A few clicks could add thousands to your retirement savings

ASFA estimates the government is currently sitting on about $2.7 billion worth of unclaimed super
Lifestyle
There are an estimated four million unclaimed super accounts held by the government.

A few minutes of your time could net you thousands of extra dollars toward your retirement income, new calculations shared with Starts at 60 show.

The number of lost superannuation funds being transferred to the taxman will increase by 100,000 this year alone, yet with a small amount of effort, owners of those funds could reclaim them and use the cash to increase the amount they retire on.

And it is never too late for that cash to make a different.

Figures supplied to Starts at 60 by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) show that if a 55-year-old worker reclaimed $5,500 in unclaimed super and added it to their active super fund, that money would be worth $7,600 in today’s money by the time they retired at 65.

The ASFA estimates that a saver could earn roughly $225 a year on average by putting $5,000 in an active fund compared to what the same chunk of cash would earn while sitting with the ATO, which interest at the current rate of 1.5 percent.

Super funds are obliged to turn over to the ATO any unclaimed super savings worth $6,000 or more. ASFA estimates that the government is currently sitting on about $2.7 billion worth of unclaimed super, comprising more than four million individual super accounts.

What constitutes unclaimed super?  There are a number of ways super funds decide whether money is unclaimed, but one of the broad identifiers is that the savings have been untouched for 12 months. Super funds must have attempted to contact the owner of the super and failed before turning it over to the ATO.

ASFA wants the government to change the law so that the ATO is responsible for reuniting Australians with their unclaimed super whenever possible, given that the tax office holds increasing amounts of identifying information about taxpayers.

The super funds body has put in a pre-budget submission pushing for a change to the Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999 that would allow the ATO to pay unclaimed money directly into a person’s current active super account.

But even without such a change to the law, it’s relatively easy to check whether you have forgotten super sitting with the taxman. Here’s how:

  • Create a myGov account at , then link the ATO to your account. If you already have a myGov account, log in and click on the ATO section.
  • Go to the ‘Super’ tab. In that section you can see details of all your super accounts, including any super the ATO may be holding on your behalf.
  • If you need more information, check out the ATO’s advice page on super. 

Are you confident you don’t have any unclaimed super? If not, have you tried searching for it? Let us know how you went.

 

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