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Everything you need to know.

Superannuation

This is the boring, serious answer.

In Australia, retirement income is funded through a mix of personal savings, a government pension and superannuation (super). Super is a tax-effective way to save for retirement. It is made up of compulsory employer contributions, your own personal contributions and sometimes additional Government contributions.

Money deposited into your super fund is invested by the fund’s trustee, who aims to grow your account balance while you are still working. Generally, you won’t be able to access this money until you retire. There are some other times when you can access super early, but it’s more the exception than the rule. When you have reached retirement age and you stop working, or you have satisfied other criteria, then you can access your super (which has hopefully grown substantially through investment earnings!), to give you money to live on.

This is the more interesting but equally serious answer.

Super is forced savings for your retirement:

    • Looks like the government worked out that some of us aren’t that great at saving! Especially when it’s for something (retirement) that seems so far away, and for someone (that’s you at 67 years of age and beyond) who we don’t really have a relationship with yet
    • So, they have our employers helping us by directing 9.5% of our pay (that works out at about $1 in every $11) into a tax effective savings account we can’t touch until the legal retirement age. This is great, of course. Because you don’t want to rely on a government pension

But there are a few problems that crop up with super as a result:

    • Because we don’t see our money disappearing out of our pay packet, and we often don’t decide what happens to that money (even though we should!), we don’t always understand that it is our money. The problem with that is we don’t pay enough attention to what’s happening to it. And ignoring that can be very costly indeed
    • Too many Aussies have multiple super accounts which means they are paying unnecessary multiple super fees. And often they are in funds which are charging high fees which don’t deliver additional benefits. So, it’s important we all take a look at this

On a positive note, one benefit of having a compulsory super system is that anyone who has a super fund already has their first investment portfolio! A lot of people don’t understand that. Let’s explain:

    • The main job of your superannuation fund is to manage and grow your funds for you over time. They do this by investing in different assets, which means that you already own a range of different investments (which is kinda cool!), but they are held on your behalf in that fund
    • One way to understand this is to think of your super provider as a supermarket trolley. Following that line of thinking, they will use your money to fill the trolley (your super fund) with groceries (investments). We explain this in the question “What happens to my super money?”
Money in your super account/s is invested by your super fund. Most super funds offer a variety of investment options. These usually include pre-mixed options that will contain a mix of different asset classes, and single sector options such as cash, property and shares. Your investment returns will impact how quickly your super grows, so it’s important to choose an investment option that is appropriate for your investment timeframe and tolerance for market fluctuations.

When you retire, your super can be taken as a lump sum, a regular income stream, or a combination of both. If you choose to take your super as a retirement income stream, the money that you’re not accessing continues to work for you and earn interest.

    • The more money you have in super today, and every day until you quit working, the more comfortable retirement will be
    • You may not care about saving for retirement today, but one day you will wish you did. ‘Future You’ is the same person as ‘Today You’. The only difference apart from a few wrinkles is that Future You will have less ability to do what’s needed to fund a safe, comfortable and happy retirement for YOU
    • It’s your money. $1 in every $11 you earn goes into your super account. You worked hard to earn it, so make sure it isn’t being wasted
    • Having more than one super account is a crazy waste of money. You don’t receive additional benefits from holding multiple accounts. That is, unless you have an existing defined benefit fund
    • Super accounts don’t come free. In fact, they have many fees and charges which all add up. You need to know what they are and how they will impact your super balance. Of course, that’s why you’re here! Super Fierce does that for you
    • Low cost funds offer similar benefits and leave more in your account to grow over time. Generally, a low-cost fund will help to build you super faster if it invests in the same assets as a fund that charges more

Changing Your Super

Consolidating your super means that you have accounts with more than one super fund, and you are moving them all into one account.

5.7 million Australians have more than one super account. A recent Productivity Commission report estimated that these extra accounts were costing these people $2.6 billion in additional fees each year. So, consolidating your super will often mean that less money is wasted on unnecessary fees and stays in accounts to fund a better retirement.

Super is your money and you deserve to enjoy more of it when you retire. So, you should make the time now to ensure it’s working hard for you, because small changes today can make a big impact over time. Because we often don’t pay attention to our super (today’s dreams and challenges are more compelling than thinking about retirement), it’s easy to miss opportunities to make that nest egg grow. It can be as simple as consolidating multiple accounts or switching to a lower cost fund to save on fees.

When you have more than one super account, you’re wasting it on fees to multiple managers even though there is no additional benefit. It’s like having multiple phone plans for one mobile phone or paying registration costs in two different states for one car. You wouldn’t pay Telstra, Optus and Vodafone for a plan when you only have one mobile phone! So, why would you pay for more than one super account? Girl, sounds like a dumb waste of your money.

By switching to a low fee product including consolidating multiple accounts, we estimate that Australians can save on average around $101,000 in wasted fees over their lifetime. That’s money that could make a big difference to your lifestyle when you retire.

Some people believe in chasing investment performance. We totally get it! Growing your cash sounds like a good idea. And in the Aussie press is always talking about which funds are performing best, which ones have dropped behind, etc. We just don’t think it’s the best thing for most people to be looking at. This is why…in most situations you will pay more for funds which are chasing growth and promise better performance.

Funds justify these higher fees by saying they need to spend more on people to actively manage the funds. However, unlike designer shoes, there’s little evidence that paying more for your super will deliver a comfier ride (i.e. paying more for your super has not been shown to deliver better performance over the long term).

Unless you believe your current fund will outperform lower-cost funds over time, you could benefit from reviewing the fees you are paying against other options using the Super Fierce calculator. It will show you if you could save in fees by the time you retire by switching into a lower-cost fund. And knowledge is power, so we suggest taking a look, even if you aren’t a believer (yet!)

We believe that the Australian obsession with tracking, discussing and betting on performance leads to a lot of unnecessary fees. According to the 2018 Productivity Commission report, almost five million super accounts are in high-fee funds which together cost $1.3bn a year more than low-fee funds. Most of these fees are sold with a promise of better performance. Yet the Productivity Commission has found that super funds with higher fees have tended to deliver lower investment returns. So, performance isn’t a strong argument for charging higher fees.

Research conducted by ASIC and independent research body the Grattan Institute, indicate that low fees are a better guide to future returns than past returns. While this may seem illogical, despite the complexity behind this, the reason is actually quite simple:

Performance is unpredictable as it relies on the ability of fund managers to add value. Despite all the marketing hype, there is little (if any) evidence that managers can do this with any consistency. That, combined with the inevitability of market cycles which impact the performance of every investment asset class at some time and over time, suggests that a passive investment approach will probably deliver better results, on average, over time. And given that the money in super accounts is being invested on behalf of Aussies for their retirement, the focus needs to be on the long term. Obviously if you are younger you have more time and can take more changes trying to get a better outcome, but it really is a gamble.

Paying higher fees for fund managers to chase performance is a strategy unlikely to pay off. We believe it’s better to pay less in fees today and leave a larger account balance to attract the benefits of compounding interest over time. Given super funds with higher fees have tended to deliver lower investment returns, as per the Productivity Commission’s report, there’s a balanced argument that you could expect to experience better performance over time with lower cost funds. We don’t believe in chasing performance when making decisions about where to place your super, however these trends lend weight to the argument in favour of low-cost funds.

When you consolidate multiple super accounts, you move to paying only one fee. Over your lifetime, the money you save in wasted fees can really add up. And the younger you are, the greater the cumulative benefit over your lifetime.

When you consolidate to one fund, or move to a lower-cost fund, you start saving from that moment until the time you retire. Quite simply, if that time is short, you have less years of savings and the total savings are therefore lower. If that time is long, you have more years of savings. So, getting started earlier makes excellent economic sense.

This is the principle of compounding. You’ve probably heard about compound interest. It doesn’t sound interesting but to us it’s about as sexy as finance can get because it’s basically ‘free money’. Okay, it isn’t free money, but it is a simple way to get your money working harder for you. Check out our explanation on compound interest.

Think you might take some time out of the workforce? Not sure? Okay, well…is there a chance you might stop earning in a paid job for a bit to have babies, travel the world, study or just do whatever the hell you please? I’m guessing you can’t know for sure. But you’re in charge of your future and we hope you’re dreaming big. So, just in case you end up with some time not earning or not earning as much, making sure you’re growing your super now makes sense. Tax effective savings which you can’t touch (uh huh, no need to freeze your debit card so you can’t spend it in a weak moment!), which will grow every year into a nest egg Future You is going to love you for. The earlier you get started, the better.

Finance people explain compounding as the process where the value of an investment increases because the earnings on an investment, both capital gains and interest, earn interest as time passes. This exponential growth, or ‘interest on interest’, occurs because the total growth of an investment, along with its principal (that’s the money invested or saved in the first place), earn money in the next period. This is different to linear growth, where only the principal earns interest each period.

Now, we get that may not have cleared things up! 😊 So, here’s a practical example of how it works in the case of super:

    • If you saved $100 in fees last year and your fund performed at 5.3% each year (after tax), after one year that $100 saving is worth $105.30. That’s because it gained value of 5.3% of $100 (which is $5.30) in that year
    • After one more year, it’s worth $110.89, because it’s gained 5.3% of $105.30 ($5.58) in that year
    • The gain in the second year is 5.3% of the original $100 PLUS 5.3% of the gain in the first year. In the third year, the gain is $5.88; in the fourth $6.19 and so on every year until the fund is closed
    • The benefit of the original $100 saving gets larger each year by building on each year’s additional earnings, which is where the term “compounding” comes from

At that rate, $100 saved this year is worth:

    • $167.60 in 10 years
    • $280.91 in 20 years
    • $789.10 in 40 years

It’s pretty cool! And it’s definitely powerful. We kinda think of it as ‘free money’ or a special bonus for being good and saving instead of spending (which it is!)

Insurance

A lot of people are paying for insurance in their super. Often, they don’t even know! Super funds typically have three types of insurance for members:

    1. Death cover (also known as Life Insurance) which pays a benefit to your beneficiaries when you die, either as a lump sum or as an income stream
    2. Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) cover which pays you a benefit if you become seriously disabled and are unlikely to ever work again
    3. Income Protection (IP) cover which pays you an income stream for a specified period if you can’t work due to temporary disability or illness

Your employer’s default super fund must offer a minimum level of life insurance, depending on your age. You can usually increase, decrease, or cancel your default insurance cover. Your super fund’s website will have a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) which explains the insurer they use and details of the cover available.

Like other insurance policies, you will pay insurance premiums. If your insurance is through your super fund, the premiums are deducted from your super account balance. That’s another one of the fees you are likely paying in multiple if you have multiple super accounts with embedded insurance.

Before switching or consolidating super funds, you should obtain financial advice in relation to the insurances held in your super.

If you’re under 25, be aware that from 1 April 2020 you will no longer be provided with automatic insurance cover and if you want to be covered, you will need to tell your fund in writing you want to opt-in to the cover. However, there are exceptions to this rule for those who are considered to be working in dangerous occupations.

Buying death, TPD and income protection insurance cover through your super fund is often a lot cheaper than if you were to obtain it as an individual. Superannuation funds have enormous buying power and can purchase ‘in bulk’, which means they can generally negotiate better premiums and pass the savings on to members.

Most super funds can negotiate with their insurer to obtain insurance cover for their members regardless of individual members’ current state of health. So, even if you’re in poor health you can generally still receive automatic base level cover at premium rates negotiated by your super fund with their insurer. There’s also no fear of forgetting a payment (potentially leaving you without cover) since funds automatically deduct the premium from your super.

Finally, super fund insurance premiums effectively attract a tax deduction for the fund that should then be passed back to you in the form of lower premiums.

Like any insurance, it’s important to make sure the insurance you have through your super will cover your needs (and/or those of your family) if misfortune strikes. Similarly, you don’t want to be paying for cover you’re not likely to need. That’s why it’s wise to check your cover and make sure it’s adequate and relevant.

The amount of insurance you should have is very personal. The default cover provided in your super may be enough, but we cannot stress enough how important it is to take the time, or even better take some advice, to consider how much is enough. When assessing your cover, you should consider the following:

    • The level of default cover may not be enough to provide for all your needs, including your mortgage or other debt that might need to be paid off in the event of your death or permanent disability
    • You may need to increase your life cover if you have children or other dependents
    • If you don’t have dependents, then you might want to cancel the death cover component but keep your TPD insurance
    • Income protection insurance is a wise choice if you are self-employed, a contractor or have a mortgage

    Your level of cover does not automatically update if you get a pay-rise, have children or take out a loan. Whenever your life changes, you should consider updating your insurance cover.

Insurance is important, so we will automatically apply for you to have “default cover” in the super funds you ask us to switch you into. This at least means you have some coverage at all times. According to ratings agency Canstar, 83% of people sign up for default cover for life insurance.

We believe you should go one step further than this. There is a great service offered through most super funds on our comparison lists, and typically through just about every fund. It is known as “intra-fund advice”. Most super funds have a phone- based service you can use to help determine whether you have the right level of insurance. Some might charge you, but for this sort of question most don’t.

So, what we suggest is that you do at least one of the following to determine how much and what type of insurance cover you should have:

    1. Obtain advice through your existing funds
    2. Obtain personal advice from a financial adviser
    3. Make the switch to your new funds, and then use the advice service to get advice on how much insurance you need
    4. Do you own homework and carefully decide how much you require

About Super Fierce

Super Fierce Pty Ltd is a for-purpose company focused on closing the super gap at retirement and empowering Aussie women financially. Our mission is to help Aussies to hold onto more of their hard-earned money, rather than wasting it on unnecessary superannuation fees. We are most focused on women because they have less access to help. But we can help anyone with super to retire better. We do this by:

    1. Demystifying super
    2. Revealing what funds really cost over time on an apples-for-apples-basis
    3. Showing the financial benefits of lower cost funds
    4. Making it easy to change, if that’s what you decide is best, and you want help

We believe that the positive social impact for Australia when women have greater confidence and are enjoying a more secure financial future is enormous.

With some basic personal information from you, we log into the ATO website to see how much super you have, and in which super funds. Then we run your numbers through our superannuation calculator. It shows us how much you are on track to retire with, and how much more you might be able to retire with if you switch into a lower cost fund. We then provide you with a customised, digital Fierce Super Savings Report.
Absolutely not. There are already about 500 super funds in Australia, with a wide variety of styles and flavours designed to meet the needs of most people. So, we don’t think we are serving our sisters best by serving up yet another one. Instead, we make it easier to understand your options.
Super Fierce is a digital superannuation product comparison and consolidation service which makes it easier for women to make informed decisions about their super and save. Or anyone! We are female-focused, but 100% inclusive.

We find your super, analyse your position and show you if you can save on fees. If you want to make a change, we can manage that process for you, for a fee.

So that we can do this for you, our superannuation calculator compares every open fund in the market to find the lowest cost options in a range of categories. To be clear, we don’t look at the performance of individual funds. And we don’t take into consideration your insurance.

Our goal is to show you how much your super is costing you and what the impact might be at retirement. Saving on pointless fees is a fast-track to a fitter financial future. And that’s Super Fierce. In future, we plan to bring you additional products and services which will make it easier to get financially fit…without the blood, sweat and tears. But for now, we are 100% focused on super.

No B’s! No bias. No banks. No BS. No boy’s club.

Finance is serious. It can also be complex. Making matters worse, often people in the industry use long words to explain things which are already confusing. Now as Mark Twain (kinda) says, telling a short story is easier than a long one. Finance peeps may tell the longer story because they want to confuse you. But we doubt that. It seems more likely they just don’t know how to explain things well. At least, not in real-world language. Just the same, we don’t think that’s helpful. And that’s why we try hard to translate financial lingo into language and concepts that make sense. We also want to make sure you have the info you need to make good decisions. That’s our definition of a no B.S. approach.

We want you to be able to trust the information we provide is accurate. And that we are providing information and sometimes even personal advice which is in your best interests. Money decisions can be stressful enough without having to second guess if the info you get is reliable. That’s why are so passionate about the importance of being independent and transparent in everything we do.

We are 100% privately owned. We’re not a bank or a super fund. We don’t push or sell financial products. We don’t earn fees or commissions from the providers of financial products. We also don’t accept advertising dollars from companies who have anything to do with selling financial products. That’s all because we believe it’s crucial that we are 100% unbiased. That’s the only way you can have 100% confidence that we’re honest and absolutely on your side. And we are! We’ve got your back.

We like boys. A lot. We have men in our team, and we have boys at home! But we’ve been around long enough to know that for a long time the finance industry was dominated by men. It’s not all bad, but it hasn’t always meant great outcomes for women. And we want you to know that’s not what it’s like here.

Super Fierce is an inclusive environment where everyone is welcome regardless of age, gender or culture. The key is that we won’t stand for the type of behaviour typical in a ‘boys club’ where you need to earn your stripes to get in. And typically, women can’t earn those ‘stripes’.

Everyone who plays nicely with others is welcome here.

Super Fierce isn’t just a super consolidation service. It’s a source of independent, unbiased superannuation insights and advice designed to empower you to make informed decisions about your super. Here are some highlights about our business which make us stand out from the crowd:

    1. Fierce. Financial. Future: Founded and run by Trenna Probert, a woman on a mission to help other women to make simple changes to take control of their financial future. But as a business that absolutely embraces diversity and inclusion, we really want to help anyone with super to take charge
    2. Social Impact: We are For-Purpose. We exist to help women to do better, starting with taking control of their super. That’s our focus. We also donate $100 to help Aussie women in need every time someone uses our Super Concierge Service and pays a Service Fee
    3. Independent: We’re privately owned and have no commercial relationships with financial institutions or product providers. We don’t earn commissions or accept advertising dollars. The only money we earn is a Service Fee if you use our Super Concierge Service. That’s very important because we want you to have confidence you’re receiving unbiased insights and recommendations you can trust
    4. Unbiased: We are 100% product agnostic. That means we don’t play favourites for any reason. Our super calculator is quantitative (numbers) and works within a framework of clearly defined rules which we cannot, do not and will not overrule. Ever. Just remember, we believe low cost funds are the best starting point for anyone with super. If you use our Super Concierge Service and wish to pay the Service Fee from your super, we may use a rollover fund to facilitate the change. We don’t earn anything extra from this. In fact, this process is more work for us and we only do it if you specifically decide you want to pay from your super and not by credit card. We do this to make sure the service is accessible to everyone.
    5. Choice of funds: Most consolidation services are offered by super funds themselves. They will only consolidate you into their fund, regardless of what impact that might have on you. With our service, you can choose any open fund in the market
    6. Advice: Most consolidation services do not offer advice. That’s fair enough as they don’t charge a fee. But if you want a service that gives you a choice of super funds, is unbiased, and provides you with personal advice that estimates how choosing a lower fee fund could impact your retirement balance, you’ve come to the right place
    7. Robin Hood Pricing: our Fierce Super Savings Report is fee and obligation free. You only pay us if you want us to make a change to your super. The less you have in super for someone of your age, the less you pay. It ranges from $0 to $1,995. Your super savings numbers are after our fee is subtracted. But we show you exactly how much it is. Then you decide if you want the fee taken from your super, or you can pay today by credit card

Yes, we provide you with financial advice. But it is limited to matters relating to your super funds and is delivered digitally. We can’t help you with a self-managed super fund (SMSF) if you have one or want to set one up, and we don’t have advisers you can speak with. We also can’t help you with insurance. That’s because we are only licensed to provide ‘Limited Personal Advice’. What does that actually mean? Good question! Follow the link through to the glossary and you’ll be in the know.

We can provide you with advice in relation to the impact of fees on your retirement balance. In particular, we:

    • Assess the superannuation products you are using today with a focus on fees
    • Show you what the fees are for those products, comparing them on an apples-with-apples basis, and specifically on how they apply to your personal situation
    • Use our superannuation calculator to estimate what superannuation balance you will have at retirement if you don’t make any changes to your current superannuation products before you retire
    • Show you what retirement balance you could have if you do make a decision to make a change from your current superannuation position to one of the lower cost superannuation products below:
        1. Lowest fee fund in the market
        2. Ethical /Sustainable
        3. Growth / Performance
        4. Your current funds
        5. Any other fund you nominate

This advice does not cover all aspects of your financial situation. We only provide advice about your current superannuation position and selected comparison products. It includes a review of the costs of those products, and the impact on your estimated retirement balance.

Our advice is limited to the superannuation assessment described above, and does not cover:

    • Your other financial needs, including investment strategies and estate planning
    • Performance (returns) in the future, product features such as online reporting, and forecasts for other product features, other than the costs of different products
    • SMSFs or defined benefit funds
    • Insurance. It is important that you consider speaking to an insurance specialist to address your insurance needs

Super Fierce is what is known in financial services as a ‘robo adviser’. That means our reports and the advice we provide is created by a computer and not a person. It is based on an algorithm which runs the superannuation calculator, looking at your personal situation against a series of assumed rules. It provides quantitative (can be counted, measured and expressed using numbers), not qualitative (descriptive and conceptual) advice.

Aside from the question of whether a computer or a person can come up with the best advice for you, one limitation of ‘robo-advice’ is that you will not have a chance to ask questions of a person, which may make it harder for you to decide whether it is right for you. If that is the case, we recommend that you seek advice from a qualified financial adviser.

We believe that talking with a financial adviser is very valuable, but we don’t offer this service. Our service is entirely digital. That’s how we are able to keep costs down and stay focused on helping as many women (and men!) as possible. If you would like to find a good financial adviser, we think Adviser Ratings is a great place to start.

We popped this question in because we’ve recommended Adviser Ratings a lot as a place to find a good financial adviser and you might wonder why. The awesome peeps at Adviser Ratings have worked hard to create a resource which makes it easier for Aussies to find good advisers who suit their specific needs. That’s the only reason we recommend this platform. We don’t benefit commercially from this in any way.
Although we talk about women a lot, our service is suitable for any Australian of any gender with one or more active super accounts who is between the ages of 21 and 60 years of age. You can still choose to use us if you would like to, but our service may not be suitable if you are:

    • Under 21 years of age. We think it’s unlikely we can add value at this early stage of your earning life (but we strongly recommend that people start contributing extra to your super today! It can make a really big difference starting early, especially if they think they will have times in future when they aren’t working)
    • Over 60 years of age or if you have an existing medical condition. In these cases, we recommend people work with a financial adviser to ensure their insurance coverage is not impacted negatively
    • Unlikely to materially save after the costs of consolidation are subtracted (but remember, if your total superannuation is less than 10% of the average for someone of your age we do this for free of charge, so it’s up to you)
    • A member of an untaxed fund, or a defined benefit fund
    • Willing and able to make the changes to your super for yourself (because then you won’t need to pay our Super Concierge Service Fee)
First, we show you the info that you provided so you can check we based the report on the right information. Then we show you which super accounts you have and how much is in each of them. We get that info from the ATO website. Next is the exciting part! Our superannuation calculator runs your numbers so that we can show you:

  1. How much you are on track to retire with right now
  2. Then we show you for each of these 4 fund categories:
      • Lowest cost fund in the market
      • Low cost ethical/sustainable fund
      • Low cost growth/performance fund
      • Lowest cost of your existing funds
  1. Next, we show the impact for each of those options if you consolidated your super today into that fund:
      • Projected new retirement balance
      • How much you could save on fees (after our fee is subtracted)
      • Our Super Concierge Service Fee (if you decide to use it)
      • The 100 do-good dollars that would go to help a woman in need

There is also a detailed document which is called a Statement of Advice (SOA) which explains everything you need to know about our advice so that you can make an informed decision about whether to act on it.

The Super Fierce Financial Services Guide (FSG) is a legal document which helps you understand and decide if you wish to use the financial services we are able to offer you.

It provides you with information about Super Fierce and our authorising licensee, BR Advice Pty Ltd (“Licensee”) and its Australian Financial Services Licence (“AFSL”). We are the providing entity and a corporate authorised representative (AR) of the Licensee.

Information in the FSG includes:

    • Who we and the Licensee are, and how we can be contacted
    • What services we are authorised to provide to you
    • How we provide those services
    • When and how we are paid
    • How we and the Licensee will deal with complaints

Fierce Impact

Fierce Impact Pty Ltd is a not-for-profit focused on helping women who are experiencing financial hardship.
Fierce Impact and Super Fierce were both established by our Founder and CEO, Trenna Probert, but they are run independently. Fierce Impact is a not-for-profit focused on helping women who are experiencing financial hardship.

Super Fierce is a for-purpose company focused on helping women who have money in super, to improve their super position where possible. $100 is donated by Super Fierce to Fierce Impact every time someone makes a change to their super with Super Fierce.

The Super Fierce Superannuation Calculator:

The Super Fierce Superannuation Calculator only looks at potential savings from fees. We don’t consider performance or subjective features (things which may be important to you but are a matter of personal opinion) such as customer service, online reporting and control. We also do not consider insurance as that is a product which needs to be customised to your specific needs and circumstances. Instead, we provide comparative estimations of how much you might save in fees. Then you are armed with information so you can consider how important these factors are to you and how much you’re willing to pay for these features. Then make an informed decision. You may wish to discuss the results with your adviser before making a decision.

Our superannuation calculator is powered by a comprehensive database of information about every open super fund in the market(that’s accepting new customers) and a series of algorithms (formulas and rules) which draw on current Australian Taxation Office (ATO) data and other relevant market data. With an average 1,540 calculations used to arrive at our estimates for an average client, and using conservative assumptions often taken from widely used industry and regulators’ calculators, we provide a robust savings estimate.

Our superannuation calculator has been designed to compare the impact of super fund investment fees and all other associated costs on your total super savings balance by retirement. The series of algorithms and the database which power our superannuation calculator, compare the savings across every open super fund in the market (there can be a small lag between a new fund being launched and when we load it into the calculator). This is the process:

    • Step 1:
      Using your latest super fund account balances which we obtain from the ATO, or using updated information you provide, and personal information such as your age and your income range, the calculator estimates the balance of each of your funds by the time you retire
    • Step 2:
      It then calculates the total fee impact on your super funds at retirement age in the scenario where you don’t make any changes to your super. The fees are taken from each super fund’s Product Disclosure Statement, which is a legally binding document that states what fees they can charge you
    • Step 3:
      Our superannuation calculator then estimates how much you are likely to pay over your lifetime if you switch into a lower cost fund. We show you a low-cost option in 4 different categories…lowest cost in the market, Ethical/Sustainable, Growth (More Risk) and from Your Funds

The calculations assume:

    • All funds perform equally over the total time to your retirement
    • You are in the MySuper or, the lowest cost option, of your existing fund managers
    • You are in the Balanced Fund risk profile for that fund
    • CPI, tax and market performance assumptions from ASIC superannuation calculator
    • Your age from the information you provided
    • Your planned retirement age as the Australian average of 67
    • You don’t make additional contributions beyond the legislated Super Guarantee Charge (SGC) levels
    • All the personal data you provided is correct (such as gender, age, income, etc.)

Our Calculator is one of the most accurate in the marketplace. However, without knowing exactly how financial markets and fund managers are going to perform in the future, it’s impossible to know for certain what you will save. So, we need to make sure you understand these are estimates only, even though we have done everything we can to make them as accurate as possible.

We also choose to take a conservative approach wherever possible:

    • Where we make assumptions about the future, we have been conservative. This means we have erred on the side of under-estimating the savings
    • For example, we’ve assumed the average balanced fund will perform at 7.5% per annum in line with the 2019 Treasury Research Institute paper ‘Accumulation of superannuation across a lifetime’ and used by ASIC in their calculator. If performance is higher than our assumption, estimates of savings from lower fees will therefore increase. If performance is lower, estimates of savings from lower fees will decrease
    • We’ve also assumed that fund managers all perform consistently over the long-term, not outperforming each other regardless of their marketing claims or past performance. The impact of using a lower performance assumption is that we are providing you with a conservative estimate. We would rather surprise and delight you with greater savings if things go well. Also, because our Service Fee is based on estimated savings, conservative estimates also reduce our Service Fee meaning we even help you to beat our own fees!

Comparison Funds:

Our superannuation calculator filters through the funds in the market which suit your objectives, are low-cost and meet the following minimum criteria. We do this to eliminate any funds that are so new or so small that they introduce an unnecessary element of risk.

    1. Minimum track record of the trustee, fund manager and administrator: Three years. We require that all three of the major service providers to any given fund has at least three years’ experience. This doesn’t mean that your fund itself needs to be three years old, but it does mean that the fund’s trustee, fund manager (the team actually managing the funds day-to-day) and the administrator (the provider of services like reporting and client service) must have been providing this service to at least one fund for at least three years
    2. Minimum size of trustee: $1 billion. Small funds, just like small businesses, have a higher chance of not surviving or having to significantly alter their fees to survive. Superannuation is an industry that requires scale. That said, it is not the fund itself that needs scale. Instead, it is the operator of the fund. So, we apply this criterion to the trustee of the fund, not the specific fund itself. $1 billion might seem like a large hurdle, but in Australia’s $3,000 billion ($3 trillion) superannuation market, $1 billion is actually relatively small
    3. Open to new investors. Some funds may not be open to new investors, or they may limit who can access the fund. We do not recommend these funds

Wondering why the same fund isn’t always the cheapest for everyone? It’s because the impact of fixed fees is different depending on how much money you have in super. High fixed fees hurt people with lower balances more.

Here’s an example where the fixed fee is $100:

    • If you have $10,000 then that fee is 1% of your total
    • If you have $1m (oh yeah!) that fee is only 0.01% of your total

    But a variable fee of 1% per annum impacts everyone in the same way. It’s always 1% of the total. So, a super fund which has a low fixed fee and a higher variable fee will be cheaper for people with less in super. And a high fixed fee and lower variable fee product will be cheaper for people with more in their super.

    As super funds usually have at least one fixed fee and two to three variable fees, comparing the total impact of fees is extremely complicated. But let’s use an imaginary example to try and make this clearer. Imagine there are only two funds in the market:

    • Fund A: $200 per annum fixed fee and a 0.01% per annum variable fee
    • Fund B: $90 per annum fixed fee and a 0.05% per annum variable fee

    Now, meet our two friends Amanda and Keith. Because Amanda has $400,000 in super and Keith has $50,000, their lowest fee funds would be different. For Amanda, Fund A would cost $240 for the year; and Fund B would cost $290. However, in Keith’s situation, Fund A would cost $205 that year whereas Fund B would cost $115.

    Keith is better off in Fund B and Amanda would pay less if she chose Fund A. So now you can see why understanding the different types of fees is so important, and why you cannot assume the lowest cost option will be the same for everyone.

We believe for most Aussies a low-cost super fund is best. But we also understand there may be other factors which matter to you. Most people don’t know what funds might be available that meet these factors, so we use a few pre-set categories showing you the impact of switching to the lowest fee fund in each category at the time you run your Report.

      • Lowest of your existing super funds: There could be a reason you fancy staying in a fund you already have. So, we show you the lowest cost fund out of the ones you already have
      • Lowest in the market: Quite simply, this is the lowest fee fund in the market at that point in time
      • A low fee option from funds with a high growth investment mandate.
      • High growth investment mandates target higher growth by taking more risk. Typically, this means more of their money is invested in equities (shares) or other high-risk assets like hedge funds or private equity
      • A low fee option from funds with an ethical or sustainable investment mandate: Ethical investments typically exclude certain industries like gambling, tobacco and alcohol. Sustainable investments typically include assets like clean energy production like wind or solar energy farms. Mandates will vary across funds, but these themes are typical of this sector. If you want to invest your money where it’s doing good and you’re happy to pay a little more for that, then this option may suit you

      None of these funds is compulsory. You can select any other fund available in the market. These categories have been chosen so that we can illustrate to you the potential savings across a variety of funds. The calculator selects the low fee options in each category at the time because we think you’re better off saving on fees, regardless of the type of fund you prefer.

      In order to be included as one of the comparison funds, it isn’t enough to be the lowest cost fund in that category on the day. All funds need to meet the minimum criteria outlined here in order to qualify.

We compare your super against every available fund in the market. There are some funds that you may not be able to join for a range of reasons, but if that’s the case we will let you know why. The reasons why we don’t show you every fund are:

    • We want to make sorting out your super easier. Showing an endless list of fund options isn’t going to add real value. In fact, it’s more likely to bore you to tears and make you switch off! And that’s not helpful
    • Super Fierce isn’t a comparison site in the traditional sense of the word. We don’t just compare products. Instead, we provide advice on the funds we think suit your personal situation best based on the information you provide us. We want to make it easier for you to save money for retirement by reducing the impact of unnecessary fees. That’s why we narrow it down to the lowest cost funds in the market at that time, across key categories (lowest cost, ethical/sustainable, growth and your own funds). This means you can see how much you might save in a variety of low-cost funds which offer different benefits

It’s important to understand that:

    • We don’t receive payment from any of the funds you see in your Fierce Super Savings Report. They’ve been selected by our superannuation calculator in response to the quantitative (numerical not subjective) data entered by you and current product information on all funds in the market)
    • If you require advice on which funds are best for you, including insurance, you should seek independent, tailored personal advice. We have included a link here to a website called Adviser Ratings where you can look for a financial adviser who suits you. Super Fierce has no formal relationship with Adviser Ratings and doesn’t receive commissions for sharing their site. We just think this is a resource that might make it easier for you if you don’t have your own adviser
    • Some funds in the market are not open to new members and cannot be used for consolidation so we don’t include those

Report and Statement of Advice:

It’s a legal document which we are required to provide to you because we’re giving you advice about your super based on your personal circumstances. Under the Corporations Act 2001 we are required to provide this document to you to ensure you understand what you are being offered.

Your SOA explains our advice and provides important information about our advice which you need to consider. It also provides a useful, formal summary of our recommendations and why this advice is considered to be in your best interests. You can download and print it to share with a trusted adviser and/or for your records.

It’s because you’re a boss and you deserve the truth! We know you don’t need us to dumb things down. And you certainly won’t thank us for skipping key info or assuming you’re not interested in the detail. That’s just rude. So, we’ve worked hard to include everything you need to make an informed decision about whether to act on our advice without putting you to sleep. And frankly, we think a document which shows you the pathway to a brighter financial future is a pretty good read!
When you ask us to look into your super for you, we set up for you a secure digital account. As soon as your report is ready, we send you a link to set a password for your account which only you can access. That’s where your SOA is stored. You can access it with your password at any time.
Our advice expires three months from the date it is created for you. If you decide you want to consider our advice after that date, we will need to run the calculations again and send you an updated SOA.
Your customised Fierce Super Savings Report, including your Statement of Advice (SOA), is stored in your secure Digital Account. This is set up when we create your report. When it is ready, we send you a secure, unique link by email which only you can access using the password you set. After that, you can go into your account any time you choose.

Of course! Just like fashion and the seasons, life (and minds) change. You can change your answers to any questions that we’ve asked you along the way. You can also update with additional super info if something changes. You press the button and we’ll run the numbers again, build you a new report and SOA.

There are some things you can’t change of course, like fees on different funds as those are set by the fund managers, and legislative factors like tax rates and compulsory super rates. But everything else is in your hands.

We believe that talking with a financial adviser is very valuable, but we don’t offer this service. Our service is entirely digital. That’s how we are able to keep costs down and stay focused on helping as many women (and men!) as possible. If you would like to find a good financial adviser, we think Adviser Ratings is a great place to start.
It’s your money, so you can do what you like! But super is far too important to put into the ‘set and forget’ drawer. You should revisit this every few years, or whenever you have a significant life event such as a career change, a new child or a relationship status change. That said, we know it’s easy to lose track of the important stuff, and super isn’t top of mind for most people. So, on the 12-month anniversary of making a change to your super, we’ll get in touch to see if you’d like to check on your super. If you do, we’ll run your numbers again and provide an updated view of your super situation.

What is the Super Concierge Service?

You have two ways you can take control of your super:

  1. The first option is to do it yourself. In that scenario, the only cost you face is your time. You are very welcome to take your Fierce Super Savings Report to guide you. We’re just happy to see you stepping up and taking control of your super!
  2. Or you can use our Super Concierge Service where we will do the work for you. For this service we charge a fee based on your circumstances and you can chose to pay from credit/debit or from your super.

There are plenty of good reasons for either option, so we leave the choice to you.

If you choose to have the Service Fee deducted from your super, we have to add some steps to the Super Concierge Service. It doesn’t impact you, but it’s important you know how it works and why we do it this way:

    1. On the way from your current fund/s to your selected new fund, we’ll shift your super dollars through a super fund.
    2. We do this only when we cannot process your consolidation, and our Service Fee, from one of your existing funds or your Selected Fund.
    3. The extra benefit of doing it this way is that you can choose to pay for the service from your super.

To be super-duper clear here, we don’t earn any extra money doing it this way. We think it’s good for you to have choices around how to pay. That’s why we went to the trouble of making this possible. It wasn’t easy! But we think it was worth it because this way the Service Fee can be subtracted from your super. And that means you don’t have to dip into your bank account today or go into debt to fund your retirement. By paying from your super, you reduce your ultimate retirement balance, However, your estimated savings take into account the impact of paying the Service Fee from your super.

Our Fierce Super Savings Report is free. You only pay us a Service Fee if you decide you want to follow our advice, make a change to your super, and you’d rather we did all the work for you while you get on with life. So, we only get paid if you choose to use our Super Concierge Service.
Our fee varies from $0 to $1,995. We know that’s a big range! But don’t worry. We show you exactly how much the fee would be in your free Fierce Super Savings Report. That way you can decide if it’s worth it before you make any commitment to change using our Super Concierge Service.

As a guide, we charge less for people with below-average amounts of super and less to save. Where someone is a long way below the average expected for someone at that stage of life, we provide our service at no cost. It’s our modern-day Robin Hood approach to pricing. Because our goal is to help all our ladies (not just the lucky ones with big bank balances) and the men we love (yep, we see you fellas!) we built a model which makes this possible.

Our Super Concierge fee is a one-time-only payment. So, you won’t pay a cent more in ongoing fees to us. And remember, the fee savings number we show is after our fee has been subtracted. So, if you decide to make a change yourself, the savings will be even more.

If you’ve already requested your Fierce Super Savings Report, your customised Service Fee is clearly shown at the end of Section 2. If you decide to engage us to manage the changes to your super, that is the fee you will be charged. You can decide if you would like to pay from super, or by credit/debit card.

If you haven’t requested a Super Savings Report yet (we hope!) or you just want to know more about how it is calculated, here’s how it works:

Your fee is based on:

  • How much you have in super today; and
  • How you’re tracking compared to the typical person of your age and gender

We do this because we want our service to be affordable and fair for everyone. If you have less than the Australian Bureau of Statistics determines is typical for someone like you, we discount our fee by an additional 50%.

Your current super balance Service Fee Discounted Service Fee
If you have less than $10,000 Free Free
If you have between $10,000 and $20,000 $495 $245
If you have between $20,000 and $40,000 $995 $495
If you have more than $40,000 in super today $1,995 $995

See our FSG for more detail.

There are two ways to pay:

  1. Credit or Debit card
  2. From your Super:
    • If you want to pay from your super fund, we need to use a superannuation administration platform to do this and the only way to access that is via a super fund
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