Australians believe more superannuation savings are needed and allowing early access or postponing super guarantee contribution (SGC) increases undermines the goal of building retirement savings, according to a study released by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).
The study, based on consumer research conducted by CT Group, analysed attitudes to superannuation, the compulsory nature of the system and the scheduled increase of the SGC to 12 per cent.
ASFA chief executive Martin Fahy pointed out 81 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement “people need to save more superannuation, not less” and 63 per cent agreed that while saving for retirement was hard, strict rules were needed to ensure people have enough money to retire on.
“The views of the community were unequivocal. Australians value superannuation and consider that it is crucial to ensure they have dignity in retirement,” Fahy said.
“It is clear that the average Australian believes more money should be saved for retirement and not less. However, many Australians are concerned that while they personally may have saved enough to live well in retirement, others who don’t save might become a burden on taxpayers.”
The research examined attitudes regarding the scheduled increase of the SGC to 12 per cent, with 75 per cent of participants agreeing the postponement of the scheme could result in people working longer to comfortably retire, while 62 per cent supported maintaining the current schedule of super guarantee (SG) increases to 12 per cent.
“In this context, there is overwhelming support for maintaining the legislated increase of the SG to 12 per cent and for the compulsory nature of the system,” Fahy said.
ASFA also pointed out early access was regarded as a negative draw on superannuation, with 58 per cent of respondents agreeing that providing early access to super could undermine the system’s fairness and 62 per cent agreeing the benefits of compound interest are lost when people access their super early.
Despite the various complications surrounding the regulation of the superannuation industry, participants voted government intervention in the sector was of least importance compared to other national issues and only 2 per cent believed super regulation should be a top priority for government.
The research was conducted among 2043 people aged 25 to 69 in six focus groups held in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne during November 2021.