If you find lost super, it could give your retirement a boost. It might even mean you can stop working a bit earlier and enjoy your retirement that much sooner.
Millions of Australians have more than one superannuation account (super fund). That can mean paying more fees and getting less growth in your savings.
You can find lost superannuation accounts and then combine them into just one super account that you keep track of. By taking a moment today, to get a handle on all of your super accounts, you could have more money in your pocket when you retire.
Multiple super accounts are common
So how do so many taxpayers end up with lost super?
Generally, employers have their own preferred superannuation fund. If a new employee starts and doesn’t nominate their own fund then that employer will likely set up a superannuation account with their own preferred fund. Then, a few years later the employee starts a new job, and the above process starts all over again.
Before you know it ten years down the track you could have 3 or 4 or even more superannuation accounts.
Why is it important to find lost super?
This one is simple… to put more money in your pocket at retirement time!
Each superannuation provider will charge an administration fee which is a fee or percentage to manage your money. Super funds can also include insurances, which you will also pay an annual fee for. The more super funds you have, the more fees you’re paying and the less money you’ll have when you retire.
Lost super is different to unpaid super
Lost super means money in superannuation accounts that you forgot or lost track of (or maybe never knew about). On the other hand, unpaid super is a different, serious problem where some employers underpay employees by not depositing the required employer super contributions into workers’ super funds. You can read more about unpaid super here.
How to find lost superannuation money
1. ATO Lost Superannuation Search
If your superannuation fund had trouble reaching you and didn’t receive any regular contributions over the past five years, then they will report you as a lost member.
To check if you fall into this category, you can use the Australian Government “Searching for lost super” form.
Please note, this is a limited search and only provides information on “lost super” or “ATO held super”.
2. Ask an advisor at your favourite super fund for some help.
Your super fund can help you more than you might expect. At many super funds, you can meet with trained specialists for help and advice (and at some funds there’s no charge or just a small fee to help get your super affairs in order).
I found an old super account. What now?
If you discover that you’ve got multiple super accounts or you find lost super you weren’t even aware of, you should consider consolidating these accounts – especially if you are paying a lot of fees or insurance policies on multiple super accounts, because that can cut into your retirement savings a lot.
Option 1: Let your chosen super fund handle the transfer
With your signed approval, your preferred superannuation provider can contact any other superannuation fund that you have money with and ask them to transfer it into your preferred account.
Option 2: Do it yourself via the ATO
If you want to take care of it yourself you can so via myGov. You’ll need to designate another superannuation account – the one you’ve decided to stick with – prior to proceeding.
Before you move funds:
Before you decide to move your lost super, we recommend getting advice from a superannuation advisor or qualified financial planner who can help you determine:
- If any termination or exit fees apply on the account you’re transferring from.
- Whether you have any existing insurance included on the account you’re closing.
- That your current employer is able to pay/contribute to your preferred fund.
Your superannuation is important – it might be the only money you get when you retire! So, getting it organised, properly invested and well managed is worth an hour or two today.
Spend some time to find lost super or consolidate multiple super accounts. It might take an hour or two to sort out, but in the long term you could see your savings grow faster (which means, more money to spend when you retire).
Still need help to find lost super? Send us an email on [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help you locate it.
The above article on lost super is general in nature and should not be taken as detailed advice. Before making a decision on superannuation you should seek professional advice from a superannuation advisor or financial planner.