Just Interested or Getting Involved? An Analysis of Superannuation Attitudes and Actions

39 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2013 Last revised: 23 Oct 2013

See all articles by Hazel Bateman

Hazel Bateman

UNSW Sydney, CEPAR

J. Deetlefs

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Marketing

Loretti Dobrescu

University of New South Wales, School of Economics

Ben Newell

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Andreas Ortmann

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics

Susan Thorp

University of Sydney Business School; Financial Research Network (FIRN); Centre for International Finance and Regulation (CIFR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 14, 2013

Abstract

Low levels of non-default decision making among superannuation members in Australia are assumed to be evidence of lack of interest and capability. Using member records and survey data from a large Australian superannuation fund we test the relationship between attitudes towards retirement savings and observable levels of non-default activities (such as making voluntary contributions, choosing or changing investment options and changing insurance cover). Additional retirement savings contributions by permanent staff are more likely if the staff member is very likely to recommend their superannuation fund. Individuals who rate their own personal interest in superannuation affairs as very high are more likely to be active online. This, however, doesn't extend to choosing a non-default investment or purchasing additional insurance, where we find no differences between the highly interested and the disengaged. These findings, together with several other differences related to demographics and employment conditions, show that non-default activity is not a reliable proxy for member engagement.

Keywords: active decisions, defaults, defined benefit, defined contributions, pensions

JEL Classification: G02, G28, D14

Suggested Citation

Bateman, Hazel and Deetlefs, J. and Dobrescu, Loretti Isabella and Newell, Ben and Ortmann, Andreas and Thorp, Susan, Just Interested or Getting Involved? An Analysis of Superannuation Attitudes and Actions (October 14, 2013). UNSW Australian School of Business Research Paper No. 2013ACTL19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2340824 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2340824

Hazel Bateman (Contact Author)

UNSW Sydney, CEPAR ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

J. Deetlefs

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Marketing ( email )

Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Loretti Isabella Dobrescu

University of New South Wales, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Ben Newell

University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )

Kensington
High St
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Andreas Ortmann

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Susan Thorp

University of Sydney Business School ( email )

P.O. Box H58
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
+61 2 9351 6354 (Phone)

Financial Research Network (FIRN)

C/- University of Queensland Business School
St Lucia, 4071 Brisbane
Queensland
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.firn.org.au

Centre for International Finance and Regulation (CIFR) ( email )

Level 7, UNSW CBD Campus
1 O'Connell Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Australia

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