INVESTING

Consolidating your super isn't complicated but it is important

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Superannuation accounts should not make for a collector's pastime. Multiple accounts mean multiple sets of fees, multiple sets of paperwork, multiple performance metrics to keep track of, and overlapping insurance cover.

Only under some circumstances does it make sense to hold more than one account, such as the need for specific insurance or distinctly different investment strategies.

Super shouldn't be a set and forget proposition, so don't view consolidation as a chore. Rather, view it as a reason to engage with it. It follows that people who have three or four accounts are usually not the same people who check their accounts weekly.

how to consolidat your super

"Take an interest in it, after all, it is an asset and it is yours," says Colin Lewis from Fitzpatricks Private Wealth.

Before consolidating, you need to first decide which fund[s] you're going cull and which you'll keep.

"Ignore the name of the investment option, and look at the asset allocation - how much you're exposed to Australian shares, international shares and fixed interest - and understand if you're comfortable with that level of investment for that long term holding, which is what superannuation is," says Peter Campbell from Merideon Wealth Strategies.

It's also worth doing the same kind of exercise for insurance. Most Australians have default insurance. So it's important to know what you're actually covered for.

Once you know which fund you're going to keep and which you aren't, it's time to consolidate. And for that, the MyGov portal is the place to do it.

Once logged in, do a search for lost super via the Manage my super tab.

You can also find via the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) automated super search line on 13 28 65. You'll need your personal details, including tax file number, contact details, super fund details you're aware of, and previous details such as former name, addresses and employment. If you do find some lost super, fill out a Searching for lost and unclaimed super form and post it to the ATO.

Once you have all your super visible in your MyGov account, it's time to transfer the funds.

1. Log into MyGov

2. Go to the 'Super' tab. see details of all your super accounts, including any you have forgotten about

3. Choose the fund[s] you want to close down, called the 'transferring fund') and the fund consolidate into, called the 'receiving fund.'

4. Hit confirm. The super should be consolidated after three business days. If it's not, contact the funds you wish to close down and ask them why they haven't processed the request.

And you're done. The money you've saved on fees will now contribute to compounding returns, which, after all, is reason we have super.

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David Thornton is a journalist at Money magazine. He previously worked at Your Money, covering market news as producer of Trading Day Live. Before that, he covered business and finance news at The Constant Investor. David holds a Masters of International Relations from the University of Melbourne.
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