Your Advice Got Us Fired

In 15 years of answering readers’ questions, I have never, ever received one like this:


Dear Scott,

My girlfriend and I are both scuba diving instructors, and after reading your book we decided to set up a salary-sacrifice contribution arrangement with our employer.

Six months down the line I realised we had not been paid any of our contributions or in fact ANY of our super for two years!

I hate confrontation, so I wrote our boss a very professional letter asking for payment of super in full for both of us.

The next day I came to work … and found all our dive gear sitting out on the road and a furious dive shop owner yelling and spitting in my face telling me to get out!

Months of going in circles — being told by Fair Work to call the Ombudsman and then to call the ATO — have resulted in nothing. It has now been a year, and in that time the owner has bought himself a brand-new boat and a Mercedes-Benz!

Yet it’s not all bad. After reading your book, we saved and bought our first home, and then set up our own snorkelling business on the side — where we earn as much from one trip as we did in a week at that dive shop. 

Your book has changed our lives and we are happier than ever. So maybe it was the best thing that could have happened?

Dylan (and Lara)

Hi guys,

Congrats on getting your act together.

Yet as far as it being “the best thing that ever happened”, well I think you’ve got happy gas in your scuba tank.

Let’s be clear: this guy is a crook.

Don’t duck-dive this one, cobber, he deserves to go to jail. The only time he should think about wearing a snorkel, flippers and wetsuit is when he hits the showers in H-Block.

Okay, so that’s pure fantasy!

For the rest of us playing along at home, here’s how the world really works:

You steal $100 out of the till, your boss immediately calls the cops, and you’re charged with a criminal offence.

Your boss steals $5,000 from you, and they can … repay it without so much as a slap on the wrist.

No, seriously.

Next month the Government is set to introduce a one-off amnesty for bosses who have unpaid super, without penalty.

Now, given that in 2017 a third of Aussies (some 2.85 million people) were ripped off to the tune of almost $6 billion in unpaid super, according to Industry Super Australia (ISA), it’s time to do a financial deep dive.

Here’s you: “But I work for a big company — they’ll protect me.”

Here’s me: “Woolworths”.

Let me tell you a couple of things.

First, I’m betting that 2,849,990 of those ripped off Aussies had absolutely no idea they’d been robbed (the 10 blokes who worked for Clive Palmer had a decent hunch).

Second, almost every one of them got a payslip saying they had been paid their super.

Here’s the thing: don’t trust your payslip … it’s as genuine as a Mercedes-driving dive shop owner.

Instead, trust your super statement.

So this week I want you to do me a favour:

Call your super fund and check that the money has actually hit your super account.

You may be surprised, and if you are, please write to me like Dylan and Lara did.

Tread Your Own Path!