Transitioning into retirement: What you should know

Deciding on your retirement funding options in retirement comes down to what makes the most sense for you.

If you’re close to retirement, chances are you’ve already spent time thinking about how to tap into your superannuation when you retire.

Broadly speaking, you have a few options when you retire, as long as you’ve reached the minimum ‘preservation age’ when you’re allowed to access your super.

That’s a little bit complicated, because there’s currently a staggered range of preservation ages depending on when you were born. If you were born after 1 July 1964, your super access age is 60.

You can check out your personal preservation age on the Australian Tax Office website.

Deciding on your retirement funding options comes down to what makes the most sense for you.

Leaving your super alone

There’s actually no legislation that says you must start drawing out your super savings when you retire.

In fact, if you don’t need your super to fund your living expenses, you can simply leave it where it is.

You can keep investing your super, and even add money into your account if you pick up some work income, and make concessional contributions up to $27,500 per year (which are taxed at 15 per cent), or personal non-concessional contributions up to $110,000 per year using after-tax money.

You can contribute to your super at any time generally up until the age of 74 (excluding a home downsizer contribution), and by not starting a pension you’re not forced by the government to start withdrawing regular payments.

The government also allows people aged 60 and over to add up to $300,000 into their super account if they sell their principal place of residence, subject to a range of conditions. Legislation to lower the eligibility age to age 55 was passed in the Senate on 28 November.

Keep in mind that if you do leave your money in a super accumulation account, all investment earnings will continue to be taxed at the 15 per cent rate.

But that rate is still likely to be lower than what you would pay if you decided to withdraw your super and invest it into another asset, such as an investment property, where the rental income would be taxed at your full marginal tax rate.

Leaving all your money in super after you’ve retired means you can’t withdraw money as a regular pension income stream. To do that you generally need to roll at least some of it over into an account-based pension.

However most super funds will let you withdraw lumps sums whenever you like if you’ve met all release conditions and have the money transferred into your bank account. A minimum amount of $6,000 generally must be left in your account.

You should also be mindful that if you leave money in your super account or account-based pension and die that there may be tax consequences for non-dependant beneficiaries (see below).

Starting a pension stream

On the other hand, if you want to use all of your super to have a regular income stream once you retire, you’ll need to roll it over into a pension account.

You’ll need to contact your super fund manager to do this or, in the case of a self-managed super fund, ensure the trust deed allows for the payment of a pension income stream.

Your basic options are to either roll your super over into a pension product offered by your current super fund or to transfer it over to another pension product provider.

Most account-based pension products enable monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annual payments, which will continue until your account balance runs out.

Be aware that once you start up a pension you’re required to withdraw a set percentage of your account balance every financial year, which increases as you age.

The minimum pension account withdrawal amounts have been temporarily reduced by 50 per cent for the 2022-23 income year. You can see them on the ATO’s website.

There are a range of advantages from setting up a pension income stream versus keeping your super money in accumulation mode.

Most importantly, if you’re aged over 60 and retired, your pension payments are tax-free and so are any investment earnings generated inside your pension account.

You can use your own pension income stream to supplement the government Age Pension if you’re eligible to receive it. And you’re also able to withdraw lump sums from your pension account at any time.

Upon your death, non-dependants who receive money left in a pension account will need to pay tax on the taxable component. The amount of tax payable may be reduced by tax offsets.

Doing both

If you’re wanting total financial flexibility in retirement, you could consider leaving part of your money in super, rolling over some of it into an account-based pension, and also withdrawing lump sums whenever you need to.

There are a range of benefits from adopting a combination of your options, although there may also be potential tax consequences for both you and your beneficiaries.

Managing the combination of a super accumulation account, an account-based pension, an Age Pension entitlement (if eligible), potential investment earnings outside of super, and irregular lump sum payments, can be highly complex.

Using the services of a licensed financial adviser is a worthwhile consideration as you weigh up all of your retirement options.

Call us today if you’d like more information about transitioning into retirement.

Source: Vanguard

Reproduced with permission of Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd

Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd (ABN 72 072 881 086 / AFS Licence 227263) is the product issuer. We have not taken yours and your clients’ circumstances into account when preparing this material so it may not be applicable to the particular situation you are considering. You should consider your circumstances and our Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or Prospectus before making any investment decision. You can access our PDS or Prospectus online or by calling us. This material was prepared in good faith and we accept no liability for any errors or omissions. Past performance is not an indication of future performance.

© 2022 Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd. All rights reserved.

Important:
Any information provided by the author detailed above is separate and external to our business and our Licensee. Neither our business nor our Licensee takes any responsibility for any action or any service provided by the author. Any links have been provided with permission for information purposes only and will take you to external websites, which are not connected to our company in any way. Note: Our company does not endorse and is not responsible for the accuracy of the contents/information contained within the linked site(s) accessible from this page.

Mortgage vs super

With interest rates on the rise and investment returns increasingly volatile, Australians with cash to spare may be wondering how to make the most of it. If you have a mortgage, should you make extra repayments or would you be better off in the long run boosting your super?

The answer is, it depends. Your personal circumstances, interest rates, tax and the investment outlook all need to be taken into consideration.

What to consider

Some of the things you need to weigh up before committing your hard-earned cash include:

Your age and years to retirement

The closer you are to retirement and the smaller your mortgage, the more sense it makes to prioritise super. Younger people with a big mortgage, dependent children, and decades until they can access their super have more incentive to pay down housing debt, perhaps building up investments outside super they can access if necessary.

Your mortgage interest rate

This will depend on whether you have a fixed or variable rate, but both are on the rise. As a guide, the average variable mortgage interest rate is currently around 4.5 per cent so any money directed to your mortgage earns an effective return of 4.5 per cent.i

When interest rates were at historic lows, you could earn better returns from super and other investments; but with interest rates rising, the pendulum is swinging back towards repaying the mortgage. The earlier in the term of your loan you make extra repayments, the bigger the savings over the life of the loan. The question then is the amount you can save on your mortgage compared to your potential earnings if you invest in super.

Super fund returns

In the 10 years to 30 June 2022, super funds returned 8.1 per cent a year on average but fell 3.3 per cent in the final 12 months.ii In the short-term, financial markets can be volatile but the longer your investment horizon, the more time there is to ride out market fluctuations. As your money is locked away until you retire, the combination of time, compound interest and concessional tax rates make super an attractive investment for retirement savings.

Tax

Super is a concessionally taxed retirement savings vehicle, with tax on investment earnings of 15 per cent compared with tax at your marginal rate on investments outside super.

Contributions are taxed at 15 per cent going in, but this is likely to be less than your marginal tax rate if you salary sacrifice into super from your pre-tax income. You may even be able to claim a tax deduction for personal contributions you make up to your annual cap. Once you turn 60 and retire, income from super is generally tax free. By comparison, mortgage interest payments are not tax-deductible.

Personal sense of security

For many people there is an enormous sense of relief and security that comes with having a home fully paid for and being debt-free heading into retirement. As mortgage interest payments are not tax deductible for the family home (as opposed to investment properties), younger borrowers are often encouraged to pay off their mortgage as quickly as possible. But for those close to retirement, it may make sense to put extra savings into super and use their super to repay any outstanding mortgage debt after they retire.

These days, more people are entering retirement with mortgage debt. So whatever your age, your decision will also depend on the size of your outstanding home loan and your super balance. If your mortgage is a major burden, or you have other outstanding debts, then debt repayment is likely a priority.

All things considered

As you can see, working out how to get the most out of your savings is rarely simple and the calculations will be different for everyone. The best course of action will ultimately depend on your personal and financial goals.

Buying a home and saving for retirement are both long-term financial commitments that require regular review. If you would like to discuss your overall investment strategy, give us a call.


https://www.finder.com.au/the-average-home-loan-interest-rate

ii https://www.chantwest.com.au/resources/super-members-spared-the-worst-in-a-rough-year-for-markets

Managing the Rising Cost of Living: Tips from a Financial Planner

It’s no secret that the cost of living in Australia is rising. In fact, it’s been consistently increasing over the past few years.

This is a problem that affects many Australians, particularly those starting to think about retirement.

However, there’s good news.

If you’re starting to think about taking a step back from work, there are a number of ways to manage the cost of living. And with the help of a financial planner, you can find solutions that work for your unique situation.

Our financial planners, Mark, Daniel, Prue, and Joseph share a few simple tips on managing the rising cost of living.

  • Review your current expenses and identify what you will and won’t need in future years. Consider making changes now rather than later. This may include cutting back on unnecessary costs, such as entertainment and dining out.
  • Make a budget and stick to it. Do this for your current lifestyle as well as your future lifestyle. This will help you keep track of your spending and ensure that you’re not overspending.
  • If you are not already, then consider investing in income-producing assets*. This could include property, shares or managed funds. These investments can provide you with an additional source of income, which can help offset the cost of living and support your retirement.
  • Save for unexpected expenses. It’s always a good idea to have some money set aside for unexpected costs, such as medical bills or car repairs. This will help you avoid going into debt if something unexpected comes up.
  • Seek professional advice. A financial planner can help you assess your situation and develop a plan to manage the cost of living now and into your retirement. They can also provide you with guidance and support, which can make a big difference when it comes to managing your finances.
How can a financial planner help

As financial planners we understand the financial pressure being put on families and individuals and the current challenges being faced. Particularly the rising cost of living.

Many think of financial planners as focused on providing advice to help people build a nest egg for long-term goals, like retirement.

However, a financial planner is so much more. Alongside helping you plan for the future we can help you manage your finances and make sure you are getting the most out of your money – now and into the future.

For example, if you’re finding it hard to manage the increasing cost of living, we can help you develop a plan and find ways to save money. We can also offer advice on how to invest your money so that you can build wealth over time.

A financial planner can provide peace of mind and help you navigate through these difficult times.

If you are concerned about the rising cost of living and the impact it may have on your retirement, contact one of us today. As qualified financial planners we will be able to offer guidance and support so that you can make the most of your money.

Email: Mark Reidy
Traralgon Office
Email: Daniel Bremner
Moe Office
Email: Prue Cox
Drouin Office
Email: Joseph Auciello
Moe Office
Wealth for life

Remember, wealth is more than just money. It’s about financial freedom.

Wealth for life means having the flexibility to change your financial planning as your life and circumstances change.

If you’re like most people, your cost of living will continue to increase as you get older. At the same time, your ability to earn an income may decrease. That’s why it’s important to have a financial planner who has your interests at heart and can offer the flexibility to change your financial planning as your life and circumstances change.

Make the most of your money and ensure that you’re always prepared for whatever life throws your way. With our help, you can navigate future changes and enjoy financial freedom and peace of mind.

We offer a wide range of services, including retirement planning, estate planning, investment advice, and more. Contact Mark, Daniel, Prue, and Joseph today to learn how we can help you secure your financial future.

Email: Mark Reidy
Traralgon Office
Email: Daniel Bremner
Moe Office
Email: Prue Cox
Drouin Office
Email: Joseph Auciello
Moe Office
Phone Mark Reidy
Traralgon Office
03 5120 1400
Phone Daniel Bremner
Moe Office
03 5120 1400
Phone Prue Cox
Drouin Office
03 5120 1400
Phone Joseph Auciello
Moe Office
03 5120 1400

We can help you find solutions that work for your unique circumstances and ensure that you’re on track to meet your financial goals.

* This information is general in nature and does not take into account your personal goals, objectives or financial situation. Personal advice should be sought prior to making any investment or strategy decisions. RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582. AFSL 229471.

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

A super end to the financial year

As the end of the financial year approaches, now is a good time to check your super and see what you could do to boost your retirement nest egg. What’s more, you could potentially reduce your tax bill at the same time.

There are a handful of positive changes to super due to start next financial year, but for most people, these will not impact what you do before June 30 this year.

Changes ahead

Among the changes from 1 July, the superannuation guarantee (SG) will rise from the current 10 per cent to 10.5 per cent.

Another upcoming change is the abolition of the work test for retirees aged 67 to 74 who wish to make non-concessional (after tax) contributions into their super. This will allow eligible older Australians to top up their super even if they are fully retired. Currently you must satisfy the work test or work test exemption. This means working at least 40 hours during a consecutive 30-day period in the year in which the contribution is made.

But remember you still need to comply with the work test for contributions you make this financial year.

Also on the plus side, is the expansion of the downsizer contribution scheme. From 1 July the age to qualify for the scheme will be lowered from 65 to 60, although other details of the scheme will be unchanged. If you sell your home that you have owned for at least 10 years to downsize, you may be eligible to make a one-off contribution of up to $300,000 to your super (up to $600,000 for couples). This is in addition to the usual contribution caps.

Key strategies

While all these changes are positive and something to look forward to, there are still plenty of opportunities to boost your retirement savings before June 30.

For those who have surplus cash languishing in a bank account or who may have come into a windfall, consider taking full advantage of your super contribution caps.

The annual concessional (tax deductible) cap is currently $27,500. This includes your employer’s SG contributions, any salary sacrifice contributions you have made during the year and personal contributions for which you plan to claim a tax deduction.

Claiming a tax deduction is generally most effective if your marginal tax rate is greater than the 15 per cent tax rate that applies to super contributions. It is also handy if you have made a capital gain on the sale of an investment asset outside super as the tax deduction can offset any capital gains liability.

Even if you have reached your annual concessional contributions limit, you may be able to carry forward any unused cap amounts from previous years if your super balance is less than $500,000.

Once you have used up your concessional contributions cap, you can still make after-tax non-concessional contributions. The annual limit for these contributions is $110,000 but you can potentially contribute up to $330,000 using the bring-forward rule. The rules can be complex, especially if you already have a relatively high super balance, so it’s best to seek advice.

Government and spouse contributions

Lower income earners also have incentives to put more into super. The government’s co-contribution scheme is aimed at low to middle income earners who earn at least 10 per cent of their income from employment or business.

If your income is less than $41,112 a year, the government will contribute 50c for every after-tax dollar you squirrel away in super up to a maximum co-contribution of $500. Where else can you get a 50 per cent immediate return on an investment? If you earn between $41,112 and $56,112 you can still benefit but the co-contribution is progressively reduced.

There are also incentives for couples where one is on a much lower income to even the super playing field. If you earn significantly more than your partner, ask us about splitting some of your previous super contributions with them.

Also, if your spouse (or de facto partner) earns less than $37,000 a year, you may be eligible to contribute up to $3000 to their super and claim an 18 per cent tax offset worth up to $540. If they earn between $37,000 and $40,000 you may still benefit but the tax offset is progressively reduced.

As it can take your super fund a few days to process your contributions, don’t wait until the very last minute.

Source: ATO

If you would like to discuss your super options, contact us on 03 5120 1400 or click here to send your enquiry.

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.


Sharing super a win-win for couples

Australia’s superannuation system is based on individual accounts, with men and women treated equally. But that’s where equality ends. It’s a simple fact that women generally retire with much less super than men.

The latest figures show women aged 60-64 have an average super balance of $289,179, almost 25 per cent less than men the same age (average balance $359,870).i

The reasons for this are well-known. Women earn less than men on average and are more likely to take time out of the workforce to raise children or care for sick or elderly family members. When they return to the workforce, it’s often part-time at least until the children are older.

So, it makes sense for couples to join forces to bridge the super gap as they build their retirement savings. Fortunately, Australia’s super system provides incentives to do just that, including tax and estate planning benefits.

Restoring the balance

There are several ways you can top up your partner’s super account to build a bigger retirement nest egg you can share and enjoy together. Where superannuation law is concerned, partner or spouse includes de facto and same sex couples.

One of the simplest ways to spread the super love is to make a non-concessional (after tax) contribution into your partner’s super account. Other strategies include contribution splitting and a recontribution strategy.

Spouse contribution

If your partner earns less than $40,000 you may be able contribute up to $3,000 directly into their super each year and potentially receive a tax offset of up to $540.

The receiving partner must be under age 75, have a total super balance of less than $1.7 million on June 30 in the year before the contribution was made, and not have exceeded their annual non-concessional contributions cap of $110,000.

Also be aware that you can’t receive a tax offset for super contributions you make into your own super account and then split with your spouse.ii

Contributions splitting

This allows one member of a couple to transfer up to 85 per cent of their concessional (before tax) super contributions into their partner’s account.

Any contributions you split with your partner will still count towards your annual concessional contributions cap of $27,500. However, in some years you may be able to contribute more if your super balance is less than $500,000 and you have unused contributions caps from previous years under the ‘carry-forward’ rule.

If your partner is younger than you, splitting your contributions with them may help you qualify for a higher Age Pension. This is because their super won’t be assessed for social security purposes if they haven’t reached Age Pension age, currently 66 and six months.iii

Recontribution strategy

Another handy way to equalise super for older couples is for the partner with the higher balance to withdraw funds from their super and re-contribute it to their partner’s super account.

This strategy is generally used for couples who are both over age 60. That’s because you can only withdraw super once you reach your preservation age (currently age 57) or meet another condition of release such as turning 60 and retiring.

Any super transferred this way will count towards the receiving partner’s annual non-concessional contributions cap of $110,000. If they are under 67, they may be able to receive up to $330,000 using the ‘bring-forward’ rule.

As well as boosting your partner’s super, a re-contribution strategy can potentially reduce the tax on death benefits paid to non-dependents when they die. And if they are younger than you, it may also help you qualify for a higher Age Pension. These are complex arrangements so please get in touch before you act.

A joint effort

Sharing super can also help wealthier couples increase the amount they have in the tax-free retirement phase of super.

That’s because there’s a $1.7 million cap on how much an individual can transfer from accumulation phase into a tax-free super pension account. Any excess must be left in an accumulation account or removed from super, where it will be taxed. But here’s the good news – couples can potentially transfer up to $3.4 million into retirement phase, or $1.7 million each.iv

By working as a team and closing the super gap, couples can potentially enjoy a better standard of living in retirement. If you would like to check your eligibility or find out which strategies may suit your personal circumstance, get in touch with Prue Cox via email:  p.cox@rgmgroup.com.au or via 03 5120 1400.

https://www.superannuation.asn.au/ArticleDocuments/402/2202_Super_stats.pdf.aspx?Embed=Y

ii https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/income-and-deductions/offsets-and-rebates/super-related-tax-offsets/#Taxoffsetforsupercontributionsonbehalfof

iii https://www.ato.gov.au/Forms/Contributions-splitting/

iv https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/super/withdrawing-and-using-your-super/transfer-balance-cap/

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.












What if I exceed my superannuation contribution caps?

Making additional personal contributions to superannuation is a great way to boost your retirement savings in a tax-effective way. But there are strict caps or limits on the amount you can contribute each year and stiff tax penalties for exceeding the limits.

Even though the annual contribution caps went up on 1 July 2021, you still need to keep a close eye on how much you and your employer contribute.

If you do go over your annual caps, it could be a costly mistake come tax time.

Higher limits from 1 July 2021

It’s important to remember there are caps on both the concessional (pre-tax) and non-concessional (after-tax) contributions you can make each year.

From 1 July 2021, the cap on concessional contributions into super is $27,500, regardless of your age. In recent years this annual cap was only $25,000, so the new higher limit means you can add a little more of your pre-tax income to your retirement nest-egg.

It’s worth remembering that your $27,500 concessional cap includes any contributions made into your account by your employer and any salary sacrifice amounts. Also, your employer’s compulsory super guarantee amounts increased from 9.5 per cent to 10 per cent from 1 July 2021, so you may need to be extra careful about exceeding your cap.

If your super account balance could do with a little help and you haven’t used the entire amount of your annual concessional contributions cap in recent years, you may be eligible to contribute a larger amount using the ‘carry-forward’ rule.

The annual cap on non-concessional (after-tax) contributions also rose on 1 July 2021 from $100,000 to $110,000.

If you meet certain eligibility criteria, you may be able to contribute up to three years of non-concessional contributions caps (3 years x $110,000 = $330,000) in a single financial year, by ‘bringing forward’ up to two years’ contribution caps. The rules for doing this have recently become even more complex, so ensure you talk to us before making your contribution.


What happens if I exceed my caps?

In short, you could be up for additional tax. The actual amount of tax will depend on your age, the type of contribution and the financial year in which the contribution was made.

Exceeding your concessional cap

Going over your concessional contributions cap, generally means a bigger tax bill because the excess amount is counted as part of your assessable personal income.

Until 30 June 2021, you were also required to pay a penalty to the ATO called the excess concessional contributions (ECC) charge. This was removed from 1 July 2021, but you will still be up for additional tax.

If you exceed your annual concessional contributions cap, the ATO will notify you. Your excess contributions are then included in your assessable income, meaning they are taxed at your marginal tax rate, minus a 15 per cent tax offset to reflect the contributions tax you paid when the money entered your account.

You then have a choice:

  • You can withdraw up to 85 per cent of your excess concessional contributions from your super.
  • Or, if you choose to leave the contributions in your super account, they are counted towards your annual non-concessional contributions cap. This may create additional challenges if you have also made large non-concessional contributions.

Exceeding your non-concessional cap

Making non-concessional contributions that go over your annual cap also results in a larger tax bill, as these excess contributions are taxed at the top tax rate of 47 per cent (including the Medicare levy).

The ATO will notify you and you can then choose to withdraw your excess contributions and 85 per cent of the earnings on them. Generally, these earnings will be taxed at your marginal tax rate less a tax offset.

However, if you decide to leave your excess non-concessional contributions in your super account, they are taxed at 47 per cent, even if your personal marginal tax rate is lower. As non-concessional contributions are from after-tax money, this means you are paying double tax, because the tax amount must be paid from money in your super account.

Making additional voluntary super contributions is a great way to boost your retirement savings, but as you can see, it is important to know your limits.

If you would like more information about saving for your retirement and making some extra contributions into your super fund, get in touch with one of our Financial Advisers on 03 5120 1400.

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.



SMSF’s closing the age & gender gap

Self-managed super funds (SMSFs) have emerged from a difficult year stronger than ever. Not only have balances been repaired after the initial market shock in the early days of COVID-19, but more young people and women are taking control of their retirement savings.

At the end of March there were 597,396 SMSFs with 1,120,936 members, according to the ATOs latest SMSF Statistical Report for March 2021.

Numbers have been increasing steadily this financial year after a short decline in the June quarter last year. In the nine months to March this year, there were an additional 16,817 SMSFs in operation with 32,054 new members. And they are not necessarily who you might expect.

The changing face of SMSFs

It’s often assumed that SMSFs are for older, wealthy retirees, mostly men, who enjoy tinkering with their investments. While that may have been true once, times are changing.

The ATO report shows Australians under age 45 now make up around 47 per cent of all new SMSF trustees. The largest group by age to set up a fund in the March quarter was the 35-44 age bracket, accounting for 34 per cent of new funds. Coming a distant second, the 45-49 age group established 18 per cent of funds.

What’s more, women are diving in at an earlier age than men. While men still account for more SMSF establishments overall than women, at 56 per cent and 44 per cent respectively in the March quarter, 65 per cent of women were under 50 when they set up their fund compared with 62 per cent of men.

So what’s attracting younger people to SMSFs?

The advantages of starting early

The sooner you take control of your super, the better your retirement outcome is likely to be. SMSFs not only give you more control over your investments, but they also provide more flexibility to:

  • Invest in assets such as real property and collectibles which you can’t access in other types of super funds,
  • Manage your tax to suit your personal circumstances, and
  • Develop an estate plan to ensure the best tax outcomes for your beneficiaries.

That said, it’s generally agreed that an SMSF becomes more cost effective than other types of funds once you have accumulated $200,000 or more in super. That means someone on a higher-than-average salary with Super Guarantee (SG) payments from their employer of $10,000 to $15,000 a year will likely be in their late 30s before an SMSF becomes cost effective.

This was backed up by the ATO report which revealed the taxable income range with the highest number of new SMSFs was the $100,000 to $150,000 bracket. This group accounted for 19 per cent of new funds, followed by the $80,000 to $100,000 bracket which accounted for 14 per cent.

Those who have the means may be able to build up their balance sooner via salary sacrifice or personal super contributions.

Shares and property bounce back

The rise in total funds and members was also reflected in a jump in total SMSF assets to $787.1 billion in the March quarter, up more than 13 per cent over the year.

For those curious about where other SMSF trustees are investing, the top asset types are listed shares (26 per cent of total assets worth $207.4 billion) and cash and term deposits (19 per cent or $149.4 billion). Shares have bounced back strongly since March last year, mostly at the expense of cash and term deposits, as SMSFs reinvest some of their cash holdings.

The booming property market was also reflected in the biggest increase in limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBAs) since 2019. LRBAs, popular with SMSF residential property investors, increased by $3.5 billion over the March quarter alone to $59.4 billion, or 7.5 per cent of total SMSF assets.

Happy SMSF customers

There’s nothing like booming markets to put a smile on investors’ faces, but a recent survey shows SMSF trustees are happier than most.

Roy Morgan’s April Superannuation Satisfaction Report showed overall super fund satisfaction increased by 7 percentage points to almost 72 per cent over the year. But SMSFs had the highest customer satisfaction at 81 per cent.i

Clearly, SMSFs are providing real value for more Australians at an increasingly earlier age. But getting expert advice is crucial, especially in the early stages, to ensure your fund is set up correctly to provide the outcomes you want.

If you would like to discuss your current SMSF strategy or whether an SMSF is appropriate for you, give us a call and speak to one of our Financial Advisors on 03 5120 1400 or book a consultation via our website.

All statistics taken from the ATO SMSF Statistical Report for March 2021, https://data.gov.au/data/dataset/self-managed-superannuation-funds/resource/c2d3808d-fc2c-41bd-8122-b8e83fe22188

i http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/8703-superannuation-satisfaction-april-2021-202105250447

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 or RGM Finance Brokers Pty Ltd ABN 81 330 778 236 (RGM) that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.





There’s more than one way to Boost your retirement income

After spending their working life building retirement savings, many retirees are often reluctant to eat into their “nest egg” too quickly. This is understandable, given that we are living longer than previous generations and may need to pay for aged care and health costs later in life.

But this cautious approach also means many retirees are living more frugally than they need to. This was one of the key messages from the Government’s recent Retirement Income Review, which found most people die with the bulk of the wealth they had at retirement intact.i

One of the benefits of advice is that we can help you plan your retirement income so you know how much you can afford to spend today, secure in the knowledge that your future needs are covered.

Minimum super pension withdrawals

Under superannuation legislation, once you retire and transfer your super into a pension account, you must withdraw a minimum amount each year. This amount increases from 4 per cent of your account balance for retirees aged under 65 to 14 per cent for those aged 95 and over. (These rates have been halved temporarily for the 2020 and 2021 financial years due to COVID-19.)

One of the common misconceptions about our retirement system, according to the Retirement Income Review, is that these minimum drawdowns are what the Government recommends. Instead, they are there to ensure retirees use their super to fund their retirement, rather than as a store of tax-advantaged wealth to pass down the generations.

In practice, super is unlikely to be your only source of retirement income.

The three pillars

Most retirees live on a combination of Age Pension topped up with income from super and other investments – the so-called three pillars of our retirement system. Yet despite compulsory super being around for almost 30 years, over 70 per cent of people aged 66 and over still receive a full or part-Age Pension.

While the Retirement Income Review found most of today’s retirees have adequate retirement income, it argued they could do better. Not by saving more, but by using what they have more efficiently.

Withdrawing more of your super nest egg is one way of improving retirement outcomes, but for those who could still do with extra income the answer could lie in your nest.

Unlocking housing wealth

Australian retirees are some of the wealthiest in the world, with median household wealth of around $1.4 million. Yet close to $1 million of this wealth is tied up in the family home.

That’s a lot of money to leave to the kids, especially when many retirees end up living in homes that are too large while they struggle to afford the retirement lifestyle they had hoped for.

For these reasons there is growing interest in ways that allow retirees to tap into their home equity. Of course, not everyone will want or need to take advantage of these options. But if you are looking for ways to use your home to generate retirement income, but don’t relish the thought of welcoming Airbnb guests, here are some options:

  • Downsizer contributions to your super. If you are aged 65 or older and sell your home, perhaps to buy something smaller, you may be able to put up to $300,000 of the proceeds into super (up to $600,000 for couples).
  • The Pension Loans Scheme (PLS). Offered by the government via Centrelink, the PLS allows older Australians to receive tax-free fortnightly income by taking out a loan against the equity in their home. The loan plus interest (currently 4.5 per cent per year) is repaid when you sell or after your death.
  • Reverse Mortgages (also called equity release or home equity schemes). Similar to the PLS but offered by commercial providers. Unlike the PLS, drawdowns can be taken as a lump sum, income stream or line of credit but this flexibility comes at the cost of higher interest rates.
The big picture

While super is important, for most people it’s not the only source of retirement income.

If you would like to discuss your retirement income needs and how to make the most of your assets, give us a call on 03 5120 1400 and speak to a Financial Adviser.

i Retirement Income Review, https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-11/p2020-100554-complete-report.pdf

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 or RGM Finance Brokers Pty Ltd ABN 81 330 778 236 (RGM) that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Is an SMSF right for you?

As anyone who has joined the weekend crowd at Bunnings knows, Australians love DIY. And that same can-do spirit helps explain why 1.1 million Aussies choose to take control of their retirement savings with a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF).

As well as control, investment choice is a key reason for having an SMSF. As an example, these are the only type of super fund that allow you to invest in direct property, including your small business premises.

Other reasons people give are dissatisfaction with their existing fund, more flexibility to manage tax and greater flexibility in estate planning.

What type of person has an SMSF?

If you think SMSFs are only for wealthy older folk, think again.

The average age of people establishing an SMSF is currently between 35 and 44. They’re also dedicated. The majority of SMSF trustees say they spend 1 to 5 hours a month monitoring their fund.i,ii

But an SMSF is not for everyone. There has been ongoing debate about how much you need in your fund to make it cost-effective and whether the returns are competitive with mainstream super funds.

So is an SMSF right for you? Here are some things to consider.

The cost of control

Running an SMSF comes with the responsibility to comply with superannuation regulations, which costs time and money.

There are set-up costs and ongoing administration and investment costs. These vary enormously depending on whether you do a lot of the administration and investment yourself or outsource to professionals.

A recent survey by Rice Warner of more than 100,000 SMSFs found that annual compliance costs ranged from $1,189 to $2,738. These are underlying costs that can’t be avoided, such as the annual ASIC fee, ATO supervisory levy, audit fee, financial statement and tax return.iii

If trustees decide they don’t want any involvement in the administration of their fund, the cost of full administration ranges from $1,514 to $3,359.

There is an even wider range of ongoing investment fees, depending on the type of investments you hold. Fees tend to be highest for funds with investment property because of the higher management, accounting and auditing costs.

By comparison, the same report estimated annual fees for industry funds range from $445 to $6,861 for one member and $505 to $7,055 for two members. Fees for retail funds were similar. Fees for SMSFs are the same whether the fund has one or two members.

Size matters

As a general principle, the higher your SMSF account balance, the more cost-effective it is to run.

According to the Rice Warner survey:

  • Funds with $200,000 or more in assets are cost-competitive with both industry and retail super funds, even if they fully outsource their administration.
  • Funds with a balance of $100,000 to $200,000 may be competitive if they use one of the cheaper service providers or do some of the administration themselves.
  • Funds with $500,000 or more are generally the cheapest alternative.

Returns also tend to be better for funds with more than $500,000 in assets.

Even though SMSFs with a balance of under $100,000 are more expensive than industry or retail funds, they may be appropriate if you expect your balance to grow to a competitive size fairly soon.

Increased responsibility

While SMSFs offer more control, that doesn’t mean you can do as you like. Every member of your fund has legal responsibility for ensuring it complies with all the relevant rules and regulations, even if you outsource some functions.

SMSFs are regulated by the ATO which monitors the sector with an eagle eye and hands out penalties for rule breakers. And there are lots of rules.

The most important rule is the sole purpose test, which dictates that you must run your fund with the sole purpose of providing retirement benefits for members. Fund assets must be kept separate from your personal assets and you can’t just dip into your retirement savings early when you’re short of cash.

Don’t overlook insurance

If you considering rolling the balance of an existing super fund into an SMSF, it could mean losing your life insurance cover. To ensure you are not left with inadequate insurance you may need to arrange new policies.

If you would like to discuss your superannuation options and whether an SMSF may be suitable for you, don’t hesitate to call on 03 5120 1400 and speak to a Financial Adviser.

https://www.smsfassociation.com/media-release/survey-sheds-new-insights-on-why-individuals-set-up-smsfs?at_context=50383

ii https://www.smsfassociation.com/media-release/survey-sheds-new-insights-on-why-individuals-set-up-smsfs?at_context=50383

iii https://www.ricewarner.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Cost-of-Operating-SMSFs-2020_23.11.20.pdf

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 or RGM Finance Brokers Pty Ltd ABN 81 330 778 236 (RGM) that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.


Managing investment risk in uncertain times

text: managing investment risk in uncertain times

This year has exposed investors to the end of a bull market and the start of a global recession, all caused by a totally unexpected global pandemic. The outlook for the global economy and investment markets remains uncertain until an effective vaccine is available.

While there is cause for optimism that one of the many vaccines will become available in the not-too-distant future, the road to financial recovery – for nations and many individuals – could be much longer.

Whether you are working towards major financial goals such as buying a home, planning to retire soon, or already retired and looking for reliable income, it’s never been more important to come to terms with uncertainty and manage investment risk.

So how can investors not only survive, but thrive, during this difficult period? Staying the course isn’t easy when you can’t see what lies ahead, but you need to strap yourself in if you want to achieve long-term financial success.

Stay the course

When markets fall sharply, as the sharemarket did earlier this year, it’s tempting to switch to cash investments. All too often, this can mean you lock in your losses at or near the bottom of the market and potentially miss out on the recovery that follows.

After hitting a record high in February, the ASX 200 fell almost 37% by mid-March as the economic impacts of COVID-19 began to sink in. Then against expectations, the market rebounded 35% over the next three months.i

Throughout that period, volatility was high with dips of a few percent one day followed by an equally sharp rise the next. But history has shown that it generally pays to ignore the noise.

There have been many studies about the impact of missing out on the best days for a market over a given period. Missing even a few of these days can have a big impact on your long-term returns.

Looking at the Australian market, a hypothetical $10,000 invested in the ASX 200 Accumulation Index (share prices plus dividends) on 30 October 2003 would have turned into $37,735 by 6 September 2020. Missing the 10 best days would have reduced returns by $15,375, while missing the 20 best days would have reduced returns by $22,930.ii

Manage investment risks

While it’s important to stay invested, that doesn’t mean you should forever sit on your hands and do nothing.

Booming markets can make investors complacent, so a market correction is often a good opportunity to stress test your investments to see if they are appropriate for risk tolerance and personal circumstances.

For example, if you’re in your super fund’s growth option but this year’s roller-coaster markets have kept you awake at night, then perhaps a more conservation option would be more appropriate.

Or if your portfolio has become unbalanced after all the market upheaval, with too much reliance on one asset class or market sector, then you might think about rebalancing your portfolio to plug any gaps.

Investors who are nearing retirement or recently retired may have a greater focus on preserving capital, to provide more certainty that their money won’t run out.

The importance of diversification

Even retirees need to balance their need for capital preservation with capital growth, which is another way of saying they still need to diversify their investments.

By diversifying across and within asset classes, you have the best chance of riding out a big fall in any one asset class. With interest rates close to zero and likely to stay low for some time, investments such as bonds and cash that traditionally provide capital protection with regular income will be hard-pressed to keep pace with inflation.

By including some growth assets such as shares and property in your portfolio, your savings will continue to grow over the long term even as you draw down income to cover your living expenses. Shares and property also provide income in the form of dividends and rent, which retirees can use to diversify their sources of income.

Whatever your age and stage of life, avoiding knee jerk reactions, managing risk and diversification can help you navigate these uncertain times. If you would like to discuss your investment strategy with a financial adviser, please get in touch on 03 5120 1400.

https://www.asx.com.au/prices/charting/index.html
ii https://www.fidelity.com.au/learning-hub/markets/timing-the-market/

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 or RGM Finance Brokers Pty Ltd ABN 81 330 778 236 (RGM) that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.