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Learn about investing

Super is an investment in your future. Becoming familiar with a few key investment principles can help you make sense of your investment choices. 

Your investment horizon

The length of time before you plan to use your super, plays a large role in determining how you invest. The longer you have, the more aggressively you can invest, since falls in the market in the short term are less important than maximising your returns over the long term. If you are eligible, and need to access some of your super in the short term, you may want to choose more conservative investments for a portion of your super to protect yourself from the risk of negative short-term returns.

Asset classes

Asset Class Description
Cash We classify cash as any type of fixed interest investment that has a very short repayment period. It includes bank bills and short-term bank deposits.
Fixed interest These investment options include bonds and debentures. They're also known as debt investments, as they're used to raise money by big companies and governments.
Property Property investments are diverse and can include office buildings, industrial sites and retail shopping centres.
Shares Shares are also known as equities or stocks. Companies issue shares to raise money. In exchange the investor receives part ownership in the company and is entitled to a portion of the profits.
Private capital Private capital is privately-owned assets including but not limited to opportunistic property funds, private equity funds, venture capital and private natural resources.
Hedge funds These are generally investments that use complex market trading strategies that aim to generate returns that do not follow the normal investment cycles of the traditional asset classes.
Infrastructure  These are generally investments in roads, bridges, airports, ports, power stations and other community projects and assets.
Diversified strategies  Diversified strategies are diversified multi-asset class investments that can incorporate investments in the full range of asset classes that Sunsuper uses. The skill utilised by the underlying manager is their ability to construct a portfolio through a robust asset allocation process that will outperform their benchmark over the business cycle.

Your investment earnings

Now, let’s move on to your investment earnings. Your returns will shape your retirement lifestyle. Historically, shares and property type assets have provided higher returns over the long term than cash and fixed interest type assets. If your goals are within reach, it may not be necessary to take on higher risk.

Risk tolerance

Risk tolerance is an investor’s willingness to accept high risk in the hope an investment will increase in value. A risk-averse investor has investments whose values are relatively stable—they will neither increase greatly nor decrease greatly. An investor with a high risk tolerance has investments whose value might increase dramatically or fall dramatically. An individual’s risk tolerance varies by personality and other factors, such as life stage. For example, a retired person is typically less willing to pursue high-risk investments than a younger person. In the mean time you can get a good idea of your risk tolerance by completing the Investor needs profile.

Investment strategies

There are four broad profiles. Over your lifetime, you'll probably try out each of them.

  • Growth – designed for members who want to generate wealth over the long term, but with less risk than an option invested solely in shares.
  • Balanced – designed for members who want to generate wealth over the long term, while being sensitive to the relative performance of other large Australian superannuation funds.
  • Retirement – designed for members who are close to, or have reached retirement. It is structured to generate wealth over the medium to long term, while providing some reduction to the fluctuation of returns in the short-term.
  • Conservative – designed for members who seek less volatile returns for their super while maintaining some growth exposure. Using your money in the short term is likely to be your main purpose.

We offer a range of investment options to match these profiles.

Making the right choices

Getting your investments right isn't an exact science. But there are a few things you can do to help things along the way.

  • Set your goals - short, medium and long term
  • Know the risks
  • Understand asset classes
  • Consider the expected returns
  • Make sure you diversify 

We're here to help

If you'd like to learn more about investments, you can check out our Sunsuper for life Investment guide [PDF 8.5MB] or give us a call on 13 11 84 and we'll be happy to talk your through it.