Are you missing out on thousands of dollars that belong to you? There’s an easy way to find out if you are.
Often with our busy lives, we barely have time to get our daily life organised, let alone get those big jobs done, even though they may be more important than the little ones. Medical claims, tax receipts, all those ‘admin-y’ tasks that seem too hard so we prioritise other things ahead of them. Anyone else guilty of this?
Yet, often it’s the ‘biggies’ that can be the simplest to do and which can have a financial impact on our lives. Superannuation, specifically lost superannuation, is one of these areas where you may be missing out, simply because you have no idea there is something to look for.
What is lost superannuation and why does it matter to me?
In Australia today it is estimated there is $13 billion worth of super funds that have been ‘lost’ or forgotten about. That’s around $9,700 for every working Australian just sitting there, untouched and unclaimed. These superannuation funds may belong to you, but at this moment you have no idea they even exist.
But how do you ‘lose’ superannuation funds?
It can be very easy to lose track of super funds, especially if there has been a lot of change in your life. Every time you’ve changed jobs, moved house or even changed your name, there’s a chance you’ve left behind super funds as you’ve moved on. When your super fund can’t contact you or hasn’t received contributions or rollover amounts over 12 months, your details are then passed to the ATO to be added to a register of ‘lost members’. After a period of time, or if your super balance falls below $2000, super funds must transfer this ‘unclaimed’ super to the ATO. This threshold will increase to $4000 in December 2015, and then $6000 in December 2016.
It’s easy for this to happen – especially if you’re younger. Being unable to access your super funds until you’re aged 65 seems an eternity away, so it drops off the radar of ‘important things to be concerned about’ until many years later when that age starts to loom.
So in reality, if you’ve changed jobs or addresses often, you may be one of those who have super funds sitting in accounts gathering cobwebs. Does this sound familiar?
And what’s worse you’re probably paying fees on super funds you’ve forgotten about AND you may even be paying insurance fees from your super for cover you no longer need.
Also, by not having a consolidated super fund, you may not have as much money at retirement as you’re entitled to, and, here’s the kicker, you may lose it for good. Good money – pouf! I’m not sure there are many of us out there who could flush potentially thousands of dollars down the loo without at least trying to retrieve it.
So how do I find out if I have any lost super?
The good news is it’s easy to find out if you have any lost super! We look at so many websites each day, yet this one simple search might be your most important search ever – and your most lucrative one at that. Simply head to the ATO Superseeker service, and do a quick search to find out if some of that $13 billion actually belongs to you.
Alternatively, contact your Super fund and ask them to look for you. Suncorp Superannuation is an example of a provider, which offers a free specialised online service for tracking down lost super for its customers. Or, if you have a financial adviser, they can also help you locate any lost super.
It’s worth your time to at least look into it, isn’t it?
So once you find all your super funds – the ones you know about AND the ones you don’t, doesn’t it make so much sense, financially and logistically, to consolidate it into one super fund?
By taking control of your super funds and creating an amalgamated super account you not only save costs by only having one set of fees to pay, but you also reduce the risk of losing track of your super and potentially losing it for good. Less paperwork and more money in retirement, are also compelling reasons.
In fact, why not get everything in order – let’s call it an annual ‘spring clean’. Find any lost super, consolidate and get organised for the future.
This makes complete sense and it doesn’t sound hard or time consuming, right?
Who can help?
There are a number of financial service providers who can help make your superannuation funds work the smartest for you. Suncorp provides a service for searching and consolidating existing super funds into one account for its customers. And for those looking for a new account to switch and consolidate existing accounts into, Suncorp offers two Super accounts – Suncorp Everyday Super™ and Suncorp WealthSmart®.
Alternatively, you can register for the Australian Taxation Office’s online superannuation services via myGov, where you can see details of all your super accounts, including any you have lost track of or forgotten. You can also find ATO-held super funds and transfer all of your super funds (including lost and ATO-held super) to the super account you want.
Finding lost superannuation and consolidating it into one efficient super account is one of those tasks that we all may be guilty of putting off yet is one that can work to your advantage. Think of it as being super smart with your super.
Where can I find out more?
For a quick search for lost super funds head to the ATO Superseeker service, alternatively contact your super fund.
For more information about Suncorp superannuation services and products head to:
- https://www.suncorp.com.au/super/grow-your-super/lost-super and