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The right advice to help grow your retirement nest egg

WORKING Australians have almost one-tenth of their salary added to their super each year through employer contributions.

Yet many people aren't embracing the benefits of super to grow a retirement nest egg.

A recent study by MLC found two out of five Australians don't think they will be able to fund their own retirement, and expect to rely on government support in their senior years.

One in five people are pinning their hopes on a big inheritance to ensure their financial security.

At present, 53% of Australia's retirees rely on the government as a source of income, and given our aging population, it's hard to see how this level of support can be sustained.

This is why we are continually being urged to build a pot of retirement savings ourselves, and superannuation provides an ideal way.

Super is lightly taxed when we're in the workforce, and you can withdraw your super tax-free from age 60.

That makes super far more tax-friendly than investments held outside super - and much more of a sure thing than an inheritance.

As we head towards the end of the financial year, it's worth looking at ways to grow your nest egg.

In some cases, it could mean more money in your hand today.

If you're a PAYG worker, consider speaking with the boss about adding to your super through salary sacrifice.

This is where you choose to have part of your before-tax salary paid into super rather than receiving it as cash in hand.

If you don't have much in super, salary sacrifice can fast-track your nest egg.

If you're self-employed, making contributions to super can provide a valuable tax deduction.

You can claim a tax break for up to $30,000 of contributions for the current financial year, or $35,000 if you were aged 49 or over on June30, 2015.

If your spouse is a low income earner (less than $13,800 annually) or not working, you may be able to claim a $540 tax offset when you make a contribution of up to $3000 to his or her super fund.

Low to middle income earners can cash in on the government's co-contribution scheme.

If your income for the current financial year

will be below $50,454, tipping $1000 into super from your own pocket could see the government add as much as $500 tax-free to your fund.

Check out the co-contribution calculator on the government's MoneySmart website to know what sort of co-contribution you could be entitled to.

Paul Clitheroe is a founding director of financial planning firm ipac, chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and chief commentator for Money Magazine.


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