Financial Planner: Amanda Cassar

Amanda Cassar is a financial planner with Wealth Planning Partners, based on the Gold Coast, Qld. She has been involved in the finance and insurance industry for more than two decades. In a q&a with Canstar Amanda explains who typically sets up a self-managed super fund (SMSF) and the importance of good quality advice.

Q. In your experience, is there an ideal stage of life to set up a SMSF?

There really isn?t an ideal age or stage to set up a SMSF, but mostly I find it’s curious Gen Xers and older clients who are currently looking at setting up an SMSF. Those in their late 30’s and beyond who now have a bit of a nest egg accumulated (with or without their partner) and are around half way through their working life seem most interested in SMSF.

Their top two reasons for going into SMSF would have to be flexibility and control.

Q: How do most clients go about setting it up?

Many clients are hearing about SMSF through property spruikers at the moment, it seems to be the ‘flavour of the moment.’

Smart clients are seeking further advice from qualified advisers before being ‘stitched up.’

Although it’s possible to set up online, getting the right advice, understanding the best structures for your Trustee needs, understanding your responsibilities and having a professional help navigate potential pitfalls makes a whole lot of sense.

Q: For clients, what level of time commitment is typically involved each month in managing an SMSF?

It really depends on each client. Some like a high level of personal involvement and could easily devote a couple of hours each week. Mostly clients are happy to negotiate a fee and outsource the daily management needs to their adviser, with regular ongoing strategy discussions of course.

Q: How important is getting good advice when it comes to the set up process?

I think it’s imperative. Basically, you don’t know what you don’t know. Understanding the advantages of individual Vs corporate trustee, trustee responsibilities, member duties, reserves, consolidation of funds, potential loss of insurances and their replacement is vital. Most professionals are required to spend hours devoted to ongoing training every year and it?s a complex area that is certainly worth getting a professional second opinion on.

Like health issues, we’re usually happy to self medicate a panadol for a headache, but know when we’re out of our depth medically. Same with our finances. Sometimes it’s best to stick to what we do best day-to-day, but work with someone who’s happy to help coach and educate through the process.

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