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Super and Investing

Investing sounds like something millionaires or big businesses do, but if you are getting paid superannuation from your job, your money is actually being invested by your super fund.

Doesn’t my super just sit there until I retire?

Actually, your superannuation doesn’t just stay in your super fund until you need it; your super is invested by the super fund that looks after your money.

You pay a fee to the super fund, and they look after your money, but they also use it to try and invest and make more money for you. You can read more about superannuation here.

What is investing?

Investing is borrowing or using money to make more money. In this case your super fund is borrowing your money and using it to make more money by putting it into property, business, technology or many other things depending on which fund you are with. If these investments go well, the super fund gives you extra money called ‘interest’.

Interest

Interest is the cost of using someone’s money. If you borrow money (like from a bank) they charge you interest, in this case, the super fund is using your money so they pay you interest. Your super fund will tell you how much interest they pay each year to use your money. It will be in the form of a percentage.

For example if you earn 5% a year in interest that means that the super fund pays you 5% of your super balance into your super account each year as a payment for using your money.

Risk

Risk is very important when it comes to investing. Risk is how likely the investment is to work out and earn you more money. The lower the risk, the safer it is for your money.

With a higher risk, there more chances of it not working out and you might lose money, but often they will give you a higher percentage of interest.

How can I find out what my super fund invests my money in?

Different super funds invest in different ways. If you know the name of your fund, you can find out how they invest by searching for investment information on their website, they will have a list of the type of investments they make. For example here is the list of investments Australian Ethical Super makes.

How can I earn more with my super?

Keep adding more to your super fund! The higher the balance in your super fund, the higher the dollar value is of the interest you earn.  To do this:

  • Check your pay slips to make sure that your employer is paying you the right amount of super.
  • Or you can make voluntary contributions to your super.

Another tip is to change your investment options with your super fund. If you think this stuff really interesting, you can actually contact your super fund  and be more involved with your super in two ways:

  • You can change which types of investments your super is invested into.
  • You can also choose different risk options that effect how much interest you can earn.
Remember to ask for help.

Before you go ahead and make any changes to your super fund or start making voluntary contributions it’s important to learn as much as you can about how the system works.

You can read information online about your super fund and also speak to someone who can give you advice on the best way to go ahead. If you’re not sure who to contact this website has details for the Department of Human services financial information Service.

It’s important to make sure you’re in control of your money, check out our Money Stuff section for more.