The idea of having full control over your valuable superannuation balance with a self-managed super fund ('SMSF') is a tempting thought for many Australian workers. However before you jump in it's worth considering whether you are ready to start an SMSF. 

How much money do you have to invest?

The annual costs of running an SMSF are much higher than using a traditional superannuation for balances under $200,000 as mentioned in the linked guide. For much higher balances above $500,000 the costs are very competitive and in most cases running an SMSF can result in significant savings for people with large balances.  

You do not need to keep an SMSF to a single contributor, so sometimes consolidating the superannuation balances of a number of similarly motivated family members can help to create suitable scale for a competitive SMSF. 

How confident are you with the regular paperwork required as an SMSF trustee?

Running an SMSF requires submitting annual reporting paperwork to ASIC. These are not overly complex but if you cannot complete these in-house and need to get further assistance to fill out this paperwork and this adds substantially to the associated fees. Having an SMSF may still be desirable if you have a very large superannuation balance as you maintain a greater control and the costs may still nett to less than the amount of a commercial superannuation fund. 

If you would like to maintain your own paperwork many legal firms and consultancies run some great training courses that can help you learn more about the administration requirements of an SMSF. They also often supply some tools to help make the administration less arduous. 

Are you confident with investing?

AS you will need to take on responsibility for the investment decisions of your SMSF it's important to also be confident in making strategic investment decisions. As the scope of an SMSF needs to be to provide long term investment income for retirement you need to be able to make decisions with a long-term view and not be swayed by short-term movements in the value of investments. At the same time, you will also want to keep a firm eye on marker conditions so you can make strategic moves if risks or opportunities present themselves. 

If you are looking to start an SMSF it can make sense to spend some time getting expert legal advice and going through some training to gain more confidence in running your SMSF.