One in four young Aussies are disengaged from super

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A quarter of young Aussies are still riding blind when it comes to their superannuation, according to research from share trading platform Superhero.

The survey of 4000 Aussies found that half are in a high growth or growth investment option when it comes to their super, while 17% didn't know what investment option they were in and this statistic increases to a quarter of 18-24 year olds (24 per cent).

"It's not a surprise that our customers see growth as a priority when it comes to superannuation but it is shocking to think that so many don't know what their super is being invested in," says Superhero co-founder and CEO John Winters.

"A lack of engagement is clear as we found that over half of respondents (52%) don't know how much they're paying in fees to their current super fund."

The research also found a divide between the types investments younger and older Aussies put their super towards. Sixty nine per cent of those surveyed aged between 18 and 44 prefer to invest their super in exchange traded funds (ETFs), while three quarters of 18-34 year olds (73%) and 66% of 35 to 44 year olds enjoy the diversity and flexibility ETFs allow.

"We've learnt that our customers want increased control and flexibility when it comes to how their superannuation is invested," says Winters.

"ETFs themselves are a great way to have multiple bites of the cherry when it comes to investing as they're made up of several different assets.

The data also found that younger Aussies aged between 25 and 34 are interested in investing their super in crypto (28%) compared to those over 55 (15%).

"Crypto is an interesting one too - it's obviously a newer form of investment and younger Aussies clearly see the potential."

Rebalancing

Superannuation is not a set and forget proposition. While you don't want to treat it as a day trading exercise, periodic rebalancing will help you maintain your investment strategy and current risk appetite.

"When it comes to superannuation for young people, the number one determinant of long term risk-adjusted returns is your asset allocation, which means how you choose to invest the money held within your super fund," says James Millard, adviser at Sufficient Funds.

You can choose to invest across cash, bonds, shares, property and infrastructure, all of which carry varying levels of risk.

"You should set your ideal asset allocation based on your tolerance of risk as an investor, which for young people is generally higher as they have time on their side, often having decades until their super can be accessed."

Changes in the value of your assets will eventually result in being overweight or underweight in various asset classes, as defined by your target asset allocation.

First the question of when to rebalance. Some investors have a 'trigger point'; say, when an asset class shifts by more than 10% away from its target weight. Alternatively, investors can rebalance periodically.

"An annual review and rebalance is generally ok," says Millard.

"Most young people's risk profile, especially for superannuation, won't change much from 18 to 40 but the choice of assets within their portfolio and ensuring this remains in line with their goals is key."

Then it's a question of how to rebalance. There are multiple approaches. You can inject more cashflow into underweight asset classes, transfer funds from overweight to underweight asset classes, and reinvest dividends.

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David Thornton was a journalist at Money from September 2019 to November 2021. 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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