Hav­ing more than one in­ac­tive su­per­an­nu­a­tion ac­count may be cost­ing you thou­sands.

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Contents - WITH PAM WALK­LEY

res­cue your lost su­per and save

Most of us want a com­fort­able life­style in our later years but many of us are still fail­ing to en­gage with our su­per­an­nu­a­tion, which we ex­pect to pay for our re­tire­ment dreams. Only 42 per cent of Aus­tralians know their ex­act su­per bal­ance be­cause they ei­ther “don’t re­mem­ber to check it, didn’t know how to check it, or they’re not both­ered,” ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey of more than 2000 peo­ple con­ducted by com­par­i­son site fin­ ear­lier this year.

On top of this there are more than six mil­lion lost su­per ac­counts in Aus­tralia, worth around $18 bil­lion. Lost su­per oc­curs when your su­per fund is un­able to con­tact you, which means your ac­count re­mains idle but an­nual fees will still be de­ducted from your bal­ance.

About 40 per cent of Aus­tralians hold two or more su­per ac­counts ac­cord­ing to Aus­tralian Tax­a­tion Of­fice (ATO) sta­tis­tics. If you change jobs reg­u­larly or you’ve had part-time jobs while at school or univer­sity, it’s highly likely that you have more than one su­per ac­count.

Not only does this mean many peo­ple are pay­ing mul­ti­ple fees but, as the Royal Com­mis­sion into nan­cial mis­con­duct has high­lighted, many are also pay­ing for in­sur­ance that they don’t need and, in some cases, can’t ac­cess.

Around 2.5 mil­lion peo­ple have two or more su­per ac­counts with in­sur­ance cover, ac­cord­ing to ev­i­dence pre­sented to the Royal Com­mis­sion in Au­gust. And ac­cord­ing to es­ti­mates from the Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion, Aus­tralians are pay­ing $2.6 bil­lion ex­tra a year be­cause of un­in­tended mul­ti­ple ac­counts. That’s $1.9 bil­lion in ex­cess in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums and $690 mil­lion in ex­cess fees.

The re­tire­ment bal­ance of a typ­i­cal worker who held two ac­counts across their work­ing life, com­pared with just one, would be over 6 per cent, or $51,000, worse off, ac­cord­ing to the Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion. Younger work­ers, low-in­come work­ers and peo­ple with in­ter­rupted work lives are hard­est hit, some­times by as much as $125,000.

There’s no ex­cuse for not nd­ing lost su­per with sev­eral ways you can search for free, and many su­per funds will help you. For ex­am­ple Aus­tralian Su­per, our big­gest su­per fund, will search for a mem­ber’s lost su­per if the mem­ber gives them per­mis­sion to use their tax le num­ber.

Al­ter­na­tively you can use the ATO’s myGov ser­vice ( to see de­tails of all your su­per ac­counts, in­clud­ing any you’ve lost track of. To do this you need to reg­is­ter for a lo­gin. If you don’t have a myGov ac­count, a pa­per “search­ing for lost su­per” form is avail­able for down­load from the ATO’s web­site. And you can also try AUS­fund (aus­, which looks af­ter the lost su­per of mil­lions of Aus­tralians for some of the largest su­per funds in Aus­tralia.

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