Ask Paul: Why is my super losing money every week?


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Hi Paul,

I've got my money in super. Last year gave me great returns, but this year it's another story.

The sharemarket has been going from strength to strength but I'm still losing money just about every week. What could be the reason for this? - Sal

ask paul clitheroe why is my superannuation losing money

Last year was just a super year for super, Sal. Excuse the poor dad joke, but it did turn out to be a ripper.

We have short memories, though. All our super got smashed in March 2021, but values recovered so quickly we all forgot about that!

I've been around money and super for what feels like longer than when the dinosaurs roamed.

An advantage of this is that I am well aware that assets, such as shares, property, fixed interest, infrastructure and private equity - which will all be in just about any balanced or growth-style fund, have wild returns in any one year.

I've watched shares fall by more than 60% in a few months, and boom more than 60% in a year. I've seen plenty of property busts and investment failures.

What I think matters for you, me and most of us in super is long-term returns. In the 30 years or so of compulsory super, a decent, low-cost, well-diversified, balanced type fund has earnt around 8% to 9% a year on average.

And this is the key: long term and on average. Neither you nor I have the first clue what will happen to investments in a year or even three.

But in the long term, history is on our side.

Frankly, I would not get too excited in good years or bad. Let time work for you.

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Paul Clitheroe AM is founder and editorial adviser of Money magazine. He is one of Australia's leading financial voices, responsible for bringing financial insight to Australians through personal finance books, the Money TV show, and this publication, which he established in 1999. Paul is the chair of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and is chairman of InvestSMART Financial Services. He is the chair of Financial Literacy at Macquarie University where he is also a Professor with the School of Business and Economics. Ask Paul your money question. Unfortunately Paul cannot respond to questions posted in the comments section. View our disclaimer.
Money magazine
June 22, 2022 9.18am


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Harry Wan
June 27, 2022 1.41pm

Every financial advisor or money expert talks the same shit when ever there your super goes down and mention "oh history is on our side" .f**k off . You are all delusional if you think that you will have enough super to retire. Wake up people. No one is accounteable and companies give lip service . How about the government get rid of taxing super contributions, that would be a start . Remember every super fund has disclaimer " past performance does not reflect future returns" . It's a giant casino . Wake the f**k up everyone.

Christina Faulk
July 4, 2022 12.30pm

For months I was locked out of my HESTA super account (one of the old TAP accounts, that are no longer available). I finally filed a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (formerly FoS) after weeks of frustration, and -wonderful to relate- did actually get some action - a three person phone call that -finally- allowed me to access my own account. I asked for a refund of the fees charged to my account while it was inaccessible and have just been offered the magnificent sum of $100.

Thanks HESTA - I'm locked into you for the next decade but I'll make sure I complain loud and long if this happens again. Lesson learned - if your super fund lets you down - report them to AFCA.