When it comes to superannuation generally our main decision is where we should invest our future retirement income. However, there seems to be growing concern that employers are failing to comply with the compulsory 9.5% superannuation guarantee; with the Australian Taxation Office comparing what employers should be paying their employees with that which is actually going into their super funds and finding a $2.85 billion yearly shortfall.

The main culprits seem to be employers from within the hospitality, tourism, cleaning and the construction industry with 1 in 3 workers being undercut or not paid at all. Employers should be paying employees 9.5% into superannuation if they are over the age of 18 years and earning more than $450 gross per month. Employers are required to make these super contributions at least quarterly.

How to search for your superannuation: You can check your superannuation by logging into your myGov account. Some people may have a number of superannuation accounts therefore accruing a number of fees, so it’s worth discussing with a financial planner the best place to invest your future retirement income. By consolidating your accounts and choosing a superannuation fund that is best for your circumstances you can create a financial strategy that will have you in control of your superannuation and your retirement needs.

Some superannuation funds come with a default insurance cover, so it’s important to consider what insurance you have and what you actually need. You don’t want to change super fund and then realise at your moment of need that your insurance cover has been cancelled. Once again, our financial planners can go through this with you and make sure you are getting the cover you require for you and your family’s security.

It is always best to communicate with your employer first and find out how much and which fund they are paying your superannuation guarantee. If you are concerned your employer is not paying the correct amount of superannuation the Australian Taxation Office may be able to assist. You can report unpaid super contributions from your employer through the ATO website.

Superannuation can be complicated; beware of loop holes in the legislation for example if you are salary sacrificing your employer doesn’t need to make their 9.5% concessional contribution. In this circumstance make sure your contractual obligation under your salary sacrifice agreement specifies to pay you both the employer superannuation guarantee as well as your salary sacrifice amount. Whilst some Awards can make a difference if your employer should pay the super on the pre-sacrifice salary amount it’s important to get clarification from the Fair Work Commission.

Whilst we make other investments throughout our lives to secure our lifestyles, the importance of superannuation cannot be underestimated. Our retirement dreams are all different. Some of us may strive for a yearly overseas trip or to relocate to the Mornington Peninsula, whatever your dream, make it happen by planning ahead.