Three steps to keep your super details up to date


Superannuation is such an easy investment. You open an account, let the boss know the details, and from there your balance grows through your working life. However, this simplicity means we often fail to stay in touch with our super.

Australians are renowned for low levels of engagement with their super. Just one in four of us check our balance regularly.

Just three simple steps can make a big difference to your super savings on retirement - and potentially, the financial wellbeing of the people who matter to you.

why you need to update your details with your superannuation fund

1. Let your fund know if you move

Today's 30-somethings could accumulate more than $500,000 in super by retirement age.

If you had that sort of money in a bank account, you wouldn't forget it.

Yet when it comes to super, we often fail to let our fund know when we've changed address.

As a result, the system is awash with $16 billion worth of lost or unclaimed balances.

Solution: If you change address let your fund know. It's as easy as completing a 'Change of member details' form from your fund's website.

2. Tell your fund who you want to inherit your super

Super isn't automatically covered by your Will.

When you pass away, the fund trustee can decide who inherits your super - and it could go to an ex-spouse or partner, who may not be your preferred choice.

The solution: Organise a binding nomination that spells out who is to inherit your super.

Download a 'Binding nomination' form from your fund's website. Fill it in noting the percentage of your super you would like each beneficiary to inherit (make sure the total adds up to 100%).

Have the form witnessed by two adults not listed among the beneficiaries, and return it to your fund. You'll receive written confirmation in the mail.

Binding nominations only last three years, so they do need to be renewed. If you are certain who you'd like to inherit your super, a non-lapsing nomination is a more permanent option.

3. Aim to have just one super account

One in four of us have more than one super account, and along with paying multiple sets of fees, it can mean doubling up on insurance premiums, and make it harder to stay in touch with your super all the way to retirement.

The solution: Combining, or consolidating, multiple super balances into one fund streamlines your super, and it only costs a few minutes of your time.

Head to your MyGov account, link it to the ATO, and follow the prompts to manage and transfer your super. Or ask your preferred fund to fold multiple balances into a single account.

It's worth checking that you'll have the same level of personal insurance before closing any funds.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.