I found out recently just how much money the average Australian has missed out on because of poorly organised super (by having a bunch of unconsolidated superannuation accounts in the infamous abyss of super land), and as someone who has a big love of having enough money to spoil myself with Lush goodies and wildly overpriced tea, it was pretty devastating to me.
We’re talking an average of $1,121.79 going by the wayside, according to the ATO as of June 2018. That right there is 141 Blackberry bath bombs from Lush down the drain, and not even in a fun way. Don’t even get me started on how many bags of tea you could afford for that sum.
But I knew that surely I wouldn’t be the only person shocked at how much cash is getting wasted, so I challenged the folks in my life to tell me what they’d purchase with $1,121.79 — and educate them about the money they could’ve lost on super.
Lifehacker has partnered with ING Bank (Australia) Limited (ING) to help you figure out this super business.
There's definitely something that unlocks in people's brains when you say that they could spend hypothetical money on literally anything, so it should come as no surprise that things got a bit strange.
First up was Elise, our office tech guru, who insisted she'd spend the money on precisely 44 servings of Bennelong’s suckling pig sausage roll. Having never experienced what I'm sure is a taste sensation, I inquired further. According to Elise, her fiancé said that when she was eating it, he'd never seen the look of pure satisfaction and happiness on her face before. Rough.
Bertie Beetle Bags
Speaking of partners, my boyfriend Adrian had his own weirdly specific purchase. A Brisbane boy originally, he told me he'd spend the money on 560 of the blue $2 Bertie Beetle show bags from the Ekka. Let me tell you, that is a sentence that took multiple Googlings to comprehend.
Finally, my best friend Gemma wanted to commission a series of lovely, custom portraits. Custom portraits painted with love and care — of her pets. Fancy, vivid portraits from a cool artist she found on Instagram, of two cats, a dog and a lizard. I want to see a bearded dragon painting in the style of the old royalty portraits, immediately.
paint me like one of your french girls
Turns out there are people in my life who would still be relatively financially responsible even if they got handed a bunch of cash. Who would've thought?!
Dana, my colleague, went the practical route with $400 dedicated to refurbishing her leather goods (vintage bag, heels and flats), another $400 dedicated to gym wear (including $200 on Jaggad clothes and $200 on ASICS sneakers). The final $300? That's on a trip to Tasmania.
Then we had my Dad, whose first port of call was to browse his favourite golf websites. I do not have the slightest idea how much any golfing equipment costs, nor do I have the inclination to find out, but he said it was roughly that amount so there you go.
And the last of the justifiable purchases was my colleague Matt. At first, his only response to my question was "A GUITAR!" and while that was informative, I wanted specifics. So finally he landed on the Epiphone Les Paul Custom PRO in Ebony. A fine choice, if you ask me.
anyway here's wonderwall
The Incredibly Specific
You've gotta hand it to people: if you give them a super specific number they'll give you a super specific response. I shouldn't be surprised that the winning response (in my books, anyway) came from our Features and Style Editor, Mel. The gal knows how to shop properly!
Here's her list:
- I'd buy this jacket, which is completely out of my price range but absolute HEAVEN ($620).
- Then I'd buy these jeans because I have 4 pairs of them in varying colours and can't justify it, but want them desperately ($149.95).
- I need these boots like I need air ($263.44).
- Then I'd get this heated pet bed for my dog, who already has 4 different bed options because she's a spoiled lil' gal ($67.23)
- Some gold plated mini hoops because I just re-pierced my ears ($16),
- Pikelets, because PIKELETS.
- With my last $3.48, I'd get these because THESE ARE ACTUALLY SO LEGIT, I'm gonna go buy some now.
Bottom line though, is that every last one of these people should absolutely be able to afford the reasonable, weird and wildly specific purchases of their dreams in retirement — provided they get their super in order.
Basically, the reason that so many people miss out on this extra cash is because a lot of their super is currently unconsolidated, which means that they’re paying a bunch of extra fees and not earning the interest they should be. So how do we fix this?
Think about consolidating, mates. Before you do that? Take a sec to consider where future employer contributions will be paid, the other fees you may incur with the rollover, and losing your current insurance benefits from your existing provider(s) when the insurance is cancelled. It could make your life a lot easier in the long run.
Besides, any excuse to buy 141 bath bombs is worth it to me.
This article was sponsored by ING (ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292, Australian Financial Service Licence 229823) and written by PEDESTRIAN.TV. It’s also general in nature and does not take into personal circumstances, objectives or needs. Make sure you consider the appropriateness based on what you need and your financial situation. So speak to the experts before making financial choices, ok?