tax strategies on paper

Benefits of a self-managed super fund (SMSF)

Whether self-managed superannuation funds should be permitted to borrow money to purchase a property is one of the hottest issues in the news right now.

Although the authorities have not ruled it out, any mortgage broker will tell you that it is now practically difficult for a self-managed super fund (SMSF) to obtain a loan in the wake of the Hayne royal commission. As a result, the issue has largely become academic.

It raises two queries. Are SMSFs required? Does SMSF financing for residential real estate make sense in that case?

I've been against it for a very long time. Most often, persons who engage in it have been persuaded to do so by real estate shills or they wish to purchase an investment property but have no other sources of funding save their super fund.

Contrary to media stories that inaccurately portray factual facts, many areas of Australia continue to experience capital development.

It is a reality that real estate costs in big cities are rising steadily. According to CoreLogic's most recent data, which was dated March 31, 2016, house prices have usually increased over the past year in Melbourne (up 10.7%), Sydney (up 7.5%), Adelaide (up 3.3%), Hobart (up 4.0%), Brisbane (up 4.9%), and Canberra (up 1.7 percent ).

An annual increase of 6.6 percent characterizes the overall average situation among the eight major cities.

The figures have been portrayed differently in the media. According to one News Corp headline, "growth in house prices has stalled." According to an Australian, the increase in home prices is "the slowest in three years."

By making generalizations about "Australian property values" and concentrating on brief time periods, journalists come to these conclusions. Journalists concentrate a lot of importance on monthly fluctuations in price indices despite the fact that they are usually unstable and ultimately worthless and make it simple to write headlines with negative sensationalism.

Even when looking at CoreLogic statistics over shorter time periods, it is nonetheless largely positive.

The home price indexes increased in the March quarter in Sydney (up 2.3%), Melbourne (up 2.5%), Adelaide (up 2.2%), Darwin (up 3.6%), Canberra (up 1.7%), and Hobart (up 3%), which led the country (up 6.5 percent in three months). Brisbane has not changed, while the only city that has decreased is Perth (down 1.0 percent).

What can we infer from the data in terms of significant, plausible trends? A review of the industry includes the following:

  • It is not unexpected that Sydney's rate of price increase is slowing down because it is abundantly evident that the boom there has officially peaked.
  • Melbourne is Australia's capital city with the highest rate of price increase, but this pace has likely peaked and will soon decline.
  • Some of the lesser capital cities, like Hobart, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Hobart, are experiencing moderate growth. As its economy recovers, the Tasmanian capital appears to be gaining momentum and rising from a low base.
  • Despite the comparatively slow rate of price fall, Perth and Darwin continue to experience difficult markets because they are no longer benefiting from a resource boom.

A falsehood starts to sound like the truth after being repeated enough times. "Ignore the press," says the professional. If you're serious, instead, look at the facts, and you'll quickly realize that there are many chances to keep developing and securing some wealth through wise property investment!

Here is the most recent headline from CommSec, which cites industry reports that continue to show continuous capital growth. The Australian property market's demise is grossly exaggerated, according to Craig James, chief economist of CommSec. With the most recent increase of 1.6 percent in May 2016, capital city property prices increased by 10%.

Melbourne, Sydney, and South East Queensland continue to exhibit robust rental yields, minimal rental vacancies, and capital growth.

According to the 2020 Vanguard/Investment Trends SMSF investor report, 32% of Australia's 600,000 SMSFs look for a financial adviser's help. However, more than 50% of SMSF trustees claim that they have unmet advising needs regarding their SMSF.

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of hiring an adviser if you're a trustee thinking about getting assistance.

The Advantages Of Financial Advice

Development and Implementation of Investment Strategies

In Investing Trends' 2020 survey, more than 75,000 trustees of SMSFs responded that they needed to examine their SMSF investment plan.

ATO data backs this up. The typical SMSF is overweight Australian shares, has more than 25% of its capital in cash, and has little exposure to the important asset classes of bonds, overseas equities, and global REITs. As a result, the portfolio is ineffective and undiversified.

An adviser can contribute some of their formal education and training to help create an investment plan that:

  • considers your preferences before assisting you in creating a solid, rule-based investment strategy to aid in the careful management of your portfolio.
  • identifies the asset allocation that, in terms of risk/return, is just right for you.
  • integrates your SMSF investment strategy into a more comprehensive, all-encompassing plan that takes your wealth into account (not just the super).

Professional, knowledgeable advisers with experience will take into account portfolio construction from both a "top-down" and "bottom-up" perspective. They can assist you in developing a sound investment strategy that can serve as a "safe harbor" and keep you from making a number of typical financial mistakes using their in-depth knowledge of Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT).

Incorporating your SMSF into a larger strategic plan

Let's say you require help with more than just your SMSF's investment plan. In that instance, a financial advisor can assist you in analyzing your overall financial status to make sure it is sufficient for achieving your future goals. This might entail looking into the following:

  • Where your SMSF fits into the larger picture of your finances?
  • What will you require in retirement?
  • What portion of this must be covered by your SMSF?
  • Whether you can transfer more of your wealth into your SMSF's favourable tax environment?
  • What level of investment risk can you afford to accept, and what level of risk do you need to take to reach your retirement goals?
  • What your will's goals are and how do they relate to your SMSF?

People's Influence

In many ways, having a long-term connection with a financial advisor who is aware of your requirements and goals can be advantageous. A financial advisor can serve as a sounding board for important decisions and hold you accountable.

Additionally, imagine that they helped you create your SMSF investment strategy. If so, they will be in a good position to make sure you continue with it during both the ups and downs of the economic cycle, when many of us are prone to the common behavioural traps. For instance, during market declines and recovers.


By using a financial advisor, you may invest in yourself by setting aside time for you and allocating funds to ensure that your portfolio is consistently rebalanced, watched, and its performance is properly tracked.

As you go through life and your priorities change, you might opt to outsource the time-consuming work of managing your portfolio so that you can devote your time to activities that are more essential to you. After all, time is money.

Calmness of mind

Not to mention, the ideal financial advisor ought to provide you with peace of mind. This does not imply giving up control of your SMSF's management.

Nevertheless, partnering with a financial counsellor could reduce some of the anxiety related to managing what may be your largest pool of money. Knowing that someone with knowledge and experience in managing your investments may be very reassuring.

The rise of investors using their self-managed super funds to purchase real estate is one of the key emerging developments in our industry today (SMSFs).

The super laws were altered in 2007 to let consumers to borrow money for investments through their super funds. People have had a hard time adapting to the idea of managing their own super fund, much less borrowing money from it to purchase a home. But as more people create their own super accounts today, the real estate market is being significantly impacted.

According to the most recent Australian Tax Office data, property investments made through SMSFs have increased by 50% since June 2008 and by 13% just in the last year.

More people are utilizing the chance to borrow up to 70% of a property's worth through their SMSF to buy an investment, just as the First Home Owners' Grant encouraged more first-time home buyers to enter the market.

According to AFG, the largest mortgage broker in Australia, there are currently three property investors taking out new mortgages for every first-time purchaser.

The reason SMSF property investments are growing in popularity, in my opinion, is because there are reliable rental yields available, the expenses have decreased, and quite simply, more individuals are becoming aware of the advantages. I believe that many people passed up the chance in the past because managing a super fund sounds quite difficult, and the procedures for purchasing a home using your super are somewhat intricate.

There are undoubtedly numerous advantages, and using your super to purchase a property seems like a wonderful idea on paper. However, there are a lot of rules and guidelines, so I wouldn't advise employing this tactic without seeking impartial guidance. The key benefits and drawbacks are listed below.


You pay no tax on either the capital gains if you sell or the rent if you keep your investment if you purchase a property with your super fund and stay onto it until after you retire and your super enters the pension phase.

Your SMSF's capital gains and rental income are only taxed at 15% prior to retirement (if you have the property for more than a year, this drops to 10 per cent on capital gains).

Real knowledge of where your money is being invested, as well as direct control over your super investments.

Diversity in your investment portfolio.

In any case, even while prudent borrowing is an excellent strategy to increase wealth if the property is negatively geared, as most are, negative gearing is more successful because a high marginal tax rate results in a sizable tax refund.

Even if your SMSF could borrow, I contend that utilizing a vehicle that only pays 15% tax, at best, to enter negative gearing would be a poor plan. The tax benefits would be rejected.

So it makes sense to avoid making a home purchase in your super fund's name. In order to benefit from negative gearing for the taxpayer with the highest marginal tax rate, it is preferable to purchase it in your own name or the name of a family trust.

Let's move on to the issue of whether you even need to manage an SMSF.

There is no simple solution. It's more complicated than it sounds to manage your own money.

Administration (filing the papers), investment (deciding where to put the money), and insurance are the three main tasks involved (arranging appropriate cover).

You are well on your way if you can do these duties without difficulty, but you must also consider the assets the fund will contain. The setup fees and ongoing costs of an SMSF are probably not worthwhile if these are less than $250,000.

Unfortunately, based on the enormous volume of questions SMSF trustees send me, most people still have a shocking lack of knowledge about the laws.

Since related persons manage an SMSF, the majority of breaches involve taking assets from members or family, making the wrong investments, combining fund funds with personal funds, and giving members and relatives financial support.

There are severe punishments for these heinous offences.

Purchasing assets from a related party is one of the areas that cause the most confusion.

A fund is not permitted, with some limited restrictions, to purchase assets from a related party since doing so can be interpreted as allowing members to access their superannuation before they are permitted to.

The two main exceptions are real estate owned by a connected party and listed stocks obtained from members or their families, both provided that the securities were purchased at market value.

Given that one family member will likely handle the majority of the fund's management duties after retirement, there are two additional concerns to think about.

Do you truly want to spend your retirement in this manner, first? And second, who will oversee the money in the event that the individual doing so passes away or becomes incapable?

In Conclusion, An SMSF is a great option for wealthy people who wish to run their own race and have the necessary expertise.

Even though the stock market is normally down and you think you could perform better on your own, you shouldn't launch your own fund for that reason alone.

It's a huge responsibility to take charge of your life savings investments, and you risk financial ruin by making mistakes while you're still learning.

Instead of taking over management yourself if you are unhappy with your super, you might be better off looking for a fund with higher returns and lower fees.

Three things to think about

Price of Advice

When you ask a professional for unbiased counsel, you should be prepared to pay for their knowledge and experience. The vast majority of advisors will impose a set fee for creating and executing your advising strategy. Additionally, they might charge a flat or proportional fee for managing your SMSF portfolio.

The time it takes to plan, implement, and maintain the client's financial affairs is often correlated with the expenses of providing compliance financial advice, and these costs will be determined by the amount of assets and economic complexity a financial adviser is responsible for.

As part of your initial engagement, an adviser will give you a thorough breakdown of the costs related to getting guidance.

The Business Model of the Adviser

In the past, commissions for the selling of financial products were commonplace in financial advice. These tactics have been all but eradicated thanks to recent amendments to the Corporations Law. However, it is always important to be aware of whether or not an adviser's business plan calls for you to invest in managed funds that are controlled by the advisory firm. This will assist you in understanding the true cost of assistance as well as the prospective revenue model for the advise industry.

Giving Up Responsibility

The ability to choose when, how, and with whom to make investments is one of the key advantages of creating and managing an SMSF. You will probably give up some of this power if you hire a financial advisor to handle your account. This needs careful evaluation and may or may not be appropriate for you.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. It is advisable to consider what services you want first if you are thinking about asking for advice. This will enable you to interview potential advisers effectively before hiring them, which should result in a relationship that benefits both parties.


Negatively geared individuals who borrow money to purchase a house through their superannuation are only eligible for the tax offset on other income received within the fund, not on their normal income.

  • You are not permitted to live there, nor are any of your friends or relatives.
  • A property acquired through an SMSF cannot be renovated while it is still financed.
  • Getting a loan through your SMSF entails higher fees occasionally and setup costs of several thousand dollars.
  • The administration of an SMSF is challenging, and mistakes carry severe consequences. To run it for you, however, you can pay a professional.
  • In general, only funds with $200,000 in total assets are acceptable for purchasing real estate through an SMSF.

Although purchasing property through a superannuation fund is a fantastic retirement investment, it is probably more applicable to those who are only 20 to 25 years away from retirement. In addition to having more super money available, they are also more likely to be able to hang onto the property until after retirement and take advantage of the large tax savings.

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