Remember your super while you are traveling.

Traveling overseas is an exciting experience and an opportunity to see new places, meet new people, and try new things. However, it’s important to make sure you’ve taken care of all the necessary details before you leave, including your superannuation account.

If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, your super account will continue to operate as normal while you are abroad. However, your employer contributions may be affected by your move. If you transfer to an overseas location with the same company, your employer contributions may continue. But if you switch to an overseas employer, they will likely have no obligation to make contributions to your Australian super fund.

To ensure your super is well taken care of before you leave, here are a few things you can do:

Stay in contact with your super fund by updating your contact details once you have settled into your new home overseas. This will allow your fund to keep you informed of any important updates and changes to your super.

Consider consolidating any multiple super accounts you may have to minimize fees and insurance costs. Having multiple accounts can lead to higher fees and duplicated insurance coverage. Generally, the fewer accounts you have, the easier it will be to manage your super and understand how much money you’ll have in the future.

Keep your super account active by making sure it receives contributions or by adjusting your investment option. If your super account balance drops below $6,000 and your super fund doesn’t receive contributions for 16 months, your fund may have to transfer your “inactive low-balance” account to the ATO. To avoid this, you can make sure your account receives contributions or update your investment option.

Avoid having your super account flagged as “lost” by the ATO by staying in touch with your fund and maintaining a balance above $6,000. If your super account has no activity for five years and your fund is unable to contact you, the ATO may flag your super as lost.

Taking care of your super before you leave will ensure that your hard-earned savings are well protected while you are abroad. This will give you peace of mind and allow you to fully enjoy your travels without worrying about your financial future.

This article was brought to you by Sims Direct international sim card.

Superannuation potential changes/issues for future consideration

Superannuation potential changes/issues for future consideration

Listed below are some of the main superannuation changes which the Government has announced. Please note that some are only proposals at this stage and are yet to be made law. (Current 01/10/12)

  • Low income superannuation contribution – The government will return 15% of concessional contributions annually ( representing the 15% contributions tax applicable to concessional contributions) up to a maximum amount of $500 to people with adjusted taxable incomes of up to $37,000 pa.  Concessional contributions include employer contributions.  The payment will commence based on concessional contributions made during the 2012/13 financial year with payment being made during the 2013/14 financial year.
  • Concessional contributions – From 1 July 2012 the concessional contribution cap will be limited to $25,000 for all superannuation contributors.  The indexation of this cap has been paused and is expected to resume from the 2014/15 financial year.   The increased contribution cap of $50,000 for people aged over 50 with total superannuation balances of less than $500,000 has also been deferred until 1 July 2014.
  • Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms – The reforms announced in 2011 became voluntary from 1 July 2012 and will be mandatory from 1 July 2013.  The reforms include a prospective ban on conflicted remuneration structures including commissions on the distribution and advice on retail investment products including managed investments, superannuation and margin loans.  Information relating to the reforms can be found at Financial advisor.
  • Superannuation Guarantee (SG) – The age limit for contribution to superannuation under the ‘superannuation guarantee’ will be removed effective from 1 July 2013, requiring employers to contribute to superannuation for people over the age of 70 years from that date.  The SG will also gradually increase from 9.0% to 12.0% from then until 1 July 2019.  For the 2013/14 and 2014/15 financial years the increase will be 0.25% each year and from the 2015/16 financial year the increments will 0.5% per annum.
  • MySuper – is still in the pipeline and is designed to be a more efficient/low fee default fund for employees. The requirements for this type of fund are yet to be finalised. It is proposed that ‘Mysuper’ funds will be available from 1 July 2013 and by 1 July 2017 trustees of super funds must have transferred all existing balances in a default members super fund to a ‘MySuper’ product.
  • Super Concessional contribution tax increase for individuals earning $300k and above – The Federal Government announced in the May 2012 budget that it will increase the concessional contribution tax rate from 15% to 30% for individuals with an ‘adjusted’ income of $300k and above from 1 July 2012.  The increase will apply to concessional contributions.  Concessional contributions include Superannuation Guarantee (SG) and notional contributions to defined benefit fund, Salary Sacrifice contributions and tax deductible contributions.  The Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten has stated that ‘income’ for the purpose of this measure will include taxable income, concessional superannuation contributions, adjusted fringe benefits, total net investment loss, target foreign income, tax-free government pensions and benefits, less child support.  This measure has yet to have been passed in parliament.  More details on the assessment process are yet to be released.
  • Government superannuation co-contributions – In the Governments Mid-year Economic & Fiscal Outlook statement for 2011/12 it proposed a reduction in the amount of its co-contribution to take effect from 1 July 2012.  The proposal reduces the maximum entitlement from $1,000 to $500 for the 2012/13 financial year.  The lower threshold to receive the maximum co-contribution is to remain at $31,920.  The upper threshold where no payment will be made is to reduce to $46,920.  This proposal is yet to be legislated at the time of writing.
  • Minimum drawdown amounts for account-based pensions/income streams – the government announced recently that temporary relief for minimum drawdown amounts applying to account-based pensions/income streams will be extended to 2012-13 and will remain at 75% of the normal minimum requirement (a 25% reduction).
  • Online electronic service for individuals provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) – SuperSeekers has been set up by the ATO to assist people to manage their superannuation contributions.  It enables you to list active accounts to which contributions have been made in the last 2 financial years.  Having provided identification it enables a check for any missing super (and gives balances) that the ATO may hold.  This will enable you to consolidate superannuation benefits.  This can also be done by phone with a self-help line by phoning 13 28 65 or by writing to the ATO.  More detail can be obtained at
  • Superannuation auto-consolidation – from January 2014 the ATO will facilitate the auto-consolidation of accounts with low balances. The ATO is to provide information to super funds such as details of lost accounts, eligible rollover funds, accounts with less than $1,000 where no contributions or rollovers were received in the last two years. Subject to review, this threshold may increase to $10,000 in 2014. Members tax file numbers will be used as the primary locator within funds for the purpose of consolidation.  For more information refer to media release no. 131 issued on 21 September 2011 by the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation.
  • Refund of excess concessional contributions – as announced in the 2011/12 budget, individuals who breach the concessional contribution cap by $10,000 or less can withdraw the excess out of their super and have them assessed at their marginal tax rate. This measure will only apply to first time breaches. legislation received royal assent on 27 June 2012
  • Self Managed Super Funds (SMSF)’s – the government is considering changes to SMSFs with regard to transactions involving related parties, auditing requirements and the collection of statistics.  Refer to the ATO website
  • Reporting of superannuation contributions on payslips – Employers are currently obligated to include certain information on payslips such as deductions from the employee’s pay for superannuation contributions made.  This should include the amount of the contribution along with the name and the number of the fund that the contributions are made or will be made to.  The Federal Government announced in the 2011/12 Budget that further payslip reporting requirements for superannuation contributions will be made mandatory.  Consultations on this proposal are ongoing.

Seven Reasons why you should consider Structural Steel for your next building project.

Seven Reasons why you should consider Structural Steel for your next building project.

Recent developments in steel construction have made steel-framed multi-storey buildings more cost-efficient than ever.

Much of the developed world is undergoing a quiet building revolution – the increasing use of structural steel for construction.

Steel institutions in the United Kingdom, France, Japan, the United States and New Zealand have fully documented this revolution.

We have combined elements of their findings with our own experience to formulate this booklet.

1. Earlier Occupation
2. Reduced Exposure to On-Site Risks
3. Larger Column-Free Space
4. Using Structural Steel can “Future-Proof” Your Investment
5. Take Advantage of Technology
6. Completely Recyclable
7. All This at a Most Competitive Cost

1. Earlier Occupation

Fit-out of the lower levels can commence much sooner because propping of formwork is not required.
Work can proceed on a number of fronts with steel construction
Steel erection
Decking installation / stud fixing
Concrete placement
Installation of services
Facade installation / internal fit-out.
Early occupation means you get a return on your investment sooner.
Examples include:
209 Kings Way, South Melbourne
Deakin University Carpark, Melbourne
Melville Carpark, Perth

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2. Reduced Exposure to On-Site Risks

Off-site fabrication.
Reduced on-site workforce
Reduced delays due to weather
Reduced on-site congestion

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3. Larger Column-Free Space

Larger column-free space is provided by the long-spanning capability of structural steel
Architectural freedom is provided by the column-free space giving flexibility to building owners and occupiers
More attractive space is provided by the smaller columns that are typically found in a steel building
Grosvenor Place, Sydney – 14.5m span
Chifley Tower, Sydney – 15m span
QV Building, Melbourne – 18.5m span

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4. Using Structural Steel can “Future-Proof” Your Investment

It is easier to make major changes to a building framed in structural steel.
Beams and columns can be strengthened to take extra loads by welding on additional plates
New floor penetrations can be simply installed
Steel offers a light-weight frame which makes it an ideal construction method for expanding existing buildings in any direction

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5. Take Advantage of Technology

Extensive research over the past decade has lead to more economical steel framed buildings.
Advances in fire engineering have drastically reduced the cost of protecting a steel frame without compromising safety
Structural design advances result in more economical designs
Advances in computer aided design and drafting together with computer-controlled fabrication has improved both the cost and speed of delivering a steel solution
The electronic transfer of information from design to detailing to beam-line fabrication and to construction all assist in tighter project control.

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6. Completely Recyclable

Steel is completely recyclable. All Australian made steel contains recycled product even galvanised Pipe for sale. This means:

Nearly all structural steel from building demolition is recycled
Demolition expenses are reduced
Landfill volume is also reduced, making it a more environmentally friendly product.

7. All This at a Most Competitive Cost


290 Kings Way, South Melbourne

“Multiplex accepted our proposal for a steel framed building as a cost effective alternative”
Rick Sheldon, Director, Alfasi Steel Construction

Volvo Truck and Bus Headquarters, Chullora NSW

“Quality construction and fast delivery are our company hallmarks – and with steel we can design creatively, build economically and deliver on time”
Danny Wilson, General Manager of Construction, Lang Walker Projects.

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Look at the structural steel option at the concept stage of your next building project and reap the benefits.