Answers to some of the more frequently asked questions around your super and the impacts of Coronavirus.
The increase of global coronavirus cases (COVID-19) in 2020 has had a significant impact on financial markets and caused widespread social and economic disruption over the near term.
We understand growing concerns about the impacts this will have on your superannuation and pension balances. We’ve answered some of the most common questions asked during this volatile time.
Investment earnings & your account balance
Q: Has my balance been impacted?
A: It’s without a doubt that we’ve recently experienced volatile share markets and it’s likely that your balance has been impacted as a result of the world economic changes. However, it’s important not to panic and to remember that superannuation is a long-term investment.
Our investment options, including the MySuper balanced option (where most members are invested), is managed by a team of experienced investment managers who carefully monitor and invest across a diversified portfolio of assets including shares, property, fixed interest, cash and alternatives. This diversification helps to reduce the impact of share market declines on our investment options and ultimately on your investment returns.
History tells us that economic downturns are temporary and markets have demonstrated the ability to recover losses after a crisis.
For example, despite share markets falling more than 40% during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, most balanced funds recovered the majority of losses in the following 12 months.
Even though share markets are volatile and that will most likely have affected your account balance right now, it’s important to realise that you haven’t locked in your investment returns (lost or made anything) until your investments are sold.
This happens when you take your money out, you switch your investments or the financial year ends. This is referred to as 'crystallisation'. Your money remains invested and will continue to fluctuate up and down with markets until it is 'crystallised.'
What does crystallisation mean?
As a hypothetical example, let's look at a scenario where the Australian share market dropped at the start of the day and then finished the day higher. If you bought shares in the morning, then sold them at lunchtime, you may have lost money (crystallised your loss). If you held the shares all day and sold them at the end, you may have made a profit. If you simply bought them and held onto them, you haven’t lost (or made) anything, you continue to hold those shares or units. This is an example of how crystallisation can work over the period of one day, but the same principles apply over the whole period in which your super is invested.
Q: Where can I check my account balance?
A: You can check your balance and investment earnings online any time, by logging in to MemberAccess. You’ll be able to see earnings as a dollar figure, your current balance, transaction history and previous Annual Statements.
You will need your legalsuper member number to access your account online.
Q: What is legalsuper doing to manage my investment?
A: Rest assured we are actively monitoring and managing the investment portfolio daily and your retirement savings are being looked after by a team of experienced investment managers.
Our investment options, including the MySuper balanced option (where most members are invested), is managed by a team of experienced investment managers who carefully monitor and invest across a diversified portfolio of assets including shares, property, fixed interest, cash and alternatives. This diversification helps to reduce the impact of share market declines on our investment options and ultimately, on your investment returns. To see how your balance is invested, log in to MemberAccess:
The markets are changing dramatically day-by-day, we will continue to keep you updated. Read our investment insights for more information.
Q: Should I switch my investment?
A: History tells us that economic downturns are temporary and markets have demonstrated the ability to recover losses after a crisis. For example, despite share markets falling more than 40% during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, most balanced funds recovered the majority of losses in the following 12 months. Switching to a conservative option now (e.g. cash), after the decline in markets will lock-in the losses and reduce the prospects of recovery when markets rebound.
It's important to remain composed during periods of heightened volatility and recognise superannuation is a long-term investment. We encourage members to seek financial advice before making changes to your super investment strategy.
Despite the sharp short-term impact COVID-19 has had on returns, legalsuper’s MySuper Balanced Option has delivered strong returns of 6.4% per annum over the past 5 years.
Before making any decision to switch your investments, we recommend you speak with a qualified financial adviser.
If you choose to make an investment switch, you can log in to MemberAccess to do so.
You can also make a complimentary appointment to speak with a member of our Client Service team, send us a message and we'll contact you. We're here to help.Send us a message
Q: How long does it take to switch my investments?
A: Requests to switch investment option(s) received before 4pm (AEST) on a national business day* will receive the unit price of that day. Your account records will be updated two national business days after the request. The 4pm (AEST) cut-off applies to requests received via all channels (e.g. both online and forms). This does not include investments within the Direct Investment option.
Please note you may incur a Buy-Sell spread when making an investment switch.
*A national business day is a weekday that is not a national public holiday or the NSW Queens Birthday weekend, or another day at the Trustee’s discretion.
Accessing super early
Q. I've lost income due to the economic downturn. Can I withdraw my super?
A: The superannuation system has been designed to encourage people to save money to provide an income in retirement.
However, during this challenging time many Australians have lost their jobs, or suffered income loss and are now finding themselves in unexpected and difficult financial situations.
On 22nd March, the Federal Government announced a new temporary early release of superannuation to allow individuals who are experiencing financial stress to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019/20 and a further $10,000 2020/21 (conditions apply). Read more here.
If you’re eligible, you can apply online through myGov for early access to your superannuation from mid-April 2020.
Retirement income & Pension accounts
Q: I’m in retirement, what should I do about my money?
A: When you’re in retirement rather than the working phase of life, access to money and a reliable source of income is essential and making changes to your investment strategy in retirement could have serious consequences to your retirement income.
Negative markets can happen from time to time, however, they generally do recover. It’s important to remain calm and stay the course so that you are well-positioned when markets do recover.
To help you manage your retirement savings, on 22 March 2020, the Government announced new changes to temporarily reduce superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for the remainder of this financial year and 2020/21.
This measure is intended to reduce the need to sell investment assets to fund the minimum drawdown requirement.
You can find more detailed information on the ATO website.
It's ideal to be able to draw an income without locking in losses on your entire nest egg. If you're receiving a retirement income and would like to review your drawdown strategy or investment structure, reach out to us to book an appointment; we can assist you over the phone.Send us a message
Q: I’m a pension account holder and I am already receiving my minimum drawdown amount. How do I further reduce my pension payment amount?
A: We are currently working on this process and will be in contact with all Pension account members as soon as we are prepared to implement these changes.
Speak with someone
Q: I need to update my details, how do I do this?
A: You don’t need to call us to update your details. Simply log in to MemberAccess or download the relevant form and send it back to us.
Superannuation member change of details (104.23 KB)
Pension change details (113.35 KB)
Q: I prefer to speak with someone, who can help?
A: We’re here to support you during this stressful time. At legalsuper we pride ourselves on provided dedicated service to all members. There are a few ways you can get help:
- If you have a financial adviser, it's a good time to get in touch with them.
- You can book a complimentary appointment to speak with a highly experienced and qualified legalsuper Client Service Manager in your region either over the phone or video call. Send us a message and we’ll be in touch within two business days.
- Our National Client Service Centre is open between 8am and 8pm AEST Monday to Friday. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 1800 060 312
Information on this webpage is general information only and should not be considered to be personal advice and does not take into account your specific needs. You should consider your own financial position, objectives and requirements and obtain a copy of legalsuper’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) which is available by contacting legalsuper or via its website at legalsuper.com.au before making any decision. Past performance is not a reliable guide to future performance.