Given the retirement funding challenges presented by an ageing population, governments and corporations are increasingly shifting this risk to individuals. The success of such endeavours, however, may depend on the willingness of individuals to accept this responsibility and actively engage with their superannuation. Existing literature suggests that current levels of engagement may be inadequate.
Extending previous research by Worthington (2008), this study presents a new empirical dataset containing the interactions of individuals with a leading Australian superannuation provider. Five thousand individuals are observed on a continuous basis over a five-year period, with client-initiated transactions being used as a proxy for engagement. As the data is a direct record of client motivated contact, it is not affected by self-reporting bias that may be present in survey and interview-based data. As such, it provides a new perspective on the existing literature.
Preliminary findings are presented which broadly support those of Worthington. Females are less engaged than males, and those in regional areas are more engaged than those in capital city locations. Occupation type and age group affect engagement, however these effects vary between the two studies.
Further research opportunities using the dataset are flagged, including the relationship between engagement and financial market volatility, and the impact of engagement on individual investment performance. Basic models of these relationships are presented.