There is $17.5 billion in lost superannuation. That is an average of $745 per Australian that sits unclaimed, potentially being eroded by fees. You need to act now to fix this.
According to the ATO, there are 6.2 million lost superannuation accounts with a value of $17.5 billion. That is an average of $745 per Australian this is literally wasting away and going unclaimed.
Further to this, it’s estimated that 40% of active superannuation users have more than one account. So while some of you reading this may not have lost superannuation, you are still holding more than one superannuation account and thus likely paying extra fees, charges and insurance premiums.
Multiple accounts and lost superannuation can hurt your retirement savings.
In this guide, I will show you how to find lost superannuation and consolidate your super. You’ve worked hard for your super and you need to take action now in order to preserve it.
How does superannuation get ‘lost’ or go ‘missing’?
Over the course of your career, you may have held numerous jobs; each of these jobs may have created a superannuation account for you and made deposits. It’s only in recent years that the concept of supplying your ‘preferred super fund’ before starting a job become commonplace.
If you’ve changed your name, job or address – there is a chance your old super fund doesn’t know how to contact you. If you’ve failed to make regular deposits, you’ve likely become ‘inactive’ in their eyes and as such the superannuation you hold with them is effectively ‘lost’.
These old superannuation accounts you hold likely have small balances (or in some cases, a huge balance) which are easily diminished via recurring fees and charges. This means your hard earned money could slowly deplete to nothing if you don’t take the time to consolidate into one super fund.
What are the consequences of lost super for your retirement?
Lost super is not a good thing. The point of super is to fund your future retirement; if you have multiple funds with small balances, there is a large chance your money will waste away over time due to excessive fees, charges and insurance premiums.
- This means you have less money for retirement.
- This means you miss out on life-long investment earnings of the money.
- This means you effectively wasted money and time working.
- This means you could potentially not have enough money to enjoy retirement.
How to locate your lost superannuation
Here are the top three ways to retrieve your lost superannuation and consolidate it into a single super fund to avoid fees, charges and diminishing balances over time.
Find Lost Super using MyGov
https://my.gov.au is a secure way to access Australian Government services online. You can set up a MyGov account in under 5 minutes which will give you access to your Australian Taxation Office (ATO) records, which includes a list of Superannuation accounts you have.
Using MyGov, you will see a list of Superannuation accounts the ATO know you have and their respective balances. These accounts are identified as yours due to having your tax file number associated with the account.
While the ATO can see these, you may have very well forgotten about them – making MyGov the ideal first port of call for anyone looking to locate and consolidate their superannuation. Within the MyGov website, you can also opt to consolidate your superannuation into one account with but a few clicks.
I tested this for myself recently (after spending a number of years consolidating superannuation accounts) and found that I actually had one more I was not aware of (a super account given to me by my current employer, which had received one superannuation payment prior to me opting to use my preferred fund).
The ATO system also shows unclaimed super which is super that has been transferred to the ATO. There is more on the difference between lost and unclaimed super at Industry Super.
It is wise to note that the MyGov service has replaced the old ‘Super Seeker’ website, previously run by the ATO.
Find Lost Super using AUSFund
https://ausfund.com.au is the Governments Superannuation Fund for lost super. When your old super fund is unable to contact you (or deems you inactive), they transfer your remaining balance into AUSFund.
AUSFund aims to invest your money to deliver a competitive return with medium risk. As stated above, many Australian’s have lost superannuation accounts; as such, be careful or aware of your open super accounts – the money you have invested can quickly be eaten up by fees, charges and insurance premiums. Money transferred to AUSFund is a Government initiative to help stop this happening.
AUSFund offers an online search function whereby you can claim your lost superannuation balances. You simply do a search via first name, last name and date of birth. Sometimes it pays to search for variations of your name (e.g. Alex and Alexander) to ensure you find everything you’re entitled too.
Find Lost Superannuation using your go-forward Super Fund
You likely have a primary superannuation fund that you currently use (and intend to use ongoing). Most of these super funds offer a personalized ‘lost super search’ on your behalf known as SuperMatch.
Contact your go-forward superannuation fund to ask them to help you search for (and locate) any lost super funds.
It’s also important to note that if you find lost superannuation via MyGov or AUSFund, your existing super fund can also help retrieve that money on your behalf if you point them in the right direction (potentially saving you time and effort).
Find Lost Super using the manual ATO form method
For those of you who are a little bit old school (or wish to be ultra-thorough) – you can also print and submit an ATO Lost Super form to have the ATO query it’s database further for you. This form will query the ‘lost members register’ and ‘unclaimed money register’.
You can download the form here.