It is a favourite parody scene from some of my favourite comedies – in the midst of a terrible turmoil there is someone runing from pillar to post, pulling out their hair while yelling (usually with an enforced accent), “but what about the baby?”
It may be a long bow to draw any similarity but it appears to me that in amongst the argy-bargy of superannuation debate by vested interests, the “baby” that is being forgotten is the poor uninformed superannuation fund member.
There should not be “sides” in this debate but there are. We have an ideological divide between the “Industry Funds” and “Retail Funds”. Both groupings are misnomers, and both groups bring an awful lot of baggage to the bargaining table. Unfortunately for the poor super fund member trying to make sense of all this, the whole embroglio is made worse by some fiercely held ideological beliefs.
A person interested in cultural texts would suggest that the superannaution industry discourse has become a rolemodel of postmodern nothingness, as the industry disappears in a vortex of its self-created simulacra – having lost any sense of historicity and with no direction to take from here.
An individual less interested in philosophical discussion on spatial and temporal planes would simply note that the combatants in this debate are beginning to resemble a scene from a Monty Python movie. Every form of argumentative fallacy is on display. Again, the less academic commentator would suggest that the players have taken their eye off the ball.
This is a long introduction to what is likely to be a long commentary on the issues surrounding superannuation. Hopefully, they will help provide some form of historical perspective and provide a bit of framework in which to consider the discussions at hand.
Make no mistake – these are seriously important issues. The specific points may become complex but the underlying principles are fairly straight-forward, and it is my objective to bring a bit of plain-English into play, to help those who find this simply all too difficult.
This ongoing discussion will be a new “category” on the blog – Superannuation – and by clicking on that category there will be an accumulating group of comments on each of the issues that a super fund member (or their advisor or their trustee or whoever) needs to consider before taking any big steps.
Again, keep in mind that this will NOT BE ADVICE! These notes are simply discussion points but they cannot be seen to apply to individual circumstances, as that would require that your personal situation, needs and objectives are taken into account – which they obviously can’t be on a discussion site such as this. Nevertheless, it is my hope that this will be a helpful resource for those who are seeking to understand a bit more of this animal called superannuation.