Most people go through life switching jobs at least once, if not multiple times. And when you transfer from one employer to another, this can often also mean changing superannuation funds.
If you've got multiple super funds sitting around gathering dust, it might be a good idea to consolidate them into one. Doing so can cut down the amount of paperwork you deal with, save you money on fees and make it easier to understand what's going on with your super.
But deciding to consolidate your super is one thing. Actually doing it is another. The following is a short guide for how to go about combining your super all into one fund.
Investigate your older funds
First of all, you'll want to check if you have any lost or Australian Taxation Office (ATO)-held super sitting around. A quick and easy way to do this is to use the ATO's online Superseeker tool to search for it. You can also create a myGov account and link the ATO to find some stray super funds.
Decide which fund you'll consolidate into
Before you get the process started in earnest, you'll have to choose which of your super funds will be the sole one going forward. This could either be your existing super fund, a previous one or a brand new one.
In making this decision, there are a number of factors to consider:
- Can your current employer contribute to this fund?
- What are the fees like?
- Are there any termination fees for your current fund/s?
- Will you get the same, or similar, insurance cover, and what is the cost?
- How has the fund performed over the last five years? Although past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
If you do decide to go with a totally new super fund, you'll need to open an account with it.
If you're currently in a defined benefit fund, think very carefully and get advice before leaving.
Get your details together
You'll need some crucial pieces of information at your side before you can start filling out any forms:
- Your tax file number
- Standard evidence of your identity, such as a driver's licence
- Your new fund's details — such as a superannuation product identification number and unique superannuation identifier — which you'll need to provide to your employer
- Your previous funds' details
When it comes to the latter, these details include its name and address. You can get this from previous statements, emails and letters you've received from the fund.
The actual process
Previously, consolidating your super could be a complicated and time-consuming affair. Under today's superannuation rules, however, it's relatively simple, and in fact there are a few different processes available for it.
The first is to do so online, through the ATO's online services website. Once you've used Superseeker to track down your wayward funds, all you need to do is choose the fund this money will go into, and choose the fund, or funds, from where the money is being transferred. Transfer requests should generally be completed by your old fund within three working days.
You can also do so by filling out the ATO's rollover initiation form, also known as the NAT 71223, which is available online for printing. A separate form will have to be filled out for each of your old super funds, and you'll need to attach a ‘certified copy’ of your ID to each of them. You'll then send them off to your chosen fund, which will contact your other funds for a transfer.
Finally, in the modern Australian superannuation environment, with many funds competing for your business, a number of funds regularly offer to consolidate your older accounts on your behalf. This typically involves providing them with your tax file number and old fund details. If you want to make sure they do indeed offer this service, contact them or check their website.
The final step involves reviewing the rollover benefits statement you'll receive from your old fund after completing the process. Give it a thorough look over and file it away somewhere safe.
Congratulations — you've successfully consolidated your superannuation!
Advice contained in this article is general in nature and not specific to your particular circumstances. Before making an investment decision you should consider your own financial situation and the relevant Product Disclosure Statement/s. We also recommend you seek advice about your own particular circumstances from a licensed financial adviser.