What you need to know about super

28 February 2024

Whether you’re working the drive through, waiting tables or navigating the stockroom, starting work is exciting. Especially when you get your first pay.
Seeing your bank balance grow is great, but saving for the future also matters. And it can be hard to know where to start when you’re saving for the long term. That’s where superannuation or super comes in.

Super is designed to help you prepare for the future. It’s simple to manage and provides a way for future you to live comfortably in retirement.

Here’s what to know about getting your super off to a great start.

What is super and how to get it?

The nice thing about super is you don’t need to remember to pay it. 

If you’re over 18, or working more than 30 hours a week, your employer is legally required to pay at least 11% of your wages1 into your super account. That’s called the super guarantee

Your super fund will invest that money with the aim to help it grow over your working life.

What happens to your super?

Did you know - a super account and a bank account don’t manage your retirement savings in the same way?

With super, your fund actually aims to help your savings grow by investing it in areas like shares, infrastructure and property. But with a bank account, you’ll generally only get out what you put in (plus a little interest).

Your super aims to deliver long-term returns over the course of your working life for retirement.

Things to consider when choosing a fund

It’s important to select the right fund for your needs. If you don’t nominate a fund when you start a job, your employer will, unless you have a super fund that has been ‘stapled’ to you by the ATO. You can find out more about stapled funds here.

Some important things to look for when choosing a fund are: 

  • Long-term performance. Consider a fund with a record of strong, long-term returns.

  • Low admin fees. These cover the costs of investing and managing your account. Not all funds charge the same amount.

  • Profit-for-member fund. Industry funds are profit-for-member. This means any profit made is for the benefit of members, not shareholders.
You can compare funds to see what’s right for you


Things to remember on your super journey

Super is easy to manage if you stay on top of a few things:

  • Make sure it’s paid. Check your balance to ensure your employer is depositing the correct amount.

  • Keep your details up to date. Let your fund know when you start a job, move house, get a new number or email address.

Your fund’s website and app help you track investments, check payments and update your information.

Why is super important?

Your super savings will likely grow to be one of your biggest investments. But it’s not just a regular bank account you can dip into any time.

There are rules around when you can access your super. In fact, most people don't touch theirs until they stop working. To learn more about these rules visit the ATO website.

And for good reason. Your super is your savings for the future. It’s what you’re working so hard to build throughout your life. So, you can work towards achieving the retirement lifestyle you want.

But depending on your situation, you might be able to use your super to buy a house through the government’s first home super saver (FHSS) scheme.

Head over to ‘what is super’ for more information on getting a jump start on your future savings and super.


1. Employers are required to pay superannuation based on your ordinary time earnings - to understand what is included see List of payments that are ordinary time earnings | Australian Taxation Office (ato.gov.au)

This may include general financial advice which doesn’t take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision consider if the information is right for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure.

Statement, available at australiansuper.com/PDS or by calling 1300 300 273. A Target Market Determination (TMD) is a document that outlines the target market a product has been designed for. Find the TMDs at australiansuper.com/TMD

AustralianSuper Pty Ltd ABN 94 006 457 987, AFSL 233788, Trustee of AustralianSuper ABN 65 714 394 898.

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