THE SMSF ESSENTIALS GUIDE. The ultimate starter guide to setting up, running and effectively using a Self Managed Superannaution Fund

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1 THE SMSF ESSENTIALS GUIDE The ultimate starter guide to setting up, running and effectively using a Self Managed Superannaution Fund

2 DISCLAIMER The purpose of this e-book is to provide information and insights. It is generic information and not personal advice. This e-book is to be taken as a guide and not financial advice. Before you act on any strategies discussed here you should consult a licensed Financial Advisor and read the appropriate Product Disclosure Statement. All care has been taken to ensure the information provided is correct at the time of publication, however legislation is constantly changing so an older version of this e-book may be out of date and incorrect. Ark Total Wealth Pty Ltd takes no responsibility for any actions you take independently. Ark Total Wealth operates under the Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) from Level 7, 14 Martin Place, Sydney, NSW.

3 THE SMSF ESSENTIAL GUIDE OVERVIEW One of the fastest growing segments in the superannuation space is the growth of Self Managed Superannuation Funds (referred to as SMSF in this e-book). As of June 2012, there are 478,263 SMSFs which is an increase from 271,515 in June This large increase has been due to several of the following factors; - An increase in an understanding of the benefits and strategies of SMSFs - A decrease in on-going costs which has made SMSFs more affordable - A need for control of superannuation which has been driven by the perceived poor performance and transparency of fund managers of retail super funds - Changes in legislation which have allowed easy access to leverage and direct residential property BENEFITS The purpose of this e-book is to show you the following; - What is an SMSF - The benefits and risks of an SMSF - How to set one up and the key areas you need to address - How to run your SMSF and the costs - The different investment options available within your fund - Popular Strategies used within an SMSF

4 BENEFITS Why would I want an SMSF? There are many reasons why it is beneficial to start an SMSF. Control As you are the Trustee/Director, you can choose exactly where you want to invest your superannuation money, what insurances you want to take out, and what fees you pay. Larger Selection of Investments As you are the Trustee/Director, you are only limited to what you can or can t invest in by legislation as opposed to by a product provider. For example, you can invest directly into residential property which you can t do through a typical retail super fund. The larger selection and choice gives you the flexibility to mix and match various investments and products to match your needs. Leverage Typically within a retail or wholesale fund it is hard to gain leverage or borrow to invest to accelerate your wealth creation. Within a SMSF you are able to leverage against most assets which in turn can allow you to have a more diversified fund. Insurance - Just like with investments you are not limited to one insurance provider. You can select the best option based on quality/price to suit your personal situation. Tax - Through effective strategies, you can reduce the tax payable within the superannuation environment. This can be achieved through leverage or franking credits. Estate Planning A well structured SMSF can provide estate planning benefits in terms of allocating who you would like you super benefits paid to and how in the event of your death.

5 RISKS Why a SMSF might not be appropriate? As with most things, it is not all about the positives. There are some risks involved in running a SMSF which are summarised below; Complexity and Time As you are the Trustee/Director, there are strict rules and regulations that you need to adhere to. If you breach these rules, the consequences can be severe financially. The rules are also not static, so you need to keep abreast of all of the changes. In addition, if you do not understand what you are doing or you fail to hire someone who is competent you may miss out on a whole range of benefits within the fund. Size of your Super There is typically a fixed cost to complete the annual audit and accounts each year. If your fund balance is quite small, the fixed cost could form a large percentage of your funds and erode much of the potential benefit you may receive from the fund. Simple Situation There is little point in setting up a SMSF just because you want to. If your situation is quite simple such as you only have your super invested in cash than you may be able to find a better and more cost effective solution than an SMSF. Overseas - If you are considering moving overseas then a SMSF might not be for you. There are certain residency rules that need to be met to ensure you can run your fund compliantly.

6 MISTAKES What are the biggest mistakes? Given the complexity of managing your super mistakes can occur. Some are more serious than others but here is a short list of some common mistakes made within an SMSF; Making additional contributions As there is no real formal tracking system, it can be easy to breach the contributions cap. The consequence of this is additional tax on the contributions at up to 45%. This can be made even more confusing given there are different caps for different types of contributions. Setting up investments in the wrong name As there may be several different Trustees and Entities within the fund it can be common for the incorrect name to be placed on contracts or investments. This can result in double stamp duty, additional costs and non-compliance of the fund. Accessing your super before you are allowed to As you have a bank account for your fund, there is the temptation to just withdraw the funds for use outside of the super environment. With internet banking and multiple Trustees this mistake is quite easy to make. Once you cross over financial years, it makes it very hard to amend the errors without penalties. Lack of Diversification As there is great flexibility around what you can invest in and how much you can put into each asset there is the strong possibility that your fund can end up being over concentrated in one asset. This often occurs when investors buy residential property and they use a large portion of their fund for the deposit. Lack of Paperwork As the fund needs to be audited; all paperwork, receipts and transactions must be provided. By not being able to produce these documents you may not be able to complete an audit of your fund which will make it non-complying. Moving overseas There are certain living requirements that need to be met to maintain a complying status of your SMSF. If you are intending on travelling or moving overseas you may be in breach of the SIS legislation if you are overseas for too long of a time. Failing to appoint a professional for advice - Although the purpose of an SMSF is to gain more control many members try to run the fund entirely by themselves. By engaging a professional, you do not lose any control but it gives you the peace of mind that your fund is compliant and you are making the best use of your fund.

7 HOW TO SETUP YOUR FUND There are many different ways in which you can setup your fund, but below is a typical process and the questions you need to consider at each step. 1. Select the members of the fund - You can have up to 4 members of the fund. Typically, this is done within a family or partners. At this stage, you need to consider the investment time frames of each member and their risk tolerance. 2. Individual or Corporate Trustee - Once you have the members you need to setup the Trustee. A Corporate Trustee is a little bit more expensive as you need to setup a separate company but it offers the most flexibility. It allows you to change fund members at anytime without having to complete large amounts of paperwork. 3. Setup the SMSF - The SMSF will need to get a Tax File Number and minutes need to be taken. At this stage you get your Trust Deed and your Investment Strategy for the fund. It is important to get the right Deed and Investment Strategy that allows you to use the fund for the reasons you intended. Included in your documents are your binding nominations which can be used for Estate Planning. 4. Setup a Bank Account - This bank account will become the main hub of your SMSF. It will receive contributions, dividends, rental income and also pay out expenses. This bank account needs to provide the flexibility to do this. Having a limited bank account will cause logistical problems later on. 5. Select your Investments - In the strategy section of this guide, there is more detail on the specific investments you can invest in. 6. Take out Insurance - Within the SMSF you can hold Life/TPD and Income Protection policies. It is crucial to get the benefit amounts and ownership structures correct within the fund to ensure you have adequate insurance, and the most effecient tax outcome. 7. Keep all your transaction/documents - As you will be audited each year, you will need to keep a record of everything to provide to the auditor. There are different systems and software programs that you can use to make tracking simple.

8 WHAT YOU CAN INVEST IN Given the high level of flexibility within an SMSF you can invest in a diverse selection of investments. Outlined below are the most typical investments and some strategies you can use for each; Cash Just like outside of super you can invest in a large range of Cash Management Accounts and Term Deposits. Typically you have a transaction account that has a full level of flexibility that you keep your working cash in, and then a high interest account for the funds you don t require at call. This could be in a selection of Term Deposits with different maturity dates. Managed Funds These can be invested in through a Wrap platform which provides convenience, access to a large selection of funds and administration, or directly with the Fund Manager if you have a large enough balance. The Wrap platform can make it simple but it comes with an administration cost. Within Managed Funds there are different investment options and styles. Typically these are blended together to provide diversification across geographical regions, investment styles and specialist areas (such as smaller companies). The advantage of a managed fund is that it provides access to investment areas you may not typically be able to invest in directly (such as a gold, currencies and international markets) and you can spread you money across multiple asset classes, styles and geographical locations. The main disadvantage is the lack of transparency in some funds and an additional layer of fees. Equities You have the option of investing through an online broker, such as e*trade, a stock broker or through a Wrap Platform. The advantage of a stock broker is that you get advice on what to buy and the ease of transaction as they do all the trading for you. An online broker is rcost effective and simple, but you are making the investment decisions. The Wrap platform allows you to mix your direct investments with managed funds but imposes an administration fee to do this. One main advantage of purchasing direct equities in Australia is the Franking Credits. When a company distributes a fully franked dividend it means that it has already paid company tax. As this is higher than the tax within your super (accumulation and pension), you will receive a tax refund to help offset other income or even contributions (more in the strategy section). The advantage is even better in the Pension mode as the tax rate is 0%.

9 WHAT YOU CAN INVEST IN Direct Property Through managed funds you can access commercial and listed property trusts, however one of the main advantages of a SMSF is that you can purchase direct property. This can be purchased with cash (funds from the super) or with a combination of cash and debt (borrowed from the bank or a related party). Being able to borrow is a relatively new development and it allows you to purchase property whilst minimising the use of your super proceeds. If you have sufficient funds, a direct property provides good diversification within your SMSF and potentially also provides tax benefits if you select the right property. Within the strategy section is a detailed description of how to purchase a property with leverage. Contracts for Difference (CFD s) Although not widely adopted, it is possible to invest in CFD s within your SMSF. Only certain providers will allow this transaction as you need to ensure you do not put any other assets up as security as this would breach the SIS act. CFD s can be used to hedge certain positions if you are overweight in one particular area but you don t want to sell. CFD s are investments only for sophisticated investors and they should not be used within an SMSF without adequate training and professional advice. Alternative Assets In addition to the more traditional assets, you can purchase assets directly such as gold, art and wine. Just like with traditional assets, you need to make sure you are making an investment decision in line with your investment goals and your Trust Deed allows for the purchase.

10 POPULAR STRATEGIES Given the flexibility of an SMSF, it wouldn t be possible to cover off all of the strategies within an e-book. Highlighted below are some of the more useful and popular ones; Investing in direct property with a loan As mentioned previously, this is a relatively new strategy. It involves purchasing an investment property through a Bare Trust with a non-recourse loan. To make the purchase, once you find the investment property you need to setup the appropriate structures. The property must be held legally within a Bare Trust and the Non-Recourse Loan by the Trustee of the SMSF. The SMSF pays a deposit which can be as little as 20% and the lender contributes the remainder (as high as 80%). The SMSF receives all rent from the property but it is liable to pay all interest costs and property expenses. The loan can be setup as either interest only, P&I, variable or fixed interest rates. Some banks will have different criteria on what they require before they lend the money. The advantage of this strategy is that it provides leverage which can be a great wealth creation tool, diversification within the super and tax benefits as the interest is tax deductible and the depreciation expenses can flow through to the fund. The disadvantages are the risk of interest rates, debt commitments and the complexity of the structure. Some providers/banks also charge a large fee for this when it should cost no more than $2,000 to implement for the structures. Leverage can also potentially enhance the losses. In addition to the above strategy the money for the loan can be lent from a related party. This could be a member or someone not related to the fund. The advantages of this are that funds can be sourced at a cheaper rate and potentially no interest can be charged if the original funds are not borrowed. As with any investment, you need to do your research on the property you are purchasing. You cannot buy a home as you or any related parties can t use the property. You need to ensure the fund has the ability to cashflow the property and there is sufficient liquidity to meet the ongoing and potential expenses of the fund.

11 POPULAR STRATEGIES Purchasing equities with high Franking Credits If you are purchasing equities you can take advantage of the Franking Credit system in Australia. As an example, if you purchase $100,000 worth of ANZ and it pay a fully franked dividend of 5% it would look the following; In accumulation phase, you would receive the dividend of $5,000 plus a Franking Credit of $2,142. This means you are getting a dividend of approximately 7.14% gross. As the tax rate is 15% in the accumulation phase, assuming you had no other deductions you would pay $1,071 in tax which means you after tax return is $6,071. If you are in the Pension mode where your tax is 0%, you would keep the entire dividend and the Franking Credit. These Franking Credits can actually be used to reduce the contributions tax you pay (15%) on all concessional contributions to super. Making Life/TPD insurance premiums deductible If you have a Life Policy held outside of superannuation, then the premium cannot be claimed as a tax deduction. If you hold that same policy inside your superannuation, not only can you pay for your premiums with pre-tax dollars but the insurance premiums are an expense within the fund. If you structure all of your insurances correctly, you can actually split your policy to be held both inside and outside of super to get the best tax outcome. A word of caution, by moving your premiums inside of super to get the tax deduction you may cause the benefit to be taxable when the insurance is paid out if you have not structured your policy correctly.

12 POPULAR STRATEGIES Transferring Business Real Property into Super If you own a business real property outside of superannuation you can potentially transfer this into your superannuation. This strategy can allow you to extract some cash from your super and also pay tax at a potentially lower rate. If structured correctly, there may be minimal stamp duty involved and it can even be wrapped up with leverage in the same way as purchasing direct property. This is a very common strategy for business owners who own their own business premises. You transfer the property to release some additional funds from your super that can be used within your business. All the rent you pay then goes into your superannuation which is not treated as a contribution and it helps increase your super account. In addition, this rent is taxed concessionally within the super environment. Using both Accumulation and Pension mode From age 55 you are eligible to start a Transition to Retirement Pension. This pension allows you to draw up to 10% of your super balance as a pension each year so you can wind down your work hours as you approach retirement. Whilst in the pension mode any income or capital gains are taxed at 0%. This means you can strategically place assets on the pension side or the accumulation side depending on their characteristics. If it is a high income asset, with franking credits than this asset should sit on the pension side as you get the full benefits of the franking credits. If it is an international managed fund that pays no income and you have no intention of selling, this can sit on the accumulation side. The advantage of the SMSF is that you have the control and flexibility to move assets from the accumulation to the pension and vice versa. If managed strategically this can save you a considerable amount in tax over time.

13 COSTS The real cost of running a fund There is the perception that running your own super can be a costly exercise. This can be correct if you don t be careful who you use to help mamange your affairs. The costs below are a rough guide of what you can expect to pay for each separate area for a relatively simple fund. The costs will differ based on each Accountant or Service Provider but it shouldn t be materially different to the costs below. Setup Individual Trustee - $600 Corporate Trustee - $1,400 Property Warrant - $1,500 Ongoing Account Keeping and Audit (Accumulation) - $2,000 Account Keeping and Audit (Pension) - $2,500 ASIC Fee - $230 If you opt for additional benefits such as online reporting it will be more expensive. The advice fee will depend on the complexity of your situation but you should expect to pay an upfront fee for the setup and initial advice and then if applicable an ongoing fee for the ongoing advice and maintenance. If you don t keep a record of everything you do it can become time consuming to chase all of the information and it can also be more expensive. This is why it is important to get all of the structures setup correctly to not only ensure your fund is compliant but it is easy to audit and complete the tax return.

14 SUMMARY As you have seen within this e-book there many benefits of setting up a SMSF provided it is setup and managed correctly. As your situation changes you can take advantage of different features within a SMSF and the super environment. The key is to establish the following; - The primary reason as to why you are setting up the fund - The exact structure of the fund and investment strategy - Now and in the future - The costs versus benefit - The process to get it audited each year Once you have your fund you need to integrate the above into your full financial scenario. Your super should not be seen as a separate asset, rather it is an integral piece of your entire wealth position.

15 ABOUT ARK TOTAL WEALTH Ark Total Wealth is an independently owned full service financial advisory service. Ark operates it s own Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL: ) and it has been in operation for over 20 years. Ark Total Wealth advises across the following areas; - Wealth Accumulation - Pre-Retirement - Self Managed Superannuation Funds - Small Business Owners Ark Total Wealth is different to most financial planning companies as they focus on the strategy as opposed to the product and they charge a fee for service. Given Ark Total Wealth has the full advisory services they are able to integrate Financial, Loan and Tax advice together into one strategic personalised strategy. If you would like to chat with a qualified Financial Advisor, please contact us on the information below; e: p: w: f: Suite 702, Level 7 14 Martin Place Sydney, NSW, 2000

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