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Personal super contributions: what are they and how can they benefit you? 

November 20, 2023 | 6 min read 

Summary: Personal super contributions are a powerful tool for building a secure financial future. By taking control of your super and making voluntary contributions, you can boost your retirement savings, enjoy potential tax benefits, and reduce reliance on government assistance.


Key takeaways:

  • The benefits of personal super contributions, such as tax incentives, spousal support, and compound interest.
  • Eligibility requirements and contribution limits.
  • Legislative changes and updates to monitor.

In the wide realm of financial planning, superannuation is a term that features prominently in conversations. This is because understanding the intricacies of super and its various facets is key when looking to secure your financial future.

One essential aspect of super that is deserving of your attention is personal super contributions.

While employer contributions form the backbone of most super funds, we also have the opportunity to supercharge our retirement nest egg through personal super contributions.

Here, we'll examine what personal super contributions are, how they work, and why they can be a game-changer for your retirement goals.

Understanding personal super contributions

The key feature of super is that it operates under a concessional tax system, which means that contributions and investment earnings are taxed at a lower rate compared to regular income. This tax advantage is one of the reasons why super is the primary vehicle for retirement savings in Australia.

Personal super contributions are simply extra contributions that you make to your super fund from your after-tax income. Unlike employer Super Guarantee contributions, which are mandated by law, personal contributions are entirely voluntary. You have the flexibility to choose how much you contribute and when you make these contributions. This flexibility can be a powerful tool in shaping your financial future.

The benefits of personal super contributions

Now that we've established what personal super contributions are, let's explore the benefits they can offer:

  • Boosting your retirement savings - The most apparent benefit of making personal super contributions is the ability to increase your retirement savings. By contributing extra funds to your super account, you're effectively increasing your financial safety net.
  • Taking control of your retirement - Personal super contributions give you greater control over your retirement planning. You can tailor your contributions to suit your financial situation and goals. Whether you have a specific retirement age in mind or aspire to enjoy a particular lifestyle during retirement, personal contributions allow you to work toward those objectives.
  • Tax benefits - While personal super contributions are made from after-tax income, they may still offer some tax advantages. You may be eligible for a tax deduction on these contributions, reducing your overall taxable income. This can lead to substantial tax savings, especially if you're in a higher tax bracket.
  • Compounded returns - Contributing to your super early in your career can have a profound impact on your retirement savings due to the magic of compounded investment returns. The sooner you start, the more time your contributions have to grow, and the greater your ultimate retirement balance can be.
  • Flexibility in contributions - Personal super contributions are entirely at your discretion. You can choose to make regular contributions or sporadic lump-sum payments subject to contributions caps, depending on your financial situation. This flexibility can be particularly useful when you receive a windfall, such as an inheritance, annual bonuses, or tax refunds.
  • Contributions for your loved one - If you have a spouse or partner who doesn’t work, or earns a low income, you can make contributions on their behalf. This can help build their super balance and enhance your overall financial security as a couple.
  • Diversify your investments - By making personal super contributions, you have the opportunity to diversify your investments within your super account. You can choose from various investment options, including shares, property, and fixed income, to create a portfolio that aligns with your risk tolerance and financial goals.
  • Potentially access funds earlier - In some cases, you may access some of your personal super contributions earlier, such as under the First Home Super Saver Scheme or in cases of severe financial hardship.
  • Insurance coverage - Some super funds offer certain insurance coverage, including life insurance and income protection, which can be funded through your super account. By making personal contributions, you can maintain or increase your insurance coverage, providing financial security for you and your family.
  • Reduce your reliance on the age pension - By building a robust super balance through personal contributions, you can reduce your reliance on the Age Pension, ensuring greater financial independence in retirement.

How to make personal super contributions

Making personal super contributions is a relatively straightforward process, but it's important to follow the correct steps to maximise the benefits. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to get started:

  • Check your eligibility - Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for making personal super contributions. Generally, if you're under the age of 75, you can make contributions subject to contribution caps regardless of your employment status. However, if you're aged 67 to 74, to claim a deduction for your contribution, you must meet the work test requirements. This involves working at least 40 hours within a 30-day period in the income year in which the contributions are made.
  • hoose your contribution amount - Determine how much you want to contribute to your super fund. Keep in mind that there are annual contribution caps that limit the amount you can contribute without incurring additional taxes. In Australia, the annual cap for after-tax contributions is $110,000 for the 2023/24 financial year.
  • Make the contribution - You can make personal super contributions either as a lump sum or as regular payments. To do this, you can use BPAY, a direct deposit from your bank account, or set up an automatic payment plan with your super fund.
  • Claim a tax deduction - If you wish to claim a tax deduction for your personal super contributions, you'll need to lodge a Notice of Intent to Claim a Deduction form with your super fund. Be aware that there are specific rules and timeframes for submitting the notice, so it's crucial to follow these guidelines carefully.
  • Review your investment strategy - Once your contributions are in your super account, consider reviewing your investment strategy to ensure it aligns with your financial goals and risk tolerance.
  • Monitor your contributions - Regularly monitor your personal super contributions to ensure they remain within the annual contribution caps and comply with any changes in super rules.

Important considerations for personal super contributions

While personal super contributions can significantly benefit your retirement savings, there are some important considerations to keep in mind:

  • Contribution caps - As mentioned earlier, there are annual contribution caps for personal super contributions. Exceeding these caps may result in additional taxes.
  • Super rule changes - Super rules and regulations can change over time. It's essential to stay informed about any updates that may affect your contributions and retirement planning.
  • Long-term commitment - Super is a long-term investment, and funds are generally locked away until you reach the preservation age. Be prepared for a long-term commitment when making personal contributions.
  • Ask an expert - It's advisable to consult with a financial adviser or tax professional before making significant personal super contributions to ensure they align with your overall financial strategy.


*Based on KPMG Super Insights 2023 Report as at May 2023 KPMG Super Insights 2023 Report

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  • This article has been prepared by NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited ABN 80 008 515 633 AFSL 236465 (NULIS) as trustee of the MLC Super Fund ABN 70 732 426 024. NULIS is part of the Insignia Financial group of companies comprising Insignia Financial Ltd ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (‘Insignia Financial Group’). The information in this article is current as at November 2023 and may be subject to change. This information may constitute general advice. The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions based on this information. It is recommended that you consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) before you make any decisions about your superannuation. You can obtain the latest copy of the PDS (or other disclosure documents) and TMD by calling us on 132 652 or by searching for the applicable product at You should not rely on this article to determine your personal tax obligations. Please consult a registered tax agent for this purpose. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue. The case study examples (if any) provided in this article have been included for illustrative purposes only and should not be relied upon for decision making. Subject to terms implied by law and which cannot be excluded, neither NULIS nor any member of the Insignia Financial Group accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in the information in this communication.