Q.I’m 60 years old, still working full time and have around $250k in super. Is it too late to consider an SMSF?
A. There is no real age or threshold for when you should consider setting up a self-managed super fund (SMSF), as it depends on the purpose and stage of life. Many people get caught up in the hype of an SMSF without realising they can achieve the same outcomes with less cost and less effort using a retail or industry super fund.
One of the most significant benefits of an SMSF is that it enables you to tailor the options specific to your needs. Here is a quick summary of some differences between an SMSF and retail/industry super funds:
- investment choice – most super funds allow you to invest in assets, such as listed shares and managed funds, while with an SMSF you can also invest in property and you are allowed to borrow
- tax benefits – all super funds provide the same tax benefits, although you can be a little more creative with an SMSF
- estate planning benefits – most super funds provide tax-effective estate planning, although an SMSF can be more flexible.
A limiting factor can be the amount available to invest. For example, if you have a low balance, say less than $200,000, and you are drawing a pension, then it may be more economically viable to consider a retail or industry super fund. On the other hand, if you are continuing to contribute and will receive new money, such as an inheritance or downsizing a home, then an SMSF may be worthwhile. So it’s wise to review your reasons with your financial planner who can assist you in making a decision.