The Productivity Commission released a report today on superannuation in Australia, which found the current system is “harming millions of members” with underperforming funds, multiple accounts and excessive fees.
Specifically, some of the report findings include:
- Multiple accounts and underperforming accounts cost Australians nearly $4 billion each year.
- About one-third of all accounts are unnecessary because the person already has a primary super fund – eroding members’ balances by $2.6 billion a year in unnecessary fees and insurance’
- Most of those with underperforming super accounts are in the retail sector that operates for-profit.
The Productivity Commission has proposed sweeping reforms to improve retirement outcomes. The Federal Government is reserving its formal response to the report until after the findings of the Royal Commission into super funds is presented.
In the meantime, for those who may have multiple super accounts or otherwise keen to make some improvements to your overall financial wellness, we’ve put together some tips to help you make some practical and quick improvements.
A significant 65% of people in Australia are dissatisfied with their current financial wellness, but saving, or investing for your future doesn’t have to feel impossible. At Ironfish, we make no secret of the fact that it’s our mission to help people improve their financial wellbeing and build property assets for the future. We help many Australians proactively work towards achieving this every day.
But if big financial or property goals feel like they are too far beyond your reach right now, to get you started, here’s some small, achievable things you can look into today.
Consolidate your super and check your growth strategy
Today’s report findings show that it’s well and truly time to merge your multiple super accounts into the one account, to save you from paying fees and insurances on multiple accounts. You can also look into your investment strategy while you’re at it – for example whether high growth is more appropriate or defensive play-it-safe is more appropriate. You can also check any default settings and insurances you have and consider amending anything that may not apply to you at your current life stage. Many super funds offer some financial advice as part of their service, so you can easily check on their website or by giving them a call if this is available to you. There are also online comparison tools which can show how your super fund has been performing compared to others. When you’re assesssing a super fund’s performance, ASIC suggests checking if the fund has performed well over the past 5 years, not just the last year.
Track your spending
It will be hard to save or even set a budget if you’re not keeping a close eye on what you’re actually spending your money on. Tap and go also makes it much easier to be disconnected with your spending. Try entering your PIN when you pay for things and download an app to track and review your spending to start putting a budget in place. There are plenty of apps out there – including a free one from the government.
Automate your bills
Avoid late payment fees by automatically paying bills by arranging a direct debit – you can specify dates to coincide with the day after you get paid to ensure funds are available.
Find unclaimed money
Did you know that Australia currently has overt $1 billion in unclaimed money? If you move often or miss the paper trail, you may be missing out share dividends or bank payments.
You can still find and claim this money via the link below. While you’re at it – opt in for email communications from all your banks and institutions so you don’t miss this kind of information in future.
Automatically move your savings into another account
Some people find that if you can’t see your money it’s easier to save. Try automatically debiting a set amount from your pay each week/fortnight/month – you can start as small as you’re capable of – and put it into a dedicated savings account. This is something that sounds pretty simple, but it’s a strategy that has actually worked for our customers (including this single-mum-of-4) to help them to save up for a deposit for their first investment property over a period of time.
Refinance your home loan
If you’ve managed to buy your first home or investment property (congratulations!) and haven’t looked into the loan for a while – it’s a good time to ask your broker or bank to look into refinancing options. There may be better interest rates available or a skilled mortgage broker may help to restructure your loan to save you more money in the long run or provide you with the flexibility of off-set facilities, for example.
Find a mentor
We believe that success in any aspect of life is much more achievable if you have a mentor or a coach. At Ironfish, our Property Investment Strategists follow our customers throughout their investment journey – acting as a mentor to keep our investors informed, motivated and on track to achieve their goals. One of our younger staff investors says that having someone to be accountable to in your savings can really help motivate you to stick to your goals. If your goal is to buy your first home or investment property – that’s something we can certainly help with.
We hope these tips and links to useful resources help inspire some positive changes for your financial wellbeing. No matter where you’re at in terms of savings, super, career or general life stage – you can always start making some positive changes, however small. We know from experience that small, consistent efforts do add up over time!
Ironfish Property Investment
For many of our own customers at Ironfish, building a portfolio of properties is part of safeguarding their retirement, to ensure they can be financially free to enjoy retirement and last 30 – 40 years of their lives. For further resources on how you can get started, or simply learn more about investing, consider these:
- Unleash your earning potential: our CEO Joseph Chou is an amazing and very inspiring speaker on the topic of changing your mindset to positively influence your career, finance and overall life goals. He presents regularly at events around the country – many of them are free events. Find upcoming events in your city.
- If you’re feeling disillusioned about the prospect of ever owning your first home – get some tips from our young Ironfish First-Home-Buyer superstars – they’ve shared their tips and insights about options that you might not be aware of.
- Book a free appointment with one of our strategists. They’ll answer all your questions, even if you feel like buying property is off the cards for you – you may be surprised by what’s possible.
This blog article was updated for relevancy on 10 January 2019. It is intended to provide general information only, and does not constitute any financial advice, offer, or inducement to buy. Investors are expressly recommended to do their own due diligence any investment decision they make and seek independent financial advice.