Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it’s an SMSF!

We put a sample of UBankers on the couch and between asking about their childhood and other proclivities, grilled them over their thoughts on self-managed super funds (SMSF) (a lot of you have one). So without further ado let’s all pop on our Freudian slippers and take a look at the results.

The seemingly remorseless slaying of super funds by the GFC has dramatically altered the super conversation. Gone are the days when all you needed to do was take an occasional glance at the balance, pause for a satisfied smile and get back to business as usual. This is the post-GFC world where more people want to take care of their own super before someone else stuffs it up. The answer seems to be a SMSF, which is a super fund that allows you, yourself and you to manage how your super is invested and its profits distributed. This is as opposed to a big company taking your super and investing it on your behalf along with thousands of others.

To the survey findings:

* Not surprisingly 75% of you Ubankers surveyed cited control as your main reason to take up an SMSF. And apparently you are happy with that decision with 95% of you “not considering closing it down”.
* You spend an average of less than two hours a week managing your SMSFs, which is a good hourly rate if you can get it.
* 54% of Ubank SMSF holders are between 55 and 64. This reflects the fact that superannuation is a higher priority for anyone heading for retirement.
* As far as the mix goes, 33% of SMSFs’ trustees keep between 25% and 50% of their sum in cash and term deposits. While this is very high, it is supported by ATO statistics, which show that the average is 28%.
* Interestingly, SMSFs had less than 1% invested in international assets compared with large funds that had around 22%. This meant that the average SMSFs balance was not kneecapped by the GFC like the large retail funds.
* And finally you are an optimistic bunch with most of you surveyed remaining “cautiously optimistic” about your funds’ future performance and plan to keep the same investments spread.

Click here to take a look at the responses.

As you can see SMSFs require time and skill to manage; it ain’t a passive exercise but done well they can really pay off compared with the goliath retail fund approach where one size fits all. As TV mobster Tony Soprano says, “no risk, no reward”.

And in other news… we have been warned! Hans Hoogervorst, a top European markets regulator, told a room of VIPs in Melbourne recently, “Australia should prepare for a very difficult economic time, which you will not be able to escape”. Super Hans (excuse the reference to the TV show Peep Show folks) reckons the government debt racked up around the world to bail out banks and stimulate domestic economies will take “a tremendous toll on the world economy for a long time to come. Even for a country that has been so soundly managed as Australia, this will have consequences”. Hans, knees and boompsadaisy.