Meet SMSFs' Early & Late Arrivals
You probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that more than 90 per cent of the investors who established SMSFs in the June quarter are aged between 25 and 64, as shown in the tax office's latest Self-managed super fund statistical report.
It's logical that fund members are most likely to switch from a large fund to an SMSF when their incomes increase, their assets accumulate and they begin to concentrate more intensely on saving for retirement.
And many fund members within a decade or so of their planned retirement make a decision about how to hold their super for the rest of their working lives and into retirement. This decision may involve changing to an SMSF - particularly if their super assets have significantly grown.
The five peak age groups for new SMSF members in the June quarter were: ages 25-34 (11.2 per cent of new members), ages 35-44 (29.5 per cent), ages 45-49 (16.9 per cent), ages 50-54 (15.3 per cent) and ages 55-59 (12.5 per cent). And almost 8 per cent of new SMSF members were aged 60-64 in the June quarter.
What is particularly interesting are the new members who could be termed SMSFs' outliers in terms of age. These are the individuals who establish their own funds when very young or past traditional retirement ages - sometimes well past.
For instance, 1.5 per cent of new members were under 25 while on the other end of the age scale, 5.2 per cent were over 65 - and of that older group, 0.3 per cent were aged 75-84.
A look at these bare statistics suggest that a small percentage of new SMSF members believe in starting as early as possible in saving for retirement that may be at least 40 years away. Just consider that their super could be compounding in an SMSF for 70 years or so.
And at the other end of the SMSF age range, most of us know retirees who gain considerable satisfaction and enjoyment from guiding the strategies and investments of their SMSFs - often with the help of professional advisers.
Given markedly increasing life expectancies, looking after an SMSF seems to be an increasingly popular retirement pursuit in itself - while perhaps not yet ranking up there with gardening and travel in terms of popularity.
Robin Bowerman is Head of Market Strategy and Communication, Vanguard Australia. As a renowned market commentator and editor Robin has spent more than two decades writing about all things investment.