The beginnings of superannuation in Australia

Superannuation provides an income in retirement with the aim for people to be as financially independent from the government as possible once they leave the workforce. Superannuation builds up over ones working years through compulsory contributions and employees adding additional amounts to their super should they wish to. The generous tax benefits are an incentive for people to contribute more on top of the employer superannuation guarantee. Although superannuation has been around for over 100 years, it was really not a widespread method of retirement saving until the 1980’s. Even then it was typically only those employed by large corporations or people holding government jobs that participated in super plans. Assets under management was approximately $40bn by the late ‘80s but that amount dramatically increased over the next decade as the superannuation guarantee was introduced in the early ‘90s at a mandatory rate of 3% – 4% depending on the size of the organisation. The superannuation guarantee (SG) was compulsory where employees had to pay super contributions to approved super funds. There was push back from several angles when the SG was introduced. Specifically with the trust of a third-party managing funds on the worker behalf. Trust was developed by fund managers through prudent investment strategies and stringent government regulation. As seen in the table below, the SG rate has increased steadily from the 3% in the early ‘90s to a current rate of 10% with it rising to rate of 12% in 2025.

The higher employer contributions have led to a radical surge in total assets under management, with the figure recently hitting $3.1 trillion. It’s an incredible amount that Australians generally turn a blind eye to and leave their precious retirement funds to be invested by someone else. Although the solid trust through regulations and experienced fund managers handling investment strategies, the blind trust has led to the uptick in growth of self-managed superannuation funds. Gaining control of one’s financial future is an option more and more Australians are choosing and opting a diversified portfolio with a bitcoin allocation. Like all industries, change is happening at rapid rates and technology improvements means industries must be adaptive and change with the times or get left behind. The super industry is no different with bitcoin superannuation filling the current gap between traditional super funds and the new dawn of cryptocurrency superannuation. An allocation in digital assets is no longer viewed as speculative but an absolute essential in one’s super portfolio with hedge fund and pension funds around the globe understanding the potential of this new disruptive asset class.

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