If you’ve worked on multiple jobs, then you probably have multiple superannuation accounts from previous employers. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to sort out your super and combine them into a single account, but you don’t know how to do it. This is often called ‘super consolidation’ or ‘super rollover.’
You may also have more than one super account which you don’t know exists and you don’t know where to find them. Such super accounts are called ‘lost super,’ and they are your money. Thus, you must find them and give them a permanent place to stay.
This step-by-step guide will show you how to find lost super and put them all in one place. By the time you finish reading this article, you’d understand why it’s best to be more engaged with your super and why you should put them all in one place.
Here are 7 expert tips to track down lost super and consolidate multiple super accounts:
- Check for ‘lost super.’ All that’s required is the internet and your tax file number.
- Record all the details of your superannuation accounts and where you prefer your money to be transferred. You will need fund names and your account or member number. Look into your annual statement – or just call the super fund to make inquiries.
- Choose among the super funds the one you will keep as an active account. If you can’t choose among your options, you must open a new account and fund, and save that single account permanently.
- Communicate with the super fund you will be consolidating your accounts into. Generally, there will be a form that you must fill up and complete. There will be a separate form for each account you’d be transferring.
Contact the super fund you will be transferring your super money into. A lot of super providers will allow you to do much of the rollover procedure online.
- Secure a certified copy of your driver’s license or passport or multiple copies if you will be transferring multiple super accounts. It can’t be denied that having your certified documents copied can be troublesome – but it’s crucial since the majority of super funds will not release the money unless you provide proof of identity.
Thus, it’s not good to have a nonchalant attitude when it comes to submitting or rolling over your super since there are specific requirements you need to meet.
- Send certified copies of your chosen super fund with your super rollover forms. Don’t just email them – they’d want an original signature, and so you must not send the original documents, (i.e., your driver’s license and passport).
- Wait while the super provider you’re consolidating the accounts into work things out for you. They will contact other funds and do the super money transfer generally within a thirty-day period.
How to reclaim lost superannuation
If you happen to have lost super, you are not alone. According to the latest report from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), there are at least 3.4 million lost superannuation accounts throughout Australia – that’s $17.5 billion total of lost super money. The average lost super account balance is at least $4,800.
A super fund should transfer your money to the Australian Tax Office if you happened to be a lost member with an account of lesser than $2,000, or if you happen to be a lost member with a super account that is inactive for a year and the super fund isn’t able to contact you or send your payment in any way.
You are also a lost member if the superfund classifies you as either ‘inactive’ or uncontactable, which means that they did not receive any rollover or contribution from you for a year and they never knew your current address or received any message reply from you.
‘Inactive’ entails that you are a member of the super fund for over two years, but there are no contributions and rollovers done for you within a five-year period.
There are other circumstances, and cases wherein your super could be transferred to the ATO just like being a temporary resident of Australia who has left the country (temporary resident superannuation) or someone who has just been divorced and is entitled to the ex-spouse’s super, but the superfund can’t reach you.
Finding lost super
To find lost super, take advantage of the ATO’s SuperSeeker tool online and check whether the ATO keeps funds under your name. If you don’t want to search for yourself, you can contact the ATO and request that they search for you. You need to submit a tax file number.
If you can’t find it, look into the last tax assessment notice from your employer. If that doesn’t work, then call the ATO. Once you find that you have lost super accounts, you then have the choice to transfer them into a single preferred account.
Why consolidate your super?
Having multiple superannuation accounts generally, mean that you are paying multiple sets of fees. These payments will add up, and you’d be surprised at how much money you’ve wasted on these fees alone. It would also be quite troublesome to go through all the annual paperwork while sorting out your investments on each account – that includes insurance.
By consolidating your super into one account, you will have only one set of fees, investment decisions, and a lot of admin to worry about. This will give you more control over your funds and insurance cover.
Let’s take a look at Clark’s case as an example.
Clark is 35 years old, with at least $30,000 spread throughout five superannuation accounts – each having a $6000 balance. Janice, also 35, consolidated her super into one account with a balance of $30,000. Each must pay a $100 annual admin fee for each super account. By the time she reaches 65, Janice will acquire $21,931 more than Clark, simply because she consolidated her super. She also has only one set of paperwork and decisions to worry about.
Finding and consolidating your super is more important than most people think. If you have lost super, you should appreciate that fact that you are richer than you think. It may not seem much now, but it would also make a huge difference in your retirement if you can consolidate your super now.
Louis is a content writer and blogger who has published hundreds of blog posts online. Among his focus topics include Superannuation and Filipino Martial Arts. As a content writer and blogger, it is his goal to share relevant information on important topics such as superannuation online.