In 2019 we advised that the amount of money in unclaimed superannuation exceeded $20 Billion. Pleasingly, this amount is down to $3.6 Billion. Whilst this reduction in the unclaimed balance is a massive improvement it still represents a significant amount of money that is not being managed in the best interest of the owner, the member.
From our experience, it is the people that believe that all their superannuation is accountable are the ones that have an unclaimed balance. It is akin to not checking your lotto numbers because you do not think that you have won. It doesn’t hurt to check if you have an outstanding unclaimed super members balance.
Maybe, during this COVID lockdown, you will have an opportunity to determine whether any of this unclaimed superannuation belongs to you or your spouse or a family member.
For those readers who are under 40 years of age, this is a fantastic opportunity to maximise the return on your superannuation, as well as minimising the fees and charges, now until age 60, to ensure that you give yourself the best opportunity for a comfortable retirement.
For those readers aged over 60 and retired, or aged over 65 and working, you have the opportunity to access this pool of superannuation to assist with your day to day living expenses.
The most common reasons that people lose touch with their superannuation are;
- Changing email addresses. Most superannuation funds request your email address. If you use a work email domain then these emails may not be forwarded to you when you change addresses.
- Changing jobs. People change jobs more frequently now than they did twenty or thirty years ago. At the time of changing jobs their superannuation balance is not a priority.
- Moving home. Particularly with people renting premises who receive their correspondence by post, once the person changes their residence the mail continues to go to the previous residence and the mail is not returned to sender. Also, if the mail is returned to sender, the superannuation fund does not have details of the employee’s new contact details.
- Contractors. Individual contractors are eligible for superannuation from their employer. Many taxpayers are not aware, hence they don’t follow up their superannuation through the particular employer.
- Changing name. This is particularly the case with females that get married. Females may seek to find their superannuation balance via their married name. However, the members account may be in their maiden name.
So what do you do?
The first place to start would be the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The main reason I would use the ATO is that most superannuation funds would have your tax file number (TFN) on their contact details. While your name, address and employer details may have changed, your TFN would not have changed.
You can search ‘Australian Taxation Office’ searching for ‘lost and unclaimed super’. That should lead you to a two-page form. You can complete and lodge the form online. See how you go completing and lodging this form.
Now, I know what you are thinking. You’re saying to yourself none of your super will be missing, but that is what the members of $3.6 Billion of super have continued to say.
Should you have any problems searching for your lost superannuation please feel free to contact Peter Quinn by submitting an enquiry or calling us on +61 2 9580 9166 to book an obligation free appointment.
The information in this document does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and it is recommended that you seek assistance from your financial adviser.