Are you beating back the investment scammers?

Eclipse

Property and superannuation have a great deal of money sunk into them in Australia. In fact, by the end of last year, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia reported that there was about $2 trillion in super assets in total across the country.

It's a great system to ensure that you have a comfortable retirement, but such huge sums are a very tempting prospect for disingenuous scammers. Here's how you can protect yourself from these unscrupulous individuals.

Don't let scammers get access to your retirement funds.Don't let scammers get access to your retirement funds.

Are you aware of scammers?

Last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported that over $229 million was lost due to scams, and primary among these were dating and investment scams. You may have already encountered one of these yourself, particularly if you are coming up to retirement age, as this group was overwhelmingly targeted. A lifetime of good credit and some hefty savings make older Aussies prime targets for these criminals – and you might find that they are trying to convince you that you can access your super early.

There is a way you can use your super to help with your investments.

Straight away, let us assure you – there is no way to access your super before you reach retirement age (55 to 60, depending on your age), other than through extreme hardship or compassionate release. Just like property, super is a waiting game. Scammers may try to convince you to make up some story, release your savings into their hands and then either take a large "fee" or run off with your capital altogether. Remember, this is incredibly illegal, so don't be fooled by these charlatans. 

What you can do

However, there is a way you can use your super to help with your investments: by purchasing property through an SMSF. This is a great way to avoid capital gains tax and give yourself a significant sum when it comes time to retire. There are a few rules to follow, such as the fact the property must:

  • Only be used to provide retirement funds to members.
  • Not be lived in by a member or a related party.
  • Not be rented by a member or a related party.
  • Not be acquired from a member or related party.

Despite these rules, SMSFs are a great way to build money for your retirement, and many people start them primarily to invest in property. However, these can be quite complex structures with a number of rules in place, so make sure you get the right advice from a financial adviser and make sure it is the right route for you. If it isn't, we can point you in the right direction!