The Federal Budget passed down in October 2020 proposed a number of changes to super in 2021 that it’s important to be aware of. These changes may affect the way you manage your fund, or how you will plan out your retirement. Here, we explain what these changes are and how they could affect your retirement funds.
1. Increasing Ease of Super Management
Heading into 2021, the Federal Government is proposing a set of changes to improve the way you can manage and choose your super fund.
a) A Default Super Account
From now on you will be ‘stapled’ to an individual super account. This has several important implications. Your new employers can no longer nominate a separate fund for you, rather, your super will follow you as you change employers. This will be useful in reducing the number of fees you accumulate, particularly for young people who often have multiple accounts. When you work at a new place the process is now as follows:
- Your employer will make contributions to your ‘stapled’ super fund by default.
- You can also nominate a specific fund in a standard choice form.
- Only when you have no existing fund AND have not nominated one can an employer nominate one for you.
b) A New ‘YourSuper’ Comparison Tool
The Federal Government will introduce an online Super Comparison tool. This tool will help compare you the returns and fees of different funds. This will likely make the process of choosing a fund far easier. The tool will also guide you to consolidate your super funds if you have not already done so.
c) Naming and Shaming
In addition to the tool, funds will face an annual performance test. The government will prevent funds from accepting new members if they fail two tests in a row. The results of these tests will be publicly available.
This will be supplemented by a wide variety of transparency changes. This includes reforms about how fund administrators provide details about their investment decisions. Funds act on trust to provide for their members, so any transparency about their investments is probably a good thing.
2. Changes for Imminent Retirees
a) Removal of the Work Test Age Requirement
As of July 2020, you can make contributions to your super at the age of 65 and 66 without a full-time position. This gives flexibility to people who are nearing retirement but are working part-time positions. These can be concessional contributions can be up to $25,000 or non-concessional contributions up to $100,000.
b) Extending the ‘Bring It Forward’ Rule
Retirees aged 65 and 66 can continue to make 3 years of after-tax contributions to their super. This will be capped at $300,000. You may also be eligible for a government co-contribution if you are a low or middle-income earner.
c) Spouse Contribution Age Limit Increase
As of July 2020, the age limit for voluntary spouse contributions has been raised from 69 to 74.
3. Potential increase to Super Guarantee
Finally, more super may be due from your employer. This is a change which is pending confirmation in the May 2021 Budget. Under this policy, the Superannuation Guarantee is set to rise from 9.5-10%. This is good news seeing as it has been frozen at 9.5% since 2014 and could mean greater savings for you at retirement. There is a concern, however, that this will lead to a commensurate drop in wages.
Notably, the early super access scheme deadline has now passed. As a result, you can no longer withdraw from your account as a result of COVID-19.
The changes coming to your super can affect which fund your nominate, or how you plan your finances close to retirement. These decisions can be difficult to make and often require expert assurance. Our Super Lawyers are experienced when it comes to making decisions about your superannuation and are also able to help you set up a self-managed super fund.
This post originally appears on the Lawpath Blog