If all lost superannuation was claimed it could be worth $42.4 billion by the time people retire.
According to the 2016 Westpac Lost Super Report there was $13.5 billion in lost super as at December 2015. If this was claimed it would be worth $42.4 billion by retirement, according to modelling by Westpac.
“With $13.5 billion in lost super across Australia, it’s one of the nation’s biggest financial opportunities to better secure retirement savings,” said Melinda Howes, superannuation expert at BT.
Westpac says that a superannuation account can be considered ‘lost’ if “no money has been added for 12 months and your fund does not have your current address or for default employer super plans, if no money has been added for five years”.
The Westpac report found 83% of Australian workers describe finding lost super like exercise, “they know what they should do, but many don’t do it”. The average worker estimates it would take them 107 minutes to find their lost super and transfer it into one account. 45% said they consider looking for lost super to be a difficult task.
Ms Howes said it was a myth that finding lost super is time consuming and difficult.
“The ATO or your current super fund actually does all of the hard work for you. Just tell them you want to find your lost super or if you walk into any Westpac branch, the staff can help you search for it in a matter of minutes.”
However the Westpac report warns of some of the unintended consequences of consolidating superannuation accounts: “Before requesting a rollover, you should consider where your future employer contributions will be paid (if your employer contributions are currently being paid to another fund) and check with your fund(s) to determine whether there are any exit or withdrawal fees fees for moving your benefit, or other loss of benefits (e.g. insurance cover), noting that you may not receive the same type or level of benefits after the rollover. You may not be covered for injuries or illnesses that have arisen since you took out previous insurance, and you may lose loyalty benefits.”