Confused by all the Superannuation jargon. We have prepared a plain English explanation of super’s most common terms.


We have prepared a list of the most commonly used terms in Superannuation in the hope it will give you some clarity around what each of these means to you.



Account-Based Pension

Also known as an 'Allocated Pension'. An investment account established with a lump sum from a super fund from which a regular or irregular income is drawn.


An investment bought (usually at retirement with superannuation money) to provide regular income.


An investment product; it can be cash, shares, fixed interest or property.


The amount of money saved in a retirement account which is accessible after meeting certain government imposed conditions such as retirement.

Choice of super

Your right to choose the superannuation fund you wish to put money in to.


The money put into a superannuation fund by you or your employer.


The money the government puts into your superannuation fund if and when certain conditions are met.

Concessional contributions

The money you put into a superannuation fund yourself (see personal contribution) for which you are eligible to claim a tax deduction. Concessional amounts are taxed at 15% (see Contributions tax).

Contributions cap

Government-imposed limits on the amount of money that can be put into a superannuation fund each financial year. The limit can change from year to year.

Contributions tax

A once-off 15 % tax levied on all employer and personal concessional contributions at the time the money enters the super account.

Defined benefit

A superannuation account where the amount at retirement is calculated using a formula based on your final salary and years of employment.

Non-concessional contributions

The money you put into your superannuation account yourself that you have already paid tax on, such as your after-tax salary.


An investment purchased with superannuation money which provides a regular income in retirement.

Personal contribution

Any money you put into your superannuation account yourself. These are usually Concessional contributions or Non-concessional contributions.

Preservation age

The government prescribed age at which you are able to access your superannuation money provided you meet certain other criteria.


The amount of money your superannuation account earns while invested.


The chance that your investment may fall in value.


Retirement Savings Account. An alternative superannuation product usually offered by institutions like banks or building societies.

Salary sacrifice

An arrangement where you put a certain amount of your pre-tax (gross) salary into superannuation. This reduces your take-home pay but may have tax advantages. Contributions tax of 15 % will still apply.


Superannuation Guarantee. The amount of money employers must contribute to employees’ super funds. The rate is 9.5%pa. These contributions are classed as Concessional.

Spouse contributions

Amounts of money you contribute to your spouse’s superannuation account. These contributions are classed as Non-concessional, they do not attract contributions tax, and you cannot claim a tax deduction for them.

Transfer balance cap

A limit on the total amount of superannuation that can be transferred into the retirement phase. If you breach this limit you must either remove the excess funds or pay an excess transfer balance tax.


Apart from the family home, superannuation is arguably the most valuable asset many people will own. In reality, it can be quite straightforward, but until super terminology is simplified, it will most likely keep the majority of Australians baffled.  

Still baffled... why not cal, us today?

LifeTime Financial Group are specialist (holding appropriate accreditations) advisors who are ideally positioned to assist you in managing your financial planning needs.

Would you like to discuss your needs further with one of our highly qualified financial planners?

Why not call us today on 03 9596-7733? There is no cost or obligation for our initial conversation/meeting.

LifeTime Financial Group. A leading privately-owned Melbourne based Financial Planning practice.


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