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Choosing an investment option

What type of investor are you?

 

When you join Plum, your money is invested into the investment option(s) you choose, or defaulted to MySuper if you don’t make a choice. It’s a good idea to regularly review your super account to make sure it’s meeting your investment needs. The recent investment market downturn may also be a prompt to look at your investment choices.

Things to consider when choosing an investment

There are many factors to consider when choosing where to invest, but here are just a few of the main ones:

  • What do you want your super to achieve? You may want growth, to keep pace with inflation, or you may be more focused on protection of your capital raised. 
  • What is your desired income for your retirement?
  • How long do you have to invest through your super?
  • What is your risk tolerance and comfort with fluctuations in your super balance?

Our wide range of investment options are generally invested in or across two main categories Growth and Defensive assets:

  • Growth assets: focus on growing your super by investing in assets that offer growth over time; or
  • Defensive assets: aim to generate more stable returns by investing in less volatile investments to safeguard investments from volatility;

The selection of growth and defensive assets is also referred to as ‘investment strategy’. The table below covers the two main investment strategies in some more detail:

Strategy

About

Could be suited to

1. Growth-focused

Focused on increasing capital but comes with higher volatility

A growth investment strategy is generally allocated into growth investments (for example shares and property) making up 70-85% of your account balance with the remaining proportion invested in defensive assets such as cash and fixed income.

Over a 20-year period, growth strategies have delivered higher returns than more cautious or conservative strategies which are aimed at generating a steady income and have relatively low volatility or risk.

Given their higher potential returns, growth strategies are also more likely to ensure returns of your account balance outpace inflation — this is important if you are planning to maintain the same level of spending in retirement as before retirement.

Returns are more likely to fluctuate over short periods due to changes in investment markets and other economic factors. Asset classes like shares and property have higher return potential and experience greater fluctuations in value, than cash or fixed income investments.

A member with a longer investment timeframe who feels comfortable with their investment balance fluctuating over shorter periods of time, in the pursuit of long-term potential growth.
2. Defensive-focused

Designed to generate a stable income with the lower volatility

A defensive investment strategy is not as focused on growth. Instead it aims to generate a steady income and more stable value by insulating investments from market volatility.

It is important to note however, that while this is considered a more conservative approach, historically this strategy has only earned returns slightly better than inflation in the long run. As such, a member who is focused on growing retirement savings using a defensive investment strategy may not be able to maintain their same current standard of living in retirement.

Due to the low level of risk, a defensive investment strategy would have a lower percentage of growth assets (for example only 20-30% exposure to growth assets with approximately 70-80% invested in defensive assets.)

A member with a conservative investment approach who wants to protect their retirement savings and may therefore desire security rather than growth.

How asset classes align to these investments

Growth and defensive focuses investment strategies are primarily made up of the four asset classes shown in the table below:

Asset Class Investment strategy About
Shares Growth
(Generally higher return with higher risk)
May earn the highest return over time but are more likely to fluctuate in the short term. Shares, comprising either or a combination of Australian and global, are a growth asset but are considered a high-risk investment.
Property Usually in the form of unlisted property funds or listed property trusts which invest into industrial, commercial or retail real estate. Potentially earn more than fixed interest and cash, although less than shares. Property values tend to fluctuate more over time than values of defensive assets.
Fixed income Defensive
(Generally lower return with lower risk)
Tends to provide better returns than cash over the long term, but lower returns than property or shares.
Cash Generally, a stable investment that provides steady returns. Returns tend to be lowest of all asset classes over time.

All asset classes can suffer negative returns as investment markets are unpredictable over short periods of time. But it can be reassuring to know, the longer you invest, the more likely you are to recover your investment as fluctuations like these tend to offset through time.


How comfortable are you with risk?


Before choosing an investment option, it’s important to consider your tolerance to fluctuations, known as volatility or investment risk. How long you plan to invest your super and your comfort with short-term market fluctuations can help determine what kind of investment strategy and options may suit you.

Asset classes like shares and property have the potential to generate higher returns but generally can expose you to greater short-term fluctuations in value as opposed to defensive assets such as cash and fixed income investments. Diversifying your super across the different asset classes can help smooth out those fluctuations.

While you need to be prepared for all sorts of outcomes when investing, it’s important to understand that to grow your capital over long periods of time, you may experience some fluctuations in the value of your investment returns.


Time to review your investment options?


It’s a good idea to take the time to consider what you are wanting to achieve from your super and what different investment options could mean for your returns, risk appetite, time horizon and future super balance in retirement. To view the investment strategy for your current investment options and others available on your plan, refer to your Investment Menu in the Product Disclosure Statement. We also have the latest returns and asset allocations, available by logging in to your account at plum.com.au.


Advice can help


Before making a change to your investments, we recommend that you discuss your situation with your financial adviser. If you don’t have one, you can call us on 1300 55 7586.

Important information and disclaimer

This information has been prepared by NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited ABN 80 008 515 633 AFSL 236465 (NULIS) as trustee of the MLC Super Fund ABN 70 732 426 024. This information is current as at July 2020 and may be subject to change. This information may constitute general advice. The information is factual in nature and does not take into account personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions based on this information. You should not rely on this article to determine your personal tax obligations. Please consult a registered tax agent for this purpose. An investment with NULIS is not a deposit with, or liability of, and is not guaranteed by NAB or other members of the NAB Group. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue. In some cases information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way. Subject to terms implied by law and which cannot be excluded, neither NULIS nor any member of the NAB Group accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in the information in this communication. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The value of an investment may rise or fall with the changes in the market.