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Don't make drastic changes to your super because of the coronavirus, says consumer group Choice

Sharon Masige
  • Consumer group Choice said despite the market fluctuations coronavirus, now is not the time to make drastic changes to your super.
  • Scott Pape, author of The Barefoot Investor said instead, you should be making sure you have the right risk for your age and your risk tolerance.
  • Pape warned against trying to ride the waves of the market. Instead, you should make sure you're not paying too much in fees.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Worried about your super as the share market struggles through the coronavirus outbreak?

Consumer advocacy group Choice said superannuation funds have experienced a rise in members asking them if their retirement savings are safe as the coronavirus outbreak continues to unfold.

But the organisation highlighted the consensus from experts: now isn't the time to make drastic changes to your super.

Scott Pape, author of The Barefoot Investor, said in a statement it's not a good idea to try and move your super to reduce the impact of the coronavirus.

It comes after sharemarket's historical rebounds following previous health crises like Ebola, the swine flu and SARS.

"If you look at history, these tragedies impact people but they're short-term health crises, not long-term financial crises," he said. "In the long term, we know the share market goes up."

In fact, the Australian sharemarket was on a rollercoaster on Tuesday, with the ASX dropping nearly 4% in the first ten minutes of the day’s session, before bouncing up again almost immediately.

You should look at your level of risk

Pape said now is a good time for you to review whether the risk level of your super is right for you.

According to Superguide, your tolerance for risk has a major impact on your super. And making sure you choose the right super investment option for your risk profile is a big factor which determines how much you save when you retire.

For those who are still a way off from retirement, a market downturn like this one can be good for their super.

"Anyone under the age of 40 should be cheering the market going down," Pape said. "The stock market's on sale and we know the stock market always goes higher."

But for those getting close to retirement, they should build up a "cash buffer" to keep some of their super out of the rollercoaster of the sharemarket. This could mean allocating some of your super (or just new contributions) into a more conservative option like cash, if you're looking for a low risk-low return strategy to protect your savings.

And Pape warned against trying to ride the waves of the market. Instead, you need to make sure you're not paying too much in fees.

As a general rule, Choice said you should look for total fees of 1% or under for your super, as it will impact how much you're left with when you retire.