Queenslanders ahead of the pack in seeking advice on super
WHAT do Queenslanders like to talk about around the dinner table, at the pub or while they're having a barbie with their mates? The footy, fishing, holidays, kids … the usual stuff. But a new survey reveals there's a topic that is discussed in Queensland more than anywhere else in Australia - superannuation.
Not only do Queenslanders talk more about their super with friends and family, they are more likely to act on advice they receive from their mates. The findings come from a survey of 2000 people commissioned by superannuation fund QSuper in a bid to examine the influence of word-of-mouth on superannuation decision-making.
The research was instigated after QSuper was named Australia's most recommended super fund for the second time by Engaged Strategy, which found that 23 per cent of respondents chose their super fund after a recommendation from a family member, friend or colleague. It was this reliance on informal advice that QSuper wanted to investigate further.
What QSuper discovered was that Queenslanders were significantly more likely to have received advice about their super from friends and family. More than 70 per cent of those living in the Sunshine State said they'd received recommendations from these informal sources, compared to 62 per cent elsewhere in the country.
What's more, Queenslanders were much more likely to have made decisions based on those tips (59 per cent) compared with other Australians (50 per cent). Confirming the State's affection for super as a water-cooler topic, the survey also found that Queenslanders were significantly less likely to have never received advice about their nest eggs through word-of-mouth (29 per cent) than the rest of Australia (38 per cent).
Independent financial educator Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon said the survey showed Queenslanders were wiser than their interstate cousins in seeking information about super from a wide range of sources.
"No doubt people are getting the message that life will be sweeter in the future if you take charge of your finances today," she said. "The earlier you sort out your super the easier and cheaper that sweet life will be."
QSuper CEO Michael Pennisi said the survey provided crucial insights into questions of trust when it came to super decision-making.
"This survey has really lifted the lid on where people source their information and what motivates their peers to make a recommendation," he said.
The survey found that 83 per cent of super fund members Australia-wide would recommend their fund to others, and their willingness to do so was based on the following, in order of importance: their fund's financial performance; positive personal experiences; the reputation of the fund and its advisers; transparency in fees and other product information; range of products.
Ms Pedersen-McKinnon said that the high frequency of word-of-mouth recommendations and actions taken because of them was understandable.
"People will naturally turn to those they trust for advice, because they believe their friends and family have their best interests at heart," she said.
"But a word of caution … while a real-life recommendation is great, be aware that the investment option your friend or relative is endorsing may not be the one that suits you best. For instance, younger people will most likely be getting recommendations from an older relative who will have a different appetite for risk than someone with their whole working life ahead of them."
Would you recommend your super fund to a friend?
To help you decide whether your super is on track and your fund is worthy of a glowing endorsement, Ms Pedersen-McKinnon offered the following five-point checklist:
1. Value: Look at the net performance of your investment; that is, the long-term performance of your fund minus the fees. That's what will make the biggest difference to you in retirement.
2. Time: On that topic, your retirement is built over a lifetime, so choose a super fund that has a record of strong, consistent returns over the long-term.
3. Investment options: The investment option your friend or family member chooses may not be the one that's right for you. Your age and risk appetite will make a difference.
4. Member services: When it comes to super, great member service can make a big difference to your financial literacy. Look for extra assistance such as member seminars, online advice and call centres that make you feel important and informed.
5. Insurance: Whatever your age and stage of life, you should carefully check the insurance inclusions your fund offers and weigh up the cost benefit. Look for a fund that lets you personalise insurance to more likely meet your needs.
The bottom line is, find the fund and investment option that makes you feel super relaxed about your future.
Learn more about QSuper here.