Disclaimer: this isn’t a dull article explaining Superannuation.
(Well, it’s not my intention for it to be dull, but I do promise this isn’t an article explaining how Super works.)
If you are a regular here then you might have gathered from the heading this is not a typical Meetoo blog post.
Superannuation isn’t a topic that is a regular conversation in my everyday life, it’s not even something I have discussed in much depth with anyone outside my immediate family (and even then it’s not been much more than “have you got some” and “who’s it with”).
I recall when Superannuation was introduced as a legal requirement. At the time I was a Uni student still living at home, my parents, being small business owners, were not overly excited about Superannuation. My take away from their peripheral conversations was: it’s something financial and therefore it’s boring #stickyourfingersinyourearsandgolahlahlahlahzzzz.
Fast forward 25 years and I was recently offered a travel allowance to head up to Sydney to attend the Blogger’s Brunch, the trade-off being I could choose to write on a topic of interest from the day… And so I decided what better excuse to throw myself outside my comfort zone – and tell you about talking to your kids about Superannuation (as well as mention a couple of useful websites to help you on your way).
This was a conversation I was really keen to have with my kids as my insight into all things financial came from a childhood view of my small business running parents = stressful and yucky.
When I was a kid it all sounded very confusing and riddled with far too much angst for my liking – and so for as long as I could I avoided anything that sounded like Tax Return, Superannuation or BAS statement.
Naturally this is not an ideal way to adult. And now with the job title of Primary Carer added to my bag of tricks I have decided it’s time to grow up, a bit.
Immi is 11 and she’s capable of taking in a bit of detail – like understanding that when you have a job some money is taken out for you to use when you retire (I rounded it so that it was $10 for every $100) and then from the leftover $90 there is some money taken for tax – and the tax pays for our roads, her school, the hospital, the police and loads of other things to make Australia a lovely place to live in.
Charlie (9) is my dollars kid and he was quick to point out that $40 of the $90 goes to the government – before we got off on a tangent (about tax rates) I asked the kids what would they like to do one day when they are much older and retire. [I may have also changed the topic because, tax rates.]
Charlie is dreaming of being a farmer, Immi thought she’d quite like to live in a retirement village (we are working on some more creative ideas beyond the village – but perhaps having your meals cooked, a weekly blow-wave, bingo, Bridge and mani-pedi is where it’s at; actually sign me up now). It’s a funny question for me to be asking my offspring as I don’t even know what I want to do when I grow up… maybe live overseas for a bit (again).
It doesn’t hurt to dream a little… and as I am learning, if you can plan for dreams you are much more likely to make them come true.
The ATO has some educational resources on Superannuation and Tax on their website taxsuperandyou.gov.au which is helpful to refer to if the kids start asking more questions – the content is aimed at senior school students, but as a parent you can glean some top line stuff to share with your kids (most of it you probably already know if you know the basics about Super).
So (beyond Super) on my quest to “grow up”, last year I signed up for a program called Saver Plus. Initially I thought this would be a great opportunity to put aside some funds for Immi as she goes into High School next year as it’s a savings program specifically for spending on educational items and costs – and if you save $50/month for 10 consecutive months the ANZ Bank will match you. So that’s $500 for your $500 = $1000 to spend on uniforms, books, computers. We could totally use that!
There are a number of qualifying things you need to fulfil to join the program and one of them is you need to attend a series of four x 2.5 hour workshops all about managing your money. I might have post grad qualifications – but I never covered any of this real life stuff in my actual education (or if we did I had my fingers in my ears, lahlahlah, see above).
In my quest to better adult I was happy to sit in the Saver Plus sessions and join a few dots together – there was actually quite a bit I already knew (mum if you’re reading this some of that stuff you told me did sink in). But it never hurts to hear it again in greater detail – especially when it’s relevant to your real life.
Some of my homework included setting up my household budget on moneysmart.gov.au (this website is goldmine of information presented in very easy language – for many different scenarios).
When you set up a budget via Money Smart it can easily be switched to be viewed annually, fortnightly or monthly – so you get a sense of if you have gaps and which months/weeks you might need to plan for bigger bills. Viewing my budget in this dynamic way gave me a much greater insight into how I really am tracking.
These past couple of years I have spent many a night building budgets on spreadsheets and trying to make sense of them – and the result was a feeling of mostly uneasy panic. A surprising by-product of the Money Smart online budget, coupled with a list of tactics and ideas from my Saver Plus classes, was a greater sense of control and excitement as well as diminished anxiety around my financial health and fear of the unknown. Now I didn’t ever expect to say excitement in the same sentance as budget or finances! Who am I?
Disclaimer: Kids Business invited me to attend the Sydney Bloggers Brunch and paid for my flights so I could attend, meet staff from the ATO and encourage you to talk to your kids about Superannuation.