How to Setup a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF)

How to Setup a Self-Managed Super Fund

SMSFs are self-managed super funds that people set up to take control of their retirement savings.

By pooling their resources with other SMSF members, they can enjoy greater flexibility and choice when it comes to investments and how their money is managed.

There are several reasons why people might choose to set up an SMSF, but the most common ones include wanting to have more control over their retirement savings, being able to access a wider range of investment options, and being able to tailor their funds to their specific needs.

While there are some risks associated with self-managing your super, for many people the benefits outweigh the risks.

If you’re thinking about setting up an SMSF, be sure to speak to a SMSF financial advisor to see if it’s the right option for you.

How to set up an SMSF

Self-managed super funds are a great way to take control of your retirement savings, but they do require a bit of work to set up and manage.

Here are the basic steps involved in setting up a self-managed super fund:

  1. Choose a trustee. The trustee is the legal entity that will hold and manage the assets of the fund. The trustee can be an individual or a corporate entity.
  2. Establish the fund. This involves opening a bank account and transferring assets into the account. The assets can be cash, shares, property or other investments.
  3. Apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN). The ABN is required in order to claim certain tax concessions.
  4. Register the fund with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). This step is required in order to receive certain tax benefits, such as exemption from capital gains tax on investments held for more than 12 months.
  5. Develop an investment strategy. This will outline how the fund’s assets will be invested in order to achieve the desired return.
  6. Manage the fund on an ongoing basis. This includes making contributions, keeping records and complying with reporting requirements.

If you’re interested in setting up your own self-managed super fund (SMSF), there are a few key steps you’ll need to follow. We’ve outlined them below to help you get started.

Once you’ve done all that, you’re ready to start contributing to your SMSF and begin planning for your retirement.

Thanks to the flexibility and control that an SMSF provides, more and more Australians are choosing this option when it comes to their retirement savings.

So if you’re looking for a way to take control of your financial future, you should speak with a financial adviser to make sure you understand all the obligations and costs involved with a SMSF before jumping into the pot.

How much does it cost to set up a SMSF

How much does it cost to set up a SMSF

If you’re thinking about setting up your own self-managed super fund (SMSF), you might be wondering how much it will cost.

The good news is that the setup costs for an SMSF are relatively low, and in most cases, you can expect to pay around $3,000.

This includes the cost of setting up the trust, complying with regulatory requirements, and appointing a professional trustee.

However, there are also ongoing costs associated with running an SMSF, including investment management fees, accounting and tax compliance costs, and insurance premiums.

Once the SMSF is up and running, there are ongoing costs associated with complying with regulations and running the fund.

These costs can be divided into two main categories: administration and investment costs.

Administration costs include things like accounting fees, audit fees, and legal expenses. Investment costs include things like brokerage fees and fees charged by financial advisers.

According to the Self-Managed Super Funds: A Statistical Overview 2018-2019 report by ATO, the average operating cost of running an SMSF in 2019 was $6,450. The median cost was $4,069.

The best way to keep costs down is to be as hands-on as possible with the running of your SMSF.

If you’re comfortable dealing with paperwork and making investment decisions, you can keep costs to a minimum.

However, if you prefer to leave these things to professionals, you will need to factor in the cost of their services.

At the end of the day, how much it costs to set up and run an SMSF depends on how much involvement you want to have in the day-to-day management of the fund.

How long does it take to set up SMSF?

Generally speaking, it takes around three to six months to set up an SMSF from start to finish. The initial stages – researching, choosing a structure, and opening an account – can be completed relatively quickly.

However, the real work starts when it comes time to establish the investment strategy and prepare for compliance.

This can involve a fair bit of paperwork and administration, so it’s important to factor in some extra time for this stage of the process.

Once everything is up and running, an SMSF typically requires around five hours of administration per month.

This includes tasks such as record keeping, preparing financial statements, and lodgement of tax returns.

Of course, the actual time commitment will vary depending on the complexity of your SMSF and how well you delegate tasks to other members of your fund.

So there you have it – setting up an SMSF is a bit of a time commitment, but it can be well worth it for those who want greater control over their retirement savings.

Is it worth setting up a SMSF?

Is it worth setting up a SMSF

A self-managed super fund (SMSF) can be a great way to take control of your finances and invest in your future. But before you make the decision to set one up, it’s important to understand the pros and cons.

On the plus side, an SMSF gives you a lot of flexibility in how you invest your money.

You can choose from a wide range of investments, including shares, property, and even overseas assets.

You’re also not restricted by government rules on how much you can contribute each year.

However, there are some downsides to consider as well. Setting up and running an SMSF is a complex and time-consuming task.

You’ll need to comply with strict regulations, and keep accurate records of all your transactions.

And because you’re in charge of your own fund, you’re also responsible for ensuring that it meets all its legal obligations.

So is an SMSF right for you? Ultimately, the decision comes down to your personal circumstances and financial goals.

If you’re willing to put in the time and effort required, an SMSF can be a great way to boost your retirement savings.

But if you’re not sure whether you can handle the responsibilities involved, it might be better to leave your super in the hands of a traditional fund.


  • More control over your investments: with a SMSF, you have the ability to choose where your money is invested. This can be helpful if you want to make sure your investments align with your values.
  • Potentially lower fees: SMSFs often have lower fees than other types of superannuation funds, which can mean more money in your pocket in the long run.
  • Flexibility: a SMSF can offer more flexibility than other types of superannuation funds when it comes to things like making withdrawals and investments.


  • More paperwork: running a SMSF requires keeping track of a lot of documentation and complying with regulations. This can be time-consuming and complicated.
  • Greater responsibility: as a SMSF trustee, you are responsible for ensuring that the fund is run properly and compliant with the law. This can be a big responsibility, and if something goes wrong, you could be held liable.
  • Requires ongoing effort: a SMSF is not a “set it and forget it” investment. You will need to stay on top of things like contributions, investments, and paperwork in order for it to run smoothly.

So, is it worth setting up a SMSF? That depends on your individual circumstances.

If you are willing to take on the responsibility and put in the effort, it can be a great way to have more control over your investments and potentially save money on fees.

However, it is not right for everyone.

Be sure to do your research and speak with a financial advisor before making any decisions.


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