Save your super

The recent share market plunge will have knocked 3 to 5 percent off super fund balances and with Australians on average having four super accounts, this is a large proportion of your retirement income. Now is the time to consider consolidating your superannuation and saving on fees.

Super, Superannuation, saving, retirement income, fees, accounts, balances, australia, seniors, ato, banks, balance, unclaimed super

The recent share market plunge will have knocked 3 to 5 percent off super fund balances, and with Australians on average having four super accounts, this can be a large proportion of your retirement income. Now is the time to consider consolidating your superannuation and saving on fees.

When she retired, YOURLifeChoices subscriber Joyce thought it would be for the best to leave her money in the two super funds she owned. With the dip in the sharemarket in 2008, she figured that as she didn’t need the money straight away, her balances would recover with time.  She was recently advised that as there had been no activity on one of her super funds, the ATO had requested that the trustee release the money to it for safe keeping.

This was not what Joyce had intended and she has acted quickly enough to stop this from happening. However, when she followed up on her other super fund, she was shocked to discover that the money in this fund had been sent to the ATO without her being advised. Many forms and conversations with the ATO later, she is still waiting to hear of the outcome.

Does this sound familiar? Many Australians are passive when it comes to money in super funds, assuming it will be there when they need it. The ATO are entitled to request this money be sent to them but under which conditions?

Super funds can be classified as ‘lost’ if:
•    the balance is less than $200
•    your super fund is unable to find you
•    there has been no activity on your account for five years

There is an estimated $13 billion currently being held by ATO as lost or unclaimed super. If you think you have a super fund which has been inactive, have moved address and not advised your super fund or only worked somewhere for a short period of time and didn’t receive many employer super contributions, there could be a pot of money waiting for you to claim.

Firstly, if you have details, you should contact the super fund into which your contributions were paid into. For the fund to trace your details, you should only need your full name and tax file number. If you unearth money which can be rolled over into your active account, request that the fund sends you a roll-over form, complete the form and send to your current super fund trustee.

If you are unable to find details of funds you have contributed to in the past, use the ATO Superseeker tool to find unclaimed super. Again, all you need is your full name, DOB and tax file number, visit the ATO website and seek your super. You will be provided with a list of possible matches and given assistance on how to claim your lost super by rolling it into an active super fund.

For more information on lost or unclaimed super, or to find lost super balances, visit the ATO website.

Have you uncovered a super windfall?


    To make a comment, please register or login
    5th Aug 2011
    When I first started work it was for the PMG and I paid so many "units " into my Super Fund , which was at the time a Commonwealth Gov't Fund. Then I left after some yrs of """"""" to get some fresh air
    Now that I've retired I wanted to re-locate some of the the long lost super INCLUDING from then .
    Guess what ..... Can't find it ..Never existed.... We've gone to a private fund Etc Etc
    But the question is still
    Where's My Paid Up Super from that time.. ? ?
    ATO don't even have a record of it and don't even want to know about it.
    So how do I claim it then or do I just write it off as a bad idea ?
    6th Aug 2011
    A friend of mine was paying into a super fund and for reasons I won't explain here, was unable to keep payments going. Advising the company of this it was recommended it be converted to a paid-up fund. However, when this person went o claim on it they were told that there was nothing left.
    The accrued assets had been used to continue to make payments; the right to do this was in the fine print!. However when it was argued that there should have been no further payments on a paid-up policy the person was informed that as it was more than six years (government limit) since there was no contact there was nothing to be done. In other words this person had paid quite a substantial amount into the fund and when they could no longer continue and despite asking for it to be converted to a paid-up fund the company continued to draw the assets down until there was nothing left. This is in my opinion and despite any legal argument, wrong as the only party to gain from this person's investment has been the insurance company and they have threatened the person they would fight in the court and the client could face costs, so they company gets away with it as the person is an aged pensioner.
    6th Aug 2011
    Noggie - this is not fair! I too worked in the PMG many years ago. After many years of employment, I got back less than $1,000 for each year I had served - a grand total MUCH less than friends who were in the private sector. At least I did get something (which went to reduce my mortgage). I am sure you are not the only person in this situation - so keep on persisting with your enquiries.

    There must be a record somewhere. Check through all your old papers to see if you can find old pay-slips or correspondence regarding your service. Just getting a reference number should help. You might be able to get a copy of your service record from the PMG historical records or through Freedom of Information (FOI).

    Contact the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS) on phone 02 6272 9081. If they are unable to help, contact the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) on - - phone 1300 884 114.

    You could also contact the Superannuated Commonwealth Officers' Association (SCOA) which is "an independent, national organisation working for the benefit of Australians and their families, employed or retired, who have chosen the public service for all or part of their working lives". email - phone 02 6286 7977.

    The Australian Tax Office has a special phone number for superannuation enquiries - 13 10 20.

    Good luck - and please tell us the outcome.
    10th Jun 2016
    You thought you had it tough. These days postal workers are casualised and lower paid. Many will never have the right to pay off a mortgage because they are casual, with no sick and holiday pay. They have no job security and I doubt if many will ever survive that till 70. When they may get a pension.

    18th May 2015
    If you should change superannuation providers (funds) make sure that ALL your entitlements (the total dollar figure of your investments) are transferred from your previous fund to your new one. On occasion sometimes options are undervalued at the time of transfer and this discrepancy is discovered after the fund transfer date. If your old fund is slack, or upset that you left them, they may sent your additional super money to the "lost super fund" even though they know whose it is and/or who your financial advisor is. This has happened to me when my funds were with a well known "reputable" (HA!) provider.
    28th Jul 2015
    I wish you much fun with my comments, perhaps this blog will be a great blog someday I hope, I really liked this part of the article, with a big and interesting topic has helped a lot of people who don't oppose things that people should know, thanks a lot.

    2nd May 2016
    I thought the government can claim all these unclaimed Super after a certain period of time.

    10th Jun 2016
    I stopped believing in Super the day it was outlawed to take the whole lot out on retirement. In the good old day, people used to buy their house with cash from super and lived off their pension. The population was a lot smaller, there was less tax revenue and yet the government could afford to allow it. These days Super is for the middle-man and Government, not the worker. Work till you are 70 is just an excuse for them to make sure no poor exploited worker will ever get a pension and their hands on Super.
    14th Jan 2017
    I really liked this part of the article with a nice and interesting topics have helped a lot of people who do not challenge things people should know...!!!

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