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Superannuation Essential Reading

Since the Superannuation Legislation Amendment was passed (Choice of Superannuation Funds starting 1st of July 2005), government agencies have released a series of free brochures and fact sheets, aimed at helping Australians better understand their superannuation options.

The educational materials should not only supplement the advice consumers obtain from a licensed adviser, it should also engage consumers to start thinking about investing and retirement in general.

The fact sheets explaining different retirement options are available from the Australian Securities and Investments Commissions (ASIC) consumer website, at

    The web site offers a wealth of information on retirement, and includes among other topics:
  • Plan your financial goals for your retirement years
  • Plan your budget using FIDO's Budget planner
  • Estimate your super account balance using ASIC's calculator. Get to know your current superannuation balance by learning to read your annual super statements. Ask your super fund managers to send you information about your retirement benefits
  • Look after your eligible rollover funds
  • Find out more about your superannuation with ASIC's Super decisions brochure
  • Getting your superannuation earlier? Actions undertaken against the theft by unscrupulous advisers
  • Find out how much money you will need to retire
  • Know your retirement income options
  • Key features of retirement income stream products
  • Understanding the language of retirement incomes. For example, do you know what a RBL or a complying income stream is?
  • 'Reverse mortgages' (sometimes called 'home equity loans' or 'housing equity withdrawal').

The ATO, being the regulator of the self managed superannuation funds (SMSFs), is offering consumer booklets, emphasising the importance of fulfilling SMSFs obligations when it comes to compliance issues. One of these booklets "Role and responsibilities of trustees" (ATO code NAT 11032) is a must reading for everyone running or thinking about starting their own self managed superannuation fund, and it covers SMSF issues from "A to Z", including:

  • What is superannuation?
  • What is a self managed superannuation fund?
  • Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act (SIS Act) requirements
  • Compliance with the sole purpose test
  • Accepting the contributions in accordance with the rules
  • Managing the fund's investments
  • Paying benefits in accordance with the rules
  • Meeting administrative obligations
  • Appointing an approved auditor
  • Winding up the self managed superannuation fund
  • Penalties and compliance
  • Compliance checklist for trustees.

Copies of the booklet are available by contacting the ATO Super Helpline: 13 10 20, or you can download a copy from

Superannuation and relating topics have always been one of the most important social and economic issues of almost every country in the world. With the new legislation coming into force next year in July, the present time is the perfect opportunity for the Australian population to start understanding and appreciating the huge impact the new legislation will have on their lives. Our government is going through the considerable effort of putting in place mechanisms that will enable smooth transition from the old system to the new one, by educating the public and providing wide range of resources aimed at all the consumers.
With the new choice of super funds and the shift of control and decision making towards the end user, also comes the newly acquired responsibility and accountability. Now is the time for Australians to start thinking and planning in advance, by educating themselves and fully understanding the relating issues. Only by gaining the knowledge and understanding of the relevant superannuation issues will the legislative change have a positive and meaningful long term beneficial effect on our society.

First Published: 30 November 2004 - Copyright © SuperEasy Pty Ltd

This article is intended to be a factual analysis of past investment returns. It is not intended, nor is it to be regarded, as investment/securities advice. It does not take into account whether any particular investment or type of investment is suitable for your individual circumstances. It is strongly recommended that you seek professional advice before making any investment choice or decision.

SuperEasy Pty Ltd is not licensed to provide advice on investments, or legalities of the types of investments that you can have. We strongly recommend that you seek professional advice from an AFSL holder before making any investment choice or decision.