The Figure That Got Me Serious About Super In My 20s
For most of my 20s, super occupied a space in my brain alongside anti-aging creams, bingo and dentures: things I wouldn’t have to worry about for a long, long time.
After all, superannuation is meant for our retirement, and I’ve only just started my career. It’s also kind of boring, and I always had the impression that it would take care of itself.
Why I was wrong
The illusion was shattered by a friend who gently put me in my place. Chatting on Facebook messenger one day she sent me a link to a super calculator. “Have you tried this?” she said. “It’s kind of… scary.”
I clicked the link, full of confidence: I thought my super balance was pretty healthy; I mean, it looked like a reasonably big number. Besides, I had decades to add to it.
The super calculator proved me wrong.
Taking into account my planned retirement age (65), current balance, salary, and a few other factors, I ended up falling short of my target by $189,000. Yikes.
The results shocked me: according to industry benchmarks, I was short of a comfortable retirement income by $7000 a year – if I own my home outright. So far I don’t even have a deposit saved, so…
It was time to get serious.
What I’m doing about it
I’m glad I had this mini-freak out, because it turns out our 20s are the ideal time to get on top of our super. The more we put into our super fund when we’re young, the longer compound interest gets to work its magic, which means our money will grow and grow.
I’m lucky in that I have a full-time job, and my employer is already putting the standard 9.5% of my salary into my super fund every month.
In order to boost my super balance, I had to make a couple of changes.
First, I consolidated my superannuation into one fund. The average Australian has three funds, which means a) you’re being charged fees on each of those accounts, eating into your balances and b) you’re missing out on the larger amount of interest you’d accrue on one single, consolidated balance.
For millennials, every $1 of lost super could amount to $10 in retirement. Find out where your super is, pals, and get it all in one basket.
The next step was putting more money towards my retirement. I now salary sacrifice $250 every month into my super fund, and I plan on increasing that number as my salary grows (fingers crossed).
The pay off
Superannuation isn’t sexy, but it is important. I plan on having an excellent retirement, and the changes I made to increase my chances of it weren’t difficult or time consuming.
A little bit of life admin and a slightly smaller brunch fund will mean I’m more likely to be sipping cocktails into old age. Future me is going to be stoked.