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Could you have lost super? And how can you find it?

24 February 2016 | by Halcyon

A superannuation fund is an essential part of retiring. It will make up the vast majority of your budget for living throughout your retirement years and is something that all working Australians should be considering.

According to the most recent estimates from the Association of Superannuation of Funds of Australia (ASFA), a single person should have enough saved to be able to spend roughly $23,600 per year for a modest lifestyle or $42,800 annually for a comfortable lifestyle. These figures are known as the retirement standard and are calculated based on the expected average costs of living expenses such as medical costs, leisure and travel, insurance, food and so on.

Despite years of saving, many Australians do not have enough set aside to retire based on this standard. According to a 2014 study from the University of Melbourne, just 53% of couples and 22% of singles have enough set aside for retirement.

One way to potentially boost your retirement savings is to track down ‘lost super’. Lost super is essentially any fund that you may not know about or have forgotten about, which is surprisingly common amongst Australians.

In 2014, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) revealed that there was as much as $14 billion of lost super waiting to be claimed.

Assistant commissioner John Shepherd of the ATO explained that, “more than 40% of super account holders have more than one account. Many of these additional accounts have not received a contribution for quite some time, and those with small balances can be eroded by super fund fees and charges”.

Lost super occurs when people change jobs, get married or change their name, move house, or pick up short-term or one-off jobs. Such changes can mean that your funds are directed into different accounts each time, making it far more difficult to keep track of your total savings.

So how can you find out if any of the $14 billion treasure trove belongs to you?

You will need to register with the Australian Taxation Office. This is where you will find all details of your super accounts; including any that you may not even know existed.

Your MyGov account may also hold ‘ATO-held super’. This form of lost super occurs if your employer can’t find the correct account to send your funds to. In this case, the funds are sent to the ATO for safe keeping.

If you do find that you have some superfunds waiting for you that you didn’t know about, you can also use this website to transfer them into your main or preferred super account to consolidate your savings. This transfer only takes three working days.

If you are unsure about finding your lost super, talk to a trusted financial advisor or accountant to find out if you might have any funds under your name that you didn’t know about.

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