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December 2015

Super tips for your 40's

If you're under 40, then your super is probably not your biggest priority. But you'll congratulate yourself in years to come if you give your super some attention now. And the good news is that there's more than one thing you can do to give your super a tune up that won't cost you a cent.

1. Get all your accounts under one roof

If you've got super in more than one account, then you're probably paying more fees than you need to. Combining your accounts can save on fees. To combine your accounts, just complete a Transfer other super into the APSSOpens in new window form

Before rolling your accounts over though, it's important to consider any exit fees, changes to your insurance cover or loss of benefits that may result from closing your other super accounts.

2. Find out if you have 'lost super'

It's not uncommon for people to have lost track of the super accounts that were set up for them by past employers. 'Lost super' is transferred to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). You can find out if you have 'lost super' by using the ATO's online Super Seeker.

3. Invest for growth

Although you don't need to think about investment options for your Defined Benefit, it's important for any other super you may have. If you're under 40, then you've got 30+ years to invest your money. This means you need your super in an investment option that's designed for long term growth. Although performance may vary more from year to year, these types of options are more likely to provide higher returns over long periods of time compared to investment options that have more stable returns.

So consider your investment choices carefully. For our investment options we state the return we aim to achieve and we estimate the number of times that option may have a negative return over 20 years. Go to Your Member Savings at a glanceOpens in new window PDS for more details.

4. Add extra when you can

With lots of demands on your income it can be hard to prioritise putting extra into your super. But by contributing more into your super, it could save you tax and mean you have more in retirement than only relying on the super provided by your employer. And the earlier you start, the better off you'll be.

Although markets go up and down, the value of each dollar you invest is expected to grow in the long-term. So, contributing extra amounts early in your career and allowing time for investment returns to compound in value can be more effective than trying to play catch up with large contributions later on. And if you think you may need to take time out from work in the future, then contributing early on is even more important. You can see the difference that extra contributions can make by logging into your account and using the calculator.

If you can top up your super, you can contribute from your before or after tax salary.Which one is right for you will depend on your own circumstances:

  • Before tax -contributing from your before tax pay means that you only pay 15% tax on the contribution rather than your marginal tax rate. You can contribute up to $30,000 each year. For Defined Benefit members, this limit includes your notional taxed contributions. Those who earn above $300,000 will also pay a higher tax rate on contributions. Read our Superannuation taxesOpens in new window fact sheet for details.
  • After tax - if you want to contribute from your after tax pay you can add up to $180,000 a year. If you're under 65, you can bring forward an additional two years of contributions, up to $540,000 over three years.
  • Low income super contribution - if you earn up to $37,000, and your employer contributes to your super, the government may make an extra contribution to your super. The contribution is calculated as 15% of your before-tax contributions, up to a maximum of $500. If you are eligible for this contribution, it will be paid into your super account by the Australian Taxation Office once you complete your annual tax return. Please note that as a result of recent legislative change, the Low Income Superannuation Contribution will be abolished from 1 July 2017.
  • Government Co-contribution - if you earn up to $35,454 a year, for every $1 you contribute from your after tax pay, the Government will contribute 50 cents. The maximum you can get is $500. As your income increases the co-contribution decreases and cuts out for people earning above $50,454.
  • If you or your partner earn less than $13,800, then you may be able to take advantage of the Spouse Tax Offset. After tax contributions made by a partner to the account of someone who earns less than $10,800, are eligible for an 18% tax offset on the first $3,000 contributed. The maximum possible offset is $540. Smaller tax offsets may be claimed if your partner's earns between $10,800 and $13,800 or if less than $3,000 is contributed.

5. Keep your beneficiaries up to date

Leaving clear instructions about what happens to your super if you die can make it easier for your loved ones, and it's easy to do. If someone else depends on your income, or you have large financial commitments such as a mortgage, school fees or other loans, it is also a good idea to check how much your dependants will get from your super if you die and decide whether that will be enough. If not, you may want to consider purchasing additional life insurance. And if your family situation changes, then don't forget to update your nominations.

For more information, read our fact sheet Who gets your super when you die?Opens in new window

Important
The APSS Trustee is not licensed to provide financial product advice. Before making a decision about investment options, please read the relevant PDS to find out more. You should also seek the advice of a licensed professional financial and tax adviser.

December 2015

Super money tips for retirement

A quick search of the internet will provide a wealth of articles about preparing financially for retirement, but what about once you've actually retired? Here are a few tips for managing money in retirement.

Know what you're spending

Spending patterns often change once we retire and as we get older - for example, when you retire you won't have work related clothing or commuting costs, but the amount you spend on entertainment will probably increase. Then as you get older, health costs usually increase.

Because your spending patterns will be changing, it's essential to keep track of where your money is going. A budget is a good starting point. Having a method to track your spending is also important. There are some good budget planners and apps online that can help you track your spending. Try Money Smart's Budget Planner at moneysmart.gov.au.Opens in new window It will remind you of expenses you might forget about. You can also download the TrackMySPEND app and use it to record your expenses on the go. You can also nominate a spending limit, separate the things you need versus those you want, and view a history of your spending.

Invest according to when you need your money

If you invest your savings in an APSS Pension account, you will be withdrawing income in the short-term, but you'll have the rest of your account invested for up to 20 or 30 years. The way you invest your savings over the long-term may be different to how you invest money that you will be spending within the next couple of years.

You may wish to consider investing the money you'll need to withdraw in a few years in an option that is recommended for a short timeframe and which is not as likely to have a negative return, so you can be more confident that your short term income needs are protected (i.e. Cash Return investment option). The returns on this part of your savings will generally be low.

For savings that are going to be invested for many years, you may want to think about investing this money in an option that has a higher return objective and is more likely to stay ahead of inflation (i.e. Market Return investment option).

Each of our investment options has a suggested minimum number of years that you should invest in that option. We also estimate the number of times an option may have a negative annual return over a 20-year period. Read your APSS Pension PDS for more details.

Review your investment strategy regularly to make sure that it continues to be right for you as you get older. For more information about investing, read our Investment basicsOpens in new window fact sheet

Maximise government support you may be entitled to

As your finances and family situation changes, so too may the government support that you may be eligible for. For example, if you start caring for another person, then you may be eligible for assistance. This can include both payments and services.

To check out other government support you may be entitled to, use the Payment Finder and Service Finder at humanservices.gov.au.Opens in new window

And even if you're not eligible for government support, make sure you get your Seniors Card. It's free and provides transport concessions and discounts at participating businesses. To be eligible you must be 60 or over. There is also a limit on the number of hours of paid work you can do.

Explore options for extra income

If you think you have an income shortfall, then you could explore options for extra income:

  • A part time job could supplement your savings and Age Pension. If you are over 65, you may also be eligible for the Government Work Bonus. If eligible, it lets you earn up to $250 a fortnight before your Age Pension is reduced. For more information, visit humanservices.gov.au.Opens in new window
  • Consider working for yourself - over 50's are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in Australia, and are creating their own jobs, often locally or from home. The benefits are more than financial, including maintaining an active lifestyle and social connections. So if you've got a good idea that may generate some extra income, then perhaps this is for you. Visit seniorpreneurs.org.au.Opens in new window
  • Home equity release - you can use the equity in your home as another way to generate extra cash. But this is a complex option and is not the right solution for everyone. Start with Money Smart's information on home equity release at moneysmart.gov.au.Opens in new window

Do some estate planning

Estate planning includes working out who you want your money and other assets to go to after you die. Leaving clear instructions can make it easier for your loved ones. While a Will is important, it's not the only thing you can do.

If you haven't already, make sure you nominate your beneficiaries for your Pension account. And if your family situation changes, then don't forget to update your instructions. Read our fact sheet What happens to your Pension when you die?Opens in new window to find out more.

Get expert advice

An expert can help you manage your income in retirement. You can get advice on topics such as your investment strategy, home equity release and planning your estate. Visit the Financial Planning Association's website at fpa.asn.auOpens in new window for information about finding a financial planner.

Important
The APSS Trustee is not licensed to provide financial product advice. Before making a decision about investment options, please read the relevant PDS to find out more. You should also seek the advice of a licensed professional financial and tax adviser.

September 2015

Super tips for working 60's

The third in a series of articles to highlight important considerations about super at different ages.

If you're still working in your 60s, retirement isn't a distant idea anymore, it's just around the corner. And, along with thinking about how you're going to spend your retirement, you need to plan how you'll fund it.

Many people will be eligible for at least some of the Age Pension, but your super is going to provide extra income when you are no longer working. So it's worth investing some time now thinking about how you can maximise your income in retirement. Here are a few ideas to start you off.

Do some planning

A person in their 60s now can expect to live well into their 80s and many will live into their 90s. So planning your income during retirement is an important first step. Get started with two questions:

  • How much income will I need?
  • What income will I have?

There's an easy to use Budget Planner at moneysmart.gov.auOpens in new window that can help you work out your expenses in retirement.

To work out your income, permanent employees can login to their account at apss.com.au Opens in new window and use our Retirement Simulator. It will show you an estimate of the yearly income you'll get from your super plus income from the Age Pension (if you're eligible). It will also show you how long your super is expected to last depending on how much you withdraw each year.

To check out other Government support you may be entitled to, use the Payment Finder at humanservices.gov.au Opens in new window

Also think about how you'll manage your savings. One option is to convert your super into an income account like the APSS Pension. It's an easy way to manage your savings - regular payments from your super are made directly to your bank account, just like wages.

Build up your super

It may be worthwhile to consider adding to your super before retiring - it's a tax effective way to save compared to many other investments. And if you convert your super to an APSS Pension when you retire, everything is tax free - including income payments and investment earnings.

So, what's the best way to add to your super?

Contributing from your before tax pay means that you only pay 15% contributions tax. If you're in your 60s, you can contribute up to $35,000 each year. For Defined Benefit members, this limit includes your notional taxed contributions. Those who earn above $300,000 will also pay a higher tax rate on contributions. Read our Superannuation taxes fact sheet at apss.com.auOpens in new window for details.

If you want to contribute from your after tax pay or transfer other money into your super, you can add up to $180,000 a year. If you're under 65, you can bring forward an additional two years of contributions, up to $540,000 over three years.

You may be eligible for a Government Co-contribution. If you earn up to $35,454 a year, for every $1 you contribute from your after tax pay, the Government will contribute 50 cents. The maximum you can get is $500. As your income increases the co-contribution decreases (and cuts out for people earning above $50,454).

Transition to retirement

Before you retire, you can set up an APSS PREP Account and get income from your super. This is known as a transition to retirement strategy, and may suit you if you want to reduce your working hours and maintain your income. You can also use this strategy to boost your retirement savings before you retire by contributing more of your salary to your super account using salary sacrifice. This option might suit you if the marginal tax rate on your income is higher than the tax you pay on your super contributions. You can find out more about this option by reading the Getting ready for retirement fact sheet at apss.com.auOpens in new window or you may wish to speak with a financial adviser.

If you work part time after 65, you may also be eligible for the Government Work Bonus. If eligible, it lets you earn up to $250 a fortnight before your Age Pension is reduced. For more information, visit humanservices.gov.auOpens in new window

Don't retire your super too early

Just because you may be thinking about retiring, that doesn't mean your super can. Your savings need to keep working hard for you right through your retirement to keep ahead of inflation. A low risk option, like the APSS Cash Return option, may provide more protection against short-term market ups and downs, but in the long-term returns are generally low. If you are planning to live off your super over many years, the return from low risk options may mean that your savings don't last as long as you want. Options that include asset classes like shares and property usually are expected to provide higher returns over longer timeframes and may be better suited if you plan to keep your pension invested for a longer period of time.

So consider your investment choices carefully. You can choose a combination of Market Return or Cash Return investment options for your savings so that you have some that's safe for the short-term and some that's invested for long-term growth. For both investment options we state the return we aim to achieve and we estimate the number of times that option may have a negative return over 20 years. Go to your Member Savings PDS for more details.

Get expert advice to maximise your income in retirement

Even if retirement is a few years away it's good to prepare early. With the right advice, you can maximise the income you'll get from your super and the government support you may be entitled to in retirement. You can also get advice about your investment strategy, a transition to retirement strategy or adding to your super. Visit the Financial Planning Association's website at fpa.asn.auOpens in new window for information about finding a financial planner.

If you're in your 60s and retired, we haven't forgotten about you. Look out for the next issue of Insight and our article on tips for managing your super savings in retirement.

The second in a series of articles to highlight important considerations about super at different ages.

By the time you hit your fifties, retirement is often starting to become more front of mind. Whether you are planning for retirement or still have some time, you might want to start thinking about consolidating and growing your super for your long-term financial future.

You may be in a position where your kids have grown up, left home and you are lucky enough to have your mortgage under control. Regardless of your circumstances, by the time you're in your fifties, we encourage you to start thinking about forming a well-informed superannuation plan so that you can work towards achieving the lifestyle you want in retirement.

The APSS recommends that you seek the input and advice of a licensed financial planner to help you understand your personal super decisions, and the long term impacts that a decision you make now might have on your retirement outcomes.

Whether you are married or single, with or without children, by the time you are in your fifties you may be starting to think about when you will retire, whether you will have enough, and what your lifestyle will be like in retirement. It's now time to start preparing for a better retirement sooner rather than later.

Some of the things you should ask yourself are:

Will I have enough super when I retire?

The APSS can provide you with a number of useful resources to help you plan your retirement. Our new Retirement Simulator allows you to test the impact of different contribution rates, investment allocations and retirement ages on your super savings.

The Retirement Simulator can help you decide whether you should be making changes to your current arrangements to reach the retirement outcomes you desire. The reports generated by the Retirement Simulator can be shared with your licensed financial advisor to assist in your retirement planning.

As reported in the last edition of Insight, to enjoy a 'comfortable' retirement lifestyle (as defined by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia), single members who retire at Pension Age, would need a balance of approximately $430,000, and couples would need a balance of approximately $510,000. If your living standards are more modest, then the lump sum requirements may be lower. See https://www.superannuation.asn.au/resources/retirement-standardOpens in new window for more information about ASFA's retirement standards.

Should I be making personal contributions?

If you are an employee member, you can make personal contributions from either your before-tax salary or after-tax salary into your APSS Employee Account. If you are a spouse or rollover member, you can make after-tax contributions into your APSS Spouse or Rollover Account. Any additional contributions you can afford to make are further boosted by the benefits of compounding which means that over time, you start to earn interest on interest. There are however, limits on the amount of contributions that can be made to super in each financial year that are taxed concessionally. See the fact sheet Superannuation taxes for more details.

Do I have super in other funds?

If you've had more than one job, it's quite likely you have more than one super account. Consider consolidating super from other funds into the APSS, as well as any lost super that you may have. Doing this may save you money on fees and make it easier to track by keeping your super in one place with one lot of paperwork.

Combining your super accounts can be a fast and easy way to boost your retirement savings. You can use the Transfer other super into the APSS form to get started, or call SuperPhone on 1300 360 373 today to help you get your super sorted. You can also go to the ATO's website and use the SuperSeeker tool to search for any lost super accounts or unclaimed super you may have.

Before rolling your accounts over though, it's important to consider any exit fees, changes to your insurance cover or loss of benefits or investment options that may result from closing your other super accounts.

Should I transition to retirement strategy?

When you reach your preservation age, the government provides tax benefits to help you prepare for the end of your working life and retirement. You may be able to move your money from your super into a transition to retirement strategy such as an APSS Pre-retirement Pension, or PREP for short. An APSS PREP account lets you receive some of your super as a pension while you're still working.

When you are ready, the APSS offers the benefits of a regular income stream which could help you manage your spending more easily. To learn more, please read the fact sheet Getting ready for retirement and the information in Your APSS Pension PDS

Are my investment choices suitable?

It's important that your super is working as hard as possible to help your nest egg grow. To achieve the lifestyle you'd like in retirement and help your super grow, you can choose an investment allocation that suits the level of risk you're prepared to take from either the APSS Cash Return or Market Return investment options or a combination of the two.

Historically, an investment option with a higher allocation to riskier assets may often, over the long-term, outperform a more conservative investment strategy, such as cash (but remember that past investment returns are not necessarily indicative of future investment returns). If you're unsure about your investment choices, retirement age or contribution rates the APSS recommends that you speak to a licensed financial advisor.

If you need assistance with any of the tips listed above, please contact the APSS SuperPhone on 1300 360 373 and one of our highly trained representatives will be able to assist you.

June 2015

Super tips for your 50's

The second in a series of articles to highlight important considerations about super at different ages.

By the time you hit your fifties, retirement is often starting to become more front of mind. Whether you are planning for retirement or still have some time, you might want to start thinking about consolidating and growing your super for your long-term financial future.

You may be in a position where your kids have grown up, left home and you are lucky enough to have your mortgage under control. Regardless of your circumstances, by the time you're in your fifties, we encourage you to start thinking about forming a well-informed superannuation plan so that you can work towards achieving the lifestyle you want in retirement.

The APSS recommends that you seek the input and advice of a licensed financial planner to help you understand your personal super decisions, and the long term impacts that a decision you make now might have on your retirement outcomes.

Whether you are married or single, with or without children, by the time you are in your fifties you may be starting to think about when you will retire, whether you will have enough, and what your lifestyle will be like in retirement. It's now time to start preparing for a better retirement sooner rather than later.

Some of the things you should ask yourself are:

Will I have enough super when I retire?

The APSS can provide you with a number of useful resources to help you plan your retirement. Our new Retirement Simulator allows you to test the impact of different contribution rates, investment allocations and retirement ages on your super savings.

The Retirement Simulator can help you decide whether you should be making changes to your current arrangements to reach the retirement outcomes you desire. The reports generated by the Retirement Simulator can be shared with your licensed financial advisor to assist in your retirement planning.

As reported in the last edition of Insight, to enjoy a 'comfortable' retirement lifestyle (as defined by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia), single members who retire at Pension Age, would need a balance of approximately $430,000, and couples would need a balance of approximately $510,000. If your living standards are more modest, then the lump sum requirements may be lower. See https://www.superannuation.asn.au/resources/retirement-standardOpens in new window for more information about ASFA's retirement standards.

Should I be making personal contributions?

If you are an employee member, you can make personal contributions from either your before-tax salary or after-tax salary into your APSS Employee Account. If you are a spouse or rollover member, you can make after-tax contributions into your APSS Spouse or Rollover Account. Any additional contributions you can afford to make are further boosted by the benefits of compounding which means that over time, you start to earn interest on interest. There are however, limits on the amount of contributions that can be made to super in each financial year that are taxed concessionally. See the fact sheet Superannuation taxes for more details.

Do I have super in other funds?

If you've had more than one job, it's quite likely you have more than one super account. Consider consolidating super from other funds into the APSS, as well as any lost super that you may have. Doing this may save you money on fees and make it easier to track by keeping your super in one place with one lot of paperwork.

Combining your super accounts can be a fast and easy way to boost your retirement savings. You can use the Transfer other super into the APSS form to get started, or call SuperPhone on 1300 360 373 today to help you get your super sorted. You can also go to the ATO's website and use the SuperSeeker tool to search for any lost super accounts or unclaimed super you may have.

Before rolling your accounts over though, it's important to consider any exit fees, changes to your insurance cover or loss of benefits or investment options that may result from closing your other super accounts.

Should I transition to retirement strategy?

When you reach your preservation age, the government provides tax benefits to help you prepare for the end of your working life and retirement. You may be able to move your money from your super into a transition to retirement strategy such as an APSS Pre-retirement Pension, or PREP for short. An APSS PREP account lets you receive some of your super as a pension while you're still working.

When you are ready, the APSS offers the benefits of a regular income stream which could help you manage your spending more easily. To learn more, please read the fact sheet Getting ready for retirement and the information in Your APSS Pension PDS

Are my investment choices suitable?

It's important that your super is working as hard as possible to help your nest egg grow. To achieve the lifestyle you'd like in retirement and help your super grow, you can choose an investment allocation that suits the level of risk you're prepared to take from either the APSS Cash Return or Market Return investment options or a combination of the two.

Historically, an investment option with a higher allocation to riskier assets may often, over the long-term, outperform a more conservative investment strategy, such as cash (but remember that past investment returns are not necessarily indicative of future investment returns). If you're unsure about your investment choices, retirement age or contribution rates the APSS recommends that you speak to a licensed financial advisor.

If you need assistance with any of the tips listed above, please contact the APSS SuperPhone on 1300 360 373 and one of our highly trained representatives will be able to assist you.

2015 June

New online tools

Introducing the new APSS Retirement Simulator and secure website update

We are delighted to announce the launch of two key resources to make managing your super with APSS even easier.

The APSS Retirement Simulator is an illustrative calculator designed to help you understand what your future superannuation benefits might be. It can show you how your superannuation balance could grow over time and project how much annual income you may be able to draw down during retirement.

The Retirement Simulator can also help you to identify any gap between your projected superannuation savings position at retirement and the balance you may need to meet your retirement goals, and show the impact of changes you could make to help you reach those retirement goals.

The reports generated by the Retirement Simulator can be printed out or emailed to discuss with your licensed financial advisor.

The other great new tool that is now available for members is the updated secure section of the APSS website. Remember, the APSS website is divided into two sections, a bit like a bank website. The public site is accessible to everyone, but the secure section which contains your personal information is only accessible by you using an APSS personal login and PIN code.

Last year we updated the public website to bring it into line with more contemporary standards. This year we have updated the secure section in a similar way, and to make it easier for you to navigate and access your personal information.

We hope you enjoy using the new Retirement Simulator and secure website and welcome any feedback that you may have.

If you have any trouble finding anything, or have a question about your super, you can either email us directly from the Contact us page or call SuperPhone on 1300 360 373 between 9am and 5.30pm (AEST) Monday to Friday.

March 2015

Super tips for your 40's

The first in a series of helpful articles to guide members on important considerations about super at different ages.

Many members don't give their super much thought until they hit 'a certain age'. That age will be different for different people, but for most of us it will be somewhere in the 40's. Retirement may still seem like a long way off, but it's not, and retirement planning starts to become more important. The thing to remember is that whilst it is never too late to start thinking about superannuation, the sooner you do, the better. The APSS recommends that you seek the input and advice of a licensed financial planner to help you understand your personal super decisions, and the long term impacts that a decision you make now might have on your retirement outcomes. Whether you are married or single, with or without children, by the time you are in your 40's you may be wondering if you will have enough to look after yourself and your family in retirement. You may not be expecting a lavish lifestyle, but may want to be comfortable in retirement and have enough for the occasional holiday and maybe a new car.
Some of the things you should ask yourself are:

Will I have enough super when I retire?

The kind of lifestyle you have in retirement greatly depends on your level of superannuation savings, so it is vital to start with the question 'how much will I need in retirement?' Once armed with that information, you can then determine if you have enough; and if you don't, you can take steps to improve your retirement outcome. The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) defines a 'comfortable' retirement lifestyle as a good standard of living, which enables you to purchase a broad range of leisure and recreational activities, household goods, a reasonable car, electronic equipment, and domestic and occasional international holiday travel.

To enjoy a 'comfortable' retirement lifestyle, single members would need to retire on a balance of approximately $430,000 and $510,000 for couples (these figures are based on the ASFA Retirement StandardOpens in new window as at 31 December 2014 and certain assumptions, including your eligibility for the Age pension, and that you retire at Pension Age). If your living standards are more modest, then the lump sum requirements may be lower.

Should I be making personal contributions?

Although you have peace of mind that your APSS Defined Benefit super can never go down if you are an employee member, you will need to consider whether this will be enough for you to retire on. Making additional contributions is a useful way to boost your super but be aware, there are annual limits to the amount you can contribute to super without paying additional tax. For more information see contribution limits

Should I be making before-tax contributions?

If you make contributions to your super from your before-tax salary (also known as 'salary sacrifice') tax benefits may result. It's important to understand your options and the impact this will have on your take home pay, and later on, how it might affect your eligibility to Government benefits, such as the Age Pension. For more information see making contributions.

Would I benefit from contribution splitting?

This is a way to boost the superannuation savings of a partner with a low account balance or lower income. You don't have to be married to benefit from this option. For more information see splitting your contributions.

Are my investment choices suitable?

In your 40's, retirement may still be a fair way off, so you want to check that you're in a suitable investment option to grow your super until you retire. In the APSS there are currently two choices: The Market Return and the Cash Return (or a combination of the two). Remember that you may need to live off your savings for well over 25 years after you stop working, so you will need to earn a sufficient return.

Historically, an investment option with a higher allocation to riskier assets will, over the long-term, outperform a more conservative investment strategy, such as cash (but remember that past investment returns are not necessarily indicative of future investment returns). In your 40's, you still have a very long term investment horizon so you may want to aim for higher returns and a higher balance at retirement. If you're unsure about your investment choices, you should speak with a licensed financial advisor.

Have I nominated my beneficiaries?

Have a say in how your money is distributed in the event of your death. Nominating your beneficiaries and keeping them up to date, makes your wishes known to the APSS Trustee. For more information see relationship changes.

Can I consolidate my super?

If you have more than one superannuation fund, you might be paying too much in fees, not to mention the added complication of keeping track of multiple accounts. The APSS can help you to bring your super together to make keeping track of it easier.

If you need assistance with any of the tips listed above, please contact the APSS SuperPhone on 1300 360 373 and one of our highly trained representatives will be able to assist you.

March 2015

Super tips for tax time

With the end of the 2014-15 financial year approaching, here are some things you may want to consider to help you make the most of your super.

Make before-tax contributions to your super

For employee members, making before-tax contributions to your super via salary sacrifice may be tax effective-15% tax is deducted from your before-tax contributions, which is lower than most people's personal tax rate (which can be as high as 49% including the Medicare and the Temporary Budget Repair levies). But there are also caps on the concessional or before-tax contributions you can make each financial year without incurring significant additional tax.

Limits on contributions

For the 2014-15 financial year, there is a concessional contribution limit of $30,000 if you are aged under 50, or $35,000 if you are aged 50 and over. For employee members, your concessional contributions include your before-tax contributions via salary sacrifice and the amount of notional taxed contributions to provide your Defined Benefit. For more information, refer to contribution limits.

So remember to check your annual limit carefully-the APSS does not do this for you!

The Government's co-contribution scheme

If you (or your partner) earn less than $34,488 in the 2014-15 financial year, consider making an after-tax contribution to your super (or your partner's super) in the APSS and the Government will match your contribution at the rate of 50 cents for each dollar you contribute, with a super co-contribution-up to a maximum of $500 for the 2014-15 financial year. The co-contribution gradually decreases as your annual income goes up from $34,488 until it ceases at $49,488 for the 2014-15 financial year. For more information see receiving co-contributions.

The spouse tax offset

If you're a low income earner or you take a break from working for a while, your spouse can help you continue building your savings by contributing to your super.

There's a benefit for the person who makes the spouse contributions too-the maximum tax offset is 18% of $3,000 worth of spouse contributions-a handy $540. The full offset is available if a spouse's assessable income is $10,800 per year or less. This rebate reduces by $1 for every assessable dollar over $10,800 and stops when the spouse's income reaches $13,800. For more information see making spouse contributions.

Split before-tax contributions with your spouse

You may be able to split your personal before-tax super contributions (in certain circumstances) with your spouse at the end of the financial year. The maximum amount that can be split for a particular financial year is 85% of your before-tax contributions in that year. (The amount to be split is net of the 15% contributions tax.)

Depending on your situation, it may be beneficial for employee members to share a portion of their before-tax contributions across two accounts in the APSS-yours and your spouse's.

For more information on splitting, including which contributions you can split, and who can split, please refer to splitting your contributions.

Transition to retirement

From 1 July 2015, if you are aged 56 and over and still working you can start accessing some of your super early using a 'transition to retirement strategy' like the APSS Pre-retirement Pension. There may be tax advantages in starting a pre-retirement pension as once you turn 60, payments you receive from a pension become tax free.

For more information visit the fact sheets and download Getting ready for retirement.

Get advice

Before deciding what's right for you, we recommend that you speak to a licensed financial adviser because tax and super can be a complex area.