Women: watch your nest eggs

Nevertheless, women should take an interest in their nest eggs.

During 17 years as an Australian Taxation Office compliance officer, I audited many self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF) with many two-member funds consisting of a husband and wife.

I found that most women trustees did not take an interest in their self-managed fund, often leaving important decisions about retirement savings to their husbands.

Some were not even aware how much superannuation savings they had.

More women need to take an interest in their superannuation, to realise that by agreeing to be a trustee of their self-managed fund, they are equally responsible for any actions of the other trustees.

If you take up the role of a self-managed fund trustee, you need to take an interest in your responsibilities and obligations.

If your self-managed fund contravenes the superannuation law, the ATO can penalise your fund by removing the tax concession and also disqualify you as a trustee.

If the tax concession is removed, it means almost half of the assets in your self-managed fund will need to be sold off to pay the ATO tax bill.

If disqualified as a trustee you will never be able to set up a self-managed fund again or act as a trustee.

This may not worry you until you are in a new relationship and want to establish a self-managed superannuation fund with your new partner.

If you are a self-managed fund trustee, I cannot stress enough how important it is to take an interest in superannuation law and be aware of your obligations as a trustee.

The columnist is author of The Self-Managed Super Handbook ” superannuation law for self-managed superannuation funds in plain English.