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How to find lost super

You could have thousands of dollars in lost or unclaimed super. Here’s how to find it and bring it home.

Your superannuation is one of the most important assets you own, providing the funds you need to enjoy a financially secure retirement. But if you’ve changed jobs or even moved house, you could have lost or unclaimed super out there somewhere just waiting to be found.

5 steps to find your lost super

Imagine this scenario: You're just 5 steps away from potentially reclaiming thousands of dollars.

1. Create a myGov account

  • Start with your myGov account, linked to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
  • Under the Super tab and Fund details, view a list of all your super funds and their respective balances.
  • You can also complete a form or contact the ATO's lost super line at 13 28 65. You will need to provide details such as your tax file number (TFN).
  • To consolidate multiple super accounts, use your linked ATO account under the Transfer super option.

2. View all your super accounts

Once linked, access your superannuation details, including any accounts you might have lost track of. If your lost super doesn't appear in your myGov account, consider reaching out to past employers for information of superannuation contributions they made on your behalf. Pay slips may contain relevant details or employer contact information.

3. Identify missing super

Identify lost super that can be rolled over into a preferred super account. Some companies offer to find lost superannuation for a fee. However, it's recommended to start with the ATO and myGov for a more cost-effective approach.

4. Locate ATO-held super

Discover any super funds the ATO may hold for you, especially if your account has been inactive with a balance below $6,000.

5. Consolidate multiple super accounts

If you have multiple super accounts, consider consolidating them into one. This not only saves on fees but also makes managing your super easier.

How does super become lost?

Keeping track of your super isn’t always an easy task. If you’ve changed jobs, changed your name or address or even done some casual or part-time work, there’s a chance you may have lost track of some of your super.

Here's how it can happen:

  • Job changes: Starting a new job without "rolling over" your super can result in lost accounts, especially if each employer contributes to a different fund.
  • Moving homes: Failing to update your address with your super fund could mean missing out on vital communication, leading your super to become lost.
  • Name changes: If you've changed your name, for instance, after marriage, and haven't notified your fund, it may no longer be able to match its records to you.

These common life events can make it challenging for your super fund to keep in touch, turning your active super into lost super.

Superannuation can slip through the cracks during life's transitions, but understanding the difference between lost and unclaimed super can help you reclaim what's yours.

Finder survey: How do Australians rate the diffculty of finding lost super?

ResponseMaleFemale
Pretty easy37.6%34.99%
I have never tried to find lost super21.95%28.68%
Somewhat difficult20.93%16.63%
Extremely easy14.02%12.43%
Very difficult5.49%7.27%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1016 Australians, December 2023

Difference between lost and unclaimed super

Lost super

  • Uncontactable: This is where your fund can't reach you and there have been no contributions or rollovers in the last 12 months.
  • Inactive membership: No contributions or rollovers for 5 years can lead to a lost member status, especially if you're part of an employer super plan.
  • Transferred accounts: If your account comes from another fund as a lost member account, it retains its lost status until you're found.

Unclaimed super

  • Over 65 years old: Funds transfer your super to the ATO if you're over 65, have had no contributions for 2 years and have been uncontactable for 5 years.
  • Deceased members: If the fund can't disburse your super to a beneficiary within 2 years of death, it becomes unclaimed.
  • Former temporary residents: Super becomes unclaimed 6 months after leaving Australia or visa expiry.
  • Family law splits: If super is tied up in legal proceedings and you cannot be paid, it's held by the ATO.
  • Small balances: Accounts with less than $6,000 are transferred to the ATO if considered lost.
  • Best interest transfers: At times, funds may transfer super to the ATO if it's in the member's best interest, for easier management and tracking.

How common is losing track of super?

According to the ATO, as of February 2023, there was $16 billion in lost or unclaimed super logged with the tax office. It's relatively easy to get that money back if yours is in the mix. In fact, since November 2019, the ATO consolidated nearly 4.7 million accounts worth over $7 billion.

With the introduction of super stapling on 1 November 2021, the likelihood of losing track of your super funds has significantly diminished. This initiative ensures that your super account stays with you when you change jobs, akin to a financial shadow faithfully following you throughout your career moves.

Instead of starting afresh with a new super account at each job, your existing super is stapled to you, reducing the chances of it becoming lost. Always remember to provide your super details when you start a new job to ensure your super continues to be stapled to you.

Why search for your lost and unclaimed super?

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia's (ASFA) Retirement Standard, if you’re a single person aged around 65, to enjoy a modest lifestyle in retirement you’ll need an annual income of $27,368. If you want a comfortable lifestyle, that figure rises to $42,764 per year.

By tracking down and claiming lost super, you could be one step closer to building the retirement savings balance you need.

If you hold multiple super accounts you’ll also be paying fees on multiple super accounts. And when you consider that your fund could charge anywhere between 0.5% and 1% (or even higher) of your balance each year in fees, it quickly becomes clear that it’s best to sort the problem out sooner rather than later.

Now you've found your super...

After you track down your lost super, consolidating it into one account can have several benefits.

Benefits of consolidating your super

  • Reduce fees: Multiple super accounts means multiple sets of fees. Consolidation leads to paying a single set of fees, potentially saving you a significant amount over the long term.
  • Simplify finances: Managing one account is easier than keeping track of several. It reduces paperwork and simplifies your financial oversight.
  • Better investment tracking: With one account, it's easier to monitor your investment performance and adjust your strategy as needed.
  • Streamlined insurance: Having all your super in one place means you have a single insurance policy, which could offer better rates and easier management.
  • Avoid inactive account penalties: Consolidating can prevent your super from being transferred to the ATO as unclaimed money, avoiding potential penalties and fees for inactive accounts.
  • Maximise compound interest: A consolidated super account may grow faster due to the power of compound interest on a larger balance.
  • Reduce lost super risks: With only one account, you're less likely to lose track of your super in the future.

What to do before you consolidate your super

Before consolidating your super, it's crucial to consider several factors to ensure you're making the best decision for your financial future:

  1. Check employer contributions: Examine your current super accounts to determine if switching funds will impact your employer's contributions. Some employers might contribute more to certain funds.
  2. Review your insurance cover: Assess any insurance you have through your current fund, such as life, total and permanent disability (TPD) or income protection insurance. Changing funds could mean losing or altering this coverage, especially if you have pre-existing conditions or are over 60.
  3. Seek independent advice: If you're uncertain about the implications of changing funds, especially regarding insurance, consider consulting a licensed financial adviser for guidance.
  4. Notify your employer: Inform your employer about your chosen super fund to ensure your contributions are directed to the right place.
  5. Understand your super fund type: Super funds come in different types, like accumulation or defined benefits. If you're part of a defined benefits fund, get professional advice before leaving, as these can be particularly advantageous.
  6. Choose the right fund: Don't automatically transfer your super to the account with the highest balance. Evaluate all options, including smaller accounts or a new fund entirely. The best choice might not be the most obvious one.

How to consolidate your super

Once you've made an informed decision, consolidating your super is a straightforward process:

  • Use myGov: Log in to my.gov.au, link your account to the ATO and use the Super then Manage options to transfer your super.
  • Direct contact: Reach out to your new fund directly for consolidation.
  • ATO rollover form: Utilise an ATO rollover form for transferring balances.

Remember, consolidating your super is about optimising your retirement savings. Take the time to consider all aspects before making the switch.

Choosing a super fund to consolidate your super

Now that you know how to consolidate your super, compare the different super funds below to find the one that is right for you.

1 - 10 of 448
Name Last 1 year performance (p.a.) Last 3 year performance (p.a.) Last 5 year performance (p.a.) Last 10 year performance (p.a.) Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
Australian Ethical Super Balanced
Green CompanyEthical
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+7.74%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+4.5%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+7.03%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+6.89%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$603
Go to siteMore Info
CareSuper Growth
Industry fundHigher risk
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+8.9%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+7.71%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+8.29%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+8.39%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$553
Go to siteMore Info
Aware Super High Growth
Industry fundHigher risk
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+10.17%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+7.44%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+8.85%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+8.69%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$497
Go to siteMore Info
UniSuper - Balanced
Industry fund
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+7.48%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+5.92%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+7.59%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+7.95%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$351
Go to siteMore Info
Spirit Super - Balanced (MySuper)
Industry fund
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+7.68%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+6.2%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+6.65%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+7.54%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$452
Go to siteMore Info
CareSuper Balanced
Industry fund
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+7.29%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+6.55%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+7.15%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+7.61%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$553
Go to siteMore Info
Australian Retirement Trust - Growth
Industry fundHigher risk
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+9.88%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+10.01%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+9.66%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+9.21%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$542
Go to siteMore Info
Spaceship - GrowthX
Higher risk
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+22.23%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+5.25%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+10.87%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
N/A
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$503
Go to siteMore Info
Australian Retirement Trust - International Shares Index (unhedged)
Finder AwardIndustry fundIndexed investmentHigher risk
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+20.99%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+11.75%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+12.02%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+11.42%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$187
Go to siteMore Info
AustralianSuper - Balanced
Industry fund
Last 1 year performance (p.a.)
+7.58%
Last 3 year performance (p.a.)
+6.44%
Last 5 year performance (p.a.)
+7.76%
Last 10 year performance (p.a.)
+8.18%
Fees on $50k balance (p.a.)
$382
Go to siteMore Info
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Showing 10 of 47 results

Unless indicated otherwise, the information in the table is based on data provided by SuperRatings Pty Limited ABN 95 100 192 283, Australian Financial Services Licence 311880.

*Past performance data and fee data is for the period ending Jan 2024

Unless indicated otherwise, the information in the table is based on data provided by SuperRatings Pty Limited ABN 95 100 192 283, Australian Financial Services Licence 311880.

*Past performance data and fee data is for the period ending Jan 2024

How to keep track of your super

There’s also plenty you can do to ensure that you don’t end up with lost or unclaimed super in the first place:

  • Check your super statement. When your fund sends out your annual super statement, review all the information it contains to make sure it’s still correct. If there are any errors, for example, if you’ve changed your name and this is not reflected in the statement, contact your super fund and let it know.
  • Choose a fund and stick with it. Many of us change jobs multiple times early in our careers, so it’s worth finding a super fund you like and then making sure each new employer pays contributions to the same fund. To do this, use the Superannuation standard choice form to tell your employer of your choice of fund as soon as you start a new job.
  • Update your details. If you’ve moved house or changed your name, remember to update the details on your super account. This way your fund will always be able to get in touch with you when needed.
  • Make a contribution. How long has it been since your super account received a contribution? By making a small contribution every now and then, you could prevent your account from being declared inactive.

Frequently asked questions

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6 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    BenJuly 17, 2023

    My father is retired and trying to access his super.

    The ATO has no record of any super, but his former employer says that they were paying super into an account for him.

    We are hitting a dead end with many of the avenues we have gone down,

      AvatarFinder
      AlisonJuly 18, 2023Finder

      Hi Ben, your best bet is to speak with his former employer and find out exactly where they were paying his super (request the account details).
      Good luck!
      Alison

    Default Gravatar
    REBECCAJune 2, 2023

    I NEED TO FIND OUT WHERE MY LOST SUPER IS ASAP I HAVE A MY GOV ACCOUNT BUT IT ONLY SHOWS UP 3 ACCOUNTS COMPARED TO MY 21 SUPER ACCOUNTS PLEASE HELP

      AvatarFinder
      AlisonJune 5, 2023Finder

      Hi Rebecca, if you can’t see your other super accounts in your myGov portal we’d suggest getting in touch with the ATO directly to discuss.

    Default Gravatar
    IvanAugust 2, 2017

    Have worked in Australia around two years.Didnt claim my super many years.Receintly contacted to Tax Office ,they hold only small amount of my super contributions.How to find other funds of my super?

      AvatarFinder
      DeeAugust 3, 2017Finder

      Hi Ivan,

      Thanks for your question.

      I would highly recommend you read more about how to find unclaimed or lost super money. Read through that page and discover how to locate your lost super money.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

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