At 30 June 2017, there were just over 1.1 million SMSF members, of whom 53% were male and 47% female.18 There was a fairly even distribution of males and females across the age ranges of 69 years old and under. There were a higher proportion of male members than female members for those 70 years old and over.
SMSFs with two members continue to be the dominant structure of the SMSF sector, representing 70% of SMSFs at 30 June 2016. While SMSFs with a single member made up 23% of funds, those with three and four members each represented 4%.
The proportion of members receiving pension payments from an SMSF continued to trend upwards. In 2016, 43% of members were fully or partially in the pension phase, compared to 35% in 2012.19 Further, 6% of SMSF members receiving pension payments also reported they were in receipt of the age pension, in line with the five-year average.
In 2016, 37% of SMSF members also had entitlements in non-SMSF funds or mainstream funds, a decrease from 39% in 2015, but considerably higher than 21% in 2012.
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SMSF members by age
At 30 June 2017, 83% of SMSF members were 45 years or older (see appendix 1, table 10).20 The average and median member age was 58 years and 59 years respectively.
There were generally younger members in more recently established funds. Of SMSFs established in 2016, 75% of members were under 55 years old, compared to 65% of members of SMSFs established in 2012.
Likewise, the average age of members of newly established funds over the five years declined from approximately 50 years to 48 years old, and the median age declined from 50 years to 47 years old.
There has been a continued trend of an increase in the proportion of members between 25 to 49 years old in newly established funds over the five years.
Graph 5 shows the proportion of SMSF members by age in the fund’s year of establishment over the five years to 2016, compared to the whole SMSF population at 30 June 2017. There are a greater proportion of SMSF members between 25 years to 54 years old in more recent established funds compared to all members in the total SMSF population. This is particularly evident in the 35–44 year age range.
Graph 5: Proportion of SMSF members by age range 2012–16
Graph 6 shows that at 30 June 2016, 78% of SMSF members were between 35 and 69 years old, while 78% of non-SMSF members were under 55 years old.21
While only 7% of non-SMSF members were over 65 years old, 33% of SMSF members were in this age range. Conversely, 4% of SMSF members and 35% of non-SMSF members were under 35 years old (see appendix 1, table 11).22
Graph 6: Age distribution of SMSF members and non-SMSF members as at June 2016
SMSF members by income
The average taxable income of all SMSF members in the year ended 30 June 2016 was $109,000, while the median taxable income was $59,000.23 Members 45–49 years old had the highest average taxable income of $142,000, while members under 25 years old had the lowest average taxable income of $51,000 (see appendix 1, table 11).
Graph 7 shows older members had higher median balances and lower median taxable incomes. The average SMSF member balance ranged from $50,000 for members under 25 years to $893,000 for those over 85 years old. This represents a growth over the five years to 2016 of 43% and 24% respectively.24
The 65–69 year age group had the largest proportion of members, with an average balance of $910,000. Analysis shows that as the proportion of SMSF members 60 years or older increased during the five-year period, so did their average balance.
Graph 7: 2016 Average and median taxable income and balance of SMSF members by age
Graph 8 shows the average and median taxable incomes for SMSF members and non-SMSF members across age ranges. SMSF members across all age ranges had higher average and median taxable incomes. The most significant difference in average taxable income was for members 45–49 years old, who on average, earned $142,000, compared to non-SMSF members, who earned $75,000 (see appendix 1, table 11).
From 2012 to 2016, SMSF members of all ages had higher average taxable incomes than non-SMSF members (which averaged $60,000 in 2016).
Graph 8: 2016 Average and median taxable income of SMSF members and non-SMSF members by age range
SMSF members by balance
At 30 June 2016, the average SMSF member balance was $599,000 (see appendix 1, table 12) which was approximately 11 times the size of the average account balance of non-SMSF members’ of $56,000.25 The median SMSF member balance was $362,000.
Graph 9 shows that over the five years to 2016, the average and median member balances increased each year to 26% and 32% respectively over the period. More recently, average and median member balances increased 4% and 6% respectively from 2015 to 2016.
Graph 9: Asset sizes, SMSF and SMSF member 2012–16
There was also an increase in opening member balances of newly established SMSFs over the five years to 2016 (see appendix 1, table 13). The average member balance for members of newly established funds was relatively constant in 2012 to 2014, followed by increases in 2015 and 2016.
Graph 10 shows the average and median member balance and assets for funds established over the period, as at the end of the establishment year. The average member balance reported by funds established in 2016 was $204,000, an increase of 13% over the five years to 2016. In contrast, the median member balance grew by 26% during the period to $115,000 for funds established in 2016.
On average, 67% of members had balances between $1 and $200,000, while 7% had a $0 balance in year of establishment. The five year average for members with balances of $1 to $50,000 was 28%, which is higher than 2016 by almost 4%.26
Over the five years to 30 June 2016, the proportion of all members with a balance of $200,000 or less decreased from 42% in 2012 to 32% in 2016 (see appendix 1, table 14).
Graph 10: Asset size in establishment year, SMSF and SMSF members 2012–16
Over the five years to 30 June 2016, the average member balance of male SMSF members exceeded that of female SMSF members by $133,000. In 2016, the average member balances were $511,000 and $641,000 for female and male members respectively. Female average member balance increased by 30% over the period, while male average member balance increased by 22%.27
Analysis of average member balances by gender and age shows a trend of higher average balances as members get older for both males and females, consistent with total SMSF members (see appendix 1, table 12). The exception was for those 85 years old and over.
Male SMSF members across all age ranges had higher average balances than females, with the exception of members under 25 years old in 2014 and 2016, where females had a higher average balance.
Male and female members between 35 and 44 years old had the largest difference in average member balances, with the average male balance 36% higher than the average balance of females in the same age range in 2014 to 2016.
Graph 11 shows a continued shift in members towards larger balance ranges over the five years. In 2016, the majority of members had balances of between $200,001 and $1 million, with the highest proportion of members (32%) between $200,001–$500,000.
Graph 11: SMSF member balance sizes 2012–16
18 ATO 2017, Self-managed super fund statistical report, June 2017.
19 Based on 2012 to 2016 SAR lodged data.
20 Age ranges used as per ATO 2017, Self-managed super fund statistical report, for comparison purposes. The age ranges are the same as used in APRA’s Annual Superannuation Bulletin, for comparisons between members of SMSFs and members of non-SMSF funds.
21 Age ranges used as per ATO 2017, Self-managed super fund statistical report, for comparison purposes. The age ranges are the same as used in APRA’s Annual Superannuation bulletin, for comparisons between members of SMSFs and members of non-SMSF funds.
22 APRA 2017, June 2016 Annual Superannuation Bulletin, 1 February 2017 page 20.
23 Average taxable income is determined by SAR received for the relevant year as at 30 June 2017.
24 Based on 2012 to 2016 SAR lodged data.
25 APRA 2017, June 2016 Annual Superannuation Bulletin, 1 February 2017 page 20.
26 Based on 2012 to 2016 SAR lodged data.
27 Based on 2012 to 2016 SAR lodged data.