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Five tips for creating a successful SMSF

There are many advantages to having a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF). Increased flexibility and control over your savings are the most obvious benefits, with many SMSF trustees and members appreciating the ability to make their own investment decisions.

Here are five tips that can help set your SMSF up for success in 2016:

 Have a written investment strategy and review it annually
While having an investment strategy is mandatory for all SMSFs, not having one that is adequate enough is a common mistake among most SMSFs. An SMSF’s investment strategy should be specific and suitable for all members of the fund, including adult children or younger spouses whose investment goals may be different from a retiree.

Don’t mix personal assets with your super fund’s assets
Trustees need to manage their fund’s investments separately from member’s personal or business investments and ensure that the fund has clear ownership of its investment assets. To protect fund assets in a creditor dispute  and prevent costly legal action to prove who owns them, assets should be recorded in a way that:

Make sure your fund is compliant
Never forget that you are the person who is in control of your fund. With that control, comes responsibility. You are responsible for ensuring that your trust deed is up to date, your tax returns are submitted on time, your binding death nominations are up to date (or reversionary), your contribution caps are in line with laws and minimum pensions are drawn if in pension mode.

Learn as much as you can
Education is always beneficial when it comes to looking after your money.  There are many websites that have publish information designed to help individuals better understand their SMSF or potential SMSF.

Seek professional advice
If you’re having problems with your SMSF, or you don’t understand how it works, it is important to ask questions. Professional advice can be quite valuable as you learn how to manage your money in the most tax-effective and effective way possible. Always remember that there is no such thing as a silly question when it comes to your money.

Posted on 17 February '16 by , under Super.

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What to consider when consolidating your super

The ATO reported that 45% of working Australians were not aware that they had multiple super accounts in 2016. Having multiple super accounts is particularly common for individuals who have had more than one job. If this is you, it is important to identify and manage your super accounts because having more than one can be costly as a result of account fees from multiple funds.To combat this, you may want to consolidate your super, which moves all your super into one account. Not only does this save on fees, but it also makes your super easier to manage and keep track of.

Before consolidating your super, it is important to do the following:

Research your funds' policy
Compare your active super accounts so you can make the right choice about which one you should close. Things to assess include:

  • Exit fees
  • Insurance policies
  • Investment options
  • Ongoing service fees
  • Performance of the funds

Check employer contributions
Changing funds may affect how much your employer contributes, as some employers contribute more to certain funds. Check your current accounts to see if changing funds will affect this. Once you have selected a super fund, regardless of whether you choose a new super fund or one of your existing ones, provide your employer with the details they need to pay super into your selected account.

Gather the relevant information
When consolidating your super, you will need to have the following details ready:

  • Your tax file number.
  • Proof of identity. This could include your driver's license, birth certificate or passport.
  • Your fund's superannuation product identification number (SPIN).
  • Your fund's unique superannuation identifier (USI).
  • Details of your previous fund.

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