If you’ve had more than one job during your career, chances are you have more than one superannuation account – and are paying more than one set of fees.
On average, every working Australian has three superannuation accounts and the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) says younger Australians are missing out on thousands of dollars in retirement savings by not consolidating their superannuation.
According to a recently released study by ASFA, almost half of Generation Y and approximately 40 percent of Generation X surveyed said they had not “got around” to consolidating their super accounts yet, with one in five reporting they don’t know how to go about it.
In addition, one in five of Gen X and Y did not know if they had lost or unclaimed super. AUSfund figures show that one in two Australians has unclaimed super.
“Every day your super stays lost, or every day you pay fees on an unnecessary account, is a day you are losing valuable retirement money,” said ASFA CEO Pauline Vamos.
Vamos added that while retirement may seem a long way off to young Australians in their 20s and 30s, they had the most to gain from consolidating their super.
“With the effect of compound interest, every dollar you put into your superannuation before age 35 will be seven extra dollars you will have in retirement,” she said.
“This means every dollar you save on unnecessary fees, or every dollar of lost super you find, is worth seven times more to your retirement savings.”
How to reclaim lost super
The Australian Taxation Office provides a free online service, dubbed SuperSeeker, that can help you track down any lost super you may have. If SuperSeeker tracks down lost super belonging to you, you can arrange to transfer the amount into the super account of your choice – the transfer generally happens within three working days.
Alternatively, AUSfund holds lost funds to the tune of $500 million from 40 of Australia’s biggest superannuation funds and provides a free service to help locate and transfer any lost amounts into active super accounts. You can use a quick online rollover tool or if the sum is less than $200, you can claim a cash payment.
You can also contact your active superannuation fund and ask for help in consolidating your accounts. Most funds provide a service that does all the hard work for you.
“The perception for many people is that the process of finding lost super or consolidating accounts is fraught with difficulties. However, the ATO has made it easier than ever before to find your lost super or to move your super into one account. By using tools like the ATO Online Services and SuperSeeker, just a few clicks could make you thousands of dollars richer in retirement,” Vamos said.