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Media releases

Over $42.4 billion in potential retirement savings for Australians

 

20 June 2016

 

  • Today's $13.5 billion in lost super1 could equate to $42.4 billion by retirement2
  • The largest amount of lost super in Australia is in Queensland's Mackay Andergrove - Beaconsfield and surrounds (postcode 4740) which has a pool of $58 million in lost super, at an average of $11,517 per account3
  • For millennials, every $1 in lost super found today equates to $10 in retirement4
  • Three quarters (73 per cent) of Australians wish they looked after their super more when they were younger
  • Nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of Australian workers would like to live more comfortably in retirement than they currently do
  • The ATO transferred an unclaimed super amount of $994,276.90 to a super fund in October 2015 for an individual who reclaimed the amount by lodging a paper application form5

 

The 2016 Westpac Lost Super Report, released today, has revealed almost half (48 per cent) of Australian workers are not sure if they have lost super however if every Australian claimed their share of the $13.5 billion  in lost super today, it could be equivalent to an extra $42.4 billion  in savings at the age of their retirement.

 

Your super account could 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.

 

 "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 - the wealth management arm of Westpac.

 

Ms Howes said people don't understand just how easy the process is and encouraged everyone to take the short amount of time to find what is rightfully theirs.

 

"It's a real myth that finding lost super is time consuming and difficult, yet more than four in five (83 per cent) people described finding lost super like smoking or exercise; they know what they should do, but many don't do it.

 

"If you have moved house, changed your name or changed your jobs you are especially vulnerable to having lost super," she said.

 

The 2016 Westpac Lost Super Report also found three quarters (73 per cent) of Australians wish they looked after their super more when they were younger and the average Australian worker believes it will take them over an hour and a half (107 minutes) to find and combine lost super into one account rather than the minutes it actually requires.

 

"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," Ms Howes said.

 

 Access the full media (PDF 465KB) release.

 

Footnotes

 

  1. The ATO reported lost super of $13.527 billion, as at 31 December 2015. (https://www.ato.gov.au/about-ato/research-and-statistics/in-detail/super-statistics/super-accounts-data/super-accounts-data-overview/)
  2. Projections calculated by Westpac and BT based on ATO data as at 31 Dec 2015. The projections assume an annual rate of return of 5.5% after fees and tax on earnings has been applied. It is assumed this level of return will be achieved until an individual reaches retirement age at 65, starting at various ages based on the breakdown provided by the ATO (table titled number of super accounts by age) https://www.ato.gov.au/about-ato/research-and-statistics/in-detail/super-statistics/super-accounts-data/super-accounts-data-overview/.
  3. Calculated as $57,918,486 in lost super for postcode 4740 / 5,029 lost accounts as at 31 December 2015 (source: https://www.ato.gov.au/About-ATO/Research-and-statistics/In-detail/Super-statistics/Super-accounts-data/Lost-super-data-by-postcode/?page=5#Queensland
  4. A millennial has been classified as those 19-24. Projections based on ATO data as at 31 Dec 2015. The projections assume an annual rate of return of 5.5% after fees and tax on earnings has been applied.
  5. Source: Australian Taxation Office, internal data as at June 2016.