Our super isn’t good enough. Here’s what needs to change.

Our superannuation system could do so much more to help Australians. Too many of us are finding ourselves retiring with

Our superannuation system could do so much more to help Australians. Too many of us are finding ourselves retiring with too little, too late.

Thankfully, somebody is willing to lead by example and show the industry how it’s done.

Ian Silk, AustralianSuper’s chief executive, has just taken a stand for Australia’s retirees, challenging the whole industry to up its game; to give us what we signed up for: a fair deal.

All retirees want is to be able to afford their retirement years – in sickness and in health. This is what the superannuation industry promises. Yet many consumers who depend on the super industry are still left to wonder how they’re meant to sustain a future.

In a powerful speech delivered to super industry members all across Australia, Mr. Silk said super funds should not be congratulating themselves on making the most money, nor having the most members.

He said a super fund should have two simple goals: “our customers, our members, having the best shot we can give them at a comfortable life, and their absolute confidence in the industry”.

“What we do isn’t just about money, it’s about people. Providing a solid foundation for people to build their lives and futures. It’s about their success, not ours”.

This is the least that should be expected of us given we manage two trillion dollars’ worth of the hopes and dreams of working Australians”.

Isn’t it enough for us to do what we are required to do by our Boards, by the regulators, by the Government?”

“No, it’s not. Not even close”.

He challenged the industry to have a bigger, better ambition: to help as many members as possible reach a comfortable standard of income in retirement.

They should only consider this goal achieved when every Australian has this privilege.

“And that means everyone. Women, people with broken work patterns, the low paid, casual workers, indigenous Australians”.

“When working Australians trust and believe us, we will have landed”.

“And, just by going on the journey, we will deliver better environmental, social and governance outcomes. We will have changed our culture so we spend as much effort researching and helping people through their retirement years as we do on early childhood years”.

By putting members first, Mr. Silk believes the entire country can prosper as a result.

“Success will help millions of Australians and the national economy. The benefits will last for generations”.

“It will restore the other great challenge we face – ensuring super fund members, and the community generally, have absolute trust and faith in the super system and the people and organisations in it”.

“If we fail to deliver, the consequences are dire. Australians will feel uncertain about their futures and confidence will wane. What a failure that would be given our industry was explicitly created to help alleviate worry for working Australians”.

But words are not enough.

“It’s not about words. Not anymore. We’ve turned good words into clichés – integrity, sustainability, responsibility”.

“Volkswagen was apparently all about responsibility and sustainability – until we discovered that actually they weren’t. They were irresponsible and unsustainable”.

How, then, can these changes actually begin? Mr Silk suggested three goals every super fund should advocate for:

  1. Policies that will generate 12 per cent superannuation savings from the average wage
  2. Policies that address or compensate for broken work patterns (which has a particularly huge impact on women)
  3. Policies that encourage people to save for the long term.

“These three simple actions, when underpinned with confidence and trust, would create a thriving future for millions of Australians”.

Do you agree with these powerful words? Should super funds be doing more to ensure a comfortable retirement for all Australians? And do you feel like your own super fund is doing enough?

This article has been sponsored by AustralianSuper Pty Ltd ABN 94 006 457 987, AFSL 233788, the Trustee of AustralianSuper ABN 65 714 394 898. The views expressed are those of Starts at Sixty and not necessarily Australian Super. For more information, please visit the AustralianSuper website.


  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Australian Super are by far the best, I changed to Australian Super many years ago and it was the best decision I have ever made.

  2. What’s the old saying? “The lord helps those who help themselves”. By the time I was just short of 50 I had spent 5 years living like a pauper while I paid off debts I didn’t incur but was responsible for. I thought if I could do that in 5 years I can get enough super put together in 5 years so that I could retire.

    Yep forgo all of the discretionary spending and put as much as possible into super. Sure things have changed back when I did it the tax on contributions went from 15% to 25% at $75k. It’s about 30k these days. I aimed to put half of my salary package into super each year and I achieved that and I retired at 55 with a comfortable package.

    Yes being on a large salary package helped. Eating lunch and dinner in the subsidised staff canteen helped, working hard to get max bonus helped but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and I knew it wasn’t a train coming towards me.

    The last three years prior to retirement I went to the IOM TT which cost me $5k for the trip. One of the clowns I worked with asked the question “how the hell can you afford to do that?” This bloke went to the Rooty Hill RSL every day so I sat down with him and ran through how much he spent on dinner, booze, ciggies, pokies etc. and bingo enough for 2 trips to the IOM.

    Yep it really is what and where do you want to be. B|

    • Exactly. We have saved for the last 20 years to afford to retire comfortably. We are getting close. Can’t wait.

    • We saved hard and only had one trip away in 39 years of marriage. That was in 1982. Car trip Qld to Adelaide with a 1yr old and 2yr old. Thought hubby would be able to do the IOM TT when he retired and even take his own bike there for a strap around the track but both of us forcibly retired 2 years too early means that’s not going to happen.

  3. I think Silk has nailed it with a really Aussie perspective … Would love to see it happen… But is it likely …the past would suggest not!

  4. ghb – I lost weight 28 pounds making the 2015 champion diet that I found here on this site 3BestDiets .Com

  5. that was a no brainer ,depreciation kills it million now aint worth that much in twenty years ,its a con ,if you invested ten percent in real estate you would far far better of .

  6. We will all be living on the streets Hoards of Bag Ladies and Bag Men That’s our future

  7. I read The Conversation which is an online newspaper and gives a different perspective on numerous topics. Just thought I would share with you for those who are interested! ☺

  8. I have touched down Sydney tarmac at gentle age of 31 with no spoken Ausie English (i could spell though). It wthe best move i ever done in my life time.
    At 67 i consider myself lucky man to be a small part of Ausiescape. How can anybody winge about this place is beyond my comprehension.
    Best for Festive & Healthy Wealthy New 2016.
    Cheers OyOyOy

    • i agree we live on the pension only and own our home which makes a differance I know. we dont really live an expensive lifestyle just on a small acreage. even when we sell we wont be rich by any means we were told it will only be the 3 acres that people want not the house.. just house for house if we are lucky. hopefully with no morgage at our age… we are lucky that this country even has a pension. I worry about my children and granchildren in the future,

  9. Become a politician when you do your time you can end up in a embassy some where in the world the people keep paying for them for ever and ever the people get less and less 🙊😢 where are the job’s there are no good leaders left if they was they are long ago
    No more

  10. Silk just spewed forth waffle. Wouldn’t expect antyjing less from an Industry Super fund director. He doesn’t have the balls of Daryl Dixon to actually spell out what should done. And Silk, good luck trying to get people to save for the long term if the ALP ever gets back in. They decentivise so everyone has to rely on the Pension. It’s in the socilaists DNA.

  11. Needless to repeat but can’t help myself
    ” Its not what the country can do for you
    Its what you can do for a country”
    – regretfully bums galore

    • Because Miet the majority of Australians don’t know what it is to do it tough in the lucky Country. They should try living in third world countries or Africa. No social welfare or handouts or pensions or super.

  12. If we had stuck to Paul Keating’s original plans we would be in a better position.

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