Online super funds allow you to grow your super balance with an website or smartphone app.
Your super is going to define the kind of lifestyle you can maintain when you retire. In order to guarantee the best financial future you want to maximise your savings now. There are a few super options that let you manage your account online. Some super funds give you access to your account online which lets you monitor and manage your contributions.
Another option that you may want to consider is managing our own super through a self-managed super fund (SMSF). People sometimes avoid these types of accounts because they appear too complicated, but with the introduction of online super accounts they have become a more simple and convenient option for people wanting to manage their own super.
Compare super funds with online platforms or smartphone apps
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An online super account is a retirement fund that can be managed online. There are three types of online super accounts:
- A super fund that lets you monitor your account online.
- A high interest savings account that is linked to a SMSF.
- An SMSF super fund option that lets you manage your contributions and investments online.
These accounts are all classified as online super accounts, but they each operate differently and will suit different people. Consider these characteristics carefully when comparing your super fund options.
A super fund with online access to your account
Some super funds may offer you an option to monitor your account online to see how your savings are going. These accounts let you review your account balance, investments and insurance and even give you the ability to switch investment options or increase your insurance cover.
It's never too early to start thinking about your super and an online super account can help you better understand your super contributions and investments. Online super accounts do not give you the same level of control offered by SMSFs, but you can monitor your savings and watch your money grow. An online account of this nature includes the ING Living Super.
A high interest savings account linked to an SMSF
A high interest savings account can be used to hold money that's part of an SMSF. If you plan on linking a high interest savings account to your SMSF then you'll need to alert your lender and fill out additional paperwork. Not all high interest savings account offer this option, so be sure to check before applying.
Your actual super fund will be created as separate to the account, but all of the funds will be held in the high interest savings account and will accrue interest based on the rates of that account. Depending on the lender, you may be able to link a super fund that you have already set up to your super account, or your lender will set up a fund for you with them.
An online SMSF
If the online account is designed to be used only as an SMSF, then the way it works will depend on the lender. Some lenders offer SMSF-management services through an online system, saving you money on administration fees. With an online SMSF you can manage your investments through an online account and through this account you will also have access to share prices, transactions and existing investments.
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Online super accounts have a range of features which make them a viable option to consider. Make sure you consider all these features when you compare super funds:
- Low fees. The account is online and as such does not charge many administrative or management fees.
- Convenient. As the account is online you are able to check and manage it whenever you want, making it a great way to monitor your savings progress and make additional contributions to help reach your savings goals.
- Flexibility. You have more control over your money and if you choose the SMSF option you are not locked into a super contract, giving you increased flexibility and the ability to save.
- Government co-contributions. If you opt for a compliant SMSF super savings account then you may be eligible for government co-contributions where the government will match contributions of over $1,000 per year.
- SMSF funds are capital guaranteed. If you opt for the high interest savings account then your funds will be capital guaranteed and as such you will never lose your initial investment or contributions.
- Bonus interest. Some accounts offer bonus interest that can help boost your savings efforts.
You generally start a super fund when you start working and as such people as young as 14 may be receiving super contributions from their employer. A high interest savings account has no minimum age.
For example, a parent might open a savings account when their child is born, allowing them to contribute that amount to a super account later in life. If you want to manage your super through an SMSF you can be under 18, but you can only be a trustee of an SMSF if you are over the age of 18. If you intend to set up an SMSF it is not recommended unless you can meet the following criteria:
- Have a large amount of money to be able to pay for set-up costs and ongoing management fees of the SMSF.
- Are able to budget for ongoing expenses.
- Have plenty of time to manage the fund and it's investments.
- Have considerable financial expertise and experience.
To apply for any of the online super accounts on this page, simply follow the link to that lender's secure online form. If you want to set up an SMSF with your online account you will also need to do the following:
- Appoint an SMSF professional to help you establish and run your fund
- Work out the structure of your fund
- Ensure that you are eligible to be a trustee
- Check the residency of your fund
- Create a trust fund and trust deed
- Appoint your trustees
- Record each member's tax file number
- Open a bank account for your fund
- Register with the ATO
- Prepare an investment strategy