Choosing your own superannuation fund

By MEL MARTIN

SO YOU'VE been given a superannuation choice form from your employer, now what?

Well, now if you want to make sure your super fund is best suited to your needs, it's time to do your homework.

This may be the first time you have the option to take an active part in managing your future income, so it can be confusing.

But the good thing is there is no pressure to change, so you can decide to stay with your current fund or take the time you need to work out what you want to do.

There are a few things to consider when choosing a super fund, according to financial adviser Tom Gourley from Coffs City Financial Services.

"Unfortunately funds are not easy to compare, so make sure you are comparing apples with apples," Mr Gourley said.

"The performance figures should be compared for the same timeframe and the same asset allocation. It is possible that last year's best performer is next year's worst performer.

"Consider how much risk and volatility you are prepared to accept for the potential higher return in a particular portfolio."

As well as making sure you are choosing a reputable organisation that will be there to pay up when you do retire, Mr Gourley says it's important to look at all aspects of what the organisation provides.

"Decide how much you want to be involved in the control of your investment, and ask the fund what type of service they provide. If you wish to purchase direct shares for example, some funds do not have this facility," he said.

"Look at the fees, consider the insurance offered and its cost, and find out what other benefits the fund provides.

"Consider all investment options, and whether extra funds are accepted, such as salary sacrifice, co-contributions, or spouse contributions."

Getting professional financial advice may be useful to help you decide what you need.

"It's important to take an interest in your superannuation, because it's an investment into your future," Mr Gourley said.

If you haven't yet received the super choice form from your employer it may be that you are not eligible. Generally, only employees under a federal award or no award are eligible.

Employees whose contribution is made under a certified agreement, Australian work- place agreement, state award or industrial agreement are not eligible.

NSW employees employed under a state award or state industrial agreement already have the right to choose, but there is no obligation on an employer to agree.

If you are eligible and have still not received your form, don't worry, employers have until the end of the month to provide you with it.

For more information visit www.super- choice.gov.au or call 132 864.



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