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January 16, 2022

Top 3 unusual SMSF investments you probably didn’t know about

We’ve all heard and know about the typical super fund investments, like stocks, bonds, fixed interest products, or property, but did you know that with a self-managed super fund (SMSF), you can really invest in almost anything?

One of the great benefits of an SMSF is the flexibility it provides with how you invest for your retirement. It really gives you full control over how to invest your money, what it’s invested in, and when to buy and sell.

Outside of investing in a house instead of a property fund, or individual stocks instead of an asset class, there are a few unusual ways you can invest your super money which you’ve probably never heard about. 

If you see something on this list, and you think it’s a great idea for your fund, just make sure your SMSF’s trust deed allows you to invest in these assets.

Cryptocurrencies

Whilst not all that unusual, an SMSF investing in cryptocurrencies is definitely uncommon, and whilst around 25% of Australians have held crypto, not many know that you can actually have it form part of your super investments.

Many of the big retail and industry super funds have yet to catch on to the growing trend of cryptocurrencies. A self-managed super fund connected to a crypto intermediary is the only way to invest in crypto for your retirement right now.

Why would someone do this? Well, cryptocurrencies in Australia are considered a CGT asset, meaning you’ll have to pay high taxes on your profit if you trade them normally. If someone believes in crypto for the long term, SMSF investments are taxed at a rate of 15% and long-term gains are taxed at 10%, greatly increasing the amount of money available for their retirement.

Antiques and art

If you have some paintings, drawings, sculptures, engravings, photographs, or even old furniture, you can put it in your SMSF.

Antiques also include things like old dining sets, silverware, or old magazines, basically anything you believe is rare enough that it will rise in value can go into your SMSF.

There is a catch with these types of assets in a super fund, you are not allowed to gain any form of benefit from these items while they are investments. That means none of the art or photos can be hung up in your house, and no beautiful sculptures can be on display in your garden. They will have to be at a place unrelated to you, like an art gallery or museum.

Taxi license plates

Yes, you read that correctly, taxi plate licenses are available for investment in a SMSF, but it’s not as strange as you might think.

You see, to operate a legitimate taxi, you need to have a taxi plate to do so, new plates are limited in availability, and are difficult to obtain, so it’s easier to purchase an already existing one. Existing plates sell for around $250,000 to $400,000, and in the major cities, can be rented out for over $500 a week.

Based on these prices, the rental income and sale of the plate, assuming it doesn’t change in value, could yield over $1.3 million in 35 years, but with increasing competition from services like Uber, a taxi plate could turn out to be a risky bet.

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