Derek Gascoigne, one of our private client advisers, unpacks a common question we often get around super and investing.
Q: I have some extra funds to invest and know that investing in super has its advantages, but I also want to know about my options outside of super.
A: There are indeed advantages to investing in super. Just some of the benefits are:
- the concessional tax treatment of contributions and investment earnings
- access to group life insurance
- tax-free income for over 60s.
Super is an attractive investment vehicle for most people, and it would be wise to consider adding extra money to your super account, provided it’s appropriate to your needs. Keep in mind also, there are contribution caps in super, and additional taxes may apply if those caps are exceeded.
So investing in super isn’t the only option. There are several reasons why investing outside of super may be more appropriate to your situation.
- Those contribution caps I mentioned. Depending on the amount you have to invest, you might not be able to contribute all of it to super. The concessional contributions cap was lowered to $25,000 on 1 July 2017 for all ages and the non-concessional cap is currently $100,0001.
- Spreading your money across different investment vehicles can help mitigate legislative risk within the changing landscape of super.
- You may want the flexibility to access your funds prior to retirement (super is generally only accessible from preservation age, except in special circumstances).
What are my investment options outside of super?
Outside of super, there are many types of investments to choose from. It’s essential to select the investment option(s) that suit your tolerance for risk, your investment time horizon and your goals, so make sure you look closely at the product details and risks before you part with your hard earned money. Here are some of the most popular types of investments.
Shares are considered growth investments because their value can rise, however they can also fall and can fluctuate from day to day. For this reason, they’re considered higher risk than other types of investments and are most suitable if you have a long investment timeframe to help you ride out any volatility.
Property also has the potential to rise in value over time, and is a popular investment strategy in Australia due to lower interest rates and tax benefits. However, property can also lose value, and it can be difficult to sell property quickly, so might not be the right choice if you need easy access to your money. Also keep in mind the possibility of interest rate rises and changes to tax rules.
If you want a professional to manage your investment for you, a managed fund allows you to access a diverse range of assets with a relatively small amount of cash. Your money is pooled together with other investors and the investment manager buys and sells shares and other assets on your behalf. The downsides are that the fees can be higher than other investment types and you might not be able to access your cash easily.
Cash is often invested in high interest savings accounts where it receives regular interest payments, and is the least risky type of investment. It’s also easy to access at any time. On the other hand, the value of your cash may decline if it doesn’t keep pace with CPI.
Term deposits are fixed interest savings products that usually earn interest at a slightly higher rate than a savings account. Your money is invested for a fixed term and you receive a set rate of interest over that term. However, if you choose to access your money before the term ends, you’ll probably be charged a penalty.
Things to keep in mind
When investing outside of super, earnings and assessable capital gains are taxed at your marginal rate (up to 47% including the Medicare levy).
Help is at hand
The investment decisions you make now could affect the amount of income you have to enjoy in retirement, so it pays to get it right. As a financial adviser, I’m qualified to help you assess your options and recommend the most appropriate investments (including those outside super) to suit your circumstances and financial goals. To speak with me or another qualified UniSuper financial adviser, call 1800 823 842 or send us an email.
Derek has more than 18 years’ experience in financial services. After 14 years advising a wide range of clients, he joined UniSuper Advice as a financial adviser where he provides comprehensive financial advice to clients. His focus is on providing robust strategic financial advice with a view to optimise benefits through education and guidance, and to assist clients to make more informed decisions about their financial position. Read more.