Skip to main content

Super is a long-term investment for your future. Understanding how investments work can help you make sense of your investment choices. This can help you feel more in control of the money that will support you in retirement.

Key points

  • Your super is your money, and you can choose how it's invested. 
  • When you plan to retire is important to your investment choice. Having a longer investment timeline means you can ride out short-term market falls.
  • Super is an investment. This means you can invest in different things like shares, property, and cash.
  • You can choose from a number of investment options, or a mix of these options.
  • The value of your investments can go up and down, and so can your super balance.
  • Your super balance is invested with other members’ money. When your money is combined in this way, you can access larger investments. You could benefit from returns on this larger investment. It can also help keep costs down. 

Your super is an investment

When you join a super fund, your employer makes contributions to your super account. You can choose to add more to help grow your super faster.

The money in your super account is invested in your chosen investment option.

You can choose to invest in one or more investment options in whatever percentages you like. Learn about how you can choose your investments.

The way your super is invested can make a big difference to how much money you’ll have in retirement. Watch this video to learn the basics.

Your super is your money, and it’s invested in things like shares and property, in what we call an “investment option”. 

When the value of these investments goes up or down, over time, so does your super balance. 

Investment options are choices you can make about the types of things you’re invested in.  

You can pick your own investment options by choosing one, or a mix of options, depending on how confident you are in choosing these options.  

When making a choice, you should consider the investment risk of the option, the returns (or money) you could make and whether it is appropriate for your circumstances.   

Or, like most of our members, you can leave the investment decisions to us. 

If you don’t make an investment choice, you’ll be invested in our My Super Lifecycle option, which is designed by investment experts to automatically adjust what you’re invested in to suit your age. 

When you’re younger, your money is invested in higher risk investment options to grow faster, but as you approach retirement, the level of investment risk is slowly reduced, to help safeguard your savings - so you retire with more.  

Not sure what you’re invested in? Just log in to your account online. 

To learn more about investment options, visit

MySuper product

A MySuper product is the option you’re automatically placed in if you don’t make a choice when you join a super fund. 

At Aware Super, our MySuper product is called MySuper Lifecycle. It automatically changes the mix of your investments as you move towards retirement.

Choosing your own investment mix

If you’ve made a different choice, you should also review your investments from time to time. Your investment needs will change as you move through your working life to retirement.

How to make an investment choice

Investment returns could make up 40% of your super at retirement. So, making the right choice is important.

Learn more about how you can make an investment choice

What happens if you don’t make an investment choice?

If you don’t make an investment choice, your super will be invested in MySuper Lifecycle. Our MySuper Lifecycle approach automatically changes your investment mix as you approach retirement. 

Learn more about MySuper Lifecycle.

Your investment timeline

The amount of time you have before you plan to retire and access your super plays a big part in how you invest. Your investment timeline is the amount of time you have until you retire and access your super. 

If you're still a long way off retirement, you're investing for the longer term. During that time, the market will hit rocky patches. Having a longer investment timeline means you can ride out short-term market falls.  

If you’re closer to retirement, you might choose more conservative investments. This can help to cushion your super balance from large market falls.

Investment options

We have a number of investment options you can choose from.  

You can choose your investment mix or leave it up to us.

Each investment option is made up of either a mix of asset classes, or a single asset class. 

Find out about your investment options

Asset classes

Assets are things you can invest in. Asset classes refer to the grouping of investments that have similar characteristics. 

Some examples of assets classes are equities, property, fixed income, and cash. 

Asset classes can also be grouped by their behaviour and ability to produce returns. These groups are growth assets and defensive assets.

Growth vs defensive assets

Scroll table horizontally on mobile

Growth assets Defensive assets

As the name suggests, these have the potential to grow in value over the medium to long term. Growth assets can be riskier in the short-term when compared with defensive assets. 


  • Examples of growth assets include Australian equities, international equities, and private equity.
  • There is a chance that in the short to medium term, they may fluctuate more frequently.  


These can grow more slowly, but can provide more stability than growth assets. Defensive assets include cash, fixed income investments.


  • They typically generate consistent but lower returns over the long term.
  • The returns usually have a low degree of price fluctuation over the short term but can at times be negative.  

Learn more about asset classes

Investment returns

Because your super is an investment, it earns investment returns. Those returns are reinvested and help generate even more returns. The term for this is compounding, and over time it has a snowball effect, helping your super grow. 

Over time, your super balance will go up and down depending on how your investments perform. Market volatility refers to sharp and unpredictable price movements. It's a normal part of the market cycle which is what can cause fluctuations in your super balance. That’s why it’s important to remember that super is a long-term investment. 

Risk tolerance

Another thing to consider when you’re thinking about how you invest is your risk tolerance. This is your willingness to accept the risk of dramatic changes in the value of an investment option. Your risk tolerance can be affected by things like:

  • Your personal feelings about risk,
  • Your circumstances, and
  • Your life stage.


If you have a higher tolerance for risk, you might invest your super in an investment option with a growth focus. If your risk tolerance is lower, you might choose more conservative investment options. Learn more about investment risk.


Figure 1 - Retirement example

Learn more about asset classes.

Related information

Where to next?

Check your investments

Did you know you can check and switch your investments using your Aware Super online account?

Attend an event

Join our experts as they break down super and finances into easy-to-understand topics.

Need guidance or advice?

We offer a range of advice options to suit your needs. Our experienced planners can help improve the way you manage your money and plan for your future.