ASFA: Planning a holiday? Plan retirement

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That only 11% of employees rely on a financial adviser over their employer for superannuation advice is not surprising, Australian Super Fund Association chief executive Pauline Vamos told Wealth Professional.

New figures from Roy Morgan Research show employers are the primary channel Australians rely on when deciding on their superannuation fund. Over the past five years, 84% of employees got superannuation products on the advice of their employer.

“Most people only go to a planner if the employer doesn’t have a default fund,” said Vamos. “It reflects why, in Australia, we have one of the most successful superannuation systems in the world with a high percentage of employees represented."

While Vamos feels this is a good result, what she does worry about are the high number of Australians who do not feel prepared for retirement, with the research showing only one in four Australians with superannuation feel they have planned enough to be financially secure.

“We really do need to increase that number of people feeling secure,” says Vamos. “The average person spends more time planning their annual holiday than planning for retirement. This is what has to change.”

The financial services industry needs to work together to help people plan better by giving “simple tips” to get people saving long-term, she said.

The research seemed to show Australians were increasingly satisfied with their super fund’s performance, as 3.4% of superannuation owners switched super fund in the year to June 2013 compared with 4.9% the year before.

Two thirds of those who switched sought some sort of advice, with 45% of switchers relying on a financial planner or accountant and 35% on advice from their employer.

Vamos said this reflects an aging population which is actively engaging with their superannuation.

“It’s great to see people starting to engage with their super, but the key message is – you just have to start. Just pick up the phone and call your adviser. Think about how much you spend this year planning your holiday and how much your retirement, and at least make it equal.”

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