There is over $18 billion of lost superannuation in Australia sitting in unused accounts; could some of it be yours?
A Westpac survey from last year showed that almost half (47%) of the population are likely to have superannuation sitting in old accounts. Forty-seven per cent of Australian consumers did not know whether they had lost super, while 57 per cent had never searched for it.
There's a good chance that over the years of changing jobs and addresses you may left some super behind, especially if different employers have paid your super into different funds. Having several super accounts could mean that multiple fees and charges are whittling down the balance and reducing the amount available at retirement.
There are a few ways you can track lost super:
- Contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). All lost superannuation is reported to the ATO and they have a free SuperSeeker service you can use; it's available online, by phone or by paper. Enter your name, date of birth and tax file number and hit submit to get a result.
- Request your present superannuation fund provider carry out a search for lost funds on your behalf. Most have a service to find your lost super (check their website) and they will also help you combine superannuation accounts.
- Contact an Eligible Rollover Fund such as AusFund. These funds were set up to hold unclaimed and lost super and offer some protection against benefits being eroded by administration fees. They may have money under your name, with an old address and no tax file number recorded.
It makes sense to combine your accounts into one (usually your existing super account) as this will make it easier to track and help save on fees. Before going ahead, check:
- Does the fund you want to leave impose administrative fees and exit or withdrawal fees?
- Does the fund you want to transfer to charge entry or deposit fees?
- Can you transfer insurance entitlements, for example does the new fund insure you against death, illness and disability?
- Can you transfer ATO-held or super fund-held money?
- Can your employer pay into it?
The ATO offers an online rollover tool to get your super consolidation started and the super funds do the rest.