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Why don’t we care about superannuation?

My gran didn’t have a lot of money to enjoy her retirement. A hipster before her time, she re-used even the most basic items – from jam jars to wrapping paper – ensuring nothing went to waste.

cat food
You didn’t work your whole life to have to eat this in your retirement, did you?

While the generations have moved on, my gran is far from an exception. For many people, superannuation is an afterthought.

Personally,  I’m not into the idea of living off meagre savings in my old age and being unable to generate more. The future doesn’t look too bright when you’re eyeing up the cat food aisle for dinner.

So, why don’t we care about superannuation?

There seems to be a disengagement that happens with money that can’t be accessed until the age of 65. Relationships, children, study, paying off debts, family and buying a home all seem to weigh much more heavily on people’s minds.

For women, superannuation is a particularly prickly pear as they can take many years out of the workforce to raise children (thus, not contributing to their super balance), typically earn less after stepping off the corporate ladder, yet live longer.

The golden girls had saved enough for their superannuationA survey by Australian Ethical in 2013 found that seven out of 10 women believed finances, and looking after their financial future, was a top priority for them. However, when asked how important superannuation is to their financial future, only 27 percent felt it was very important.

An informal poll I conducted amongst my Australian female Facebook friends found while most were interested in superannuation, they ranked getting out of debt or saving for a house as their most pressing financial concerns. They were also confused about how their superannuation money should be invested, to the point that 75 percent had either no idea, or were invested in whatever their fund’s default option was.

What can you do today to make a real impact on your future super balance?

  • Make a conscious effort to find out what you’re invested in then choose something that suits your life stage.
  • Consolidate your super accounts. You may have as many accounts as you’ve had jobs, and you’re paying fees on all of them.
  • Salary sacrifice your super. You can arrange this through your employer. The money goes into your super fund pre-tax so it never hits your normal bank account.
  • Find any lost super, there’s apparently $14 billion of it out there and some of it might be yours.

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  1. Dividends Down Under Dividends Down Under August 18, 2016

    We completely agree with you! The fact that super can’t be accessed for many decades (and the age will probably be increased even higher as the years go by) just makes it seem so pointless. We already have a good system with the super guarantee and the 9.5%, that should be enough for most people if they have it invested in their super’s high growth option (except people close to retirement, of course).

    We are aiming to retire early and achieve financial independence at a young age (FIRE), so super won’t help us with this at all. When we can access it, it will just be ‘extra’ money, a very nice bonus.


  2. Miss Money Box Miss Money Box August 23, 2016

    You can afford to ride the waves of the share market when you’re young, so investing in high growth/shares when retirement is still years away is a great idea. Sounds like you have a really solid plan in place, love the “FIRE” acronym!

  3. Gavin Bottrell Gavin Bottrell October 13, 2016

    This can be so easily related to! Many of us just focus on the money we have now, and think about our superannuation as being something that our 65 year-old-selves will have to worry about. Your four points on how to improve our super balance are simple and invaluable.

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