Many Australians couldn’t care less about superannuation, don’t check their statements and have no idea how much is in their account, a new study has found.
Westpac research shows only 42 per cent of Australians bother checking their statements once a year and about one fifth don’t monitor their balance at all. Experts believe integrating super balances with day-to-day banking is the key to engaging disinterested Australians by allowing them to view their retirement savings on a frequent basis.
Making it easy … experts believe integrating super balances with day-to-day banking is the key to engagement. Picture: Getty Images. Source: Getty Images The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees president Tom Garcia said Australians are “confused” about their super because they don’t understand it and changes need to be made to overcome the problem.
“One of the big jobs the industry needs to do is demystify super, talk in plain language and try and get people to understand what it’s there for and why it’s so important,’’ he said. “It’s actually their money and in theory people don’t pay attention to it which is extraordinary.”
The research also found only 37 per cent of Australians check the performance of their fund regularly. Retail super funds — usually run by banks — are using new tools to try and get consumers more engaged with their super, allowing customers to view their super balances when they log in online to view their bank accounts.
Mr Garcia said he expects this to become more prominent in years to come. “People will be more and more engaged with their super through digital platforms and we will only see more of this,’’ he said. “But we have to make sure this isn’t going to drive strange behaviours, but this is going to make people think more about their super.”
Westpac’s general manager of retail banking Gai McGrath said many Australians only looked at their super balances once a year when they received their annual statement but they check their bank statement far more regularly. “People are more engaged with looking at their bank accounts than their super accounts,’’ she said. “And unfortunately with young people in particular the system is such that they don’t get engaged with their super early in their careers.”
This week Westpac and BT Super for Life are rolling out the ability for customers of both the bank and super fund to view their balances of their bank accounts and retirement savings when logging on to Westpac’s tablet app.
Intrust Super chief executive officer Brendan O’Farrell said he expected it to be more common for Australians to be able to view their bank accounts and super funds online all at once in years to come.