Challenge your fund

IT APPEARS that when it comes to superannuation, we're all a little bit more relaxed these days.

IT APPEARS that when it comes to superannuation, we're all a little bit more relaxed these days.

The Mercer Superannuation Sentiment Index recorded a nine-point increase in September last year to 47. That's its highest level since June 2008.

It looks as if we've all just got used to volatile sharemarket returns.

Mercer attributes that to a greater understanding of the effects of sharemarket volatility on superannuation.

In September, 77 per cent said they had at least a moderate understanding of how sharemarket movements could affect their superannuation balance and that was up from 63 per cent in June 2008.

It's a good thing that we now have a much better understanding of how performance is generated. But we don't want to become too inert.

Australian balanced superannuation funds are still heavily allocated to equities.

A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that our funds have the third-highest equity allocations out of the 27 countries surveyed.

One of the few good things about the GFC was that it challenged the norm regarding equities. You've all heard that equity markets give better returns than most other asset classes over the longer term but if you're just about to retire and the sharemarket tanks, that's little consolation. A little less in equities and a little more in other types of investments is probably a good idea if you're over 55. Superannuation funds need to tailor options for members like this.

So it's still important to challenge your fund and complain, just a little, when they don't do so well or offer you what you need. The funds that engage and listen to your feedback are the ones worth being a member of.

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