Guide to retirement

reporter: Helen Wellings

The fact is most of us face retirement with not nearly enough savings but experts say there are ways to accumulate more super for your nest egg.

Despite 20 years of compulsory employer superannuation in Australia, most people retire with funds to support them for only three to five years.

Managing director of Financial Choice Russell Medcraft says there are simple strategies to help boost your retirement savings.

He suggests the first step is to take a good look at your superannuation investments and your balance.

"It's important to take control of your situation," he said.

Mr Medcraft says choosing the best performing funds will help improve the return that you get on your superannuation.

"We should be selecting a simple, low-cost index fund. An index fund is basically a fund that replicates the all ordinaries index," he said.

"It basically investigates a whole group of companies across the whole index rather than trying to pit one company against another."

In addition, Mr Medcraft advises people to invest a little bit in each asset class.

"Have a little bit in property, a little bit in shares and in the bank," he said.

"If you have your money in all three, then you're going to protect yourself from an economic cycle that might be bad."

Furthermore Mr Medcraft says to try and put in as much salary sacrifice as you can while you're working.

"Put every spare dollar you have into your superannuation fund because it's the most tax-effective way for you to save," he advised.

According to founder of SuperRatings Jeff Bresnahan it is critical to get advice from a financial planner as you approach retirement.

"They can structure allocated pensions and all your options in retirement," he said.

He also suggests that lower insurance and administration fees can help you save thousands of dollars.

He says over 50 per cent of the workforce pay up to 2.5 per cent in fees. If the average worker reduces their fees by one per cent, they can increase their super by 41 per cent, an extra $227,000.

Another expert advice is to find your missing super. There are more than $18 million in forgotten super accounts belonging to one in two working Australians.

Find your missing super:

Australian Taxation Office Super Seeker - www.ato.gov.au

Find my Super - www.findmysuper.com.au

Contact:

Financial Choice - www.financialchoice.com.au

SuperRatings - www.superratings.com.au

Self Managed Super - [http://www.selfmanagedsuper.com.au