A GFC-prompted wish to take more control over their financial affairs led Patricia and Mike to explore self-managed super. Here, they talk about how well the decision has worked for them.
Retirement is supposed to be a golden time. You’re free from financial worries; it’s a period of ease where you sit back and enjoy the rewards you’ve worked hard for all your life.
Unfortunately, the global financial crisis (GFC) of 2008 undermined many Australians’ financial security, or badly affected their retirement savings.
Patricia and Mike of Googong, New South Wales, were among those on whom the crisis had an impact.
They had retired in 2006 and wanted to know how to invest. They sought out an independent financial advisor and he suggested putting their money into a retail super fund.
The retail super fund fees were very high – about three per cent – but supposedly the returns would be very high as well
The GFC arrives
Then the GFC struck and the couple lost nearly half their assets.
It was a very difficult situation and the recovery was slow. Mike became frustrated: he said if he had money to invest he could do a much better job than the fund.
But with a retail super fund, members can’t choose where their money is invested.
Mike wanted to deal in shares himself and enjoy more control over his own financial future, but at the time the couple weren’t aware of the existence of self-managed super funds.
One day Patricia saw a newspaper ad about them, and started doing her research on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website to find out how hard it would be to administer one.
“But when I read about all the documentation required I lost my confidence – there were so many rules. Mike was very disappointed, but he wasn’t interested in the admin either.”
The retail super fund didn’t provide any security and we couldn’t do anything with it.
Quick and easy SMSF set-up
Soon afterwards Patricia spotted another ad – this one was about professional administrators for SMSFs.
This led her to ESUPERFUND’s website, among others. She investigated several different companies to see what they had to offer.
“All the others either wanted to have a say in the shares in the SMSF, or weren’t providing enough information. So I kept coming back to the ESUPERFUND website.
I told Mike what I had found; he took a look at ESUPERFUND, and said ‘that’s for us!’ in five minutes. We took the plunge and we’ve never regretted it.”
After all the anguish over setting up an SMSF, Patricia and Mike were delighted to find that ESUPERFUND could do it all. They filled in an online form and received paperwork a few days later.
They had the deeds all prepared – everything we needed – so I didn’t need to worry that I would miss something.
It was so easy.
Management gets easier each year
Patricia and Mike have found their fund increasingly easy to manage as the years have gone by.
Their skills are always improving, while ESUPERFUND keeps adding new services and technologies to streamline management processes.
According to Patricia, ESUPERFUND has gone above and beyond the call of duty. In the first year she was still sending a lot of physical paperwork rather than doing things electronically,
and at one point her printer started printing pages out of order.
“I didn’t know what I had sent and what I had not sent; I was sending and resending.
ESUPERFUND didn’t complain; they fixed everything for us and everything went through perfectly. I don’t know how they did it.”
ESUPERFUND is able to access to the dividends information automatically. That means there’s hardly anything for us to do.
Never regretted, never looked back
The couple enjoys a perfect partnership when it comes to managing their fund: Patricia loves the admin and Mike greatly enjoys the investment side.
He uses CommSec to research what shares he wants to buy, and then the couple discusses the possibilities. Finally, Patricia buys the shares.
She still keeps her own records and fills everything out in a spreadsheet, “even though there’s no need because ESUPERFUND does it all”.
Both Patricia and Mike have learnt a huge amount about finance and super in the last few years, and they attribute this to ESUPERFUND, who have closely guided them.
“At the beginning I had so many questions that I couldn’t find answers to online,” Patricia says.
“For example, I wondered whether we could send both our pensions into a joint personal account, or whether they had to go into separate accounts.
I would ask ESUPERFUND directly, and they always answered and never made me feel stupid. They were polite, prompt and told me what I wanted to know.
It has been such a help to have their support.”
ESUPERFUND continues to provide any extra help required. Last year, Patricia couldn’t format some CSV files she needed to send them for the compliance documentation.
She emailed ESUPERFUND to explain the problem and was told just to send what files she had. Several hours later they had managed to format all the files perfectly for her.
A couple of my husband’s colleagues are now using ESUPERFUND as a direct result of the great experience we’ve had,
and they’ve told us it’s the best piece of advice they’ve received.