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$18.1 billion of lost super is sitting in Australia's backyard

13 June 2013 
 

Westpac Lost Super Report shows almost 2 in 5 Australians1 remain unaware of whether they have a stake in $18.1 billion in lost super2.
 

Westpac has revealed there is $18.1 billion of lost super sitting in Australia's backyard, and according to the 2013 Westpac Lost Super Reporti, launched today, almost 2 in 5 Aussies don’t even know if they have a stake in it3.
 

The nationwide report also uncovered that almost 1 in 2 (47%) Australians are likely to have lost super4, proving that many people are still not on top of this aspect of their finances.
 

“Superannuation is a subject that most people tend to avoid, particularly when it comes to lost super, where Australians seem to be disengaged,” said Deanne Stewart, Westpac Head of Superannuation.
 

“We’re all planning to retire, so why don’t more of us spend just a few minutes to find any lost super? It’s real money which will grow and could really make a difference to your future,” said Deanne.
 

“We need to rethink our attitude towards super - it is alarming that only 1 in 5 Australians are able to accurately estimate how much they will need to live comfortably in retirement5.
 

“So start with a lost super search. If you have multiple accounts, you could consider moving them into just one to make it easier to potentially save thousands of dollars in fees,” said Deanne.
 

Breakdown of the likely amount of Lost Super by State Across Australia6

Based on estimated lost super amount per person

Rank State Factor estimated lost super amount per area Estimated lost super amount per person in an area
1 Australian Capital Territory $362,449,911 $2,912
2 Northern Territory $142,385,664 $2,845
3 Western Australia $2,011,878,732 $2,731
4 Queensland $3,687,947,789 $2,662
5 Victoria $4,664,120,726 $2,584
6 New South Wales $5,490,755,288 $2,523
7 South Australia $1,356,564,751 $2,499
8 Tasmania $390,811,679 $2,412
9 Total Other Territories $1,118,139 $1,994
  Total Australia $18,100,000,000 $2,592

 

2013 Westpac Lost Super Report - Key Findings

Lost Super

  • Almost 2 in 5 (38%) of Australians remain unaware whether they have any lost super7
  • Almost 1 in 2 (47%) Australians are likely to have lost super8
  • Almost 3 in 5 (57%) Australians have never searched for lost super9
  • A quarter (25%) of Australians are a little confused by lost super, with a further 19% not knowing what lost super is at all10
  • The average balance of a lost super account in Australia is $2,59211

Consolidating Super

  • Almost a third (30%) of Australians with superannuation have more than one super account12
  • 58% of Australians believe there is no benefit in having multiple accounts13
  • The top two reasons Australians with two or more accounts don’t consolidate multiple accounts is because they 'don’t have enough time' (28%) and 'don’t know how to' (27%)14

Preparedness for Retirement

  • Only 1 in 5 Australians are able to estimate the amount of super they will need to retire15. The BT Super Check-up is a tool people can use to check if their super accounts are on track. Visit www.BTsupercheckup.com.au.
     

For interviews with Deanne Stewart please contact:

Alana Stack
Map and Page
P: 02 9368 4503
M: 0412 859 410
E: alana@mapandpage.com.au

Caroline Bligh
Westpac Public Relations
P: 02 9295 7867
M: 0413 271 528
E: carolinebligh@westpac.com.au

Melissa Wilson
Map and Page
P: 02 9368 4506
M: 0438 255 572
E: melissa@mapandpage.com.au

Notes to Editor

Footage Requirements

Martin Huisman (0428 889 906) is shooting vision, interviews and overlay of today's event which will be sent out via the news network after 12:00 AEST. Martin will advise once it has been sent.
 

Lost Super Searches - Sydney and Brisbane

Sydneysiders are encouraged bring their Tax File Number (TFN) and visit the Lost Super Wheel at Customs House today between 7am-7pm for a free lost super search.

Brisbane residents are encouraged to take their TFN to Reddacliff Place between 7am- 7pm to receive their free lost super search while they take a ride on the Lost Super Wheel.
 

Report Source

The Westpac Lost Super Report was independently commissioned by Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC) (ABN 33 007 457 141). It surveyed 2,013 respondents from 17 to 26 April 2013.

Modelled data, undertaken by CoreData Consulting Pty Ltd, is correct as at June 2013. Data used in this report may change into the future which may affect the outcome. For further information regarding the methodology used in the report please contact WBC Public Relations on 02 8253 9484.

Quantitative Primary Research was run by the Westpac Group in the form of an online survey during April 2013. The survey was eight minutes in length and delved into a number of issues relating to superannuation, with a particular focus on lost super.

The overall random sample of 2013 participants is nationally representative of the population of Australia.
 

FAQ

What is Lost Super?

Your super account will generally be considered 'lost' if:

  • no contributions or rollovers have been added to your super account in the last year and either your super fund never had an address for you or mail sent to you by your super fund has been returned unclaimed; or
  • your account was established within your current or a previous employer's default super fund and no contributions or rollovers have been added to your super account in the last five years

How Likely Am I to Have Lost Super?

You could be one of the millions of Australians who has lost super accounts if you have:

  • Changed jobs
  • Moved house
  • Changed your name

Lost Super Steps

  1. Have your Tax File Number handy. You can find it by calling the ATO on 13 28 61. 
  2.  Find out if you have any lost super by going into any Westpac branch for a free lost super search, or visit www.westpac.com.au/lostsuper.
  3. Once you find your lost super, get in touch with the super fund to update your personal details to ensure you receive any future information about your superannuation. 
  4.  Think about where you'd like any new-found super invested.

Simple Super Tips

  1. Make sure your super fund has your TFN on file so you avoid paying additional tax on the Superannuation Guarantee contributions your employer makes for you.
  2. Find out if you are eligible for the Government co-contribution. If you earn less than $46,920 it's worth investigating further. If you are eligible, the Government will contribute up to 50c for every dollar of after-tax money you pay into your super account up to a maximum of $500 per financial year.
  3. Consider consolidating your super accounts if you have multiple accounts with different providers. This could mean you can stop paying multiple account keeping fees as well as adopt a single and consistent investment strategy that suits your current situation. 
  4. To be sure that your superannuation assets are distributed according to your wishes, nominate a beneficiary(s) to receive your superannuation benefit in the event of your death. Contact your super fund to find out how you can make a nomination.
  5. Salary Sacrifice can be a clever way for employees to save for retirement due to the potential tax benefits. It allows you to allocate a portion of your gross (before-tax) salary as an extra contribution to your super. To see if this strategy would be suitable for you speak to a financial adviser and to set up a salary sacrifice arrangement speak to your employer.

Read the full reports:

 

Things you should know

The information does not take into account your personal objectives, financial or tax situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it.

There may be a fee charged by your superannuation fund for accepting rollovers. Before requesting the rollover, you should also check with your other fund(s) to see if there are any exit fees for moving your benefit, or other loss of benefits (e.g. insurance cover).

Government co-contribution rates and thresholds are based on Federal Government proposals and are not yet law.

i The Westpac Lost Super Report, commissioned by The Westpac Group, April 2013, available at www.westpac.com.au/about-westpac/media/
1 The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, page 15.
2 The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) internal data as at 31 December 2012, as referenced in The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, page 5.
3 The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, page 10.
4 The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, page 10.
5 The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, page 11.
6 The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, pages 18-19. See Appendix on page 20 for a detailed explanation of Bayesian analysis run by Core Data to understand how these dollar breakdowns have been calculated.
7 The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, page 15.
8 The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, page 10.
9 The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, page 15.
10 The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, page 16.
11 The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, page 19. See Appendix on page 26 for a detailed explanation of Bayesian analysis run by Core Data to understand how these dollar breakdowns have been calculated.
12 The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, page 12.
13 The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, page 13.
14 The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, page 13.
15 The 2013 Westpac Lost Super Report, page 11.

Superannuation is a long-term investment. The Government has placed restrictions on when you can access your preserved benefits. The Government has set caps on the amount of money you can add to superannuation each year on a concessionally taxed basis. In addition, the Government has set a non-concessional contributions cap. For more detail, speak with a financial adviser or visit the ATO website.