Today I am going to tell you about a little project that I have successfully completed. I have been thinking about doing it for about 15 years, and in the last few months got around to it. The process went without a hitch and today I was able to tuck away some of my records for the last time. What is this simple project that requires 15 years procrastination? Consolidation of my superannuation.
I had my retirement money split between two companies, and for some mysterious reason one of those companies had the money split between two account numbers, so I had three superannuation accounts. This meant three lots of mail about superannuation; two superannuation files, two online superannuation log ins, and lots of adding up. It was all too much and the superannuation letters would pile up on my intray unread for months, until then next ones came and I could ignore them instead.
I know its a boring topic. Of course its a boring topic. If it wasn’t so boring it would not have taken me 15 years to fill out a couple of forms to get it sorted. Apart from the general boringness, what held me back was that although I knew I needed to do something about it, I didn’t know what. I wanted my decision to be “for the best” and I didn’t know how to work out what that was. I had the idea that it might be wiser to have the money split between two companies in case one went bust, maybe just consolidating the two accounts with the one company. I also had the idea that financial advisers were either going to be biased because the get a financial benefit from their advice, or expensive because they were independent and charged a hefty fee. What I did know was that I felt out of control and paralysed by indecision.
What enabled the situation to change was my increasing interest in simplicity and minimalism. I came to the conclusion that fear had caused me to split my finances between too many companies, and I was overwhelmed by all the communications. The need to add up bits of money stashed here and there made it difficult to know how I was going, and I could not bear to read all the literature sent to me by the various companies. This was particularly the case with superannuation, which is my major investment.
This change in thinking allowed me to bite the bullet and proceed with the rollover process. I stayed calm and walked through the process step by step. Find out what to do. Print off two forms. Get more info from the company I was leaving. Complete two forms. Get a photocopy of my drivers licence. Get drivers licence copies certified. Prepare letter with forms. Post letter with forms. Wait. During the waiting time I decided to let go and trust that the insurance companies would do the right thing, and let me know when they were done. Amazingly it all went smoothly. I got two identical letters from the company I was leaving saying they were closing each of my accounts with them. Then a few days later I got a notification that the money had been deposited with my main account. No fuss, no bother, no mistakes. Today I checked the online records, and all is in order. Job done.
Its really satisfying to have solved this problem which has been a thorn in my side for many years. The next step is to get a better grip on the options available to me with the one company I am dealing with. I feel like I am in a much better position to understand my retirement money and make good decisions about how to manage it.
I don’t know what is the “best solution” for managing retirement funds. Of course its possible I will regret the decision to consolidate if the company I am with has problems, although it had the majority of the funds anyway. What I do know is that letting go of the dream that there is a “best decision” in favour of something workable that fits with my approach to life has enabled me to get unstuck and take responsibility for my decisions.