Superannuation is the largest financial asset many Australians have after the family home.1 That said, there can be a large gap between how much people think they’ll need for an enjoyable retirement compared to what they may truly need. Think of it as perception versus reality.

A starting point for working out whether there may be a gap between the two is to see whether you have enough in super to fund the lifestyle in retirement you want.

According to MoneySmart, one way to estimate how much you’ll need is to use the two-thirds rule. This suggests you’ll need around two-thirds of your current income each year to maintain the same standard of living in retirement.

Alternatively, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) has put together a Retirement Standard, which you can use to estimate how much you’ll need to live once you retire.

Your retirement could be near, or far away, but it’s never too late or early to grow your super and here are 5 ways to do just that.

1. Make ‘salary sacrifice’ contributions

‘Salary sacrifice’ means you choose to give up some of your before-tax income and instead have the money paid into your super. Salary sacrifice contributions are in addition to what your employer pays into your super account under the Superannuation Guarantee (SG).

Salary sacrificing is voluntary, and it does mean a reduction in your take-home pay, however it may be a tax-effective way to save if you pay a higher rate of tax on your income than you pay on the amount you salary sacrifice.  Most people will only be taxed 15% on the money they salary sacrifice.2

Putting a little extra into your super is a great way to grow your retirement savings, but there are limits to how much you can add. So, it pays to check-out the relevant contribution caps.

2. Make after-tax super contributions

Adding to your super account by contributing a little more from your take-home pay can also be a great way of growing your super. Even small amounts contributed now, can grow into big amounts when you’re ready to retire. There are limits on after-tax contributions, so if you do make such contributions, please check out the limits.

You might also be eligible for a tax deduction. Where you are eligible for and claim a tax deduction on these contributions, they will count towards the same cap or limit as SG and salary sacrifice contributions rather than the limits on after tax contributions.

3. Get the Government to grow your super

If your total income is equal to or less than $41,112 (2021/22) and you make personal after-tax contributions of $1,000 (and meet other eligibility criteria), you could receive the maximum co-contribution of $500 from the Government.

If your total income is between $41,112 and $56,112 and you are otherwise eligible for a co-contribution, your maximum entitlement will reduce as your income rises. Please note that the figures are indexed to changes in the inflation rate each year and may change in future.

4. Grow your partner’s super

Maybe your partner works part-time. Maybe your partner is having a career break. It doesn’t mean their super can’t keep growing. You can contribute to their super account and get a tax deduction along the way.

There’s an 18% tax offset for contributions up to $3,000 you make on your partner’s behalf. This translates to a maximum tax offset of $540. The maximum offset applies where your partner earns $37,000 per annum, or less, and is reduced by a lower contribution and/or a higher income, cutting out where your partner earns $40,000 per annum.

5. Consolidate your super accounts

Consolidating your super by bringing it together in one place can help to grow your super.

By consolidating, you potentially save on multiple fees. It’s also easier to keep an eye on your super if it’s in one place.

It takes just a few minutes to find your other super accounts. You don’t even have to know your other super fund’s details. Just do a search through the ATO.

If you already have details of your other super accounts that you want to consolidate, we can help you to consolidate your super.  

Get expert help

If you want to discuss strategies on how you might be able to boost your super, speak to us on Phone 1300 765 811.

1 Superannuation measures. Australian Government, The Treasury, 19 October 2015, accessed 11 March 2021.

2 An additional 15% tax is payable where income plus before-tax super contributions are above $250,000 per annum.

Source: MLC July 2021

Important information and disclaimer
This article has been prepared by NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited ABN 80 008 515 633 AFSL 236465 (NULIS) as trustee of the MLC Super Fund ABN 70 732 426 024. The information in this article is current as at June 2021 but may cease to be accurate in the future.

NULIS is part of the group of companies comprising IOOF Holdings Ltd ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (IOOF Group).

Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of preparation. In some cases information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way.

To the extent that the information in this article is or contains advice, it does not take into account any particular person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, you should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, consider the product’s appropriateness to you having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs, and consider obtaining independent advice. The Product Disclosure Statement for the MLC Super Fund is available at or can be obtained by calling 132 652 (Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm AEST/AEDT). Returns are not guaranteed and past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The value of an investment may rise or fall with the changes in the market. You should not rely on this article to determine your personal tax obligations. Please consult a registered tax agent for this purpose. Subject to terms implied by law and which cannot be excluded, neither NULIS nor any member of the IOOF Group accepts responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in the information in this communication.