- Money Morning Australia

Revealed: Government to Get Hands on More Retirement Savings

Written on 03 August 2012 by Kris Sayce

Revealed: Government to Get Hands on More Retirement Savings

For over three years we’ve warned you that the government is coming for your retirement savings.

Of course, they won’t just grab it. They’re smart. They’ll do it by stealth. Even claiming it’s in your best interests…or the interests of society in general (that’s how governments always justify a wealth grab).

First they took the retirement savings of foreign workers who have left Australia. Then they took the retirement savings of Aussies’ lost super. And according to the latest Treasury draft paper, next on the list is the lost super of public sector employees.

But that’s just for starters; what’s next?

Well now it seems the government has its sights set on Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF). SMSFs account for about one-third of all super savings. And the government wants it. So they’ve got the big guns lined up to do their dirty work…

Yesterday The Australian headlined:

‘Investors are courting disaster on SMSFs, say fund managers’

Selections from the news story include:

‘Leading fund managers have expressed concerns with the speed at which ordinary Australians are eschewing professional advice and taking responsibility for the investment strategy that will ultimately fund their retirement…

‘”The next problem area might be collapses because people don’t know what they are doing. There is some truly wacky stuff going on out there”…

‘The comments about the vulnerability of the sector comes hard on the heels of a report from the Australian Crime Commission that SMSFs would be increasingly targeted by sophisticated overseas crime gangs in the year ahead.’

But Aussie investors needn’t worry about a bunch of swarthy foreigners stealing their savings. The gangs to fear are those in the Federal Government and the Australian Taxation Office…

Shoplifting is Bigger Than Investment Fraud

The report by the Australian Crime Commission referred to by The Australian is called, Serious and Organised Investment Fraud in Australia.

The report says that between January 2007 and April 2012, ‘more than 2,600 Australians were victims of Serious and Organised Investment Fraud.’

According to the report, losses due to investment fraud between January 2007 and April 2012 were $113 million…or $22.6 million per year.

That’s a lot of money. But it’s nothing compared to the estimated $5.5 billion lost by Aussie retailers in 2008 due to shoplifting.

Now, we’re certainly not underplaying the scale of this fraud, or the disastrous impact on some retirement savings.

But let’s put this in perspective. This report is nothing more than propaganda to convince people that it’s too dangerous for you to save for your own retirement…so you should let the government help.

As former US President, Ronald Reagan, said, ‘The nine most dangerous words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”‘

Besides, as crimes go, 2,600 is only a handful of people compared to the millions of tax theft victims each year. Where the government takes money from your pocket and your retirement account, money that you could use to save for your retirement.

Be in no doubt, Welfare States worldwide are fast running out of cash. They’re reaching the maximum they can tax people without causing civil unrest. And most Western nations have reached their maximum borrowing limit too.

Of course, compared to other nations the Aussie government has low debt. But there’s still a limit to the amount the government can borrow from foreign investors.

That puts them in a tough spot. How and where can it raise the cash to fill the hole in the budget deficit, and pay for the Welfare State?

The answer is clear – a retirement savings grab.

It’s a trend we’ve seen worldwide. Argentina, Ireland and Hungary are just three examples of countries nationalising private wealth.

Australia has done the same, but in a more shrewd way. It demands that superannuation funds pay any unclaimed funds to the tax office…so the government can spend it.

But it will be harder for the government to get hold of the rest of the $1.3 trillion super industry. They won’t be able to get away with boldly taking it. It will need a coordinated and fear-driven effort…

Watch Your Retirement Savings

The kind seen in the Australian article. So, what does this scary Australian Crime Commission report say?

We’ve read the report and really, it doesn’t say all that much. Sure, investors need to keep a close eye on their savings. And they need to be careful whom they trust.

But it doesn’t justify forcing individuals to hand their savings over to so-called investment pros or the government.

Because the last time we checked, governments haven’t done such a good job of looking after taxpayer money anyway.

And some of the biggest ever frauds have been committed not by the ‘sophisticated overseas crime gangs’, but by local firms, and often firms that are licenced and regulated.

Or by big banks punting with savers’ money: Barings, JPMorgan, Societe Generale, and UBS are recent examples.

The biggest fraudster of them all, Bernie Madoff, was an investment professional regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. He ripped his clients off for billions of dollars over many years. Fortunately he was caught (or rather, gave himself up) and will die in jail.

So yes, there are crooks, but that’s why it’s important that investors have more, not less, control over their

The last thing Aussies need as they prepare to retire is for the government to take private retirement savings and spend it. While at the same time claiming the money will be there when they retire. The experience of the Aged Pension proves otherwise.

In short, keep your eye on the news. The article in The Australian has all the hallmarks of planted government propaganda.

And it’s likely you’ll see many more articles like the one in The Australian in the coming months.

The government attack on your retirement savings has only just begun.


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Kris Sayce
Kris is never one to pull punches when discussing market developments and economic events that can affect your wealth. He’ll take anyone to task — banks, governments, big business — if he thinks they’re trying to pull a fast one with your money. Kris is also the investment director for Australian Small-Cap Investigator, Diggers and Drillers and Revolutionary Tech Investor. If you’d like to more about Kris’ financial world view and investing philosophy then join him on Google+. It's where he shares investment insight, commentary and ideas that he can't always fit into his regular Money Morning essays. Read more about Publisher and Investment Director Kris Sayce.

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