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Don’t wait until it’s too late to prepare for retirement


Self-directed investors value being able to share ideas and explore regulatory changes, which is one of the reasons AMP Capital has established its SMSF Community.



In this series we will explore some of the super users on the SMSF Community to get their top tips on running a SMSF, and how they use the SMSF Community.

Ian Campbell is one of the forum’s super users. He regularly engages with other members of the Community to explore news and events that have the potential to affect self-managed super fund (SMSF) investors.

“It’s a good way of confirming whether legislation has been tabled in parliament, and to talk to other members about new regulations that have been introduced or amended,” he explains.

Campbell says it’s especially important to be across all the recent changes to the super system when an SMSF is in pension rather than accumulation phase – his fund is in pension phase. 

“It's really critical once you get into pension phase because the penalties are quite severe if you breach the rules,” he says.

At the moment, Campbell is using the forum primarily from an investment point of view, to gain insights into variables that could affect the market and ideas about how best to take advantage of current market conditions.

“Markets are very uncertain at the moment, so I'm sticking to my current strategy, which includes exposure to commercial property assets and cash,” he explains.

Campbell has a number of tips for other SMSF investors to help run their funds in the best way possible. His first piece of advice is to build real knowledge around how to run your fund and the way investment markets operate.

“You have to know what you're doing. Running an SMSF is not a short-term proposition. It is a long-term investment strategy that requires time and focus. So it’s important to have the right knowledge and expertise to run the fund properly.”

Campbell says investments should be the real point of focus for every SMSF investor. “You really have to know what you're doing otherwise you're just going to follow the market; that's not a good way of getting a decent return.”

He says it’s also essential to be on top of the law. “That's why the AMP Capital SMSF Community is so valuable to me and anyone who has an SMSF.” 

Being aware of the limitations of the SMSF’s trust deed is also key, he says. “You may not be able to respond to changes in legislation if your trust deed doesn't allow you to. So it’s important to understand how the deed allows you to operate the fund.”

Campbell’s final tip is to maintain accurate records for your SMSF. “To be audited you need proper records, which are not all that hard to keep. Just keep track of your income and your expenses, which can be done simply through a cashbook. I do mine on an accrual basis because I have an accounting background. Each year I give a printout to the auditor with all the source documents; it's a fairly simple process.”

Finally, says Campbell, if you're approaching retirement age, or you want to retire early, start thinking a couple of years in advance about how you're going to set up your super fund when you do retire.

That way you will have peace of mind that when you do leave work for the last time, you will be able to enjoy a solid financial foundation to underpin your post-retirement life.

Sign up to the SMSF Community here

The SMSF Community is a place for people in the industry, either trustees or professionals, to build connections, share ideas and experiences.

Have a question for one of our experts or fellow SMSF trustees? Or do you want to share your opinon?

Join the SMSF Community

 

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