The Per Capita Lost Super Calculator allows any worker to calculate the impact of the 2014 Superannuation Guarantee freeze on their superannuation balances over the last five years.
With the Retirement Income Review underway, it is important that the consideration of whether to increase the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) rate to 12% is informed as far as possible by empirical evidence rather than through a reliance on contested economic theories.
It is also critical that Australian workers, whose earnings are the subject of this debate and whose retirement incomes will be affected by any change in the system, are able to fully understand the implications of further delaying or stopping the increase in the SG rate to 12%.
Our report The Super Freeze: What You’ve Lost attempts to provide that empirical evidence. This calculator, released alongside our report, allows individual workers to assess what the impact of the delay in increasing the SG rate to 12% has been on their super savings, and what has happened to their wages over the same period.
Our analysis shows that, since the super freeze was implemented in 2014, a worker on the full time median wage has lost $4,332.99 in superannuation. Over the same period, the median wage rose from $1,000 to $1,066 per week, or from $52,000 to $55,432 per year.
However, if we adjust for inflation, and look at real, rather than nominal, wage growth, the median wage actually falls. In 2014, the real median wage was $56,524 in today’s dollars and now it is $55,432.
Therefore, as a result of the freeze on the SG rate in 2014, the average worker has lost $4332.99 in super over the intervening five years; at the same time, their take-home pay has declined by $1092.00 in real terms, giving them a net loss of $5424.99.
We find that, on any objective measure, workers have suffered a significant loss in net income, calculated as changes to wages and forgone superannuation contributions combined, over the five-year life of the SG rate freeze.
Further, we find no reason to expect that these losses would not compound over the next five years if the SG rate is again frozen at 9.5% instead of increasing incrementally to 12% by 2025, as currently legislated.