Super changes will hit saving strategies


Please find a link below to an article on the Macro Business blog website about the expected and unexpected effects of the proposed Super changes.  No More Tax Free

http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2013/04/super-changes-will-hit-saving-strategies/

Macro Business has an excellent engaged readership and as always the comments tend to be very valuable at exploring the details of any subject just that little bit further.

Are you looking for an advisor that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips like in this blog? Then why now contact me at our Castle Hill or Windsor office in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Can I borrow to buy a house and land package off the plan in my SMSF?


I have had a number of enquiries about this strategy in the last few weeks and I felt it was worth clarifying some details.

Off the Plan

Off the Plan

As with any strategy where you commit to a large future purchase in a moving market and also take a risk on the developer performing to contract, buying off the plan can be risky.  Especially because of the way these contracts shift the risk away from the developer.  With a Self Managed Super Fund purchase with a mortgage this can be even more of an issue if the proposed lender’s final valuation comes in lower than the contracted price which is more common recently. You may then be forced to come up with the shortfall in your SMSF which may be more difficult if you have exhausted your contribution limits.

Here are the basic essentials to getting this type of strategy right:

  • The “property purchase” should be subject to one contract which must be for the completed house and land. Do not purchase land and then look for an SMSF loan to construct a property on it. You will be too late to use the land as security.
  • It is often better to have the SMSF pay the deposit and only have the lending arranged as part of the settlement. In my opinion the Holding Trust should still be in place with the Custodian/Holding Trustee on the title of the contract from the outset.
  • Ensure that the bank/ lender’s only security is only over that land and completed house/unit;
  • The only payments made in respect to the purchase are for the deposit and settlement with no “progress payments”. You may breach the “single acquirable asset” rule which is a big no-no!.
  • Be prepared to move quickly at the time of settlement. LRBA loans do not go through lender’s quickly and you should have as much of the documentation prepared in advance and ready to go as is possible. Drum this into your Mortgage Broker and Solicitor.
  • Do not borrow to the limit of your SMSF. Make sure you have some liquidity to manage low valuations or the demand for a lower LVR from the lender. Alternatively have the capacity and ability to add funds to your SMSF without breaching a contribution cap.

Now there are some who feel that more than 2 payments are possible and that the law is silent on the matter but my philosophy is to KEEP IT SIMPLE! Why makes things difficult for yourself especially when there are developers out there redesigning their contracts to meet the basic 2 payment strategy.

For those looking for more detail I would recommend reading the  issues addressed by the ATO their Taxpayer Alert TA 2012/7 and in the minutes of discussion at the NTLG Super Technical sub-group (December 2012) (if you can find a copy as the ATO took down the page) with specific reference to  example 10 within SMSFR 2012/1.

My final tip is to use a SMSF Specialist Advisor who has dealt with SMSF property borrowing and look for references from client’s they successfully guided through the process. Use a conveyancer or solicitor with experience in the intricacies of these strategies. Use a Mortgage broker that knows how to place these specialised loans and is thinking ahead at all times. Oh and READ YOUR TRUST DEED!

Are you looking for an advisor that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips like in this blog? Then why now contact me at our Castle Hill or Windsor office in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Are SMSF Investors really comparing Hybrids vs. Company Shares?


 

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Every article I  read at the moment the commentators are more and more sceptical about the recent issues of Australian listed hybrids and notes. They constantly compare the hybrid against the equity in the actual shares of the issuer.

And yes I have been saying to younger clients who wanted to invest that I personally would buy the shares of the blue chip issuers, not the hybrid, because the successful hybrid issue shifts risk from equity investors to the hybrid investors and if you are going to take long-term risk then get recompensed for it from the  issuer.

Yet the majority of people buying these hybrids are not my younger clients and they probably don’t look at the case for hybrids vs. shares. They are my SMSF Retiree and Pre Retiree clients. They look at the investment case of hybrids vs. their HISA (High Interest Savings Accounts) rates and term deposit rates. I know from these clients the majority of the demand for Australian hybrids has come from maturing term deposits and falling interest rates as the RBA cuts.

The banks and their advisers have worked out these “yield plays” seem to be in favour and hybrid issuance is increasing as term deposit and cash rates fall. They are tempting clients to put some of their “defensive portfolio” in to this sector rather than trying to grab some of the Share portfolio allocation.

Commentators say that the banks who are the main issuers are getting the best deal and yes their ratings have been improving when they finalise these issues.

They recommend that you buy the Shares in these companies rather than the “mutton dressed up as lamb” hybrids.

Christopher Joye in the SMH provided the following as an example where he compared the results using CBA PERLS IV vs. CBA Shares themselves over the period July 2007 to July 2012. Yes, with hindsight, you would be far better off owning the shares but they miss the point. Regardless of the outcome many SMSF trustees have a lower risk tolerance and they would be content with the returns from the PERLS IV (25.4% over 5 tumultuous years) during that period while they may have had a meltdown if in the CBA shares during the highlighted volatile period July 07-Mar ’09.

The other point I should make is that clients are making much smaller risk adjusted plays in these hybrids by quality issuers only and are willing to hold to maturity. When they have  a $100K Term Deposit maturing they are placing 10K-30K in to one or two of these hybrids and putting the rest back on Term Deposits. It is recognition that these hybrids do carry more risk and that they understand that risk.

Their aim is not to attain equity like returns but an average portfolio income in the 5.5-6% mark and that can no longer be achieved by cash and TDs alone. So yes they are taking on more risk to achieve their objectives but they are not being silly and getting over exposed. That is why we have avoided Crown, Caltex, Bendigo & Adelaide and even SunCorp issuances.

So yes the Banks get the benefit of cheaper finance but SMSF investors get access to that yield, in bite sized manageable chunks that they require with less volatility than the underlying share. The risks in hybrids are not to be scoffed at but if you do your home work, understand the risk, keep the allocations small and think long term, then they may have a place in your portfolio.

If you want to read more about hybrids generally, the ASX has produced a guide – Understanding hybrid securities – that you can download here.

Are you looking for an advisor that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips like in this blog? Then why now contact me at our Castle Hill or Windsor office in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Trading Company as SMSF Trustee or Sole Purpose SMSF Trustee Company?


 Traditionally the majority of SMSFs steered away from using a company trustee due to the costs associated with it. This has been changing in the last decade as Trustees see the difficulty of adding or removing members or trustees from a fund. The process of replacing a director on the other hand is relatively simple.

The cost to establish a company to act as Trustee for a fund varies from $660 – $1600, depending on who you engage to organise it for you. A SMSF with a corporate trustee can usually be set up within a few days with the ABN and TFN taking up to a month to organise with the ATO and get listed on the Super fund Lookup site http://superfundlookup.gov.au/

The Company is required to prepare and lodge an Annual Review with ASIC each year at a cost of approximately $318 per annum, and pay an ASIC lodgement fee of $214. (The lodgement fee is reduced from $256 to $46 for companies who are used solely as SMSF Trustee companies commonly now known as a Sole Purpose SMSF Trustee Company).

The problem is people still look to save on costs so occasionally clients ask if they can utilise an existing trading company to act as the SMSF Trustee, to save on “cost”.

The strict answer is yes but just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Using a company for multiple purposes is fraught with risk. You would have to be meticulous about keeping transactions and record keeping of the 2 functions absolutely accurate.

I really recommend against this for a number of reasons:

  • the accounts and bookkeeping for the trustee company inevitably become much more complex, having to account for its trading activities separately from its activities as a trustee. This in turn results in higher accounting fees and risk of mistakes;
  •  SMSF auditors are very delicate individuals who follow rules to the nth degree. There can’t be any overlap between SMSF funds and other company funds. We often get clients calling and advising us that they accidentally used the wrong cheque book or transferred funds by Bpay to or from the wrong account. (This is also a reason I suggest clients use a different bank for the SMSF )Yes it was accident, but the SIS Act and Regulations say this is totally illegal. You can never guarantee that you will never make mistakes. Avoid this hassle and set up a separate sole purpose corporate trustee;
  •  if the company gets into financial difficulty and a receiver or liquidator is appointed – the SMSF fund assets could be at risk. This is because using a trading company may result in you losing control over your SMSF if the company entered some form of administration due to trading difficulties. Even if you have kept clear records the liquidator or receiver may look to freeze those assets while you prove the true ownership which could take months or years if record keeping not perfect;
  • there are potential issues associated with identifying the true owner of the assets. If all of the company/SMSF assets are held in the same company name, how does one distinguish between assets held in capacity of trustee compared with those held beneficially for the company? For example in most States the Land Titles Office will only record the Trustee name not the “ATF XYZ Super Fund”;
  • Introduce some Business Real Property, say a warehouse, leased back to the business and it gets even messier. The company as trustee for the SMSF leases the business premises back to itself in its capacity as the trading company. Now if the trading company gets in difficulty and can’t make lease payments then the same company has an obligation in its capacity as Trustee of the SMSF to chase itself for recovery of the lease payments!;
  • then to the subject of liability. Trustees of funds are generally prohibited from borrowing but nevertheless liabilities can still arise.  For example, a plumbing contractor engaged to repair a residential investment property might suffer an injury and can sue the trustee for damages.  This could mean that if the SMSF does not have the funds to meet any damages, the assets of the business may now become a target for the lawyers of the victim. Again in time this could be sorted and true ownership proved but could you or your business afford the time arguing the case or funding the defence.

For those who do have a Trading Company as Trustee, then if the company or business is in trading difficulty your first step is go to the ASIC advice for small company directors at http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/ASIC.NSF/byHeadline/Directors%20and%20insolvency

I would also suggest a quick visit to your Adviser to put in place a new Trustee Company in charge of your fund or if you really feel you are going to be in trouble you might opt to become a Small APRA regulated fund where you hand over the running of the fund to an Approved Trustee but you may struggle to find one willing to take over in such circumstances.

What are your thoughts? I would be interested in feedback from lawyers, accountants and advisers and of course auditors on this issue!

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Wealth Advisor & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

 SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Last minute planning checklists for everyone from Small Business Owners to SMSF Trustees as well as Personal planning.


Have you left your financial planning until the last minute?  Go over this checklist with your accountant or financial planner as soon as possible.  Some of these strategies apply every year, while others are specific to this year because of the changes in the tax rate, the end to the flood levy, and some changes to small business write offs in the next year.

Checklists for:

Personal / Family

Small Business Owner:

SMSF Trustee

Investment Property Landlord

See full article: http://myob.com.au/blog/end-of-financial-year-planning-checklists/#ixzz1ysA6ExvQ

I hope this guidance  has been helpful and please take the time to comment. Feedback always appreciated.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AdvDipFS AMC

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

  Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook SMSFCoach Blog

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 8853 6833,  Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

 

ABN 20 060 778 216 • AFSL No.232686

Liam Shorte is a partner in NextGen Wealth Solutions, Corporate Authorised Representative of Genesys Wealth Advisers Limited, Licence No 232686, Genesys Wealth Advisers Limited ABN 20 060 778 216.

Important information

The information in this article is provided for illustrative purposes only and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. You are encouraged to seek financial advice suitable to your circumstances to avoid a decision that is not appropriate. Any reference to your actual circumstances is coincidental. Genesys and its representatives receive fees and brokerage from the provision of financial advice or placement of financial products.

Consider prepaying next years Private Health Insurance before June 30th – EOFY Money Saving TIP #1


As a result of the introduction of mean testing of the Private Health Insurance Premium Rebate wewant to alert you to a one-off savings possibility in relation to the private health insurance rebate.

If you pre-pay your 2012/13 private health insurance premium before 30 June 2012, you may still be able to access the Government rebate.

As you may be aware, the Government currently provides a non-means tested rebate for private health insurance premiums. The rebate can be claimed directly from the insurer, or as a tax offset when you lodge your income tax return. the majority of clients claim it upfront and if you don’t then you may need to consider doing so this year.

The rebate is currently 30% for those under 65 and rising  from 35% to 40% of the premium depending on the age of the policy holder.

The Government has now passed the required legislation that will apply an income test to the availability of the rebate to any premiums paid on or after 1 July 2012. The more income you earn, the lower the rebate as follows:

Private Health Insurance Incentive Tiers (2011-2012) with effect 1 July 2012

Singles

<$84,000 

$84,001-97,000

$97,001-130,000

>$130,001

Families

<$168,000

$168,001-194,000

$194,001-260,000

>$260,001

Rebate
< age 65 30% 20% 10% 0%
Age 65-69 35% 25% 15% 0%
Age 70+ 40% 30% 20% 0%
Medicare Levy Surcharge
All ages 0.0% 1.0% 1.25% 1.5%

Note: The thresholds increase annually, based on growth in Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings (AWOTE). Single parents and couples (including de facto couples) are subject to the family tiers. For families with children, the thresholds are increased by $1,500 for each child after the first.

Singles earning $84,000 or less and families earning $168,000 or less will continue to receive the existing 30, 35 and 40 per cent rebate, depending on their age.

Once your ‘adjusted’ income is greater than $130,000 (or $260,000 as a family), no rebate will be available.

For a family with gross premiums of say $2,500, this will result in an increase to the out of pocket premium costs of $750.00

The current rebate applies to a premium ‘paid’ during the income year. Accordingly, it follows that if you prepay your 2012-13 premium on or before 30 June 2012, the current rules should apply and the rebate should be available.

If you are interested in this one-off savings opportunity, we suggest you contact your private health insurer to discuss the possibility of pre-paying next year’s premium and ensure that their is no penalty for prepayment and that their system can cope with the prepayment.

Increase to Medicare Surcharge levy for High Income Earners

For those without Private Health Cover be aware that  the Medicare levy surcharge for people without private health insurance will lift to 1.5 per cent of taxable income for those top earners without private health insurance cover. (see table above)

I hope this guidance  has been helpful and please take the time to comment. Feedback always appreciated.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AdvDipFS AMC

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

      

NextGen Wealth Solutions

Tel: 02 8853 6833,  Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

 

ABN 20 060 778 216 • AFSL No.232686

Liam Shorte is a partner in NextGen Wealth Solutions, Corporate Authorised Representative of Genesys Wealth Advisers Limited, Licence No 232686, Genesys Wealth Advisers Limited ABN 20 060 778 216.

Important information

The information in this article is provided for illustrative purposes only and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. You are encouraged to seek financial advice suitable to your circumstances to avoid a decision that is not appropriate. Any reference to your actual circumstances is coincidental. Genesys and its representatives receive fees and brokerage from the provision of financial advice or placement of financial products.

The added value of franking credits in a SMSF Portfolio


 One of the least understood and core benefits of SMSFs are the value of franking credits attached to many blue chip share dividends.  You can tilt your portfolio to enhance the taxation benefits to your fund.

Targeting of imputation credits received predominantly from direct share investment in Australian, and to a lesser extent through managed funds is not that difficult. Franking credits (properly known as Imputation credits) can also be used to offset the tax payable on the taxable income of the fund if still in accumulation stage or refunds can be received from the ATO if in pension phase (don’t you just love receiving money from the ATO!)

The key point to understand around franking credits is the fact that the income tax rate for super funds is only 15% in Accumulation phase and 0% in Pension phase, while imputation credits from fully franked dividends can be as high as 30% of the gross dividend of an Australian share. This means that the franking credit covers the tax payable on the dividend received, and leaves a significant excess to be used to reduce the other tax payable by the fund or to be claimed as a refund

So how does it work in reality ?

So company Widget Ltd makes $1.00 profit and therefore is required to pay company tax at the rate of 30% on this $1 profit. Consequently the taxed $0.30 (30% of $1) will be paid in cash to the tax office and the company then records this $0.30 into their franking account. The franking account is only a record of what was paid and does not contain actual money. The company’s ability to frank its dividend will depend on the balance of this franking account. If the franking credit contains a surplus, the company may declare a fully franked (100% franked) dividend. If the franking account isn’t large enough, perhaps because it pays tax overseas, then the company may declare a partially franked dividend. That is, the dividend received by the SMSF is “grossed up” by the amount of the imputation credit to achieve a grossed up dividend. It is on this amount that tax is then assessed at 15% or 05 depending on the phase of your SMSF. The fund is then entitled to a tax offset for the franking credit.

Example: a worked example below of a SMSF that only holds Telstra shares and ANZ shares:

Dividend Franking Credits Taxable Income Accumulation Phase Taxable Income Accumulation Phase
TLS Shares $1260 $540 $1,800 $1,800
ANZ Shares $840 $360 $1,200 $1,200
Total $2100 $900 $3,000 $3,000
Tax @ 15% $450
Tax @ 0% $0
Less: Franking credits $900 $900
Excess Franking credits $450 $900

In this example, not only will the fund pay no tax on the dividend income of these two shareholdings, but it will have:

  • Accumulation Phase $450 of excess franking credits
  • Pension Phase $900 of excess franking credits ;

Which the SMSF Trustees can use to offset against other tax liabilities of the fund (such as other income, capital gains, and taxable contributions) or if  none exists, then the SMSF fund can receive a refund of this amount. (Love it!)

The 45 day rule

As the examples have shown fully franked dividends and franking credits make investing in Australian shares a very tax effective strategy. However, the ATO realises this and to prevent investors from abusing the system (called dividend stripping) they introduced the 45 day rule. The 45 day rule states that shareholder must hold shares for 45 days (not counting days of purchase or sale) for any franking credits over $5,000.

Beware of blind dividend chasing , you can hit a wall!

A word of warning before you decide to put your life savings into chasing shares with the highest dividends. While some high yielding dividend stocks may look enticing it would be useless if those shares drop in value (falling capital value). Always research the company and look for strong fundamentals, for example what does the company’s dividend history look like? Are the dividends growing year on year in line with the earnings per share? Is there long term potential for this company? Will earnings rise in the near term and are they sustainable.

Want a Superannuation Review or are you just looking for an adviser that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips like in this blog? Then why now contact me at our Castle Hill or Windsor office in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options. Do it! make 2016 the year to get organised or it will be 2026 before you know it.

Please consider passing on this article to family or friends. Pay it forward!

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Superannuation Splitting to a Spouse already in or entering Transition to Retirement Phase


So I got a question about continuing to Super Split to a spouse who is over 55 and already using a Transition to retirement Pension but not fully retired.

If a client is over 55 with a TRIS/TTRAP Pension and an Accumulation Account as they are still working or not fully retired, can they continue to receive Super Splits from their spouse?

The answer is yes they can receive the splits into their accumulation account as they are between 55 and 64 and not retired which meets the eligibility rules. The ATO guidelines state:

“Which members are eligible to apply?
All your members are eligible, although it’s your decision whether to offer a splitting facility to all members. They can apply to split contributions regardless of their own age, but their spouse, to whom you transfer the contributions, must be either:

less than 55 years old
55 to 64 years old and not retired.”

The super contributions splitting provisions operate independently from the pension payment rules. So as long as each set of provisions are complied with, there shouldn’t be an issue.

The question was then asked “could the spouse then consolidate their TRIS/TTRAP and Accumulation accounts the following year and thereby moving those funds to pension phase and possibly accessing a higher maximum pension including the amount super split from their spouse.”

 I again believe yes as otherwise the accounting would have to quarantine Super Split amounts until 65 or retirement and the ATO have again said:

“There are no requirements for funds to specially report to us amounts that have been rolled over or received as a result of a contributions-splitting application”

 This clarifies the way to continue implementing two strategies:

  • When looking to maximise clients TRIS/TTRAP pensions – often to use the 10% to pay off debt
  • Ensuring a member can do rollbacks, consolidations and recommencements to maximise the amount in pension phase.

Make sure to get individual advice on your personal circumstances and be aware that the Super split amount will count towards the receiving spouse’s concession caps.

I hope this guidance  has been helpful and please take the time to comment. Feedback always appreciated. Click here to arrange a meeting/call back or contact our Castle Hill or Windsor offices for an appointment to discuss your needs.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin SMSFCoach on Facebook Google+

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Important information

The information in this article is provided for illustrative purposes only and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. You are encouraged to seek financial advice suitable to your circumstances to avoid a decision that is not appropriate. Any reference to your actual circumstances is coincidental. Genesys and its representatives receive fees and brokerage from the provision of financial advice or placement of financial products.

What can my SMSF invest in?


Control over investment decisions lies with the Trustees of the Fund.

We find this is the main reason so many Australians are establishing their own Self-Managed Superannuation Fund or SMSF for short. The range of investments you can consider for your portfolio include almost anything you yourself could invest in as an individual including:

  • Direct investments  (such as shares, ETFs, cash, term deposits, hybrids, income securities, gold/silver bullion and bonds)
  • Direct property (Residential houses, villas, units, as well as Commercial property such as offices, warehouses, factory units, shops and land.)
  • Managed funds (retail or wholesale, domestic and/or international)
  • Private Unit Trusts
  • A business (non-related party to avoid hassle) and business property
  • Non-traditional assets such as coins, antiques, art , taxi plate licences, ATMs

The first step is to ensure your Trust Deed allows you to invest in the items you are considering. I know it is a long boring document but you need to know its contents so go through it regularly to get a handle on it.

Once satisfied the Trust deed does not exclude an investment, the types of investments the SMSF actually holds are determined by the fund’s investment strategy, which is formulated by you, along with the other members in the fund, and often advised by an SMSF Specialist Advisor™. The fund’s strategy should reflect your objectives, risk profile/tolerance, liquidity needs and the investments you intend to utilise. This is not set and forget or forged in stone. The investment strategy can be changed as often as you wish, to suit your changing circumstances and to take advantage of new investment opportunities. The fund can also incorporate different strategies to suit each of its members.

An important benefit of this having this ultimate control is that, during retirement phase, you can continue to invest in growth assets. This contrasts the approach of many retail providers, who lock ‘pension phase’ investors into income-producing assets such as cash and fixed interest, increasing the risk that the investor may outlive their retirement savings. This is coming back on the agenda now as many funds move to ”Lifecycle strategies” which I believe are dangerous in assuming that fixed interest is low risk when inflation is a real risk and bubbles can effect the capital value of even “conservative”options.

It is important to understand that there are certain regulatory limitations placed on SMSF; for example, a fund cannot borrow money to invest in assets such as property or shares unless the funds are provided through a Limited Recourse Borrowing Arrangement (LRBA) .

A fund cannot acquire assets from related parties of the fund or invest in in-house assets; for example the fund could not purchase your assets (such as your house or residential investment property) from you. Other restrictions placed on the fund include the inability to lend funds to members or their relatives or to provide the assets of the fund as security for personal borrowing.

As part of our service, we can provide you with access to a range of investments for your SMSF.

Can I invest in equipment and leased it to my business?

Technically yes but there are so many ways you can get in trouble it may not be worth the hassle. I went into this in more debt in this article.

Can I buy a Classic or Vintage Car within my SMSF?

Again technically and theoretically yes you can, but it would be very difficult with many pitfalls. You’d also have to be able to prove to the ATO that the investment meeting the sole purpose test and was going to generate income for your retirement and not for personal enjoyment now! You can own but you or a related party cannot drive it even for maintenance purposes! If you invest in classic cars, they would have to be hired out to generate income. It would be difficult for you to drive. Remember if you are driving you need to be covered by the vehicle’s insurance, and that would make it obvious to the ATO you are using the car for your own purposes.

Can I use a property within my SMSF?

SMSFs are expressly forbidden from investing in the family home or holiday home for your personal use. But they are able to invest in investment properties – as long as the property is only used for investment purposes. Likewise properties within holiday resorts or golf courses can draw the ire of the ATO as again you may be seen to benefitting members personally rather than providing for retirement

This means fund members can’t go and stay in the property or rent it out to family members. The property should generally be managed by a real estate agent to satisfy the sole purpose test regulations unless you can show genuine evidence that you are managing it professionally yourself.

If I want to push the limits! Coins, jewellery, antiques, wine and art?

You can invest in coins – but you can’t display them if you want to satisfy the sole purpose test. Coins are collectables if their value exceeds their face value. Therefore, if bullion coins have a value that exceeds their face value and they are traded at a price above the spot price of their metal content, they will be a collectable and your SMSF must comply with regulation 13.18AA in relation to the investment

Likewise, you can invest in wine but you can’t drink it unless you are in pension fully retired and taking it out as a lump sum pension payment! If your fund acquired the wine on or after 1 July 2011 it must not be stored in the private residence of any related party. A private residence includes all parts of a private dwelling (above or below ground), the land on which the private residence is situated and all other buildings on that land, such as garages or sheds.

SMSF investments in art operate in a similar way. You can’t hang it in the hall at home, but you can rent it to a non-related company or an art bank that rents out artworks on an ongoing basis.

Here is a link to the ATO’s guidance on leasing and selling artworks:

Although it might seem like a good idea to use your super to invest in exotic assets, the value of these types of investments is notoriously volatile and the market for these asset classes is generally pretty illiquid. If you have special or professional knowledge in a particular subject then you may be able to put forward a better case than an ordinary person for engaging in those assets as part of your funds strategy. Again make sure that you are not using your SMSF or its assets to prop up your own business.

I hope these thoughts  have been helpful and please take the time to comment if you know of other investments as I know this is not an exhaustive list. Would love some feedback as well.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Understanding transition to retirement pensions


If you have reached your preservation age you can use a transition to retirement pension to access your superannuation as a non-commutable income stream while you are still working. This may be particularly attractive if you have reduced your working hours and need to top-up your income to maintain your standard of living.

There was another great benefit of setting up the pension which was that all the funds supporting the pension move in to a tax exempt status. Yes that means those funds paid no earnings tax and in fact they received a full refund of any franking credits on your investments. For the average investor this can increase your returns by 0.5% to 1% a year risk free every year! However that tax free status will be removed as of 1 July 2017.

The strategy still remains effective for those needing a boost in income or those who can combine the pension with salary sacrifice.

What is a transition to retirement pension?

Transition to retirement pensions allow you to access your superannuation as a non-commutable income stream, after reaching preservation age (see below), but while you are still working.

The aim of these income streams is to provide you with flexibility in the lead up to retirement. For example, you may choose to reduce your working hours and at the same time access your superannuation as a transition to retirement pension that can supplement your other income. It may also allow you to salary sacrifice to give your retirement savings a boost.

Not all superannuation funds offer the transition to retirement pensions, so you need to check with your own fund to see if they do. You can also start one in a self-managed superannuation fund.

Are there any special characteristics?

These pensions are essentially like a normal account-based pension, but with two important differences.

Firstly, they are non-commutable, which means they cannot be converted into a lump sum until you satisfy a condition of release, such as retirement or age 65.

Secondly, you have a minimum pension amount you must withdraw each year but you can only withdraw up to 10% of the account balance (at 1 July). No lump sum withdrawals are allowed.

What is my preservation age?

Your preservation age is generally the date from which you can access your superannuation benefits and depends upon your date of birth.

Date of birth Preservation Age
Before 1 July 1960 55
1 July 1960 – 30 June 1961 56
1 July 1961 – 30 June 1962 57
1 July 1962 – 30 June 1963 58
1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964 59
After 30 June 1964 60

How are transition to retirement pensions taxed?

Transition to retirement pensions are taxed the same as regular superannuation income streams.

If you are under age 60, the taxable part of your pension will be taxed at your marginal rate, but you receive a 15% tax offset if your pension is paid from a taxed source*.

However, once you reach 60, your pension is tax-free if paid from a taxed source*.

  • Most people belong to a taxed superannuation fund. Some government superannuation funds may be untaxed and you will pay higher tax on pensions.

Can you still contribute to superannuation?

As long as you are eligible to contribute, you and your employer can still contribute to superannuation for your benefit. In any case, your employer’s usual superannuation guarantee obligations would still apply. You need to have an accumulation account to pay these amounts into.

Is a transition to retirement pension right for you?

Transition to retirement pensions can provide you with flexibility in the years leading up to your retirement and can help to boost your retirement savings in some circumstances.

People who might find the transition to retirement pensions attractive include those who:

  • have reduced working hours from full-time to part-time, eg down to three days per week. The reduced salary can be topped up with income from the transition to retirement pension
  • are able to salary sacrifice to superannuation – the outcome of combining the transition to retirement pension with salary sacrifice can be a greater build-up of superannuation savings by the time you reach actual retirement

The transition to retirement rules and associated strategies can be very complicated. It is recommended that you seek expert advice from your financial adviser before deciding if this type of income stream and strategy is right for you.

Want a Superannuation Review or are you just looking for an adviser that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips like in this blog? Then why now contact me at our Castle Hill or Windsor office in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options. Do it! make 2016 the year to get organised or it will be 2026 before you know it.

Please consider passing on this article to family or friends. Pay it forward!

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

SMSFs – allocation to international shares


According to the Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) statistical report June 2015 published by the Australian Tax Office, Australian listed shares made up approximately 32% ($187 Billion) of total SMSF assets while overseas shares only made up approximately 1% ($1.8 Billion). Well to be honest that statistic is rubbish and the true figure is nearer 10%.

Graham Hand on the Cuffelinks website recently delved deeper in to these figures and found the $1.8 Billion in International shares only represented  direct shares listed on Overseas exchanges and did not include the multitude of managed funds, listed investments like ETFs and LICs and other managed investments.

Why do we stay so close to home and what do we miss out on by doing so:

SMSF investors do seem to have a home bias for a number of reasons

Ease of access

Their preference for direct investing rather than investing   through managed funds tends to mean they favour Australian shares because   investing directly into international shares is complex and harder to access.   Issues may include whether or not to hedge, the type of hedging strategy and   implementation.

Performance history

Australian shares have historically outperformed   international shares over the long term which has influenced many SMSF   investors to be underweight international shares in favour of the better   performing and higher yielding Australian shares.

Quasi global exposure

Some SMSF investors believe that investing in   Australian companies that have a global presence, such as BHP and Rio Tinto,   provide adequate exposure to international economies and investment themes.

High yielding shares with franking credits

Australian shares tend to provide relatively   higher levels of income with franking credits.  This can be an important   source of tax effective income for retirees and pre-retirees. The franking   credits can be used to offset other tax within the SMSF (in the accumulation   phase).

Investor understanding and awareness

A SMSF investor will typically have   a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Australian share market and   companies that make up the market than overseas companies. As a result they   may feel more comfortable investing domestically.

 An excessive home bias has its downside which needs to be considered

Some of these considerations are discussed below:

Concentration of the   domestic market

It is well-known that the Australian share market represents a   small portion of the global universe (around 3% as measured by the MSCI   index). Our share market is highly concentrated in a few sectors and a   handful of companies. The resource and banking sectors comprise over 60% of   our market and the top 10 stocks represent 52% of the index (S&P/ASX 200   Index). The biggest company BHP alone makes up 13% of the index. This is   illustrated in the graph below which shows the extent of over-exposure and   under-exposure of Australian shares in various sectors relative to   international shares.This high level of concentration in Australian shares means   that investors are prone to shocks or underperformance affecting these key   sectors and companies. This may derive from such things as legislative   changes and/or events such as a sharp slowdown in China’s economy.

Impact of currency on   returns

SMSF investors should take into account that a   significant amount of the long-term underperformance of international shares   has been due to the appreciation of the Australian dollar. A rise in the   Australian dollar translates to currency losses which detract from the overall   returns from international assets. To rely on the historical performance of   international shares relative to Australian shares as a guide to future   performance assumes that our Australian dollar will continue to appreciate   over the next few years.

Other domestic investments

SMSF investors that operate a small business and/or own   investment property (either within or outside of their SMSF) already have a   heavy exposure to the direction of the Australian economy. An excessive home   bias to Australian shares in their SMSF exacerbates the extent of their   reliance on the performance of the Australian economy. According to the SMSF   statistical report, 46% of total SMSF assets are either domestic listed   shares or real estate assets.This sort of weighting means SMSF investors are likely to have   a lower level of diversification in their portfolio due to limited exposure   to countries, economies, industries and companies that are either not   available or well represented in Australia. Also, by not investing offshore   the investor has little access to countries with stronger economic growth   prospects than Australia, such as the emerging markets with their rapidly   expanding population and development prospects. It is important to keep in   mind that Australia represents less than 3% of the total world share market.

What is the best way to go about diversifying into international shares?

There are a number of ways of accessing international shares including through the use of managed funds, ETFs, LICs and direct equities with an international focus including those listed on offshore share markets. There are different types of international share funds such as global diversified funds, sector specific funds, market capitalisation funds, country funds and specialist funds.

The best way to access international shares will depend on the investment strategy of the SMSF fund and the amount of money to be placed in international shares. Some guidelines include:

  • SMSF investors with a preference for direct investments may consider buying international ETFs which track an international index or new listed option like MGE which is a close sibling to Magellan’s unlisted Magellan Global Equities fund
  • Investors with a small amount to invest in international shares may prefer a global diversified managed fund that provides broader diversification
  • Investors with a higher risk tolerance and larger amounts of funds may consider a combination of global, diversified funds supplemented with specialist and regional/country funds

Here is a good short video that explains the Home Country Bias well

How investors can deal with currency risk when investing offshore

Currency can pose a significant risk for international investors but it can also provide benefits. When the Australian dollar depreciates, currency gains can be made from the international asset when it is converted back to Australian dollars. Any currency gains will boost returns from the international investment.

Hedging the currency exposure will mean that investors miss out on this gain if the Australian dollar falls. The currency exposure can also add to the diversification benefits of investing overseas. However, if the Australian dollar appreciates the investor will experience currency losses that detract from returns.

Predicting currency movements has proven to be very difficult and is fraught with risk. Nonetheless, if SMSF investors are concerned about the risk of a continued rise in the Australian dollar, they can hedge some or all of their currency risk by the following methods:

  • Investing in a managed fund that actively manages the currency exposure, thereby leaving the hedging decision to the fund manager
  • Investing in a managed fund that has a set amount of hedging in place at all times such as 50% and 100% hedged international share funds
  • Investing in currency ETFs that effectively increase in value if the Australian dollar appreciates, thereby offsetting some or all of the losses made in the international share portfolio.

I hope these thoughts  have been helpful and please take the time to comment.

We can help you determine the right asset allocation for you!

Would love some feedback as well or arrange a meeting by clicking on the Schedule Now

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Wealth Advisor & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

 

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

Important information

The information in this article is provided for illustrative purposes only and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. You are encouraged to seek financial advice suitable to your circumstances to avoid a decision that is not appropriate. Any reference to your actual circumstances is coincidental. Genesys and its representatives receive fees and brokerage from the provision of financial advice or placement of financial products.

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