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Is some of the $18 billion yours?

There’s close to a 50% chance that some of that cash pile in lost super is yours, according to a new report.

The latest Westpac Lost Super Report estimates that the ‘lost’ super pile has grown to more than $18 billion, from $17.4 billion a year ago. 47% of Australians are likely to have lost super, but just over 5% know they have lost super.

“The amount of lost super is increasing,” says Westpac head of superannuation, Deanne Stewart, adding, ‘‘We are all planning to retire, so why don’t more of us spend just a few minutes to find any lost super.”

Most lost super comes about when workers change jobs, and multiple accounts are more likely when workers change jobs often, especially those where part-time and casual employment is common, such as retail and hospitality. Changing address or changing names when people get married are other situations where people are most likely to lose track of their accounts.

Multiple accounts, where someone has accounts with multiple superannuation funds, is one of the main reasons that people fail to keep track of their super. More than a third of Australians are estimated to have more than one super account.

The report also suggests that close to a third of people believe the amounts are immaterial, so don’t bother searching for their lost super. That view is likely to be incorrect, with the average balance per person estimated to be more than $2,500.

While 28% of Australians say they don’t have the time to consolidate multiple accounts, and another 27% say they don’t even know how to, the process is quite simple and quick.

Foolish takeaway

Almost any super fund, like those run by the major banks including Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC), as well as AMP Limited (ASX:AMP), fund managers Perpetual Limited (ASX:PPT), or BT Investment Management (ASX:BTT) has a process to track down lost super and roll over any funds into one account, while the Australian Tax office has a dedicated website, to help find lost funds.

Those who wish to check for lost super should go to the ATO’s SuperSeeker search tool at ato.gov.au/superseeker or phone 13 28 65.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.

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