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Things to consider before starting a SMSF

There are a lot of 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. Other advantages include the possibility of investing in a property, the ability to manage administrative costs, and, in some cases, tax breaks.

However, there are also a lot of responsibilities associated with running a SMSF, and it is not necessarily an advisable choice for everyone. Here are some things to consider if you are interested in starting an SMSF:

-To justify the costs associated with running a SMSF, you should have a relatively sizeable amount, or be anticipating a rapid accumulation of funds. The ATO suggests having a minimum of $200 000, however this is often debated amongst industry representatives.

-If you want to manage your own super, you should have a relatively robust understanding of finance and the confidence to make your own investment decisions.

-Managing your own super fund is generally a time-consuming endeavour. There are a lot of compliance issues you need to be aware of, and you also need to ensure that you remain abreast of any current changes to legislation.

Posted on 30 July '14 by , under Super.

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Transition to retirement

The transition to retirement (TTR) strategy allows you to access some of your super while you continue to work.

You are able to use the TTR strategy if you are aged 55 to 60. You can use it to supplement your income if you reduce your work hours or boost your super and save on tax while you keep working full time.

  • Starting a TTR pension: To start your TTR pension, transfer some of your super to an account-based pension. You have to keep some money in your super account so that you can continue to receive your employer's compulsory contributions as well as any voluntary contributions you may be making.
  • Government benefits and TTR: The benefits you or your partner receive might be impacted if you choose to opt for this strategy. How and what exactly will change might become clearer upon discussing this with a Financial Information Service (FIS) officer.
  • Life insurance and TTR: In some cases, the life insurance cover you have with your super may stop or reduce if you start a TTR pension – check this before making any decisions or changes.

TTR can help ease your mind as you transition into retirement but it can be a bit complex. Before you choose whether you want to use TTR to reduce work hours or save on tax, or even if you want to use TTR altogether, you should figure out how this will impact all aspects of your finances.

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