Consolidating Your Superannuation
Here in Australia we have one of the largest superannuation pools in the world, with over $1 trillion dollars worth of retirement savings sitting in super funds.
The compulsory super rules mean that all Australian workers have superannuation, however many of us have additional super funds that we don’t even know about.
It is estimated that around $18 billion is sitting in lost super accounts. Some of these funds could be yours, and you could be paying unnecessary fees and potentially missing out on investment returns.
The good news is that you can track these lost funds down and reclaim them.
Finding Lost Super
A growing number of businesses in Australia have been established to help find your lost super. They use a variety of methods to track down your missing funds and consolidated them for you.
These companies will generally charge you a fee or take a percentage of your super balance, so it is important to check these details before you engage their services.
Many of the methods used to track down super can be performed by anyone however, and it doesn’t take a huge amount of time or knowledge to do.
The first step is to go through your old documents and see how many different statements you can find. Super funds are required to send you statements at least once a year, and finding a statement with an account number will make the consolidation process much easier.
More of your lost super can be found by using the free service offered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Via their website you can enter your Tax File Number (TFN) and the ATO’s system will then match you up with any lost super accounts that feature the same TFN.
Any super funds that you are still receiving statements for will generally not be regarded as lost super, and will therefore not show up in the ATO search. For this reason it is still important to look for any other superannuation statements you may have laying around.
Once you have put together a list of all your super funds, try to match each one up to your previous employers and see if you can think of any past employers that you cannot find superannuation for. If you can think of some, give them a call and ask which super provider they used, then contact that provider to see if they have any lost funds under your name.
After you have completed each of these steps you should have successfully tracked down all of your lost super.
Rolling Over Your Lost Super
Now that you have the details of each lost super account you need to roll them all into your main fund. To do this you will need to complete a rollover form which is available from your super fund.
On the rollover form you will need to enter a number of details from each fund. Sometimes this information may be difficult to come by, so you may have to ring around to your different super funds chasing up account numbers and previous addresses.
Once you have submitted your completed rollover forms, each of your existing super funds will be rolled into your main fund over the course of a few weeks.
Keeping It Together
Now that your super has been reunited it is important to keep it together. To do this, whenever you start a new job you simply need to advise the HR department of your existing superannuation fund details. This way each employer won’t have to start a new fund for you.