The SMSF sector witnessed quite a few developments in the year 2014. At the beginning of the year, investors and trustees were apprehensive to say but the least. Rumour mills were working overtime and government’s iron-fisted regulation was being talked about. These, however, remained merely rumours as government decided to play it easy and keep SMSF regulation more of a formal thing. It believed that prudential standards could be a bane for a sector as small and volatile as SMSF.
In an article for the Business Day section of the Sydney Morning Herald, Nassim Khadem and Ruth Liew talk about the cancellation of 440 SMSF auditors’ registration owing to their failure to meet standards of competency.
The Financial System Inquiry (FSI) has come up with its Interim Report and it categorically states the increasing penchant of SMSF holders towards borrowing. The Sole Purpose Test unequivocally suggests that the main idea behind SMSFs is to bolster retirement fund. Any other use must be limited and kept at the periphery and hence the concern.
Healthcare and emergency facilities have definitely improved over the years, allowing higher life expectancy for individuals. Being able to enjoy the bounties of this planet longer is a nice proposition, but it comes with one special headache — you must have more money in your retirement fund if you wish to negotiate the ‘extra’ years well.
Superannuation was introduced as a retirement vehicle which allowed you to see yourself through (decently) your post-retirement life. Over the years, it has also ramified into an asset diversification strategy, but deep down it needs to pass the Sole Purpose Test which says that its only goal is to aid the retirement prospects.
An article on the website news.com.au talks about the current Superannuation savings scenario in Australia and why people would do well to review where they are headed. Unless Australians take stock of the scene, they might face a bleak retirement prospect. It is ironical that a nation which can boast of $1.8 trillion in Super cannot take help from this retirement vehicle (read the Sole Purpose test) to aid their post-retirement life.
SMSF can be a lucrative option if only you know the few traps that may present themselves along the way and have covered the range of penalties you may be exposed to. When the sun rose on 1st July this year, the tax man wanted the SMSF trustees to have a few things clearly figured out. Till this day, the ATO could mete out penalties to you but, there was no regime in place. Things changed on 1st of July.
The hiatus between the Superannuation savings of men and women is becoming a cause for serious concern. Not that men are doing appreciably, but it is the women who are sending distress signals. The expected retirement nest egg for women is close to only about half that of men and some of them have even sparser means to negotiate the post-retirement stretch.