Throughout our many years in practice, we have observed that the self-employed often do not take full advantage of their opportunity to make concessional contributions.

We frequently see a very low amount, or even no contributions, being made to superannuation over their working life.

This is often due to 3 main reasons:

  • In the early years of self-employment, people are often building up their cashflow
  • The fact that superannuation contributions are not mandatory for self-employed people
  • People are simply not aware of the opportunities available to them

Employed people, on the other hand, are receiving compulsory superannuation contributions (currently 10% of ordinary time earnings) over their working lifetime.

Over a long period of time, this creates a major disparity in superannuation balances on retirement between the self-employed and those in employment.

Research has shown that just 27% of self-employed people between the ages of 60-64 have more than $100,000 in superannuation. This is quite concerning and highlights a massive opportunity for the self-employed.

The majority of the self-employed are missing out on 3 major opportunities:

  • Setting aside adequate funds for retirement
  • The tax advantages of contributing to superannuation
  • The tax advantages of having money in superannuation

In previous years, it was much easier to accelerate your superannuation contributions as you neared retirement, mostly due to the fact that contribution caps were significantly higher in your 50’s & 60’s. This also worked well with the fact that a lot of people at that stage of life had primarily dealt with school fees and their mortgages, and had more disposable income to direct towards superannuation.

Previously, superannuation could be viewed as a sprint event with most contributions being made in the later working years. Concessional superannuation contributions, however, should be viewed more as a marathon event with contributions being made consistently over a long period of time.

In recent years, the concessional superannuation contribution caps have been $25,000 PA (now $27,500 PA). This cap is the same for everyone and does not increase with age.

There is, however, an opportunity to exceed the $27,500 cap where you have previously not used up all of your concessional contributions cap, and where your superannuation balance is less than $500,000 at the start of a financial year. If you are in this category or would like us to assist you with this opportunity, please contact our office.


We encourage self-employed people to:

  • Review their superannuation position
  • Review and consider what contributions they can make on a consistent, long-term basis
  • Seek the necessary advice in order to not end up retiring with a very low balance (statistics have shown this tends to be the norm for the self-employed)

If you have any questions in relation to any of the details mentioned above, or would like to find out more about superannuation for the self-employed, please contact our office or book a meeting through Calendly here.

Please note:

1) This blog is not intended for the purpose of giving investment advice. We recommend you seek advice from a qualified Investment Advisor.

2) Our comments are general in nature and may/may not apply to your specific circumstances. Please seek our specific advice in relation to your own circumstances.

Kind Regards,

Eric Cirulis