AUSTRALIANS are sabotaging their own retirement plans and must take control of their superannuation now or risk wrecking their golden years, experts say, with a lack of engagement posing the biggest threat.
And with millions of Australians receiving their superannuation statements in coming weeks, spring is the perfect time to fine tune your nest egg.
While it’s easy to ignore an email or letter from your fund, industry experts are urging people to sit up and pay attention or lose control of their money.
AustralianSuper’s group executive of membership, Paul Schroder, urged people to pull out their statements and pay attention to a handful of key points.
Photo: AustralianSuper’s Paul Schroder is urging Australians to analyse their superannuation statements.
“Look on the statement for the investment performance and fees and that will help you work out whether you have chosen a good fund,’’ he said.
“If your fund is in the single figures for returns they haven’t had a good year, if it’s in the double figures they’ve had a good year.”
Figures from independent superannuation research group SuperRatings has shown in the last financial year the returns for 50 key balanced funds (60-76 per cent growth assets), ranged from 6.7 per cent to 13.2 per cent.
Comparison websites for super funds include Super Ratings and Chant West.
The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees’ chief executive officer, Eva Scheerlinck, said it’s also vital to check the investment option listed on your statement and remember super is a long-term strategy
Photo: AIST chief executive officer Eva Scheerlinck said super statements should not be ignored.
“Different investment options suit different people depending on a range of factors such as time left in the workforce and risk profile,’’ she said.
“If you haven’t picked an option you are likely to be in your fund’s default option. they are diversified across a range of assets which helps investors ride out volatility and deliver long-term growth.”
Also, if you’re receiving more than one super statement in your inbox or the mail, Ms Scheerlinch said it’s likely to be time to consolidate your funds and reduce your costs.
This will lower the amount your spending on fees and prevent you from paying for multiple forms of insurance cover.
Photo: Paying attention to your super now will mean you will have a better chance of a happier retirement.
Mr Schroder said for those nearing retirement they need to also assess their financial plan before they stop work.
“Should you stick with your fund if you are moving into retirement and usually the answer is ‘yes’,’’ he said.
“Taking your money out as a lump sum as opposed to keeping it invested means when it’s still invested the money is still working for you.”
And finally, if you are not receiving any statements at all this is cause for concern — make sure your super fund has your correct details including your tax file number, mobile, email and postal address so they can keep in touch with you.
THE FIVE “C’s”, what to look for.
— Check your investment performance.
— Consolidate your accounts.
— Check your insurance cover.
— Contribute more.
— Consider whether you continue with your fund.
September 11 2017