Online super accounts give you a convenient way to manage and grow your super balance.
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 SMSF High Interest Savings Accounts
What is an online super account?
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.
How do these accounts work?
These accounts are all classified as online super accounts, but they each operate differently and will suit different people.
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 DIRECT 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.
Managing your own super through an SMSF and opting for an online savings account is not a decision that should be taken lightly. You need to think about who the members of this fund will be and the amount of time you have to spend on it. An SMSF can be very complicated and time-consuming and often you will need help setting it up and managing it. You will also need to be able to provide a sufficient super balance for your SMSF to be cost-effective.
The Australian taxation office estimates that an SMSF with between $100,000 and $200,000 will cost you around 2.83% of your fund balance each year in operating expenses. A super fund that gives you online account access is a great way to monitor your money and can help you meet your financial goals.
The way your super is managed can have a significant effect on your finances later in life and all of these options have things that you should consider before deciding which one to choose. If you are part of an established super fund and they give you access to your account online then you can better monitor your savings. If you find that your super fund isn't giving you the savings you had expected then you can have a look at other funds that might better help you meet your financial goals.
See also: Guide to managing your SMSF
As an SMSF trustee it is very important that you understand all the legal responsibilities and duties that come with that title. If your SMSF has a few members then you will be responsible for managing the money these people will retire with and the way you manage it has a huge effect on their lives and their future.
You should be confident that you will be able to make sound investment decisions and be able to establish an investment strategy. If you are the trustee for a super fund you are personally liable for all decisions made by the fund even if you were assisted by a professional advisor or another member.
Online super accounts have a range of features which make them a viable option to consider:
- 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.
Eligibility criteria for opening a super account
You generally start a super account 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.
How to apply
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