A popular series of books originally published over a twenty-year period was the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ series.
As the name suggested, the reader could actually decide what the characters did at key moments in the story. They could choose (to a certain extent) how the adventure played out and how the story ended.
Many people treat their superannuation like the traditional story book, believing that their employer pays the contributions and someone else looks after the investments, and that’s how the story goes until the end of their working life.
But the reality is that superannuation funds allow members a level of choice in relation to how the money is invested, which means it can be up to you to create what your retirement adventure might look like.
The first step is to find out what investment options your super fund provides. There may be a couple of options, or there may be many. It all depends on the type of fund you are currently in or are looking to join.
Once you know what’s available, you can match it to your personal requirements.
The fund’s investment menu should show you where your money would be invested based on your selection. Typical characteristics of investment choices within super funds are:
Growth – aims for higher growth but accompanied by higher risk;
Balanced – aims for reasonable returns and more acceptable risk;
Conservative – focuses on lower risk which usually means lower returns;
Cash – aims to guarantee your capital but with little or no growth.
If you don’t choose a super fund, your employer must pay your super into a fund that offers “MySuper” – a default fund that provides only two investment options which depend solely on your age.
From 1 July 2017, MySuper will replace the existing default accounts offered by super funds. A default option may be a good strategy, but it is still best to compare it to others on offer rather than accepting it blindly.
What is your style?
There is also no single answer to determining which superannuation options are the best to invest in; there is no “one size fits all”.
Obviously from time to time shares will perform the best, while at other times it will be more beneficial to have a higher investment in cash or fixed interest. In reality, for most people the right allocation will be somewhere in between.
What’s right for you will depend on your age and timeframe; your attitude to fluctuations; and the level of certainty you need to fund your own retirement.
If you are close to retiring, think about how soon you want to access your super. On the other hand, if you won’t retire for 20 or more years and short-term share market fluctuations don’t bother you, then this will impact on your choice.
When it comes to your journey before and after retirement, don’t be afraid to choose your own adventure! Contact us to help you enjoy it.