DO YOU KNOW WHERE ALL YOUR SUPER SAVINGS ARE?
There is around $18 billion in lost super waiting to be claimed from over 6 million accounts, according to figures from the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
If you’ve ever changed your job, name, address or other contact details, there is a chance one of these millions of accounts could be yours. Each year, the ATO publishes details of the number and value of lost and unclaimed super accounts on their website, by State and even postcode.
For example, as at 30 June 2017, in the Belmont/Valentine postcode of 2280, there were 2,641 accounts with over $13.6m. For Wallsend (2287) there were 3,653 accounts with $17.2m, and $8.8m in 1,472 accounts waiting to be claimed in Mayfield (2304).
Lost super explained
There are numerous rules and laws in place that define what constitutes a ‘lost’ super account and under what circumstances the money must be transferred to the ATO.
Your super account could be considered ‘lost’ if the super fund no longer has your current address details and has been unable to contact you, or your account is considered ‘inactive’ – meaning there have been no contributions or rollovers received in the last five years.
You can ask your current super fund or visit the ATO website for more details on lost super.
The case for consolidating accounts
Aside from any lost accounts you may be entitled to, holding multiple accounts usually means you’re also paying multiple sets of fees and insurance premiums.
To make it easier to keep track of your super nest-egg, and to avoid paying unnecessary fees, it makes sense to consolidate your super into one account.
Before making any decision to act though, you just need to consider any exit fees that may be charged by the super fund and the loss of any insurance coverage.
Finding lost super
When it comes to finding and consolidating super accounts, there are a number of options available.
Firstly, you can manage the process through your myGov account. If you don’t already have one, you can create an account at www.my.gov.au, and then link the ATO to your account.
If you already have an account, or once you’ve created one, simply log in and click on the ATO section. Go to the ‘Super’ tab, where you can see details of all your super accounts, including accounts with any super funds, as well as any super the ATO is holding in your name. Simply follow the instructions, and in a few clicks, you can choose which account/s you’d like to keep, and rollover any others to that account.
If you have a preferred or current super fund, most of them now offer a similar service, either online or even over the phone. After receiving permission from you, they can conduct a super search on your behalf and consolidate funds into your account with them. Just remember, superannuation is designed to help you live a comfortable retirement and keeping track of your super savings is the first step in taking control of your financial future.