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Sharemarket volatility calls for a serious conversation about super

Nearly 15 million Australians have a superannuation balance and most of us have some exposure to growth investments such as shares that go up and down in value.

With the local sharemarket falling by about $90 billion in two days, it’s very likely that your superannuation balance has also gone down in value. So, should you be worried?

Here are three tips on how to manage during these volatile times.

Know where your money is invested

It’s important that you understand where you super monies are invested. Have a look a how much you have in cash, fixed interest, property and Australian and International shares.

Like any investment, the more risk you are willing to take, the larger the returns or losses you could get. Super fund members who elect to take more risk and put their super in a "high growth" option, are likely to see more volatility and movement when the share market moves. Super fund members in a "conservative" option, are likely to see less.

Talk to your super fund and your financial adviser before deciding on what level of risk you are prepared to take and whether you should be making changes to your asset allocation regularly.

Check your super balance

Superannuation shouldn’t be a "set and forget" strategy. Early on in your working career, it is generally appropriate to check your balance once a year. You will receive an annual report from your fund between July and September, which will include details about the returns for the previous financial year, as well as the end-of-year balance of your account. As you get closer to retirement, it is a good idea to keep a closer eye on your balance every quarter or half-year to see how it will impact on your overall retirement planning.

Is it time to panic?

At times like this it’s important to stay calm but not be complacent as the volatility is likely to continue.Remember some of the fundamental principles of investing, such as making sure you have a diversified portfolio and investing for the long term but not forgetting that cash plays an important part of your portfolio to help ensure you are not selling down investments at a bad time to pay for your lifestyle.If you haven’t had a review of your investments in a while, are managing your investments yourself and need some guidance or are concerned about the impact this volatility may have, pick up the phone and talk to your financial adviser.

Olivia Maragna is the co-founder of Aspire Retire Financial Services and is an independent and respected financial expert. Olivia’s advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions.You can follow Olivia on Facebook or Twitter at

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