Money

Reviewed: a new free tool to help you take control of your super

Hop online to run your own super performance check with this free tool that Citro's money expert has reviewed

Learn how to take control of your superannuation and check if it’s performing with a secure free online tool from the Australian Government that you can personalise to your age to check you’ll be on track for the retirement you want. It’s best for people with a MySuper fund.

By Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon

Most Australians ignore their superannuation until they realise how much it can boost their lifestyle after they hit the age of 60.

There’s a new online tool forcing you to look closely at how your fund is performing and how much super you have stashed in it - and it comes courtesy of the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

You’ll find this tool lurking in your MyGov app or by using the ATO’s online services.

The core purpose of the ATO’s YourSuper comparison tool is to let you compare alternate super funds. And I mean actual, real-life super funds. 

Of course, there is the mandatory disclaimer: “The ATO is not a financial adviser. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how this information relates to your unique circumstances.” 

The ATO tool also points visitors to the MoneySmart website to get help on finding good financial advice.  

You can read more about how to find the right financial advisor for you and the difference between personal and general financial advice on Citro.

About the ATO YourSuper comparison tool 

This superannuation tool helps you compare the performance and fees of one super fund against another.

When you jump on the non-personalised version of the YourSuper comparison tool you’ll see it has a default super balance of $50,000, which you can easily override with the ‘filter’ button, where you can also add your age. 

Then there are two inputs that are curious for their inclusion: whether you are happy to see member-restricted funds – you would only be if you were in that particular industry – and, a little stranger again, your performance requirement. 

The only reason you would click anything other than ‘performing’ is at the first search, to check if your fund is ‘underperforming’ – more in a moment.

You can personalise the YourSuper comparison tool to your own age and super stash balance to get an idea of how well your own super fund is performing

 Handily, you can also click directly through to your chosen MySuper fund's website for information. 

This is useful to find more about your existing fund or another to which you might be considering switching, from the table – but we will come back to that, too.  

What sets even the generic aspect of the ATO’s YourSuper tool apart from other tools is the lack of need to predict or guess your own super fund’s performance.

Instead, you pick probably your own fund (you need to know its exact name) and 3 of the high-quality MySuper products that are ready-made-displayed for you.

These alternatives are listed on historic performance, highest to lowest, over 9 years.  

You just use the ‘Find your own MySuper product’ search field and select funds from the drop-down list to ‘pin’ products to the top of your results list – 6 are possible. 

You can then check the boxes of the 4 you are most interested in and hit ‘compare’ to see how they stack up against each other.  

You will see displayed, side-by-side, the funds’ net-of-fees performances over 3, 5 and 9 years, their explicit annual fees, investment strategy and whether or not membership is restricted to a particular industry or category of employee. 

The explicit fee shown is the annual total of all investment, administration and advice fees, based on a default super balance of $50,000 if no balance is entered.  

The tool let’s you easily check the name of your fund and compare it directly to other MySuper funds.

Which funds are judged – and how 

Both the non-personalised and personalised ATO YourSuper tools use funds’ own data to assess them against each other. 

You will have gathered from the above that only MySuper products are considered.

These are uncomplicated funds with lower fees where you only pay for the services you need. They also offer either a 'single diversified' or a 'lifestyle' investment option.

You might have chosen this fund yourself. It’s also the type of account that employers can pay super into on your behalf if you have not chosen a super fund, and don’t have a ‘stapled’ super fund, so one that moves with you when you change jobs.

Funds are ranked quarterly by the regulator – the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) – on their fees and annual net investment returns. 

The fine print says: “The assessment applies to products with at least 6 years of investment history and considers up to 9 years of data, where it is available. The assessment compares the fund’s product performance to relevant benchmarks.”

As alluded to earlier, and you can filter by, in the investment performance column is a label ‘performing’, ‘underperforming’… or ‘not assessed’ – the last one would appear where the product has been around less than five years and has not been rated by APRA.

The pass/ fail performance designation is all about whether a fund has met or exceeded a test benchmark; ‘underperforming’ means it has not done so for two consecutive years.

Further, an underperforming fund can no longer accept new members until it is rated as ‘performing’ again.

Now let’s get into the ATO’s YourSuper, personalised tool. 

The ATO YourSuper tool – personalised version

First among the massive advantages of the ATO’s YourSuper personalised tool is its unique ‘selling’ points- it's free and pre-filled with your super balance and age once you log in.

All your super accounts pop up, if you have multiple funds, so you can accurately evaluate them alongside other MySuper products. 

(It notes on the home page: “You pay fees for each super fund account you have. You could reduce fees by consolidating your super into a single account.”)

You get these important, individualised results by simply signing in to myGOV from the generic calculator  or jumping on your myGOV account linked to the ATO, and clicking through to YourSuper.

You still have to search for and select your own super product, which will – again - only be there if it is a MySuper product. 

Once you have also chosen the other funds to evaluate, which you do just like the non-personalised tool, up will come the same side-by-side comparison table … but with the precise annual fees you pay. This could be sobering!

The YourSuper comparison tool also let's you see a historical reference of your super stash, so you can see how it's grown (or not!) over the financial years

Nicole’s verdict on the ATO YourSuper comparison tool

Finally, a super forecasting tool that tells you what your own fund is doing for you… and lets you simultaneously assess the alternatives. 

An added, exceptionally good feature is being able to see all your super accounts in one place… and here, being able to easily transfer funds into one of them, if you decide to consolidate your funds for ease or to save duplicate fees. 

You just click ‘consolidate’ and select the ‘from’ and ‘to’ funds. 

You could also apply for a whole new fund. 

Because, naturally, ascertaining if you are in a fund that will take you the distance to a comfortable retirement is a big part of what this official calculator is about. 

The ATO YourSuper tool, letting you sanity check your targets and tactics, is a highly useful addition to your superannuation and retirement strategy arsenal.

Read more about superannuation on Citro’s Calculating Retirement guide.

Advice given in this article is general in nature and is not intended to influence readers’ decisions about investing or financial products. They should always seek their own professional advice that takes into account their own personal circumstances before making any financial decisions.

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