What is Superannuation?

Superannuation is a vital component of financial planning, particularly when it comes to your retirement. It’s important to understand what superannuation is, how to save it, and what you can do to grow it.

What is Superannuation?

Superannuation, or 'super', is money put aside by your employer over your working life for you to live on when you retire from work. You can only withdraw your super money in certain circumstances – for example, when you retire or turn 65 years old.

How to Save Super

For most people, your employer pays money – ‘contributions’ – into a super account for you. This is called the ‘super guarantee’. They pay these contributions on top of your salary and wages. There are laws about how much super your employer must pay.

Your eligibility is determined when you are paid salary and wages, not when the income is earned. This means if you are paid on or after 1 July 2022, you will be paid super regardless of how much you have earned. This applies even if some of the pay period is before 1 July 2022.

In addition to the contributions made by your employer, you can also add your own money into your super savings. There are limits called ‘caps’ on the amount you can contribute to your super each financial year without having to pay additional tax. If you are planning on contributing more than $27,500 to your super (including employer contributions), seek advice from a suitably qualified professional.

Choosing a Super Fund

Most people can choose the super fund they want their contributions paid into. If you’re eligible, your employer must give you a Superannuation standard choice form within 28 days of the day you started working for them, so you can make that choice in writing.

There are many types of super funds available, including self-managed super funds (SMSFs). SMSFs are private superannuation funds that you manage yourself, as a trustee. SMSFs are not for everyone, but for those who are knowledgeable about financial markets and investing, SMSFs can offer more control over your investments, including the ability to invest in a wider range of assets, including bitcoin.

Investing in Bitcoin with an SMSF

Investing in bitcoin through an SMSF can provide an additional layer of protection against counterparty risk, which is the risk of the other party failing to meet their obligations. This risk is present when using a traditional managed fund, but with an SMSF, you can have direct ownership and control of your investments, and be sure that you are not exposed to counterparty risk.

Keeping Track of Your Super Savings

It’s important to keep track of your super savings, and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) provides various tools to help you do this. You can create a myGov account and link the ATO to it so you can see details of all your super accounts, including any you have lost track of or forgotten about. You can also use the YourSuper comparison tool to compare the performance and fees of your super accounts against other MySuper products.

Accessing Your Super Benefits

You can generally access your super benefits when you retire, but there are some circumstances where you may be able to access them earlier, such as severe financial hardship or specific medical conditions. If you need to access your preserved super earlier, ask your super fund about whether you may be able to access it before applying.

Temporary residents who have worked in Australia are also eligible for super guarantee contributions, and can apply for a Departing Australia super payment (DASP) once they have left Australia.


Superannuation is a vital part of retirement planning, and it's important to understand how it works and how to maximise your savings. By making additional contributions to your super account and taking advantage of government contributions, you can ensure that you have enough money to enjoy your retirement years. Remember to choose a super fund, keep track of your super savings