The decision to establish an SMSF and take control of your own superannuation savings is not a decision to be taken lightly, or rushed. Here are things to be mindful of:

1. It’s important for people taking an active interest in their super and knowing where it is invested.  

2. Have an idea of which fund you are in, how your super is invested (and ask yourself if you are comfortable with it).

3. Know what fees you are paying and how much you are contributing.  

4. Review whether you have insurance in your super – and whether it is the right type and amount of cover for you.

5. Consider getting financial advice if you need help.

But taking the next step to move to an SMSF is an important one.

Taking on the responsibility of setting up and managing your own SMSF is a decision that should not be rushed.  It takes time, energy and there are costs to getting it all up and running, and you would not then want to have to spend more time, energy and money to undo the change, if you suddenly changed your mind.

If you want to establish an SMSF, there are a lot of views on how much you need to justify the running costs. While there is no minimum balance required to establish your SMSF, ASIC has suggested that a balance of around $200,000 (collectively with other prospective members of the SMSF) is the tipping point at which an SMSF becomes cost competitive with an APRA regulated super fund, although in recent times even higher amounts have been contemplated.  Now this increase in the suggested minimum account balance is not necessarily because of the costs associated with SMSFs.  In fact, in many cases, the costs of running an SMSF have come down but as have the fees of many traditional super funds over time.

But the costs, whilst important, shouldn’t be your only (or even main) consideration.  The real question has to come back to these considerations:

1. Why do you think you need an SMSF?

2. What are you going to be able to achieve with your SMSF that you can’t achieve in your existing super fund?

3. How long are you willing to not only spend each week, month or year on running your SMSF, but how long are you willing to do this for?  Are you willing to do this for the next 10 years?  Until you retire?  Into your retirement years?

The answers to all these questions can help you determine if setting up an SMSF is right for you, or if you are in one – if it is right to stay in it.  The good news is that you don’t have to do all this yourself, and in reality, you probably shouldn’t.  There are SMSF professional advisers who can help you by providing SMSF financial advice, legal advice, and administration and audit – to assist and guide you to the best outcome.

It can take time to be comfortable that the decision you make is the right one, and it’s worth taking that time.  After all, your super is for your retirement and we all want that to be as long and as enjoyable as possible.

This information does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it.