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Nobel laureate recommends changes to Australian super system

Robert Merton, who was awarded the Nobel prize for economics in 1997, has recommended that the Australian superannuation system needs to rethink the way that it communicates with people about their retirement savings. Merton, who has spent the last decade studying retirement savings systems, believes that the Australian system is too focused on lump sum amounts, and should be regarded to make investors think about their future income streams.

“We are teaching people to look at the wrong number,” Mr Merton said in an interview. “What is a good retirement is measured by the standard of living you want in retirement, and standard of living is not defined by a pot of money but a stream of income. A good amount for retirement would be to sustain the standard of living you have become used to enjoying in the later part of your working life. That is an income goal; it’s not a wealth goal.

Merton also claims that the Australian super system needs to improve services in the pension phase of retirement savings.He claims that too many products that are classified as low-risk investments actually have highly volatile income streams, and retirees are given insufficient information from superannuation funds in regards to deciding when and how to withdraw their super.

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Understanding various kinds of super fees

February 16, 2018

No matter the kind of superfund you opt for, you will be subject to super fees. Understanding how these fees work and the difference they can make to your next egg is vital.

When it comes to superfund fees, there are two factors you need to get your head around; the kinds of fees you are being charged and the rate of fees you pay. Opting for a superfund based on these two factors can see you retire with hundreds of thousands more money.

You should be aware of the various types of fees you are being charged. If you would like to find out the fees you are being charged, you should do two things. Firstly, Google your fund’s product disclosure statement and scroll through to the fees section. You should see a list of different types of fees, with an explanation of what they are, how they are applied, and how often they will be incurred. Secondly, you should log in to your superfund account and take note of all the fees being charged to you. Investigate how closely these correspond and correlate with the product disclosure statement.

If you feel there are discrepancies, do not hesitate to contact your superfund or financial advisor and ask for clarification. It is worthwhile doing your research and comparing the fees you are being charged against other super funds and what they charge. Being complacent and not paying attention to your super is extremely irresponsible; the dividends you will receive later in life for being diligent now outweighs the burden of taking time to be informed today.

Some of the common super fees across the board include:

Another major factor contributing to how much you accumulate in your super account throughout your working life is the rate of fees you pay. Plain and simple, some funds offer much lower fees than other, creating a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars when it comes time to retire.

Generally, funds are categorised into three groups; low super fees, medium super fees and high super fees. Ultimately, you want to be in a fund that charges low super fees. In saying this, it’s not only about super fees, as some funds have medium-high super fees but also perform better based on investment strategy, meaning you will get more back from your investments.