Investment scams, CSHC indexed, best super funds, cheapest funds, Age Pension increase, super for beginners guide
We hope you enjoy our retirement planning special edition. Highlights of the September 2015 newsletter include:
- INVESTMENT SCAMS TARGET MALES AGED 50-PLUS. Victims of investment scams are often mature males with high levels of financial literacy, and also likely to be running an SMSF. Does this profile sound like you, or resemble your partner?
- MIRROR, MIRROR… WHAT SUPER FUND IS THE BEST-PERFORMING FUND OF ALL?. This article tackles the who, what and when of top-performing super funds. In related articles, access performance data from the 3 main ratings agencies, discover how to compare super funds in 8 steps, and find out what MySuper means for your super benefit.
- SUPER FEES: TOP 10 CHEAPEST FUNDS IN AUSTRALIA. Click on the article link below to find out the cheapest super funds, and the cheapest pension funds.
- FEES: DO CHEAPER SUPER FUNDS MEAN BIGGER RETIREMENT BALANCES? Click on the article link below to find out the answer.
- AGE PENSION: MORE AUSTRALIANS ENTITLED TO PAYMENTS FROM 20 SEPTEMBER 2015. Our summary article explains the latest Age Pension rate increases, and the lift in the thresholds for the income and assets test. For comprehensive tables of the new Age Pension rates, and the new thresholds, see our special suite of Age Pension articles at the very end of the newsletter.
- NEW INCOME THRESHOLDS FOR COMMONWEALTH SENIORS HEALTH CARD. More Australians are now entitled to a CSHC. Click on the article links below.
- SUPER FOR BEGINNERS: TOP 10 MUST KNOW FACTS AND 25 Q&As. The Top 10 must-know facts are a handy guide for those seeking to understand how the super rules work, and serves as a refresher for those readers who may be more familiar with the super rules. We have also compiled 25 Q&As for super beginners in a handy article.
- 14 MONKEYS STOP WOMEN CREATING A DREAM RETIREMENT. An important issue for all Australians, and perhaps a confronting assessment of women and retirement planning.
- HOW DO YOU SPEAK SUPERANNUATION ( …IN 20 WORDS)? Click on the article link below to find out how.
- WHERE CAN I GO FOR FINANCIAL ADVICE? Check out our special package of 6 articles explaining where you can get free advice, how you can access cheap advice, how many advisers are independent, and how to locate licensed and qualified financial advisers. We also warn you about 6 dangers when seeking financial advice.
Note: You can find these articles, and more, by clicking on the links below.
Many thanks for your continuing support and interest in SuperGuide.
Every few years, research is published that lists the typical investment scams and the unlucky targets of investment fraudsters. The most alarming trend is that investment fraud is becoming more serious and more organised, based on information published by the Australian Crime Commission. Read more
Asking experts and rating agencies for the answer to what super fund is Australia’s best-performing fund can be compared to the vain stepmother in the fairy tale Snow White asking the magical mirror: ‘Mirror mirror on the wall, who in the land is the fairest of all?”. The answer on one day may be: “You, my queen, are fairest of all” while another day it is likely to be: “Queen, you are full fair, ’tis true, but Snow White is fairer than you.” Read more
Countless reports have been published stating that super fund fees are too high, and that the super industry needs to work harder on lowering administration and investment fees. We all love a good deal and don’t want to pay more than we have to when saving for retirement. Are super fund fees now lower, and is it a good thing for your retirement savings? Read more
We are often asked which super fund is the cheapest super fund in Australia. As you would expect, SuperGuide’s preliminary response is: “It depends…”. How much your super fund may charge in fees can depend on many factors… Read more
Age Pension rates were increased, effective from 20 September 2015. The income and assets tests thresholds have also increased, which means eligible Australians can own more assets and earn more income and still be eligible for a PART Age Pension. Read more
Effective since 20 September 2015, the income test thresholds for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) have increased again, in line with the federal government’s promise to index the thresholds annually. Read more
The median superannuation growth fund lost a dramatic 2.9% in value for the month of August 2015, due to growing concerns over slowing economic growth in China, according to rating company, Chant West. In contrast to the 2.3% median return delivered in July 2015, the 2.9% loss in value for the month of August means for the first 2 months of the 2015/2016 year, the overall return is a loss in value of 0.6% Read more
Super for beginners
Nearly seven years ago, in January 2009, we launched the SuperGuide website, and in March 2009 we published the first monthly SuperGuide newsletter. Since that time we have received thousands of questions, from our millions of visitors, on different aspects of superannuation. We try to represent as many questions as possible in the articles we publish, while also ensuring that we cater for those readers who are just beginning their superannuation education. Read more
Many Australians find the stodgy language of superannuation confusing. For the benefit of both our new and more experienced readers, we have compiled a list of 20 of the most important and/or popular terms in super (see below), with related SuperGuide articles that you can click through to for more information, if you wish. Read more
From my conversations with thousands of women over the years, I have compiled a list of the top 14 monkeys that seem to sit on the backs of many women, and stop them from taking super control. Read more
One of SuperGuide’s more popular initiatives has been the development of a ‘Super for Beginners’ section that answers some of the many questions that we receive from those readers who are new to superannuation and new to super’s terminology. Read more
Any Australian hoping to be a self-funded retiree should also ask, ‘Am I eligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC)?’ Any Australian affected by the Age Pension assets test changes taking effect from January 2017, may also be asking themselves whether they can now claim the CSHC. Read more
How is your super fund performing?
A popular question from SuperGuide readers is: what is the best-performing super fund in Australia? Using the term ‘best’ is dangerous in any field because it involves some level of personal judgement, and the answer can change frequently depending on what you’re measuring, and when you’re making the assessment, especially when we’re considering the current volatile markets. Usually, there are a bunch of top-performing super funds over time rather than one particular super fund. Read more
We receive many questions from readers asking about particular superannuation funds and whether we think fund A or fund B is a good super fund. We are an information site, rather than advisory service so we cannot provide advice on the merits of a particular fund, but we can give you some guidance on how to assess whether a super fund is up to scratch. Read more
If you believe the federal government’s public relations campaign, MySuper can deliver you the equivalent of nirvana in superannuation – low fees, strong investment performance, financial security and a worry-free retirement. Read more
Since 1 July 2013, super funds have been able to offer a new superannuation product called MySuper. A MySuper product has a single diversified investment option, a minimum amount of life insurance cover, and standardised disclosure of fees. According to the federal government, MySuper is “a simple, low cost default superannuation product called MySuper to improve the simplicity, transparency and comparability of default superannuation products.” Read more
If you’re comparing super funds, you have just under 250 super funds to consider. Daunting? Perhaps, but it is important to note that there are only 5 types of super funds in Australia, and most Australians can only choose from 3 of these fund types. Read more
Where to go for financial advice
If you’re like many Australians within 10 to 15 years of retirement, you’re starting to think about your retirement but you’re not sure if you want a full-blown financial plan just yet. You may even be unsure about what’s involved in planning for your retirement. Read more
Superannuation funds have been providing cheap (and in some cases, free) personal financial advice to super fund members with the blessing of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), since 2009. Read more
The task of selecting a financial adviser is often the step that stops Australians from seeking advice. How do you know a financial adviser is licensed and has the proper qualifications? The task has become slightly easier now that the financial regulator has compiled a list of all licensed financial advisers. Read more
One of the promising developments from the financial advice reforms is the proposal to establish a public register of financial advisers, including employee advisers, which consumers can access to check the adviser qualifications and whether the adviser is licensed. It appears the register will not disclose whether a financial adviser is ‘independent’. Read more
I have been writing about, or working in or on the sidelines of the financial services industry for 28 years now, and the regulator and the advising industry are still, in late 2015, grappling with how consumers make investment decisions and the influential role that advisers and financial organisations hold in distributing investment products. Read more
Q: I have met many financial planners including 3 independent ones, but they don’t seem to know much and all said different things. They don’t seem to show interest and care for my retirement. I am a 61 year-old female and have no super. I need to do something fast. I am just a piano teacher and financially illiterate. I need help. Do you provide financial advice? Read more
New Age Pension rates and thresholds
The Age Pension rates, effective from 20 September 2015, and applicable until 19 March 2016, are set out in the tables in this article. Read more
The UPPER asset thresholds for the Age Pension assets test increased again on 20 September 2015, which means more Australians may now be eligible for a PART Age Pension. Read more
An eligible individual must satisfy the Age Pension income test, and the Age Pension assets test to receive a FULL, or PART, Age Pension. The amount of Age Pension will be based on the test that delivers the lowest amount on Age Pension entitlement. If an individual fails one of the tests, then he or she will not be eligible for the Age Pension. Read more
If you own financial investments and receive the Age Pension, or you hope to claim the Age Pension, then you need to be aware of a relatively recent change to the deeming rates applicable to financial investments, and the annual change (every July) to the deeming thresholds for the Age Pension income test. These changes may mean that you’re eligible for a greater Age Pension entitlement. Read more