Collaboration builds app to demystify superannuation for Australians
Despite it being in place for decades, many young and even older Australians don’t understand the complexities of the superannuation pension scheme, including those approaching retirement.
Surveys have consistently found many in the 18-40 age group to be disengaged and confused about the programme, with the majority not aware of its benefits as an investment and saying they struggled to keep up with changes to the scheme.
But there’s now a mobile app that can help answer all their questions. And it’s free to use.
With funding from CPA Australia and the University of Western Australia (UWA), UnderstandingSuper is the brainchild of a team of academia-industry researchers with backgrounds in finance, management consulting and neuroscience.
An interactive app, it teaches users the complexities of superannuation through simplified explanations delivered via interactive videos and online modules.
“UnderstandingSuper utilises contemporary learning techniques such as infographic videos and interactive activities to introduce basic super concepts and terms, while presenting some common decisions a typical Australian might face,” said UWA’s Dr Elizabeth Ooi, one of the app’s lead developers.
Ooi co-founded the company behind the mobile app after discovering that most Australians – up to four in five, according Scott Ko, another co-founder – don’t fully understand how much super they have, which super fund they are with or where their money is invested.
“Superannuation is a vitally important part of many people’s lives, however, it’s often a very difficult concept for a lot of the workforce to grasp,” the lecturer in Accounting and Finance at UWA’s Business School said.
“For some, it’s the difference between retiring in comfort, or retiring on a frugal income.”
Ooi developed the app in collaboration with Ko, an entrepreneur and strategic planner, teacher Brett Fisher and Kevin Liu, a lecturer at the School of Risk and Actuarial Studies at the University of New South Wales Business School.
Leveraging the unique experiences and skills of each individual, the team was able to develop a simple and easy-to-use application suitable for any member of the Australian public.
According to a media release on the project, the app is aimed at a general audience but is especially useful to younger Australians who often struggle with navigating the superannuation scheme as they enter the workforce for the first time.
“Surveys continuously show that Australians are confused about superannuation and this can be attributed to the fact that the information currently available is often complex,” Ooi said.
“The aim here is to make a difference by helping people become financially literate, not to turn them into superannuation experts.”
UnderstandingSuper is currently available on all app stores. It will be translated into eight languages – Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Hindi, Italian and Spanish – later this year.
Explaining, Ooi noted that the language barrier is a major reason why many Australians struggle to understand superannuation.
“We worked together with students from the Master of Translation Studies program at UWA to translate the contents of the app into additional languages, ensuring the information is accessible for international students and new migrants.”