Friday, September 11, 2020

Superannuation fees to rocket

These comments were reported in The Australian on 10 Sept 2020.
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At the current 9.5% compulsory contribution rate, Australia’s superannuation system is already an unbelievably expensive retirement income system. It employs 55,000 people and costs $34 billion in fees each year to deliver only $40 billion in retirement incomes (see the Scrap Superannuation report here). Increasing the compulsory super contributions rate to 12% of wages will do little to support retirement incomes while adding substantially to the economic cost of the superannuation system.

“The economic cost of super to members comes in the form of direct fees, which are around 1% of super balances on average, as well as the foregone investment returns from those fees,” says Dr Cameron Murray, economist and research fellow at The University of Sydney.

“For a typical earner with a 40-year work-life they can expect to have a real super balance of $743,000 at retirement, having paid about $108,000 in fees over their lifetime,” said Dr Murray [1].

“But those fees could have earnt an additional $74,000 in investment income, meaning the total economic loss is $182,000 over a lifetime.”

“Raising the compulsory super contribution rate to 12% will see funds charge this typical earner an extra $28,000 in fees over their lifetime, losing an addition $20,000 of investment income” concluded Dr Murray. 

“Even if funds improve their performance and fees fall by half, the compulsory rate increase will see this typical worker lose an extra $16,000 to fees over their working life, and around $10,000 of investment income.”

“The super system is one of the most economically inefficient ways to support retirement incomes. Raising compulsory contributions will only add to these costs, creating even more jobs for blow-hard spreadsheet monkeys who pay themselves from our retirement savings.”

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[1] First ten years of work-life at 70% of average full-time wage, and last ten years at 30% above the average full-time wage, with middle twenty years at the $90,000 average full-time wage. All returns and costs are in real terms. See Table 1 and 2 for a result summary.


1 comment:

  1. Let's not forget that the conservatives don't support this, not because they're against workers being ripped off, but because they don't want businesses to have to pay any extra income to their employees. They certainly don't want that extra 2.5% to show up in their employees pay packets.

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