What's In Your Superannuation Flower Pot?

What's In Your Superannuation Flower Pot?

Key Takeaways

  • Many people have no idea what is going on with their superannuation. 
  • Growing your super is a lot like growing your garden, as you need the right plants, fertiliser and water to nurture it. 
  • You must take a proactive approach to growing your super just as you would in gardening, instead of taking a backseat and let weeds take over. 


I am a terrible gardener. 

My fiance has tried many times to get me to take an interest in gardening. But it's just not for me.

You see, I have a habit of taking any healthy living plant and turning it into dead mulch in a very short period. It may be due to a lack of skill, but it is ultimately because I couldn't care less.

I recall my late grandmother telling me how excited she was that she got to spend hours in the garden to look at all of her flowers in retirement, and I couldn't think of anything more boring. I may have been born in the country, but I wasn't bred for it. Give me a concrete jungle with astroturf and plastic plants any day!

For some reason I can't comprehend, my fiance recently gave me a plant as a gift. I have been told it is a low maintenance indoor plant.

Sidenote: I do not understand why you would give someone you supposedly love the thing they despise the most as a gift. I'm pretty sure if I gave her Warren Buffett's 1,000-page biography "The Snowball" for her birthday I would be a single man by the end of the day!

It must be a very hardy plant because it is somehow surviving. It is still green and it seems to be growing, so I must be doing something right.

But I don't have a clue what sort of plant it is. I call it a green pot plant, not so much because the plant is green but because the color of the pot is green.


What do flower pots have to do with money?

I'm sharing you this story because I see the same situation every single day with my clients when they talk about their superannuation.

You see, most people know which superannuation fund they are with, whether it's with their bank, employer fund or one of those funds with the "funny hand thing". 

But when I ask them about what is inside their super, I get a blank stare most of the time.

I don't know much about gardening, but I do know that it doesn't matter what color the pot plant is, it is what is growing inside the pot that counts.

The same philosophy applies to your super. It doesn't matter what super account you have, it is what your super is growing that matters.

We have been led to believe that as long as we have it with a particular fund, then our super will look after itself. This may have some merit ten years ago, but nowadays I do not believe it is the case.

If you compare two people in the same super account; one may be growing daffodils and roses, the other may be growing weeds and thistles.


So, what is growing in your pot?

Your super needs the right "plants" in it.

If you are in your 20s or 30s, you will need plants that are going to grow over time. If you are close to retirement, you need plants that are going to be more sturdy especially if weather conditions are unfavorable.

Your super also needs the right "fertiliser" in it.

The fertiliser keeps your fees low to ensure they are not eating away at your plants.

Finally, your super needs "water".

The more water you put in, the more likely the plants are going to grow. But too much water means you are going to drown your plants, which in this case means going over your contribution caps and having to pay a significant penalty tax.

You need to be growing the plants within your super account to ensure you have a garden when it comes for you to stop work and smell the roses.

You can do this yourself, or you can hire a "gardener" to look at this for you. There are plenty of gardeners who can help grow the plants within your super fund, ensuring you have the right pot, the right plants, and they are watered and fertilized on a regular basis. 

Whatever you choose, you must be proactive and tend to your superannuation regularly. So, do you know what's in your superannuation pot?

P.S. After writing this article, I discovered the plant my fiance got me was a 'Zanzibar Gem.' I only know this because the tag is still in the pot and I didn't notice before!

This information is general information only.  You should consider the appropriateness of this information with regards to your objectives, financial situation and needs. 

Chris Carlin

Director and Financial Planner at

Chris Carlin is director of Master Your Money Now, a financial planning and education organisation passionate about helping everyday people take control of their finances from the comfort of their own home. Chris is passionate about delivering advice to Australians seeking to increase their income, invest for the future, protect their loved ones and plan for retirement. Want to know more? Go to www.masteryourmoneynow.com.au and follow Chris on social media.