If you are getting on top of your finances, you might be wondering what you should do with the extra dollars. Voluntary superannuation can be a great option under some circumstances. Here are some questions to ask before you funnel all of your savings into superannuation, however.
How close are you to retirement?
If you are closer to retirement, superannuation can be a useful and tax effective way to save for retirement. If you still have a long way to retirement, it may help to model your superannuation savings with compound interest over that time so you can see the effect of years and years of savings on your final retirement and see whether it's worth the short term loss of income to get the big payout when you retire. There is always a balancing act to ensure that you can meet short and long term financial goals.
Will you need the extra money before you retire?
Superannuation has many advantages but is not overly flexible. If you need to withdraw money from your superannuation before you retire, you will have to prove a hardship (such as a terminal illness, permanent disability or severe financial hardship). This can be annoying for people who wish to access funds for other purposes, such as a house deposit or to fund living expenses while you take time off from work for family responsibilities or paying off other debts. If you will need the money before retirement, a high interest savings accounts or other safe investment might be a better option.
Are you able to save normally?
Some people find the inability to dip into superannuation a useful fact, especially if they don't tend to be good at saving money. Being locked out of dipping into your savings for short term needs, such as holidays or cars, ensures that you build a useful habit and may help you to start an automatic savings plan to start saving towards other financial goals apart from retirement. Automatic savings, such as super payment or a mortgage that comes out of your pay directly, can help to ensure that you don't find yourself living paycheck to paycheck permanently.
If you are looking at the best way to invest extra money, it makes sense to meet with a financial adviser who can help you define your short and long term goals and work out the best way to achieve these goals.