June 28 2023

Super advice for couples

Every couple manages their personal finances differently. No matter how you and your partner like to manage money, what’s important is that you’re on the same page with your joint goals.
super advice for couples super advice for couples

Every couple has their own way of handling their personal finances. No matter how you and your partner like to manage money, it’s important to understand your partner’s financial situation and be in sync with them about what you want to achieve together. And given that your super is one of the most important financial investments you’ll make, it makes sense to take a joint look at you and your partner’s super.

Can I help my spouse increase their super?

In short: yes, you can! If your spouse is a low-income earner, part-time worker, a stay-at-home parent, or taking a career break, then it’s likely that their super may fall behind.

Luckily, there are ways you can help your spouse’s super continue to grow, such as making a spouse contribution. If you are eligible, making a spouse contribution may help you save on tax.

If your spouse earns $37,000 or less each year and you make a voluntary contribution into their super, you may be eligible to receive up to a maximum 18% tax offset on that contribution. The maximum offset of $540 is based on a $3,000 contribution per year. The offset will phase out for spouses earning $40,000 or more per year. To be eligible for the tax offset, you must meet all of the following conditions:

  • your spouse must be under age 75
  • your spouse’s income must be less than $40,000 a year
  • your spouse must provide their tax file number to their super fund
  • you and your spouse must be Australian residents and living together on a permanent basis
  • your contribution must be from your after-tax money and not deductible by you
  • the contribution needs to be made to a complying super fund or retirement savings account for the income year in which you made the contribution
  • your spouse must not have exceeded their non-concessional (after-tax) contributions cap for the financial year
  • your spouse must not have had a total superannuation balance equal to or exceeding the general transfer balance cap on 30 June immediately before the start of the income year. This is $1.7 million in 2022-23 and $1.9 million in 2023-24. See the ATO website for more details on the general transfer balance cap.

Even if you’re not eligible for a tax offset, you can still make a spouse contribution to your spouse's account. You should consider you and your partner's financial circumstances, contribution caps, and tax issues before adding to your partner’s super. Consider getting financial advice before deciding if spouse contribution arrangements are right for you and your partner.

Learn more about spouse contributions

What we mean by ‘spouse’

Your spouse is your partner, by either marriage or living together on a domestic basis as your husband or wife (a de facto partner). This includes same-sex couples .

Should you consider joint financial super advice?

The decision to get joint financial super advice with your partner will be a personal one.

Getting financial advice with your partner means your financial adviser will consider your joint goals and priorities to create a financial plan. This can help if one person finds themself having to make decisions on behalf of the other.

Here are some of the ways a financial advisor can help you both:

  • Set and achieve your financial goals together
  • Track your financial progress
  • Make the most of your money
  • Get any government assistance you’re entitled to
  • Update your plan, tailoring it to your changing needs
  • Ensure you have enough insurance to provide for each other and your family
  • Protect your assets
  • Maximise your super savings at retirement
  • Avoid expensive mistakes
  • Boost your knowledge and confidence with money.

Find out how Rest Advice can help

Before you talk to a financial adviser

Before you decide to talk with a financial advisor, you and your partner should sit down and discuss what you want to get out of the experience. You might want to ask yourselves:

  • What are your individual goals and joint goals?
  • What are the short, medium, or long-term objectives?
  • Are there any differences in opinion you need clarification on?

It’s also best if you gather all key financial information of both partners. This will help give the financial adviser a better idea of your current situation.

What happens after you see your adviser?

Receiving advice is just the first step to improving your super, not the last. Listen to the advice, learn what you need to, and discuss its recommendations together before you decide what to do.

Want to learn more?