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Learn the basics of investing in super
If you want us to manage your investment strategy, you can leave your money in our default investment option, Lifetime.1 However, if you'd like more control over your investments, you can make an investment choice.
Here's some things you can do before you decide how to invest your superannuation.
Before making an investment choice, it's important to understand asset classes and the different types of investment risk. Read the information below to learn the basics of investing in super and compare our different investment options.
Ask yourself how long you plan for your money to be invested for, and the level of risk you can, or should, take to achieve your goals. You also need to decide how involved you want to be in managing your super.
When it comes to choosing the best investment strategy for your needs, getting some professional guidance can help. Online advice about your QSuper account is included with your membership2 through Member Online.
If you decide that our default option Lifetime is right for you, you don't need to do anything as we automatically invest your money for you. Make a different investment choice by logging into Member Online.
Asset classes, also known as investment groups, are the building blocks that make up your investment. Understanding what they are and how they work together is an essential part of deciding which investments may be right for you. We invest in 7 asset classes:
Cash can include deposits at call, bank bills, term deposits and negotiable certificates of deposit. It's considered the most secure asset class but you need to be aware it has little short-term real growth.
A bond is like a fixed-interest loan to a government or company – the principal sum is paid back when the loan matures along with the interest. Bonds can be actively traded so they have the potential for both positive and negative returns.
Real estate (or property) investments include commercial buildings, industrial properties or residential. Generally, property is designed to be a long-term investment and you could experience negative returns in the short term.
Buying equities means you own part of a company, either in Australia, internationally or a private equity. Shares historically deliver higher returns over the long term and you could experience negative returns in the short term.
Commodities cover resources and raw materials such as natural gas, petroleum, and base and other metals. These can provide protection in periods of high inflation.
Infrastructure is investing in facilities that help a government to run, such as roads, utilities, transport, or public buildings. They aim to achieve both returns through income, and potential capital gain when the assets are sold.
Alternative assets are different to the more traditional assets. The type of alternatives we may invest in include incubator assets (new sources with strong return prospects), and managed funds (through external providers).
All investment comes with some kind of risk. The key is to understand what the different types of risk are, and how they might affect you. Understanding how to manage investment risk can help you build a strategy that suits your lifestyle, both now and in retirement.
A key investment risk is market volatility. This is the risk that the value of your investment could experience both negative and positive returns. Generally, investments with a higher risk have a larger range of returns, while those with lower risk have a smaller range of returns.
Before you choose your investment options, it's important to think about how long you're going to invest for and how you'd react if you were to experience negative returns.
How to read this graph
The graph on the right shows the highest and lowest returns over any 365-day period during the past 10 years (or since launch for options open for less than 10 years) for each of our Diversified and Single Sector options. For example, while our Australian Shares option has at one point had a minimum return of -20.64%, it has also had a maximum return of 45.19%.
View recent performance
There are many other types of risk including:
This is the risk that your super will run out. If you're still making contributions, it's important to consider how much super you need in retirement, and the investment options to help you get there. If you're already retired, here's some ways to help make your super last.
This is the risk associated with any single share or security. Specific risk is especially relevant if you choose your own Australian shares investments in Self Invest (closed to new investors).
This is the risk that your investment returns don't grow enough above inflation, meaning that your money will effectively be worth less than when you started.
Sequencing risk describes the impact of loss on members at different stages of their retirement. Those in retirement with higher account balances will be more substantially impacted by investment losses than younger members with lower account balances.
This is the risk that an investment manager will not receive their return target.
This risk refers to not being able to sell an asset quickly without losing value. It's something you need to consider if you invest in a term deposit through Self Invest (closed to new investors).
This is the risk of selling an investment at the wrong time and losing value. Selling an investment when prices are low might mean that you lose money. Timing risk can also relate to trying to predict future prices in making investment decisions and switching investment options.
The Standard Risk Measure (SRM) is based on industry guidance to allow you to compare investment options that are expected to deliver a similar number of negative annual returns over any 20-year period. The SRM is not a complete assessment of all forms of investment risk. It does not detail what the size of a negative return could be or the potential for a positive return to be less than what a member might need to meet their goals. It also doesn't include administration fees and tax on the likelihood of a negative return.
The SRM assigns a Risk Label from Very low to Very high, and a corresponding Risk Band from 1 to 7 for each investment option, based on the number of expected years of negative returns over any 20-year period.
When you decide on an investment option/s, make sure you're comfortable with the risks and potential losses related to it.
For each of our investment options, we calculate our SRMs3 based on the following:
We have a range of investment options that's tailored to your needs.