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Super seen as ‘lifeboat’ amid current economic strain

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By Rhea Nath
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3 minute read

A recent consumer survey has identified super as a source of comfort for Australians concerning their financial futures, with profit-to-member funds leading the pack in terms of trust.

Despite current cost pressures, the majority of Australians are confident about their financial future because of their superannuation, according to a recent survey commissioned by the Super Members Council (SMC).

The consumer survey of 1,151 people found some 45 per cent are fairly confident and 15 per cent are very confident that the super system works in the best interests of everyday Australians.

Interestingly, this sentiment persisted despite almost 40 per cent admitting they are struggling a little in the current cost-of-living crisis and are having to watch their budgets to ensure they can service all their bills.

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Per the survey’s findings, over half (58 per cent) of all respondents with super and 54 per cent of respondents with current financial difficulties said super gives them confidence regarding their financial wellbeing.

Georgia Brumby, executive general manager of advocacy at the SMC, observed that super is being viewed as a “lifeboat through today’s economically turbulent waters”.

“Our universal and world-class super system has provided economic security, financial flexibility, and peace of mind to millions of Australians,” Ms Brumby said.

“If the policy settings remain stable and changes are made only in the members’ best interests, super can go on delivering for generations to come.”

The survey found profit-to-member funds are the most trusted of Australia’s financial institutions in terms of ensuring that the superannuation system works in the best interests of ordinary Australians, followed by the Fair Work Commission and regulators.

Meanwhile, financial advisers and the big four banks were among the least trusted institutions.

The findings also revealed that over half (55 per cent) of Australians believe super is a low-cost way to build savings, while an equal number said it has performed strongly over the long term. In contrast, some 17 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively, disagreed with the sentiment.

While noting that confidence and trust in the super system remains generally high, Ms Brumby had a call to action for members who are not as engaged with their fund.

“Previous research shows those who take an interest in super are happier with their fund’s investment performance, so we would urge all Australians to check in with their fund to make sure they are getting the most they can from their super,” she said.

“Life is busy and retirement for many is decades away, but spending some time now looking into super could really pay off in the long term.”

Earlier this month, research house SuperRatings reported positive fund returns were expected from the preceding year despite swirling uncertainty and inflation, with the median balanced option expected to return 9.6 per cent for 2023.

Kirby Rappell, executive director of SuperRatings, observed: “While 9.6 per cent is a strong result, it is only the 10th highest return since 2000, showing the ability of superannuation to deliver for everyday Australians at consistently high levels.”

Additionally, long-term returns remain strong with an estimated median return of 6.5 per cent per annum since 2000, he said.

Super seen as ‘lifeboat’ amid current economic strain

A recent consumer survey has identified super as a source of comfort for Australians concerning their financial futures, with profit-to-member funds leading the pack in terms of trust.

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