We’ve been told before that there is literally billions of dollars in superannuation savings sitting unclaimed — in fact, as at December 31, 2015, the ATO says there are around six million “lost” superannuation accounts holding a total of about $16.2 billion.
But while the government regularly whinges about its dwindling coffers, it knows that the money lying idle in these super funds belongs to someone else — you — and through the ATO it is genuinely trying to help Australians find their lost super.
A new database of information has just been published on the ATO website which may go some way to urge people on to take active steps to recover what could be a very handy injection into their retirement savings. This is a breakdown of the lost super on record, by number of accounts and their value, into postcodes.
Lost super, mapped
One has to wonder for example what’s in the water at Mandurah in Western Australia (the state’s postcode with most lost super funds, just south of Perth) to make 4,992 of its residents forget they have a total of $41 million lying idle that they could put to good use.
One of the areas with the largest total in NSW is Liverpool, in Sydney’s south west. Residents in postcode 2170 have more than $44 million spread over 4,750 accounts. In Queensland you will find 5,029 Mackay residents who should really wear a hat, given that sunstroke must have made the people living in postcode 4740 forget they have an easy $58 million they could re-claim.
In Victoria, there are 3,759 people living in Werribee (postcode 3030) would be well-advised to check if some of that area’s $37.8 million in lost super could be theirs. Tasmanians living in Launceston should probably do the same ($19.4 million looking for a home), as should residents of Salisbury in Adelaide’s north (an idle $15 million waiting to be claimed).
Act now, before the threshold jumps
If you suspect some of this lost super could be yours, it will pay to take action sooner rather than later. Under legislation that came into effect at the end of 2015, any super balances below $4,000 are to be transferred by funds to the ATO if the account has been inactive for 12 months. It is therefore expected that the ATO will absorb even more lost super over 2016, and also over next year as the minimum balance for inactive accounts jumps to $6,000 from January 2017.