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Australians have $16 billion in lost superannuation: how to reclaim your missing funds

Alex Ritchie avatar
Alex Ritchie
- 4 min read
Australians have $16 billion in lost superannuation: how to reclaim your missing funds

New figures from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) paints a shocking picture of how a common mistake can eat away at your retirement balance.

There is $16 billion in lost and unclaimed superannuation savings, according to the ATO, with the balance of these savings having grown by around $2.1 billion since the last financial year. Further, ATO data shows that around one in four Australian workers are holding two or more retirement accounts.

Having multiple superannuation accounts can significantly reduce the final balance of your superannuation account through missed opportunities for compound interest and paying additional fees.

These figures show that it’s more important than ever to reclaim your missing funds, consolidate your superannuation, and help boost your retirement nest egg.

How to find out if you have missing superannuation funds

According to the ATO, there are three options available to search for your lost super:

  1. Use myGov – Login to myGov and ensure it is linked to the ATO. Then click on ‘Manage my super’ to see if you have more than one account open in your name.
  2. Call the ATO’s lost super search line on 13 28 65 – You will need to provide personal details such as your Tax File Number, name, date of birth, and more.
  3. Complete a paper form available here, and send it to the ATO at Australian Taxation Office, PO Box 3578, ALBURY,  NSW,  2640.

If you have followed one of the above steps and discovered you have lost superannuation, it is worthwhile taking steps to consolidate this into one fund. There are significant benefits to consolidating your super, including:

How to consolidate your superannuation 

Step 1: Choose your superannuation fund

Now is the perfect time to consider if the superannuation account you predominantly use is the best option for your investment needs and goals.

Be sure to compare key factors such as the fees charged, the investment options, the investment performance, the type of fund (retail, corporate, self-managed etc.), and what insurances are offered. 

RateCity’s comparison tables may come in handy here, helping you to compare apples with apples by filtering down and viewing super options side by side.

Aware Super Pty Ltd as trustee for Aware Super
High Growth (Lifecycle investment)
  • Industry
  • Life insurance
  • TPD insurance

This super fund’s investment assets are focussed on growing your balance, so you can make the most of its potential over time.

Annual fee at $50k balance

$497

1yr return

10.10%

More detailsclick for more details

Step 2: Notify your employer

Once you have chosen your superannuation account, you should notify your employer of this change so they may commence paying your superannuation entitlements into this account. If you are not changing superannuation accounts, disregard this step.

Step 3: Transfer the balances into one account

Now you can transfer the balance of your additional super accounts into the one main super account. This can be done online through the ATO:

  1. Login to my.gov.au
  2. Link your myGov account to the ATO
  3. Select 'Super' and then 'Manage'
  4. Select 'Transfer super'

If you prefer to not go online, you can also transfer your balance to a new fund by:

How does your superannuation go ‘missing’?

Remember that casual job you picked up during university? There’s a high chance that your employer opened a superannuation account for you to pay your super into.

Then, when you got a little older and started your first full-time job, you may have chosen a competitive super fund or had your employer open a new superannuation account. All while forgetting this first super account existed.  

This is a very common scenario, and part of the reason why a quarter of Australians may have multiple superannuation accounts open. The trouble is that the funds in these account balances will not increase if they are not consolidated into one account.

In fact, it's highly likely that the balance in these forgotten accounts will be eaten away by fees. Meaning your hard-earned money goes into the pockets of the super provider, as opposed to going towards your retirement goals.

The ATO advises that a super fund will report you as a lost member if either:

  • “They have not been able to contact you;
  • They have not received any contributions or rollover amounts for you in the last five years; and
  • Your account was transferred from another fund as a lost member account and no new address has been found”.

This means that the ATO records a register of reported lost members, so you do not have to try and remember the superannuation details of an account that was opened when you were 18.

Compare super funds

Product database updated 20 Jun, 2024

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Peter Terlato before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

Promoted superannuation

Aware Super Pty Ltd as trustee for Aware Super

High Growth (Lifecycle investment)

  • Promoted
  • Industry
  • Life insurance
  • TPD insurance
  • Income protection insurance

Annual fee at $50k balance

$497

1yr return

10.10%

The Trustee for UniSuper

Personal Account - Balanced (MySuper)

  • Promoted
  • Industry
  • Life insurance
  • TPD insurance
  • Income protection insurance

Annual fee at $50k balance

$351

1yr return

7.50%

Art Group Services Limited

Lifecycle Investment - Balanced

  • Promoted
  • Industry
  • Life insurance
  • TPD insurance
  • Income protection insurance

Annual fee at $50k balance

$507

1yr return

8.40%

AustralianSuper

Balanced (Accumulation)

  • Promoted
  • Industry
  • Life insurance
  • TPD insurance
  • Income protection insurance

Annual fee at $50k balance

$382

1yr return

6.90%

product data updated on

Product data updated on 20 Jun 2024