The Australian Tax Office has helped Australians find and consolidate 49,000 superannuation accounts in the past month.
But there is still a staggering $14 billion in “lost” super accounts waiting to be claimed.
ATO commissioner John Shepherd estimates that more than $6 billion of this has occurred because funds have not been kept up to date with personal changes.
“When people get married or move house, the last thing on their mind is updating their name and address details with a super fund,” Mr Shepherd said in a statement on Friday.
An additional $8 billion is sitting in accounts that have not received a contribution in five years or more.
More than 40 per cent of super account holders have more than one account and those with small balances can be eroded by super fees and charges.
Mr Shepherd said many people fail to take advantage of their ability to choose a fund when they start a new job and end up opening a new account with a different fund each time they change jobs.
He said it only takes a minute to use the ATO’s online SuperSeeker to check whether accounts could be rolled into a main fund.
1. Find your lost super on the SuperSeeker website
Simon Wilson, director of SAR Wilson & Co, advises that finding your lost super is relatively easy.
“The ATO’s SuperSeeker is a dedicated site for finding your superannuation,” he said.
Once you’re in the system, you can view all your super accounts. You can then consider whether to consolidate that lost super into your preferred super account, using our simple online form. You’ll need your, tax file number, last income tax assessment notice, and your bank account details, so make sure you have these to hand.
“There are other websites offering to find your super, but they may change a fee, so [it’s] best to head to the ATO’s Super Seeker,” Mr Wilson warned.
2. Stick with a single fund
Regardless of whether you have hundreds or millions in your super fund, you’ll be hemorrhaging money if your super is spread across several funds.
“It’s best to get it all into one low-cost, high performing fund, which can mean thousands or tens of thousands of difference at retirement,” Greg Leaney advised.
3. Consolidate multiple funds into one
If you’ve already got more than one fund, it’s time to think about rolling all your super into a single fund.
According to the experts, consolidation is the key to solving your super headaches, regardless of whether you’re starting out in your first job or well-established in your career.
The SuperSeeker websiteshould be your first stop for this as well.
“You can also use SuperSeeker to consolidate your accounts, no matter how many. The system will step you through how to transfer funds from one super account to another. You can do them all at once. You shouldn’t need to do any paperwork and fund-to-fund transfers will generally take three working days to be processed,” said an ATO spokesperson.
Adam Mckenzie, a financial advisor at BLS Financial, recommends that before consolidating, you should get expert advice, as there may be hidden costs involved.
“People may not be aware of outgoing funds exit costs, and insurance held inside the super fund may be voided,” he said.