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Five simple super lessons you may wish you’d learnt earlier

ESSSuper - 04 Mar 2021

Five simple super lessons

When we're starting our first job at the age of 16, we don't really think much about what life could be like at 70. Which in retrospect, is a pity. Picture it now and consider: where are you living? How would you prefer to be spending your time? Are you retired, volunteering, or still working?

Changes you make now can make a difference to how you'll live then.

Here are five simple super things you can do at any age to make retirement more financially comfortable.

1. Knowledge is power

First and foremost, the more you know about your super, the more you can use it to your advantage. And once you start learning, possibly what becomes most evident is that the more you contribute when you're younger, the more easily you can grow your savings over the years.

2. Grow your super through contributions

Any amount that you contribute to your super at any time in your working life will help increase your final benefit. Even small amounts add up over time, and you may even be able to reduce the amount of tax you pay. There are a few different ways to do this depending on the type of super account you have, and caps may apply. We've written a whole article to help you, so read New year, new… super contributions! to learn more.

If you're on a low income, you may be eligible for co-contributions from the Government.

3. Plan for career breaks

Do you plan to take parental leave in the future? If you're part of our ESSS Defined Benefit fund and take unpaid parental leave, you may be able to elect a notional contribution rate in the first 12 months.* That could put you in a better position to have the lifestyle you want when you retire.

4. Prepare for working part-time

For many people, studying or caring for your family means working part-time for an extended period. When you work part-time, even though your contribution rate may remain unchanged, the amount you receive will be in proportion with the time you work. Our website has information about how you can grow your super, which can help you minimise the impact of part-time work on your super balance when you retire.

5. Don't waste your super on unnecessary fees

If you've worked in other jobs, you may have some lost super. Unfortunately, those additional super funds can continue to charge fees and insurance premiums that will erode your savings. A simple solution is to consolidate your super into one account to save on multiple fees and more easily manage your super.** ESSSuper's Accumulation Plan can receive transfers from the ATO and other funds.

The Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) online Manage my super tool can help you quickly find any lost super you may have and consolidate it into one account. Simply log into your myGov account and click on Manage my super – it only takes a few minutes, and there's no paperwork.

It's never too late to learn more

You have access to Member Education Consultants who are the experts in your fund. We also run a series of webinars on a wide range of super topics. With webinars and virtual appointments, our expertise is always close at hand.

Learn more

Request a virtual appointment with a Member Education Consultant

Book now


* During this time, you can accrue contribution arrears (funded by your employer) and interest (if applicable) which will need to be paid on return to work. Eligibility conditions and limitations apply, so please contact us for more information.

** You should check any insurance arrangements that may be forfeited, or any other effects this transfer may have on your benefits, before rolling your money into our fund. Benefits in ESSSuper’s Accumulation Plan, Income Streams and Beneficiary Account products are not guaranteed or underwritten by the Victorian Government or ESSSuper, and ESSSuper does not come under the jurisdiction of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

There are maximum limits on before and after tax contributions which are set by the Government, and if these limits are exceeded you may be liable for additional tax. It is important that you monitor your contribution levels as they may change from year to year. Please read the Product Disclosure Statement relevant to your particular fund, available from ESSSuper, for more information.

Emergency Services Superannuation Board (ABN 28 161 296 741), the Trustee of the Emergency Services Superannuation Scheme (ABN 85 894 637 037) (ESSSuper).

The information contained in this article is of a general nature only. It should not be considered as a substitute for reading ESSSuper’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) that contains detailed information about ESSSuper products, services and features. Before making a decision about an ESSSuper product, you should consider the appropriateness of the product to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs. It may also be beneficial to seek professional advice from a licensed financial planner or adviser. An ESSSuper PDS is available at esssuper.com.au/pds or by calling 1300 650 161.


  • Education
  • General
  • Growing super
  • Investments
  • Superannuation

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