Australian Superannuation Funds Explained!!! for Backpacking in Australia

Australian Superannuation Funds Explained

For backpackers in Australia, a superannuation can be seen as a savings account where the money you save can be claimed back when you leave.

So what actually is a Superannuation Fund?

A Superannuation is a compulsory pension scheme that has been setup by the Australian government to ensure Australian citizens have money to live on after they retire (just like national insurance in the UK). It gets paid out of the wages you earn (by your employer) and goes towards the total superannuation fund which is held by a 'superannuation company' until you claim it back.

How does Superannuation work for backpackers in Australia?

Regardless of where you are in Australia or what job(s) you get, if you earn more than AUD$450 per month your employer is required by law to pay the equivalent of 9% of your wages into a superannuation fund on your behalf. For example if you get paid $500AUD each week, your employer is required to pay $45AUD into a superannuation fund of your choice for every week you get paid (more about choosing your superannuation in part 2 of this article).

There are lots of superannuation companies for you to choose from that will 'look after' your money until you leave Australia. As mentioned before, the good thing about this is if you have a Working Holiday Visa, when you leave the country you can claim it all back (woohooo!).

For example, if you were earning money for a whole year on a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) that could be quite a lot of cash (it can literally be thousands of dollars!) to spend when you return home and even more if you extended your WHV for another year! (see section Working Holiday Visa Extension).

Read Part 2 for more about how to choose a superannuation fund and how to get it set up!
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