SMSF investment options
Take control of your super investments
Establishing a self managed super fund (SMSF) places you in control of investing your super. To invest successfully, you must determine your goals and pick the best investments to help you achieve them. A key SMSF investment advantage is the ability to build a portfolio reflecting your current lifestyle needs, short- and long-term goals, changing circumstances and market conditions.
What are your SMSF investment options?
With an SMSF, you can choose to invest in a broad range of asset classes, including:
- Australian and international shares (listed and unlisted)
- residential or commercial property
- cash and term deposits
- fixed income products
- physical commodities
What are some alternative SMSF investment options to consider?
At different stages of the investment cycle, and depending on the market environment, you may need to consider investment options for your SMSF outside of the traditional assets (such as cash or shares) in order to continue to generate suitable returns and diversify to reduce risk and protect your income as you move closer to retirement. A few alternative assets to consider under advice include:
- corporate bonds – generally provide a higher yield than cash, and they are also typically less volatile than shares
- commercial real estate – may offer a higher yield and more predictable cash flows than residential property; rents are often linked to inflation, which may help to preserve real income levels
- infrastructure – generally offers predictable, long-term income streams secured through contractual obligations, monopolistic status or regulation; the defensive nature of these cash flows, in addition to real asset backing, can provides support in uncertain economic environments.
However, it’s not always easy to access these types of investments without specialist knowledge. You should also seek advice if you’re considering changing your investment strategy. The point to note is that when it comes to investment options for your SMSF, there are viable alternatives to cash and shares, which you may not have yet considered.
Three steps to SMSF investing
Although every SMSF trustee will have different investment goals, these three areas are important to factor in to your investment considerations:
1. Capital growth: building wealth
Capital growth is an increase in the market value of an investment over time. This area is important if you are seeking long-term investments or if you are managing your life savings as an inheritance asset for future generations. Growth assets typically provide a higher return than defensive assets (like cash) but investors must be prepared to experience higher volatility and potential capital loss.
2. Income generation: earning regular payments
Investing for income involves assets that provide stable income or regular payments (such as interest or dividends). This is important if you are funding lifestyle expenses with your super and investment returns. Income assets typically have little or no growth but offer a steady cash flow and are important to diversification strategies.
3. Capital preservation: protecting wealth
For some investors, protecting their hard-earned savings is the primary goal and therefore they are satisfied with lower returns in exchange for lower risk options (like bonds and term deposits). Preservation of capital is important for retirees who rely on their SMSF for living expenses or have limited time to recover from market losses.
Experience investment control and flexibility
Retail and industry fund trustees make decisions to benefit all members, but with an SMSF you can choose where, when and how much to invest. This provides you with greater control and flexibility. SMSFs also provide a high level of transparency, allowing for deliberate exposure to certain industries, asset classes or ethical investing opportunities.