Choosing the right superannuation fund can help achieve your financial goals and ensure a comfortable retirement. However, with the hundreds of superannuation funds available in Australia, it can be difficult to know which one to choose.
By taking into account the factors we’ll discuss in this blog, you can make a well-informed decision and achieve a financially sound and rewarding retirement.
Factors to consider when choosing a superannuation fund
Since everyone’s financial situation is different, there is no one-size-fits-all super fund. The right super for you will depend on what features are most important to you. Considering the below factors will guide you in choosing a superfund that will help achieve your retirement goals.
Fund performance and returns
Choosing a super with a history of strong fund performance will help you make the most of your super and maximise your long-term savings. You could lose up to 13 years of pay by picking a poor-performing fund! Keep in mind that you should compare investment performance after fees and expenses.
You don’t want to only consider the short-term performance either, it’s important to review the fund’s short and long-term performance. To compare superfunds, you can use independent sources and comparison websites to objectively compare different superfunds.
Fees and charges analysis
The lower the fees you pay, the higher the amount available for investment. Even a small percentage difference in fees can add up to a significant amount over time. For example, for a Sydney income earner, a drop in fees from an industry average of 1.4% to what we consider best practice at 0.2%, will give you an extra $125,000 at retirement (adjusted for inflation). That’s a massive difference that will cost you absolutely nothing!
However, lower fees aren’t always a sign of a good super fund. For example, low fees may be a sign of poor customer service. A good super fund will always be transparent about the fees they charge.
Additional features such as ethical funds and insurance
Many super funds offer additional features such as ethical investment funds and insurances such as income protection insurance, life insurance and total permanent disability insurance.
Having your super fund pays your insurance may be a convenient option for you as insurance premiums are usually more affordable. However, this also means premiums are funded from your super fund balance and eat into your future retirement fund.
There is often less flexibility on insurance policies sold within super and you may not be getting the right amount of cover for your financial needs. It’s always a good idea to speak to a financial advisor to determine whether paying for insurance inside of your super is the right strategy for you.
Strategies for maximising retirement goals with superannuation funds
Once you’ve chosen a superannuation fund, it’s time to consider which investment strategies you might use to maximise your retirement goals. Adopting effective investment strategies will help you reduce financial stress and achieve financial security during retirement.
Investment options and diversification
Before you decide to make a particular investment, you should conduct a risk assessment to evaluate the potential risks and rewards. Diversification is a risk reduction strategy that can reduce the impact of a single investment’s poor performance on your portfolio.
Diversification also helps you achieve smoother and more consistent returns over time. Compared to individual investments, diversification is less volatile overall. By adopting diversification as an investment option, you can achieve reduced risk, more consistent returns, and increased potential for overall portfolio performance.
Retirement income planning and options
Retirement planning is an important aspect of ensuring a financially secure and comfortable retirement. There are multiple options available for your retirement income. The most common options are an account-based pension, an annuity, a lump sum, or a combination of these.
When you opt for an account-based pension, you’ll receive regular, flexible, and tax-effective income from your superannuation. Usually, you’ll have the option to choose the size and frequency of your payments and how you want your super invested. You’ll have the option of receiving your payments monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly.
You can begin receiving these payments when you retire and reach your preservation age, which varies from 55 to 60, depending on when you were born. An account-based pension allows you to be in control of your income and continue to benefit from any investment returns.
An annuity is less flexible than an account-based pension. You can buy an annuity from a super fund or a life insurance company and can choose whether you want the payments to last for a fixed number of years, your life expectancy, or the rest of your life.
A significant benefit of an annuity is that it provides you with a regular guaranteed income regardless of share market performance. This makes it less risky than an account-based pension. However, you don’t have the ability to choose how your money is invested and you cannot withdraw your money as a lump sum.
Super lump sum
Depending on the rules of your super, you may be able to withdraw some or all of your superannuation as a lump sum. This lump sum will usually be tax-free if you’re over 60 but you may have to pay some tax if you’re under 60. Taking a lump sum can help you pay off any outstanding debts but you won’t receive a regular income stream.
When you withdraw a lump sum from your super fund, the money is no longer considered super. If you decide to invest this money, earnings from your investments won’t be taxed as super and may need to be declared on your tax return.
If you’re looking for more advice on high-performing, low-fee super funds and retirement planning, we offer a complimentary, no-obligation financial strategy session. Book a consultation with one of our experts today and start your journey towards a financially secure retirement.