Given we’re a company that, you know, does super, it’s only natural that on occasion we have a good old chinwag about the state of super or the state of our own super.
One such occasion happened earlier this week, and despite the risk of outing myself as a bit of a fool, I shared with my coworkers the untimely demise of my super balance.
I started working when I was 15 years old. I had a face that was teeming with metal — braces and an eyebrow ring, to be specific — and pimples.
Super wasn’t exactly on my mind.
Thus, I just kind of ended up in a fund.
After high school, I kept working, but I also took several months off for an operation, and then at 20, I went backpacking across America. I came back and picked up some work (and two new super funds) and then I started feeling restless again.
Then one day, I was walking back to work after my lunch break and a pigeon rounded a corner and flew into my head. That was it. I’d had enough of Sydney.
I booked a bevy of tickets, secured some visas, and essentially spent the next eight years living overseas, creating a laundry list of experiences that included getting mugged twice in the space of five minutes in Barcelona, emergency landings, a plane engine blowing up on takeoff, the London bombings, and a few others.
It was all rather exciting.
The problem was that in the meantime, my super was mirroring my experiences in that it was running into one problem after another.
By having my super spread across three accounts, I was paying three sets of fees!
Because I was living and working overseas, employer contributions weren’t a thing that was happening. And like you might expect of someone who moved to Canada on account of a low-flying pigeon, I wasn’t exactly making savvy decisions.
While I could have sent money home to super, I didn’t.
So, for eight years, nothing went in and a whole lot came out. And that pesky global financial crisis basically halved what remained of my balance in one fell swoop.
When I finally returned to Australia, all worldly and enlightened (I assume), I didn’t work full-time for about four years. So, make that 12 years of nada.
The result is a super balance that looks like it has been mugged twice in Barcelona.
I tell this story because I am a big believer in talking openly about money and chatting with my coworkers about my super balance was a great reminder for me about choices.
We make bundles of choices in our lives, good and bad.
Sometimes we make choices without even knowing we’re doing so!
By ignoring my super for years, I was essentially making a choice to not be as far along with my super as perhaps I should be at my age, even if it wasn’t an active decision.
As we head towards a new year and a new decade, it seems like a good time to look back and reflect on all the active and passive choices we’ve made along the way — choices that have, in turn, helped colour our lives — and become more mindful about where we go next.