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It feels good to find a forgotten $50 in your drawer, right? Imagine the excitement of finding hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars in lost or forgotten super. Government figures show there's around $16.8 billion sitting in unclaimed super accounts*. Some of it could be yours. Tracking down your forgotten super is an easy way to boost your wealth and have more money to spend in retirement.
*Australian Commonwealth Treasury, Lost and unclaimed superannuation money, Discussion Paper June 2013
As a guide to the scale of lost super, in June 2012 there were almost 32 million superannuation accounts in Australia. That works out to almost three accounts for every worker*.
If you have switched jobs at any stage, moved house or changed your name, for example, as a result of getting married, there’s a reasonable chance you could have some lost superannuation.
The Tax Office provides an online Super Seeker that makes it easy to search for any lost super. It’s a free service and it only takes a few minutes though you will need your tax file number to conduct a search.
Your super is your money for the future. Having multiple funds means paying multiple sets of administration fees and possibly, multiple insurance premiums. Having multiple super funds also increases the risk that over time you will lose track of your retirement savings.
If it turns out you do have some lost super – celebrate! That’s money that belongs to you.
Now that you have found it, you should consider rolling all your super balances into a single fund. There are important things to consider first – like making sure you don’t accidentally cancel a valuable insurance policy, but your adviser can help.
Yes, this involves some paperwork - and it’s an area where your financial adviser can help, but it can definitely be worth the effort. After all, you wouldn't hand that $50 found in a lost drawer to someone else would you?
If you have several super funds it may be worth combining, or ‘rolling’, multiple balances into a single fund. You can save on fund fees and it’s far easier to keep track of a single fund over time.
Before combining your super funds, make sure you are familiar with the insurance policies within each of your existing funds so you don’t cancel a valuable policy. This is something your adviser can help with.