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Investigating why voluntary super contributions are not what you expected

If Pathfinder is not making the super contributions than you were expecting, then it is worthwhile checking the following things:

Possible cause

How to investigate it

The contribution options are not allowing Pathfinder to make contributions

Go to the Cash flows & Goals > Retirement planning step and check the options set for the Voluntary super contribution options field. If in doubt, choose robot, which will remove all restrictions on contributions:

Robot button

For more, see Retirement planning goal (super contributions and pensions).

The individuals are not earning enough taxable income to offset the concessional contributions

If you set exact voluntary concessional super contributions, but Pathfinder is making lower contributions than you specified, it could be because Pathfinder will only make concessional contributions up to the point that it will offset their tax liability, so once an individual’s tax is down to zero in a year, Pathfinder won’t make any more concessional contributions beyond that.

When this is the cause, some ways to confirm it are:

  • you may see ‘solve events’ messages about constraint violations for concessional contributions.

  • In the results, the individual’s tax is zero (e.g. on the cash flows report).

To resolve this, some options are:

  • Let Pathfinder choose whether to make concessional or non-concessional contributions, by choosing the the ‘Voluntary super contribution options’ field to 'Set total voluntary amount’

  • If you are expecting the individual to be paying more tax, then review the income types you have entered at the Cash flows & Goals > Cash flows step and ensure you have set the ‘Type’ field to a choice that is taxed. For more details, please see Income

The individuals cannot afford to make contributions because they need to meet other goals

Go to the Results > Cash flows & action items step. Check expenses that happen in the year and in subsequent years, these expenses may mean they cannot afford to direct funds to voluntary super contributions.

The individual's super balance is above the threshhold that allows the type of voluntary super contribution you wanted to make.

To check an individual's super balance and the caps, go to the Results > Detailed reports step, then on the left menu, select the individual's name, then Cash flows > Super deposits summary. At the top of this report the super balance and caps will be listed. For more, see Retirement Planning and Build Super results.

Pathfinder needs to keep funds outside super because the individuals retire before their preservation age

If the individuals are retiring before their preservation age, then Pathfinder may keep funds outside super to fund their retirement before they can access their super. To check this, see if any assets are being drawn down during their retirement, and then see if deposits are being made to them in earlier years.

Investments outside super have a better return

In the year you are expecting to see voluntary super contributions, check the cash flows report to see where funds are going instead, if they are going to a particular asset, check if the asset has better returns than in super. For more, see How to see and edit the assumptions.

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