Western Australians potentially missing out on retirement savings

3 min read

Western Australians are risking their retirement with a staggering $1.3 billion in lost super* from across the state ready to be claimed.

It can be easy to forget about old or inactive superannuation accounts and Western Australians should be getting back what is rightfully theirs.

“With billions sitting in lost super and lots of other super people may have forgotten about, it’s one of the biggest financial opportunities to better secure Western Australians’ retirement savings,” says BT Superannuation spokesperson Hannah Oakhill.

There is lost super to be found in all suburbs and towns across the state, and it is so easy to find if any of it is yours. In Perth alone there is more than $11 million in lost super.

Western Australia’s lost super hot spots are:
1. Mandurah ($30.9 million)
2. Kardinya & Spearwood ($26.5 million)
3. Success ($25.8 million)
4. Wanneroo ($24.8 million)
5. Joondalup ($24.6 million)

There are many reasons why Western Australians may have inactive, missing or lost super.

“You are especially vulnerable to lost super if you have recently moved homes, changed jobs or married” Ms Oakhill says.

Despite high levels of lost and unclaimed super, the good news is that super is never really lost and is easy to recover.

“In fact we know from what our customers tell us that they put off searching for super because they think it will take a long time, but this isn’t actually the case. Super can be found in a few minutes” Ms Oakhill says.

To help Western Australians to take rein of their super, BT recently launched SuperCheck to help customers to find and sort all of their super easier and faster.

So far more than 11,000 customers in Western Australia have run a SuperCheck helping them to rein in more than $24 million in super^.

Recently Paul Wilson, 44, who works in infrastructure and is from Cloverdale, used SuperCheck and found $70,000 in super that he didn’t know about.

Mr Wilson says “It was a nice surprise to have found my own missing money.”

SuperCheck is available to BT Super for Life customers via online banking, allowing you to search for all super accounts in minutes. All in real time. Find out more.

How can you find and keep track of your super?

1. Run a SuperSearch via your Westpac Group online banking, the Westpac mobile banking app or in your local branch.

2. Visit a Westpac branch and a team member can help you perform a lost super search. You can also search for your lost super online using the Australian Taxation Office QuickSearch service. All you need is your Tax File Number, full name and date of birth. If you’re not sure what your Tax File Number is, you can ask the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on 13 28 61.

3. Consider transferring all of your super into one account if you haven’t done so already. Moving your super into one account may save you from paying multiple account keeping fees, which could be eating away at your balance. Choosing whether to transfer your super is a personal decision and we're not in a position to make a recommendation to you about it. Before deciding to transfer your super, you should consider whether to seek independent advice. Before requesting a transfer of your super, you should check with your other funds to see if there are any exit fees for moving your benefit or other loss of benefits such as insurance. Understanding the features of your other funds can help you assess the relative benefits and any other considerations that may affect your decision to rollover those accounts.

4. Claim any super amounts the ATO is holding for you. The ATO could be holding Super Guarantee amounts paid to them by a previous employer, Government Co-contributions or Low Income Super Contributions paid by the government or unclaimed super amounts transferred from super funds. You can request the ATO to pay any super amounts held for you into your chosen super fund by linking to ATO Online via your MyGov account, calling the ATO on 13 10 20, or you can ask your chosen super fund to help you arrange for the amounts to be paid into your account.

5. If you move house, change jobs or change your name, ensure you update your details (including your Tax File Number) with your superannuation fund.

*There is a total value of $11.6 billion in lost super (source: ATO, 30 June 2016). Please note that addresses (including postcodes) are reported by superannuation funds over a number of years. This means the postcode data may not reflect the postcode in which the member now currently resides and the postcode data may include postcodes that are no longer valid.
^Since October 2016, more than 11,000 customers in Western Australia have run a SuperCheck helping them to rein in over $24 million in super.

Learn 22 Feb 2019
Billions of dollars are sitting in lost and unclaimed super accounts. Some of that money could be yours. We explain how to be reunited with any lost super.
Learn 15 Aug 2016
A change of jobs can be a busy time, but be sure to take your super along with you. It’s a great way to keep tabs on your super throughout your entire working life.
Wellbeing 24 May 2017
It can be easy to forget about old or inactive superannuation accounts and Queenslanders should be getting back what is rightfully theirs.
3 min read

This information is current as at 14/06/2017.

This information does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs having regard to these factors before acting on it.

SuperCheck involves a search for superannuation being undertaken by BT Funds Management Limited ABN 63 002 916 458, AFSL No. 233724 (BTFM), the trustee and issuer of interests in BT Super for Life, which is a part of Retirement Wrap ABN 39 827 542 991. A Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for BT Super for Life can be obtained by calling 1300 653 553 1300 653 553 or by visiting bt.com.au or any Westpac branch. You should obtain and consider the PDS before deciding whether to acquire, continue to hold or dispose interests into BT Super for Life. BTFM is a member of BT Financial Group - A Division of the Westpac Group.

An investment in BT Super for Life is not an investment in, deposit with or any other liability of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 (Westpac), St. George Bank, BankSA or Bank of Melbourne (which are Divisions of Westpac), or any other company in the Westpac Group. It is subject to investment risk, including possible delays in repayment of withdrawal proceeds and loss of income and principal invested. None of Westpac, any other company in the Westpac Group or any appointed investment manager stands behind or otherwise guarantees the capital value or investment performance of BT Super for Life. 

This article may contain material provided by third parties derived from sources believed to be accurate at its issue date. While such material is published with necessary permission, no company in the Westpac Group accepts any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of, or endorses any such material. Except where contrary to law, we intend by this notice to exclude liability for this material.  

Your super account will generally be considered ‘lost’ if no contributions or rollovers have been added to your super account in the last year and either your super fund never had an address for you, or mail sent to you by your super fund has been returned unclaimed, or for default employer super plans, no contributions or rollovers have been added to your super account in the last five years.

Lost super is different to ATO held super. ATO held super is money held by the ATO including Super Guarantee amounts paid to them by a previous employer, Government Co-contributions paid by the government or unclaimed super amounts transferred from super funds. The total value of lost and ATO held super is more than $14 billion across 5.7 million accounts (https://www.ato.gov.au/About-ATO/Research-and-statistics/In-detail/Super-statistics/Superaccounts-data/Super-accounts-data-overview/).

Before requesting a rollover, you should consider where your future employer contributions will be paid (if your employer contributions are currently being paid to another fund) and check with your fund(s) to determine whether there are any fees, including exit or withdrawal fees, for moving your benefit, or other loss of benefits (e.g. insurance cover), noting that you may not receive the same type or level of benefits after the rollover. If you have a pre-existing medical condition you may not receive a benefit for a death or disability claim. Please check to see if you are covered before submitting your application.