Catriona's Story

How an SMSF can open up property investment

This couple discovered a passion for property investment, enabled through their SMSF.

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The highlight in owning property within a self-managed super fund is that we’re one step closer to our long-term goal.

Catriona, NSW 

Catriona and Phil are a couple in the prime of life and, together with their young family, they want to enjoy it. Purchasing property through their self-managed super fund (SMSF) was their way of safeguarding the future, reaping the benefits of their full and active lives, and taking control of their finances right now.

"What our family values most is spending quality time together,” says Catriona. “Our long-term goal is to sufficiently fund a lifestyle that will see us continue to have a great amount of joy and family time."

Although they’re still young, Catriona and Phil are adamant that it’s important to start planning for retirement early, to ensure you have enough assets to maintain a prosperous lifestyle well into old age.

The couple often travel as a family unit with their children, and are keen to spend their retirement travelling the world. Their SMSF portfolio is one way of keeping that lifelong dream alive.

"I would suggest getting into investing with an SMSF as soon as possible – you don’t need a massive balance and you don’t need to be nearing retirement."

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The sooner you start the better. Go online and do some research. There’s a lot of information out there to help you get started.

Catriona, NSW 

The thrill of the chase

Both Phil and Catriona work full time and lead busy, active lives, but they find it easy – and enjoyable – to control their SMSF and expand their portfolio – initially in shares and then with their first property.

They see themselves as a good business partnership. Catriona enjoys working on the detail and the project management side of things, while Phil loves the thrill of the chase.

Phil also loves hunting down a bargain, so he’s happy to check for all the signs of a good property and a solid investment. His job is to look for suitable properties, ideally pre-tenanted so the couple is better able to manage the risks of the purchase. "We make a really great team!"

Managing their own SMSF portfolio has brought out a side of Phil that Catriona hasn’t seen before – he’s really engaged in the process, and he loves managing the couple’s assets and tracking their goals. "Our short-term goal is to be able to own a property in every state", laughs Phil.

"Long term, it’s very important to us to be able to enjoy our retirement," Catriona says. "We work really hard now and I want to know we’re doing the best we can to plan for the future."

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So many people get to retirement age and find they can’t do all the things they dreamed of – I don’t want to be one of those people!

Catriona, NSW 

Buying a property the simple way

Catriona and Phil were surprised to learn they could use their super to buy a property. "I always thought you needed at least $200,000," she says. "I was so excited to go looking for houses when I realised I could do it with the money I already had."

The process was simple. Once they had purchased their first property they realised that, with a bit of research to find low-maintenance properties and some old-fashioned common sense, they could get their properties working for them very quickly.

Catriona was really impressed by how little paperwork was involved – updating super fund trust deeds and other administrative documents are all taken care of by ESUPERFUND. The couple's data for the end of financial year is captured and downloaded, so all they have to do is manage their wealth.

"It really wasn't any harder than buying our own house – that really surprised me," Catriona says. "We're one step closer to our long-term goal. And of course, once we retire, we can actually take ownership of those properties."

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The best part of it is that you’re in control of the property, but you still get the asset at the end.

Phil, NSW 

Taking that first step

Ultimately, the first step into the world of SMSFs was the hardest. Catriona had been thinking about an SMSF for some time, and when a friend mentioned ESUPERFUND, she jumped online and had a look.

“I was actually really surprised by how easy it was to set up once I had made the decision to go with ESUPERFUND,” she says. “It all sounded a little daunting at first, but they made the set-up and management really straightforward so anyone could understand how it was all going to work.”

The couple now laugh at how family and friends, at first sceptical about their wealth expansion plans through an SMSF, came round to the idea and now wish they’d done it first – they’re all keen to jump on the bandwagon.

“I recommended it to my friends and family,” says Catriona. “It’s only fair to pass it on.”

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My parents who are cautious and from a different generation took a bit longer to come round to it – it’s such a new thing for them to understand. But they have seen how well we’re doing and are now completely on board.

Catriona, NSW 

All the resources you need

The couple enjoys being more proactive about their investments – this provides them with a sense of satisfaction in itself. They no longer feel they are relying on others to make choices for them. And, most importantly, they sense that they are on track to realise their dreams.

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There is a host of resources and a host of people who are out there to help you and to guide you. And we don’t do it alone – we just get the benefit.

Catriona, NSW 

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