Joining a super fund
Opening a superannuation account with a new fund
In a lot of ways, a super fund is much like a savings account with a bank.
You choose who you want to put your money with, and an account is opened into which regular deposits are made. The paperwork might be a little different, and accessing the funds will have different rules, but generally, joining a super fund and opening a bank account are pretty similar.
How to create a super account
There are two ways to create a super account. You can choose your own fund or use your employer's default super fund. There are no guarantees that a default fund will be good, so it's best to do your own research. Our online comparison tool compares the 8 Industry SuperFunds with around 70 Australian retail funds....
Once you join your preferred superannuation fund, your member account will be open so that contributions from your employer can flow in.
If you're a contractor, sole trader or self-employed, there is more information on our self-employed page.
How to open a super account for yourself
Step 1 - Choose your super fund
Almost every person working in Australia can choose their own fund. If you're looking for one that has low fees, is run only to benefit its members, and regularly outperforms retail funds, then you'll probably want to consider setting up an account with one of the 8 low-fee, member-focused Industry SuperFunds.
Once you've decided on the best superannuation fund for you to join, simply head to its website and complete a membership application form. These days, super funds make it easy to do it all online.
Step 2 - Notify your employer
Once you've chosen a fund, notify your employer and ask for a Standard Choice form so they can pay your super into your new fund. If you are joining an Industry SuperFund, it's even easier... simply fill out our Choice of Superannuation Fund form online, then give it to your employer.
Step 3 - Roll all your existing super into your new account
To avoid paying multiple administration fees on each separate super account (and having to deal with excess paperwork), you may want to think about transferring any super you have in other funds into your new fund.
But first, check to make sure that you won't lose any insurance cover that you want to keep, before you leave your old fund.
To consolidate all your super, just fill in a rollover or transfer form on your new super fund's website, and they'll do the rest.
And of course, if you have any questions along the way, simply contact your new fund.
What is a super account?
Your superannuation account is where your employer-paid super and any voluntary contributions are paid into. Your super fund then invests that money for you, with the aim of increasing your balance, ready for when you retire. This could be 30 years away so super really is for the long term.
The great thing about Industry SuperFund accounts is that, not only do they have low fees and direct their profits to members, but you also get to control how your money is invested. In fact, you can even have different investment strategies in the one account, for example, you may have 30% in a growth option, 20% in a conservative option, 40% in shares and 10% in cash.
Do I need a super account?
Yes. Almost every person working in Australia must have a super account. This is because, under Australian law, businesses are generally required to pay super for any employee over the age of 18 (and in some cases under 18 as well), regardless of whether they're working full-time, part-time or casual.
Therefore, if you're working, you'll need a super account so that your employer can pay your super into it.
How do I know if I have a super account?
Most people know they have an active super account because it usually appears on their pay-slip. What thousands of people don't realise is that they may actually have old, inactive super accounts that they'd forgotten about - especially if they've changed employers a few times or had a temporary job years ago.
The good news is, it's pretty easy to uncover old (or even current) super accounts held in your name.
Most Industry SuperFunds can do the search for you if you want - look for a Find my Super or Consolidate Super tab and go from there.
Alternatively, you could head to the ATO's search service, where you can either use your MyGov account, give them a call or download a form.