Learning to manage assets and about voluntary contributions are among the top areas in superannuation that Australians would like to learn more about, according to research.
In a TAL survey of some 800 employees with superannuation accounts, around 33 per cent said they would use financial education or tools at least once a month if they were offered by their employers.
A third (30 per cent) said they would use them once every six months or so.
In particular, employees said they want to know more about superannuation, expressing interest in learning how to calculate and manage their assets within their super, and having access to super calculators and education that will help them understand more about voluntary contributions. Others wanted to know how their super is invested and how insurance in super works.
However, just 15 per cent of employees said they were offered such financial tools by their employer. The other 85 per cent were unsure or did not have these resources offered to them.
Dan Taylor, TAL general manager, industry fund partnerships, observed how these insights could support super fund partners to have more meaningful engagement with employers.
“Alongside our superannuation fund partners, we are committed to supporting positive health outcomes for members,” Taylor said.
“We also recognise superannuation funds are looking to build value into their relationships with employers and employer groups, to augment their existing programs to support employee wellbeing.
“Our research shows that increasing an employee’s financial literacy is one of the best ways to help them lower their financial stress, which is in line with what we’re seeing elsewhere around the world. This represents a real opportunity for employers to provide tools and resources to help them understand and be better informed in making decisions to improve their financial health.”
Under APRA’s Retirement Income Covenant, super funds have a duty to consider providing superannuation calculators or retirement estimates to help members think about how super can play a part in their retirement income. They should also consider including budgeting tools or expenditure calculators, unrelated to specific financial products.
Along with this, the TAL research revealed financial literacy levels are relatively low across all demographics, with many employees having limited knowledge around topics such as insurance and super.
To address these gaps, TAL has announced a new online hub for its super partners, TAL Employer Assist.
“We’re committed to supporting our partners in delivering relevant tools and resources for their members and employer partners – including claims and health data insights of their workforce – and increasing understanding of the value of insurance to ensure more Australians can make informed decisions on their financial health,” Taylor said.
The hub includes tools and resources they can share with employers for the benefit of their employees and promote greater financial literacy and overall financial health.
TAL also noted that increasing an employee’s financial literacy is one of the best ways to help them lower their financial stress. In a PwC Employee Financial Wellness Survey focused on financial literacy, the research showed that the percentage of employees who said they were highly stressed dropped from 52 per cent to 19 per cent after they completed a financial literacy program.
For employers, increasing an employee’s financial literacy results in overall job satisfaction, enhanced retention, and reduced absenteeism, among other benefits.
There are also benefits for super funds, TAL noted.
“For superannuation funds, having members with high financial literacy can increase engagement and improve retention. In times of volatility or uncertain economic climates, having a thorough understanding of financial markets and the long-term nature of superannuation can reassure employees about their investments and the implications for their retirement savings,” it said.