Working people often take little interest in their superannuation, yet they should. It offers many opportunities and is relevant to adults at all stages of their lives.

Super offers younger people tax savings from deductible contributions. They can put money in before June 30, submit their tax return in July and receive a tax refund immediately. The cash contributed is then in their account earning lowly taxed returns with compounding interest long term.

First home buyers can draw their voluntary super savings back out for a deposit on their first home. This is a faster way to save a home deposit than at the bank. The tax deduction for the contribution usually generates a tax refund much greater than the super entry tax cost.

We will all retire some day and need an income to pay our way when we cannot work. Australian employers must contribute a slice of what we earn to super, currently 11 per cent, and rising to 12 per cent soon. This means most workers will retire with a reasonable benefit.

However, if they want a retirement without financial constraint, with the ability to travel and do as they wish, they will need to put extra in super. Once the mortgage is under control, extra contributions should start. Promotions and pay rises can make it more affordable.

Those later in their careers can build their savings faster before retiring by setting up a pre-retirement pension. This will provide extra income tax-free which can be used to finalise a mortgage or contributed to super for additional tax deductions and refunds.  

When retirement arrives, super can be converted to a pension account that earns returns tax-free and pays a tax-free income as long as the person lives in most cases. The retiree can make withdrawals tax-free at any time. There may also be money left for family.

In summary, super offers tax deductions on contributions, low tax on earnings, and tax-free returns and income in retirement. It is a very effective way to save and invest, though it is inaccessible until age sixty.

Super accounts grow large sums by investing small amounts regularly for a very long time and allowing compound interest to do its work. Suppose a person contributes $500 per month to a fund that earns 7 per cent per annum.

After five years they will have $35,796 including profit of $5,796. After 20 years the balance will be $260,463 with a profit of $140,463. After 40 years the profit will grow to $1,072,406 with the total $1,312,406.

There are many beneficial strategies with superannuation, some of them complex. Professional advice can help maximise personal benefits.