Consolidating your super accounts takes five minutes but could save you thousands

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MERGING your superannuation accounts takes five minutes, but it could end up saving you thousands of dollars in fees.

If youve moved jobs several times over the years, theres a good chance you have more than one superannuation account, each set up by different employers.

According to figures released by the Australian Taxation Office last year, 45 per cent of working Australians have more than one superannuation account.

With most people paying around $532 a year in fees and charges per super account every year, the amount of money you stand to lose over the course of your working life is significant.

It is not uncommon for people to open a new super account when they start a new job instead of taking their super fund with them when they change jobs, ATO Assistant Commissioner of Superannuation John Shepherd said last year.

People might also have super accounts which they have lost track of, for example, they may not have updated their contact details with their funds when they moved house there are still $5.8 billion worth of accounts in this category.

Since the introduction of the myGov website, which allows people to see all of their superannuation accounts in one place and merge them with the click of a button, the ATO has seen a rapid increase in the number of accounts being merged.

In the past, workers were required to fill out forms and provide certified documents to super funds to reclaim their money.

In the six months to December 2014, more than 265,000 accounts with balances totalling $1.13 billion were consolidated. That was a rise of 400 per cent from the previous year, when 52,000 accounts worth more than $270 million were consolidated.

Before consolidating, ASICs MoneySmart site advises workers to consider whether there are any termination fees, what level of insurance your chosen fund offers, and to make sure your employer can contribute to your chosen fund.

When consolidating your super, dont just choose the fund with the highest balance, MoneySmart advises. The best fund for you may be one of your small accounts, or a completely new fund.

HOW TO CONSOLIDATE YOUR SUPER

1. Create a myGov account

2. Link the ATO to your account

3. Go to the Super tab

4. Combine your accounts

Source: ATO