Earlier this month we came across a report on some research by money educator and expert Vanessa Stoykov showing 10% of Australians don’t trust superannuation funds.
While that figure may seem modest, it’s nonetheless concerning.
After all, super is compulsory for most workers and is the vehicle that will fund retirement in many cases. Australians generally have a keen eye on the value of their home, the value of their bank account and investments and the level of their income. However we often see people with their eye off their superannuation.
Equating to over $2.7 trillion in assets owned by over 15 million members, it is certainly possible that an Australian’s superannuation nest egg will be one of the largest assets in their lifetime. And perhaps worth including on the list of assets to actively keep an eye on.
It is certainly possible that Australians’ distrust of super funds stems from the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into superannuation a few years ago. Focused on products and their return, the findings were alarming.
Due to the power of compound interest, a worker who ends up in the median bottom-quartile MySuper product would retire with a balance significantly lower than if they were in the median top-quartile product.
Cost to member at retirement: $502,000 or 45% less
The premiums that come out of members’ accounts erode their retirement balances.
The effects are worse for members on low incomes or who work intermittently, who continue to have premiums deducted from their accounts while not contributing to their super.
Cost to member at retirement: $85,000 or 14% less
Australians pay over $30 billion a year in fees on their super (excluding insurance premiums). An increase in fees of just 0.5% can cost a member tens of thousands of dollars.
Cost to member at retirement: $100,000 or 12% less.
According to the Australian Taxation Office, as at 30 June 2018, about six million Australians held two or more super accounts.
These accounts are created when workers change jobs or industries and don’t close their old account or roll over their existing balance.
These erode members’ balances by $2.6 billion a year in unnecessary fees and insurance.
Cost to member at retirement: $51,000 or 6% less
Interestingly, the superannuation inquiry did focus on what we believe is most important; the lifetime impact of:
“Many members simply default, and rely on their fund to manage their super for them (whether out of trust, a lack of interest or an inability to compare products themselves).”
As a result, rates of switching between funds and products are modest.
Default arrangements are necessary in a compulsory super system to protect members who do not make their own investment decisions.
The downside is that these policy settings have created an ‘unlucky lottery’ for members by failing to ensure they are placed in the most appropriate funds for them.
When you really look at it, it is no wonder 10% of Australians do not trust their super funds.
Financial security is a journey, not an event. If you have kept your eye off your superannuation, are concerned about its performance, or wonder if you will have enough to live a comfortable retirement, get in touch with one of our Strategic Wealth Planners today for some impartial advice on 1300 27 28 29 or book an appointment here.
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