Finder research found that Australians are more likely to have car insurance than superannuation.
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There are 24.4 million superannuation accounts in Australia from a total of 84 fund providers, with MySuper assets equalling $812 billion. The top asset allocations across all funds are international shares (30%), Australian shares (21%) and Australians fixed interest (11%).
Superannuation is a crucial safeguard to have in place to finance your retirement and ensure you can live comfortably in your old age, but a concerning 38% of Australians don't understand how superannuation works. We used data from Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker to explore the state of superannuation in Australia and how Australians interact with their funds.
How many Australians have superannuation?
According to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker, 72% of Australians have a superannuation fund and a further 6% plan on opening a super account in future. Australians are more likely to have a savings account (86%), a mobile phone plan (82%) and car insurance (77%) than a super fund. This is particularly concerning for those approaching the end of their careers. According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), 23% of women retire without super, compared to 13% of men.
Those living in metropolitan areas (75%) are more likely than their regional counterparts (65%) to have a super fund, and higher income earners are substantially more likely to have a super fund. Only half (50%) of Australian adults earning less than $50,000 per year have a super account, compared to 85% for those with a salary above $100,000. Those earning less than $5,400 per year are not eligible for superannuation contributions from their employer, which can make it more difficult for low income earners to save for their retirement.
How does superannuation compare between men and women?
According to ASFA, the average woman retires with $122,848 in super, while the average man retires with $154,453. While this gap is closing, men still retire with more money, in part due to the gender pay gap and the career breaks women take to have children. Overall, Australians retire with substantially less super than ASFA's comfortable retirement standard of $545,000.
How many super funds does the average Aussie have?
On average, Australians have held two super funds over their lifetime, and 1 in 10 (10%) currently have more than one active fund. Having multiple super fund accounts can risk members losing track of their funds or losing a substantial portion of their balances to account management fees. According to the ATO, the total value of lost and unclaimed super is $13.8 billion across the country – equivalent to $4,871 per lost or unclaimed account.
1 in 4 super holders (24%) has had accounts with three or more funds, and less than half (48%) have stuck with the same fund for whole their life so far. Baby boomers (53%) and women (52%) are the groups most likely to stay loyal to a single super fund.
How do Australians choose their super fund?
Superannuation funds vary widely in performance, management fees and investment strategy, so it's important to understand your financial goals and compare funds before choosing one. However, 3 in 5 Aussie workers (58%) say their super fund was picked by their employer, which means they might not be compatible with their fund.
Gen Z are the most likely to have stuck with their employer's fund (67%). Meanwhile, baby boomers are the most likely to have chosen their fund based on the recommendation of an expert (29%).
Women (61%) are more likely than men (54%) to stay with the fund chosen by their employer. Women (11%) are also twice as likely as men (5%) to pick their fund based on the recommendation of a friend or family member.
How many people make additional super contributions?
In the 2019-2020 financial year, member contributions to superannuation made up 25% of total contributions. A Finder survey found 1 in 5 people (20%) make monthly contributions to their superannuation fund, and an additional 14% make contributions every now and then. 1 in 6 people (17%) are not aware that they can make extra contributions to their fund.
Men (27%) are twice as likely as women (13%) to make monthly contributions to their super. However, women (37%) are three times more likely than men (12%) to say that they might start to contribute to their super fund in the future.
Gen X are the generation most likely to make contributions monthly (28%) or every now and then (18%), while nearly half of gen Z (48%) say they don't currently contribute to their super but they might at some point down the line.
How often do Australians check their super balance?
It is generally recommended to review your super balance every three months to make sure your employer is paying the right contributions, which they are required to do on a quarterly basis. However more than a third of Australians (33%) check their superannuation less frequently than this, and 1 in 10 (10%) never look at their balance.
Men (24%) are twice as likely as women (12%) to check their super balance more than once per month. Meanwhile, 12% of women say they never check their super, compared to 8% of men.
Gen Z (13%) are the most likely to say they never review their super. Meanwhile, nearly a third (30%) of baby boomers look at their super more than once a month.
How many people are interested in ethical super?
Australians are becoming increasingly conscious of ethical investing. More than 2 in 5 Australians (43%) would switch to an ethical fund if it was performing at the same level as their current fund. A further 6% say they are already with an ethical super fund, and 1% would switch to an ethical fund regardless of performance.
Finder's data shows that women are more interested in ethical investing than men. Close to half of women (45%) would switch to a well-performing ethical fund, which is slightly more than their male counterparts (40%). However, women (23%) are also more likely than men (15%) to say they wouldn't be bothered to switch funds for the same results.
Gen Z (55%) and millennials (54%) are the most likely to make the switch to an ethical fund, compared to just 19% of baby boomers. However, baby boomers (8%) are also the generation most likely to say that they are already with an ethical super fund.
44% of Australians would use superannuation to buy property if they could
1 in 5 Australians (22%) say they would like to use their super in an offset account to buy property, and another 22% would access their super early to buy a home if they could. However, 43% say they wouldn't want to mess with their super even if it meant the ability to own property.
Men (28%) are more likely than women (17%) to consider using their super in an offset account to purchase a home, while more women (17%) than men (10%) are unsure of what they would do.
Baby boomers (70%) are the most likely to say they wouldn't want to mess with their super, an understandable fact, given their relative proximity to retirement. Gen X are the most likely to use their super in an offset account, while millennials are most likely to want early access to their fund.
Compare superannuation funds
Sticking with an underperforming or high-fee super fund could be draining money from your retirement fund. To set yourself up to live comfortably in retirement, compare super funds with Finder.
Finder Consumer Sentiment Tracker
- The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)
- The Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
- The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA)
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