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Lost super - we all know about it, we've all seen the TV ads about it, and we know we should probably do something about it as well. But we don’t.

The average Australian will change jobs or careers multiple times in their life, and when they move they usually lose track of their superannuation account too.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

But did you know that changes to Superannuation laws mean the Australian Taxation Office can now collect your lost super accounts with balances of up to $4000?

What this means is, every lost or unclaimed super account with less than $4000 will be transferred to the ATO. Transferred?!?

That threshold was increased from $200, and it’s likely to be increased to $6000 in the next few years.

Lost super accounts in Australia equate to billions of hard-earned dollars, and the ATO is taking it from underneath you.

In fact, the ATO recently revealed it holds unclaimed superannuation worth $18.2 billion dollars.

Feeling outraged yet? You should – it’s your money and it should be working for you.

Importantly, many super accounts come with insurance coverage that protects you, so if something happens out of the blue, your super insurance can help you get through that period, regardless of whether it was work related or not.

In fact, a recent Slater & Gordon survey revealed that most Australian’s didn't know they were paying for insurance as part of their super. We learn something new every day.

So what is a lost super account?

Superannuation accounts are deemed to be lost when the super fund cannot contact the owner, usually because they have changed jobs, names or address or even if the account has been inactive for 12 months.

Ok, I want my lost super now, what can I do?

You can start by taking charge of your lost super accounts, simply go to the ATO’s SuperSeeker website to find your lost super accounts. to review the funds, check the fees, and the amount of insurance coverage you have. Get independent financial advice about whether you should consolidate your accounts.

A warning when looking for your lost super

There are lots of companies out there trying to make a buck out of lost super. They will offer to ‘do all the work for you’, but many of them just want to put all your super into a super fund they’re connected to. They might not protect you against losing your insurance, and once you lose insurance, it can be hard to get it back again.

When you’re getting advice about what to do with your lost super, make sure your advisor is truly independent of any bank, insurance company or super fund, and not just a salesperson in disguise.

More should be done to make Australians aware of the consequences of losing track of their superannuation and to inform them about how to claim back what is their money.

Losing track of your super may mean paying unnecessary fees and may reduce the amount of money you will have in your super when you retire.

Find out more about Slater and Gordon’s Superannuation and Insurance services.

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