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Australians stressed about their financial future

Just one in four Australians feel they have enough super to be financially secure in the future.

Roy Morgan’s new Superannuation and Wealth Management Report found members of industry super funds are least likely to believe they have planned enough, while almost 55 per cent of self-managed super fund owners are confident in their future financial security.

Almost 40 per cent of super fund owners believe they “should do something about planning their financial future”.

The report also found that employers remain the main driver of choice in super funds. Almost 85 per cent of superannuation products were chosen through employers, while just 11 per cent relied on a financial planner or adviser.

Improved performance of super funds in the past year has seen a decrease in the number of fund owners switching funds, dropping from 4.9 per cent in 2012 to 3.4 per cent this year.

Almost half the consumers who switched superannuation funds relied on a financial planner or accountant for advice, while 35 per cent asked their employer.

However, the report also found many consumers are confused about whether financial planners are independent or aligned to brands, with financial planners from each of the major planning groups recommending in-house products.

AMP is the most self-referential brand, with more than 70 per cent of people seeking advice from a financial planner aligned to AMP/AXA using an AMP/AXA product.

Superannuation has been a hot topic recently, with the Roy Morgan report following the release of a proposal from the Grattan Institute to delay Australians access to superannuation and the age pension until they are 70.

Under current legislation, the pension age is set to increase by six months to 65 ½ in 2017, then by six months every two years to reach 67 in 2023. The proposal would see the pension age raised by six months every year from 2015, reaching 70 by 2025.

Barclay Judge, director of superannuation at Nexia Australia, believes the proposal is unfeasible and may deter people from personally contributing to their super.

“As life spans increase, the plan is radical and may see no end. Those close to retirement will feel like they have had their benefits ripped from under them,” Judge said.