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Is it worth managing your own super?

2018 was a bad year for super fund returns. Is it time to go it alone?

Jack Derwin

Digital Journalist, Your Money

Editor’s note: The following article contains information only, it is not intended as general or personal advice. Your Money recommends seeking professional advice specific to your personal circumstances.


After a rough year for superannuation balances around the country, is it worth taking your money management back into your own hands?

The average balanced superannuation fund went nowhere in 2018, recording a flat return over the last 12 months.

It was a bad year for super funds around the country.
(Image: Your Money Live)

Once fees are paid and inflation is considered, it’s understandable that some Australians may be weighing up alternatives like a self-managed super fund (SMSF), according to NAB’s head of SMSFs.

“It’s amazing how many people say, ‘I don’t mind losing money but I do mind paying you for the privilege’, that seems to be the sentiment behind a lot of people’s decision to set them up,” Gemma Dale told Your Money Live. 

With 2018 being one of the worst years in recorded history for super balances, that could cause Australians to reconsider their regular super fund that has otherwise in recent years been pretty good to them.

“We just haven’t seen it over the last five or six years [where] people have managed to get really good returns. Three out of those last six years recently people have got double-digit returns for doing absolutely nothing, sitting in a balanced fund not taking undue risk.”

However, before anyone rushes off to open up an SMSF, there are a few important points to consider.

“If you don’t have a plan and you don’t have the motivation and the skills, then it’s probably not the greatest idea,” Dale said.

“If you also don’t get a lot of joy out of it, it’s probably a difficult and expensive exercise.”

Watch the full interview with Gemma Dale above.

Plus: Should you invest in property through super?
Plus: At least 700,000 Aussies would opt-out of super
Plus: How to choose the right super investment option