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Unpaid super costing workers tens of thousands of dollars

Workers on the cusp of retirement who are short changed on their superannuation entitlements have nest eggs that are tens of thousands of dollars less than those who are paid correctly.

Using the latest ATO data from 2013-14, the research from Industry Super Australia found that people aged 60 to 64 on salaries ranging from $50,000 to $75,000 who weren’t correctly paid their SG that year, had overall super balances that were $35,089 or almost 40 per cent less than those who were.

Across all ages and all salaries, those Australians who were underpaid their super had balances that were $19,709 or 47 per cent lower than those who had received it.

Australian law requires employers to contribute 9.5 per cent in superannuation towards every worker over the age of 18 earning more than $450 (gross) a month. This is the Superannuation Guarantee.

However, a report released late last year found that 2.4 million or one-third of entitled workers were denied their SG in 2013-14. For the average worker, this represented $1,489 or four months’ worth of savings.

This new work draws from an ATO 2 per cent sample file of matched personal tax and superannuation records for 2013-14 and analyses the difference in balances for people who are underpaid employer super by nine categories of age and by six categories of wage and salary. In the matrix of 54 combinations, underpaid super was associated with a markedly lower balance in all combinations.

Posted on 1 February '17 by , under Super.

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Superfund categories and what they mean

There are four different categories of super funds. These have different primary features and are more applicable to certain people than they are to others.

Retail super funds

Anyone can join retail funds. They are mostly run by banks and investment companies:

  • Allow for a wide range of investment options.
  • Financial advisors may recommend this type of fund as they receive commissions or might get paid fees for them.
  • Although they usually range from medium to high cost, there may be low-cost alternatives.
  • The companies that own these funds will aim to keep some of the profit they yield

Industry super funds

Anyone can join bigger industry funds, but smaller ones may only be open to people in certain industries i.e. health.

  • Most are accumulation funds but some older ones may have defined benefit members
  • Range from low to medium cost
  • Not-for-profit, so all profits are put back into the fund

Public sector super funds

Only available for government employees

  • Employers contribute more than the 9.5% minimum
  • Modest range of investment choices
  • Newer members are usually in an accumulation fund, but many of the long-term members have defined benefits
  • Low fees
  • Profits are put back into the fund

Corporate super funds

Arranged by employers for employees. Large companies may operate corporate funds under the board of trustees. Some corporate funds are operated by retail or industry funds, but availability is restricted to employees

  • If managed by bigger fund, wide range of investment options
  • Older funds have defined benefits, but most are accumulation funds
  • Low to medium costs for large employers, could be high cost for small employers

Self-managed super funds

Private super fund you manage yourself. Many more nuances to this type of fund. Most prominent feature is the autonomy over investment.

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