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The Benefits of SMSFs: Why You Should Consider One

Thinking about your future is big, but planning for it? That’s even bigger. When it comes to retirement, everyone wants to ensure they're doing the best they can with the resources they have. Among the various options available, Self-Managed Super Funds (SMSFs) are becoming a popular choice for Australians who wish to take direct control of their retirement savings. This is more than just another way to save for retirement; it’s about taking the reins and making personalised decisions about your investments.

Whether you're just starting to plan for retirement or looking to optimise your current savings strategy, understanding the role of an SMSF could be a game changer in your financial planning.

What Is an SMSF and How Does It Work?

An SMSF, or Self-Managed Super Fund, is a private superannuation fund that you manage yourself. It's a powerful tool for those looking to have direct control over their retirement savings. Unlike traditional super funds, where your money is pooled with other members' funds and invested collectively, an SMSF lets you tailor your investment portfolio to suit your personal financial goals and risk appetite. Essentially, you're the one calling the shots.

Setting up an SMSF involves choosing trustees, creating a trust deed, and ensuring compliance with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) regulations. Trustees can be members themselves, and every member of the SMSF is a trustee. This structure places significant responsibility on the members, as they're accountable for decisions about investments and compliance. We handle the fund's tax returns, audits, and other administrative aspects, adhering to strict legal guidelines. It’s a commitment that requires diligence and a proactive approach, but the payoff can be a more personalised investment strategy and potentially higher returns.

Control and Customisation: The Core Advantages of SMSFs

One of the biggest reasons why Australians choose an SMSF is the level of control it offers over their retirement investments. When we manage our own super fund, we decide how to invest our money and what assets to buy or sell. Whether it's real estate, stocks, or other assets, an SMSF provides the flexibility to tailor our portfolio to our specific needs and financial goals. This personalisation is something traditional super funds can't match.

Moreover, an SMSF allows us to pool our resources with up to five members, typically family or business partners, which can enhance our investment capabilities. This setup enables us to enter investment markets that might otherwise be out of reach. For instance, pooling assets in an SMSF can make it feasible to invest in commercial property, which often requires significant capital.

The ability to customise our investment strategy doesn't just potentially increase returns; it also allows us to better manage risk. By actively making decisions on asset allocation based on personal risk tolerance and market conditions, we can strive to safeguard our investments in different economic climates. This hands-on approach requires a certain level of financial acumen, but for those of us willing to learn and engage with our finances, the benefits of an SMSF can be substantial.

Tax Benefits and Efficiencies with SMSFs

One compelling reason to consider a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) is the range of tax benefits and efficiencies they offer. Managing our own super means we can tailor strategies to maximise our fund’s tax effectiveness. For instance, SMSFs enjoy a concessional tax rate of 15% on investment incomes during the accumulation phase. This is significantly lower than the personal income tax rate, which can be as high as 45%.

Capital gains on investments held for more than 12 months in an SMSF are taxed at a reduced rate of only 10%. This lower tax rate provides a substantial benefit when we sell investments at a gain. Efficient timing of income and deductions within our SMSF can further enhance these benefits, ensuring that we maximise value in the most tax-efficient manner. Additionally, when we transition our SMSF to the pension phase, the tax rate on investment income, including capital gains, can be reduced to zero, provided certain conditions are met.

Considerations Before Setting Up Your SMSF

While the advantages of SMSFs can be significant, it’s crucial to consider a few key aspects before setting one up. First, the responsibility of managing an SMSF can be substantial. As trustees, we must ensure that the fund complies with superannuation and tax laws. Poor compliance can lead to legal issues or hefty penalties.

Second, an SMSF requires a significant investment of time and effort. From setting up the fund to choosing investments and managing paperwork, the obligations are ongoing. We must also be prepared to keep up with changes in legislation that may affect our retirement strategies. Additionally, the costs of setting up and running an SMSF, including auditing, accounting, and legal fees, could affect its cost-effectiveness unless we have a substantial balance or can achieve superior investment performance.

Before deciding to launch an SMSF, it’s important to weigh these responsibilities against the potential benefits. For those unsure if they can handle the complexity, consulting with financial experts who understand SMSFs thoroughly is a wise step.


An SMSF provides us with control, customisation options, and tax efficiencies that are not typically available through other superannuation forms. However, the decision to manage our own super should not be taken lightly due to the responsibilities and expertise required. By providing personalised advice and services, we aim to make the management of your SMSF as smooth and beneficial as possible.

At Symmetry Accounting & Tax PTY LTD, we are here to support and educate on whether an SMSF is the right choice for your financial future. For those considering an SMSF or seeking to optimise their current fund, our dedicated team, proficient in accounting services for small businesses, is here to help. Reach out to us today to ensure your retirement savings are managed wisely, aligning perfectly with your lifelong financial goals.