Time is waning for Australians to benefit from the federal government’s superannuation co-contribution scheme before the top-up is lowered from July 1, a leading industry body says.
Australian Industry of Superannuation Trustee chief executive Fiona Reynolds said Australians who could make voluntary contributions to their superannuation should do so by June 30.
For the next three years from July 1 the federal government will reduce its co-contribution to $1000 from $1500 for eligible workers, those who earn below $30,342 a year and pay $1000 from their post-tax income.
“People who are looking at their co-contribution, they should be making sure that they make them before 30 June so they are getting the full rate of 150 per cent,” Ms Reynolds said.
Australians earning $30,342 a year qualify for the maximum co-contribution of $1500, with the amount dropping by five cents for each dollar earned above that amount to a $60,342-a-year cut-off.
In its budget for 2009/10 financial year, the federal government announced it was reducing its top-up from $1.50 for each dollar contributed to $1 for the three years to June 30, 2012.
For the following two years the benefit is lifted to $1.25 for every dollar invested, before the current co-contribution returns in 2014.
Despite most superannuation funds posting negative returns for the past two years, Ms Reynolds said the majority of Australians had not switched their policies to more conservative settings.
“Just over 80 per cent of people are in the default option, which typically is a balanced fund,” she said.
“Most funds have only seen switching rates between four and eight per cent, so most people have not moved.
“All the industry can do is talk about long-term returns and not get caught up too much in short-termism, but at the same time understand and have things in place for people near pre-retirement.”