Super funds have been criticised for holding too many shares and not enough conservative assets. What do you think?

Bunkum, bollocks and bulltish. But let me explain.

That proposition was made forcefully recently by former Treasury head Ken Henry.

Uncle Ken’s comments were aimed at default “balanced” super funds, which traditionally have 55-70 per cent of their investments in “growth” assets – shares and property. His concerns have merit for Retirees and Boomers, whose super funds got crunched during the GFC.

But, to channel Austin Powers for a second, “super ain’t a one-size-fits-all investment, baby!”

I’m a believer in what’s generally called “lifestage” super investing. The younger you are, the more of your money should be invested in shares and property, which are more volatile, but tend to perform better over the longer term.

If you’re 30 and have 35 years until retirement, you should have your super working harder for you, to make it grow to something worthwhile when you hit retirement. That is, more shares and property than the average.

Similarly, if you’re 60 and retiring soon, as Uncle Ken says, you should have more money in “defensive” assets, such as cash and fixed interest. The older you are, the less risk you should take.

Gen Xers are in between. Even the oldest Xers have about a decade to hitting retirement age. But that means you have at least one, two, even three decades of growth to benefit from before you start drawing on your super.

So take responsibility for your own super investments. If you don’t know what you’re doing, see a knowledgeable financial adviser, who can demystify super investments for you.

Bruce Brammall is the author of Debt Man Walking ( and principal adviser with Castellan Financial Consulting.

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