The majority of superannuation funds are accumulation funds where the final retirement balance is determined based on contributions made to the fund over the years and their subsequent earnings.
In an accumulation fund your account balance is determined much like that of a bank savings account. Your account balance will include all contributions, earnings (positive or negative), less any expenses, insurance premiums and tax. As a result, it is difficult to pre-determine what your final benefit will be.
It is important to be aware that with an accumulation fund you take responsibility for the underlying investment of the fund, a key difference to a defined benefit fund where the risk is borne by your employer.
Like defined benefit funds fund members of accumulation funds can usually elect to take either a lump sum or a pension in retirement or a combination.