How would a career break affect my super?

01 Jul 2023 2 min read

If you’re thinking about taking a break from work — whether it’s for study, family or any other reason — one of the major considerations is how it will affect you financially. You need to work out how you’ll cover your day-to-day expenses when you’re not receiving your usual income, as well as ensuring you have a buffer for unexpected costs.

Part of the financial equation that’s easy to overlook is your super. When you’re not working, you’re not receiving the superannuation guarantee (11% of your salary for the 2023-24 financial year) that your employer contributes. If you move to part-time work, your super will also reduce accordingly. And it all adds up — taking one or more career breaks can make a significant difference to your eventual super nest egg.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can boost your super to help keep your retirement savings on track, before, during and after any career break you take.

Make extra contributions

The most obvious thing is to make extra contributions to your super before (and after) your time off. If you can increase your super contributions, even just a little, in the lead-up to your break, you’ll be offsetting at least some of the super you’re missing out on.

And don’t forget to check the relevant contribution limits to make sure you stay within them.

Before-tax contributions

Salary sacrifice can be a tax-effective way to contribute to your super, and even a small amount can add up over time. Read more on our salary sacrifice page.

Your spouse may also be able to ‘split’ their contributions, transferring some of their super to you to boost your super balance. You can find out more about how this works on our boost your partner's super page.

After-tax contributions

These are simply contributions you make from your after-tax income — if you get a small windfall, for instance. Find out more about how this works on our after-tax contributions page.

Government co-contribution

If you make voluntary after-tax contributions, you may also be eligible for a Government co-contribution of up to $500. Find out more, including how much you could be entitled to, including the eligibility requirements, on our after-tax contributions page.

Spouse contribution

For couples, the partner who is earning more maybe able to make a contribution to the super account of the lower-earning partner, and benefit from a tax offset. You can find out more about how it works, including the eligibility requirements, on our boost your partner's super page.

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