Taking control of your retirement: Exploring self-managed superannuation funds

by 21 Sep 2023Superannuation

Understanding the benefits and disadvantages of self-managed superannuation funds in Australia

In 1999, self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) came into existence. Why? So that small businesses and the self-employed can establish and manage their own superannuation accounts. But things have changed a lot since then.

So, let’s take a look at what they are. And then we’ll explore some of the benefits and disadvantages of SMSFs

What is a self-managed superannuation fund?

SMSFs is an alternative way of saving for your retirement, instead of using an industry or retail fund.

The obvious difference between SMSF and industry funds is that SMSFs are self-managed. Industry and retail funds aren’t.

Members of an SMSF are usually also the trustees. This allows SMSF members to run it for their benefit. But it also means they’re responsible for complying with superannuation and tax laws.

 The Australian Tax Office and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission are joint regulators of SMSFs.

What are the benefits of SMSFs

There are various benefits of having an SMSF, including:

Investment choice

SMSFs provide more variety of investment options compared to other funds. While there are some limitations to where you can invest, you can invest in almost anything. This includes investing in property.

Tax strategies

SMSFs have the same tax rates as other funds. And you can put in place tax strategies that benefit you and your circumstances


SMSFs allow multiple members to run a mixture of accumulation and pension accounts. And you can adjust your investment mix as and when it suits you.

 This allows a fast response to changes in market conditions, super rules or personal circumstances


SMSFs allow you to align your personal goals with your investment decisions. You’ll be more aware of the investments made with your super funds. And you’ll also be more aware of how those investments are performing


SMSFs are now more cost-effective than they used to be. This is partially due to advances in technology and competition between service providers

The costs you’ll pay for running an SMSF can depend on how much professional support you engage

Consolidate superannuation assets

SMSFs allow you to pool your superannuation with up to five other people. This gives you more opportunities to invest in things that aren’t available to you by yourself

Protection from creditors

Generally, creditors cannot touch a person’s superannuation. But there’s an exception to this. Clawback laws apply if you deliberately transfer assets into an SMSF to escape paying creditors

Disadvantages of SMSFs

There are a few things to bear in mind when considering whether an SMSF is for you

Duties and responsibilities

Taking care of your own retirement savings can be time consuming. You’re responsible for all the investment decisions and you need to keep your fund compliant. Note that penalties and consequences of not complying with the applicable laws and while you can engage professionals to assist, the trustees ultimately remain responsible. More information can be found on the ATO website

This means you need a reasonable understanding of investment options and markets. Why? To reduce the likelihood of making a bad investment decision

The good news? There are many services out there that can help you manage your SMSF

Living overseas

Most members of your SMSF need to permanently live in Australia. So, if you intend on moving overseas or make super contributions while living overseas, this may make your fund non-compliant.


The cost of your own SMSF can be disadvantageous. This is particularly so if the assets held by the SMSF are low in value

It pays to get professional advice before setting an SMSF up, to ensure that it’s right for you


Self-managed super funds offer a compelling way to take control of your financial future. And they can be a great avenue for wealth creation. They’re more accessible than ever

Equipped with knowledge, strategies and professional guidance, you can navigate SMSFs with confidence. Book a call with Sigo Siriphokha, one of our financial planners, to explore whether SMSFs are for you

We love helping our clients with their wealth creation because it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Feel free to book in an obligation-free 15-minute chat to see how we can help you create wealth.


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Important information: This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication.

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