Latest Financial Planning News
Hot Issues
Powerful Budgeting, cash flow and Super Tools available on our site.
Australia's leading causes of death - ABS
Australian Dietary Guidelines and healthy eating chart (PDF)
Government introduces first home scheme laws
Are young investors wasting their youth?
ATO granted super enforcement powers
The great Australian (retiree) dream
ATO to release further guidance on reserves
A real-world benchmark for SMSF performance
How is your super going, ready for retirement?
Our 'hardest' SMSF tasks
Lack of literacy promotes unrealistic goals
Young investors: Time is on your side
Is your SMSF retirement-ready?
Key Economic Indicators, 2017 - updated
Investors acting their age
ATO locks in details, addresses panic on real-time reporting
Government ‘undermines’ tax system in new moves on property expenses
Multiple super accounts in a 'gig' society
Why Australian retirees aren't happy and what we can do about it
Doing a budget is a good idea but ....
Technical expert flags estate planning strategies for 2017-18
Government to shut down salary sacrifice loophole
Items that heat up your depreciation deductions
‘Tens of thousands’ of SMSFs at risk with ECPI
Articles archive
Quarter 3 July - September 2017
Quarter 2 April - June 2017
Quarter 1 January - March 2017
Quarter 4 October - December 2016
Quarter 3 July - September 2016
Quarter 2 April - June 2016
Quarter 1 January - March 2016
Quarter 4 October - December 2015
Quarter 3 July - September 2015
Quarter 2 April - June 2015
Quarter 1 January - March 2015
Quarter 4 October - December 2014
Quarter 3 July - September 2014
Quarter 2 April - June 2014
Quarter 1 January - March 2014
Quarter 4 October - December 2013
Quarter 3 July - September 2013
Quarter 2 April - June 2013
Quarter 1 January - March 2013
Quarter 4 October - December 2012
Quarter 3 July - September 2012
Quarter 2 April - June 2012
Quarter 1 January - March 2012
Quarter 4 October - December 2011
Quarter 3 July - September 2011
Quarter 2 April - June 2011
Quarter 1 January - March 2011
Quarter 4 October - December 2010
Quarter 3 July - September 2010
Quarter 2 April - June 2010
Quarter 1 January - March 2010
Quarter 4 October - December 2009
Quarter 3 July - September 2009
Quarter 2 April - June 2009
Quarter 1 January - March 2009
Quarter 4 October - December 2008
Quarter 3 July - September 2008
Quarter 2 April - June 2008
Quarter 1 January - March 2008
Quarter 4 October - December 2007
Quarter 3 July - September 2007
Quarter 2 April - June 2007
Quarter 1 January - March 2007
Quarter 4 October - December 2006
Quarter 3 July - September 2006
Quarter 2 April - June 2006
Quarter 1 January - March 2006
Quarter 4 October - December 2005
Quarter 2 of 2009
Utegate dominates
Maximising the tax free portion of a super fund in times of market down turn.
Super catch-up
SMSF strategies for low income earners
Investment Markets Data - To 31st May 2009.
Salary-sacrificed super: the new frontier
Why don't stocks begin trading at the previous day's closing price?
Budget winds back the clock on super
Some definitions
The Buffett way to measure your portfolio's success
Budget 2009-10   -   Overview, Summary, Papers.
A powerful search engine resides on this website.
Turning back the clock
A survival plan for a retiree's worst nightmare
What are dividend reinvestment plans?
Gone Fishin'
Government Stimulus Package - Summary
Investment Markets Data - To 31st March 2009.
Utegate dominates

By Robin Bowerman
Smart Investing
26th June 2009
Principal & Head of Retail, Vanguard Invest
ments Australia

While ‘Utegate' dominated this week's headlines, two highly significant superannuation developments in Canberra didn't seem to get much attention - despite their potential impact on older Australians who are trying to maximise their super savings.

On Monday, the report of the Senate economics committee inquiry into various federal Budget measures, including the halving of concessional super contribution caps from 2009-10, recommended that the Senate pass the relevant tax Bill. 

Then on Wednesday, the Senate passed the Bill without amendments, and it is now is waiting Royal Assent.

The committee had accepted Treasury's statement that the halving of the caps would affect less than 2% of fund members making concessional contributions, and those members would be "primarily high-income earners".

In its report, the committee quoted various strong submissions from the likes of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), the Investment & Financial Services Association (ISFA) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA) - all expressing concern for older members wanting to catch-up with their super savings.

See the report

The committee referred to various "alternatives or fall-back positions" to the halving of the caps that were suggested in various submissions, including:

  • Removal of superannuation guarantee (SG) contributions from the concessional contributions cap.
  • Provision for members to carry forward their unused concessional contribution caps from their final 10 years before retirement. In other words, a member who will retire at 65 would be entitled before retirement to take advantage of any unused caps since turning 55.
  • Higher-cap for members with low balances.
  • Permanently higher caps for members over 50.
  • Grandfathering provisions to preserve the position of members who exceed the new caps because of an employer's general remuneration policy or an industrial award or agreement that could involve making employer contributions above the 9% SG contributions.

Particularly given the rapid ageing of Australia's population, governments, fund managers, superannuation funds and advisers will have to think more innovatively about the best ways to provide retirement income.

However, any changes to the super regime in future should ideally involve careful fine-tuning that will progressively build greater confidence in the system.