You all know you need to be saving for retirement – I don’t need to remind you, right?
That’s definitely one area Australia has us bested in – they’ve had compulsory superannuation since 1992, with contribution requirements set to rise from 9 to an impressive 12 percent.
The Australian Tax Office estimates there is more than $15 billion in “lost accounts” in the superannuation system – some of which probably belongs to expat Kiwis who have returned home. (You can now transfer those retirement savings over to your Kiwisaver scheme under new rules as of last year, though the funds may not be used toward a first home or accessed until age 60. Conversely, funds brought over to Australia from NZ must be transferred into complying super funds and can’t be accessed until age 65.)
What the heck is a lost account? In a nutshell, a super fund will report you as a lost member if it cannot contact you/hasn’t received money for you in at least a year. Job hoppers/jugglers may wind up with multiple super accounts as they jump around – let’s face it, your retirement fund isn’t usually top of mind when you start a new role. If you’ve moved house or changed your name, that can throw a spanner in the works too.
Separate from but similar to lost super is ATO-held super – money from employers or the government designated for your fund will be held by the ATO if your fund can’t contact you. The longer that cash sits there, the longer you’re missing out on investment returns.
Does it really matter? The thing about inefficiency is that it can be expensive. If you have multiple superannuation accounts, that means you’re paying multiple sets of fees on your retirement savings. Plus, it’s just nice to know about all the money that you actually have a claim to. And it doesn’t have to be a headache to track it all down; there are providers who’ll do it for you (there’s no more lost superannuation with Suncorp).