 2019, super providers are required to pay low-balance and inactive account balances to the ATO.  You can have these balances transferred to your super fund by logging into your ATO portal via your MyGov login.  Or you can fill out a paper application.  Click on the link below for more information.


Our advice for any financial situation is to review your situation regularly. And if you’re unsure about any of this or want to act now, seek advice and get the ball rolling. It’s never too early to set yourself up for a successful future, and taking an hour to review your superannuation now might make a huge difference to your overall balance when you retire.

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Rex Claringbold

30 years practicing. Head honcho. Avid pies supporter. Enjoys a social gathering and beer.‍