Jordan George is an industry leading speaker for the SMSF Association, and holds the title ‘Head of Policy’.
2018 was a tumultuous year for SMSFs with volatile investment markets and an even more volatile political environment giving SMSFs plenty to think about. However, as we move into the festive season, this is the ideal time to review your SMSF plan and consider what awaits in 2019. Taking some time to review and plan can help ensure your SMSF is on track to achieve your superannuation goals.
The key issue that will occupy the mind of most SMSF trustees is the imminent 2019 Federal election, expected in May, and the possible change to a Labor Government. We already know that the Australian Labor Party has announced significant policies impacting SMSFs.
The most substantial planned policy change is Labor’s proposal to end the refundability of franking credits. SMSFs that receive franking credits for the tax paid by Australian companies will often receive a refund of the tax paid at the corporate level.
A recent survey of SMSFs revealed that estate planning is the highest unmet need for advice, estimated to affect 59,000 funds which equates to about 10% of the total number of SMSFs in Australia. Given demographic trends and the continued growth of SMSF numbers in Australia, this advice gap looks set to rise over time.
There are many good reasons to obtain advice on your SMSF’s estate arrangements, whether you need to plan carefully to cater for a blended family structure, to determine who is eligible to receive your SMSF death benefit, or simply ensure that the most tax effective outcome can be achieved for your beneficiaries.
Whatever the need is, it is imperative to ensure that the SMSF’s estate planning arrangements dovetail with each member’s other (non-superannuation) estate arrangements in order to achieve the right overall outcomes. Featuring prominently among these are the Will and Powers of Attorney, but there are also life insurance policies and entities such as discretionary trusts to consider.
How much superannuation should I have for my age?
As of July 2014, employers have been required to contribute 9.5% into superannuation, however individuals are able to contribute further.
According to The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia’s (ASFA) Retirement Standard, a couple expecting a comfortable retirement will need an average of $60,457 a year.
Whilst there is no magic age to start planning for retirement, the simple answer is the earlier you start, the more chance you have to achieve the retirement you dream of. This really comes into play because of the compounding interest effect and how powerful it can be.
The longer a person has secured super contributions and associated investment earnings, the higher their account balance, especially over a significant period of time.
So, for my age, how much super should I have?
For the competitive among us,
Update: Applications for the Queensland Government Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate are now open. To apply, go to www.qld.gov.au/appliancerebate.
Although purchasing appliances that are more energy efficient can have a higher upfront cost, they can lead to long term saving because of the amount of money you will save on your electricity bill yearly.
Choosing an energy efficient fridge or washing machine can save Queensland households up to $50 a year, and energy efficient air conditioners could save up to $135 per year. $20 million has been committed under the Affordable Energy Plan for rebates on approved energy efficient appliances, in order to assist Queensland households to improve their energy efficiency.
What are the rebates available?
Rebates will apply to purchases on or after 1 January 2018 of the following household appliances:
- $200 for a 4 star energy rated washing machine
- $250 for a 4 star energy rated refrigerator
- $300 for a 4 star energy rated air conditioner.
There is no magic number to start planning but the simple answer is, the earlier you start, the more chance you have to achieve the retirement that you dream of having.
The reason for this is because of the compounding interest effect. Below are some simple graphs showing how powerful this effect can be.
The first graph shows a beginning balance of $25,000 and rate of return of 6%, with no extra payments. Starting at age 25, by age 65 the balance has grown to over $257,000. If you delay the start by 10 years, the end balance is $143,500.
If you wanted to have $1 million at retirement age 65, the graph below shows how much you would have to save every month, using a 6% return, at different starting ages.
The table shows the amount that would have been personally contributed over the time to retirement and the compounded interest amount.
One of the key challenges for people approaching retirement is adequately preparing for it. The other big challenge is gaining greater confidence in how their finances might look once retired.
Getting the right advice helps enormously with this, and likewise beginning the planning process earlier rather than later will reap rewards.
What are the stats?
A recent survey conducted by Vanguard of more than 5,500 people aged 55-75, across Australia, US, UK and Canada, showed that many reported that they experienced an increased level of satisfaction with their financial position upon retirement.
One contributor to this result was the higher incidence of people within the first 10 years of retirement seeking financial advice, compared with those still up to 10 years away.
Even amongst those who had access to some form of financial advice during the lead up to retiring, some still experienced regret about how well they prepared.
People’s biggest regrets
The biggest regrets of recent retirees included:
- Not saving enough
- Not starting the planning process early enough
- Not spending enough time planning for it
- Not learning enough about superannuation – in Australia,
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures, goods and services spending grew by 21 per cent in 2015-16 over the 2009-10 figure for households with a reference person between 55-64. In the same period, households headed by someone over 65 years of age saw a spending increase of 22 per cent.
So, what are they spending their money on?
The below infographic demonstrates some interesting findings from the ABS data as summarised by nestegg.com.au.
Money know-how can come from anyone, young or old. When it comes to financial wisdom, author and speaker Kylie Travers has taken her lead from the previous generation.
Get serious about saving
You can’t avoid it. To get on top of your finances you need to save and to save means you have to have financial discipline. Kylie was taught by her parents and grandparents that if you want to look forward to a better financial future, you need to take a serious approach to saving.
“My parents raised me to save money, set big goals, work hard and think about the future,” says Kylie. “They were both very open about money and my Dad gave me a copy of “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason to read when I was just 12. So I learnt early about what you could do with money if you were prepared to save. My parents invested in shares and property and that helped me realise how much more freedom you have with other sources of income,
As you know, the superannuation reform announced in the 2016 Federal Budget has been largely implemented. We have busy working with our clients to address all their concerns and working with them to ensure that no rock is left unturned when it comes to their personal circumstance. In regards to the $1.6 million transfer balance cap, there has been an update that we would like to share with you. There are some adverse tax consequences that need to be avoided.
The update on transfer balance cap
If the total value of a superannuation fund member’s pensions exceeded $1.6 million on 1 July 2017, they may face adverse tax consequences. However, there is a transitional provision that permits a minor excess over $1.6 million to be ignored, subject to certain conditions being met.
Basically, this will be satisfied if the value of their pension interests on 1 July 2017 exceeded $1.6 million by no more than $100,000 (i.e.,
Capital gains withholding, a new threshold
From 1 July 2017, where a foreign resident disposes of Australian real property with a market value of $750,000 or above, the purchaser will be required to withhold 12.5% of the purchase price and pay it to the ATO unless the seller provides a variation (this is referred to as ‘foreign resident capital gains withholding’).
However, Australian resident vendors who dispose of Australian real property with a market value of $750,000 or above will need to apply for a clearance certificate from the ATO to ensure amounts are not withheld from their sale proceeds.
Therefore, all transactions involving real property with a market value of $750,000 or above will need the vendor and purchaser to consider if a clearance certificate is required.
The following is from the ATO’s website:
- Australian resident vendors can avoid the 12.5% withholding by providing one of the following to the purchaser prior to settlement:
- for Australian real property,