Friday 16th December 2016 - 4:14 pm

Super: don’t subsidise the governmemt

by Alan Thornhill

Australia’s superannuation funds are urging their clients to reclaim their lost and forgotten contributions before that money sinks into the Federal government’s consolidated revenue.


They admit that a little detective work might be needed,to find  it but say the results could help many families with their finances, particularly when seasonal expenses are high,


The funds made their pitch through their industry association.


ASFA  is urging hundreds of thousands of Australians with forgotten or inactive super accounts to reclaim their money before it goes into consolidated revenue


ASFA CEO Dr Martin Fahy said Australians should do themselves “a festive favour”  and find their missing money.


“$2.5 billion currently sits in consolidated revenue as unclaimed super,” he said.


“Super belongs to individuals and families so gift yourself and give super a go to boost your savings.


“Take an interest in your super now, while you may have a bit of holiday time,,


“Then reap the long term rewards.


“In addition to getting your money back from the government there are compound interest benefits from being invested in super.


“You can check your super accounts by registering for the ATO’s online services via MyGov or contact your current super fund for assistance,” he added..

“There are currently around 300,000 people with more than six super accounts, so it’s clear many could enjoy a boost to their funds by consolidating missing amounts, particularly balances that have or will soon go to the ATO as unclaimed,” Dr Fahy said.

“More than 14.8 million Australians have super and many have lost and missing super.

Currently lost or inactive super account balances under $4,000 must be transferred to consolidated revenue, via the ATO.

From December this year that threshold rises to capture accounts valued at up to $6,000.

For a person who has a $5,000 account taken by the ATO this means a loss of around $225 a year in earnings on average compared to what you would receive if that account was consolidated into your active super account.

ASFA estimates up to 100,000 additional accounts could be captured when the threshold rises to $6,000 this month.

Last year when the threshold lifted from $2,000 to $4,000, more than 130,000 extra accounts were transferred tthe ATO.

“Fund members with missing or lost accounts are more likely to generate earnings with their balance in a super fund, rather than with the ATO, where balances only attract interest at a current rate of 1.5 per cent per year,” Dr Fahy said.

“Additionally, at least half the inactive accounts, whether it’s $2,000, $4,000 or $6,000 are likely to have insurance cover. Acting now can preserve these benefits from being lost.”

Meanwhile, a separate study showed that customer  satisfaction with financial performance of superannuation steady in November but down over the year.

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Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.

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