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Boost your retirement savings

Pre-retirees can take advantage of a range of strategies to boost their nest egg.

Here are three popular ways to top up your retirement savings:

Maximise contributions
Take advantage of the concessional (pre-tax) and non-concessional (after-tax) contributions by contributing as much as you can afford before reaching the caps. From 1 July 2017, the annual concessional contributions cap will be $25,000 for all age groups.

Consider spouse contributions
Spouse contributions are super contributions made on behalf of your spouse. Generally, you can claim a tax offset of up to $540 per year if your spouse is a low-income earner or is not working. From 1 July 2017, the spouse’s income threshold will be increased to $40,000 to assist more couples to support each other in saving for retirement.

Keep on working
The longer you work means more time to leave your savings untouched and additional time to contribute to super. Delaying retirement leads to a shorter retirement and hence more savings. You may also consider working part-time to enjoy income while waiting until Age pension age.

Posted on 21 February '17 by , under Super.

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Self-managed super funds (SMSF) aren’t just about financial investment

Individuals may be looking to opt for an SMSF because these provide entire control over where the money is invested. While this sounds enticing, the downside is that they involve a lot more time and effort as all investment is managed by the members/trustees.

Firstly, SMSFs require a lot of on-going investment of time:

  • Aside from the initial set-up, members need to continually research potential investments.
  • It is important to create and follow an investment strategy that will help manage the SMSF – but this will need to be updated regularly depending on the performance of the SMSF.
  • The accounting, record keeping and arranging of audits throughout the year and every year also need to be conducted up to par.

Data shows that SMSF trustees spend an average of 8 hours per month managing their SMSFs. This adds up to more than 100 hours per year and demonstrates that compared to other superannuation methods, is a lot more time occupying.

Secondly, there are set-up and maintenance costs of SMSFs such as tax advice, financial advice, legal advice and hiring an accredited auditor. These costs are difficult to avoid if you want the best out of your SMSF. A statistical review has shown that on average, the operating cost of an SMSF is $6,152. This data is inclusive of deductible and non-deductible expenses such as auditor fee, management and administration expenses etc., but not inclusive of costs such as investment and insurance expenses.

Thirdly, investing in SMSF requires financial and legal knowledge and skill. Trustees should understand the investment market so that they can build and manage a diversified portfolio. Further, when creating an investment strategy, it is important to assess the risk and plan ahead for retirement, which can be difficult if one is not equipped with the necessary knowledge. In terms of legal knowledge, complying with tax, super and other relevant regulations requires a basic level of understanding at the very least. Finally, insurance for fund members also needs to be organised which can be difficult without additional knowledge.
Although SMSFs have the advantage of autonomy when it comes to investing, this comes at a price. Members/trustees need to invest time and money into managing the fund and on top of this, are required to have some financial and legal knowledge to successfully manage the fund.

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