$41m of superannuation not claimed by Gladstone workers

GLADSTONE workers are missing out on more than $41 million in lost superannuation, which includes more than 4900 lost accounts with an average value of $8295.

The Australian Taxation Office is also reporting that many people in Gladstone's surrounding areas also have lost super to find, with residents in Agnes Water leaving more than $2 million sitting in 325 accounts.

Compared with other states, Queensland has the third highest amount of lost super, totalling more than $3 billion.

Westpac Gladstone senior financial planner Deon Richardson said the accounts were likely to belong to younger people who didn't have a hold on their superannuation, as they were more transient in their working life and focused on paying down debt rather than securing their retirement.

"A lot of those lost funds are held by younger people," he said.

"Many people currently getting close to retirement age now have been in one job for quite a number of years."

He said superannuation was essential for retirement.

"It's quite a substantial amount of people's retirement funds," he said.

"These days many people look at utilising their retirement savings and use it as an income stream to supplement and maintain their lifestyle."

Mr Richardson said there were many ways to enhance long-term returns, including co-contributions and tax incentives for the working spouse to supplement their partner's super while they are at home looking after children.

"There are a lot of tools on various websites that help people in how to invest properly, consolidate to save on fees and grow a nest egg with one lump sum," he said.

"People are more aware of it now than 10 years ago, potentially with accounts getting bigger. The best advice I can give anyone is to talk to a professional. It doesn't need to be me or one of my colleagues, but someone from a reputable organisation."

Since May 31 last year, any lost superannuation of up to $2000 is transferred to the ATO, which holds the money until you claim it, to protect it from being eroded by fees and charges.

The ATO will also pay interest at a rate equivalent to the consumer price index when you reclaim the savings.

Topics:  australian taxation office business gladstone superannuation

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