Super news you can use: New federal government to review superannuation

Did you know that most superannuation fund members saw a “big improvement in their retirement savings in 2021”, with returns four times higher than the previous year? It has been reported that a typical “balanced” super fund – where most workers have their retirement nest eggs invested – returned 13.4 per cent in 2021, up from just 3.3 per cent during 2020 when COVID hit. However, not all super funds are created equal, and not all funds benefited from this upswing. Couple that with what appear to be more turbulent times ahead, and it makes sense that many people are feeling a little bit nervous about how their super will perform in 2022 and beyond. Following the May 2022 election, the new federal government has announced that it will review into the previous government’s superannuation fund performance benchmarking reforms, among other things. Read on to find out what this might mean for you.

First of all – a refresher

The previous government made a number of changes to superannuation, including super stapling – so that since 1 November 2021, if an employee does not nominate an account at the time they start a new job, employers will pay their super contributions to their existing fund. Employers will access information about the new worker’s existing super fund from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). 

Read more here: Super stapling, TPD insurance and what it all means for you – Littles

If you’re wondering whether you should make the jump to another fund, there’s never been more information available to help you decide. You might remember that late last year, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority or APRA published its ‘naughty list’, identifying 13 funds – of 76 graded by APRA – that failed to pass the performance test. 
 
 
It might be worth talking to a financial expert about your super needs, including insurance that you could require. You can also access information about how funds are performing on the ATO website using the YourSuper comparison tool. It is important to compare ongoing fees and charges of your fund, research its long-term performance, and consider the insurance options available for you.

So what is under review?

The new Assistant Treasurer has said that the government still agrees there should be performance benchmarking of super funds. However, it is eager to consider the impact of these benchmarks on long term investment decisions by super funds, including decisions “not to invest in infrastructure projects”.

The Assistant Treasurer has confirmed that the government is committed to maintaining the pathway to a 12 per cent superannuation guarantee – involving an annual 0.5% increase each year until 2025 – and has flagged that the review will look at boosting the guarantee to 15 per cent.

Finally, the government is eager to legislate an objective for the superannuation system “enshrining preservation of funds until retirement”. This means that you would be prevented from dipping into super until retirement.

This approach is based on ensuring that super balances remain as high as possible.

In order to be implemented, these changes would require legislation. The Assistant Treasurer has indicated that depending on the outcome of the review, this would not occur until a future term.

Insurance through your super fund remains important

The government has not yet stated that it will make any changes to superannuation insurance; however, it is possible that there may be flow on effects. If there are, we will keep you up to date!

Regardless, it is important to take stock of your insurances as your life changes, as you may find you are not covered for what you expected when the unexpected happens. If you move to a new super fund, be sure to compare the changes and expect to have new wait periods on new policies. Super funds typically have three types of insurances policies attached to them. They include:

· TPD insurance, which covers you if you are unable to work because of illness or injury. TPD insurance products differ from super fund to super fund

· life insurance, which can provide a lump-sum payment to your super fund if you die or become terminally ill. It can assist your family or loved ones to pay for financial costs and future living expenses, and 

· income protection insurance, which can provide temporary payments or benefits if you are temporarily unable to work because of illness or injury.

Don’t delay – seek advice now

If you have an illness or injury that prevents you from working, you might be worrying about how you are going to pay your bills and put food on the table. You could be entitled to receive a TPD lump sum, as well as other insurance benefits. Get in touch with Littles for a free super claims check. We can help you understand what you’re entitled to. Know where you stand, and get peace of mind.

Free advice and no upfront fees

Not only do we offer a FREE claims check – we handle most insurance claims on a no win, no fee basis. Our Head of TPD and General Insurance, Rowan McDonald, is an insurance law expert. If you think you might have a claim, get in touch with Rowan and his team for high quality legal advice.

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