The Cheapest SMSF Setup: A Comprehensive Guide to Establishing Your Self-Managed Super Fund

The Cheapest SMSF Setup: A Comprehensive Guide to Establishing Your Self-Managed Super Fund


Setting up a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) can be a cost-effective way to take control of your retirement savings. Unlike traditional super funds, SMSFs offer greater flexibility and control over investment decisions. However, establishing an SMSF requires careful planning and adherence to regulatory requirements. In this article, we will explore the cheapest SMSF setup options and provide a step-by-step guide to help you set up your SMSF efficiently.

Understanding SMSFs

Before diving into the setup process, it’s crucial to understand what an SMSF entails. A Self-Managed Super Fund is a private superannuation fund established by individuals for their retirement savings. SMSFs can have up to four members who act as trustees, responsible for making investment decisions on behalf of the fund.

Costs Associated with SMSF Setup

One of the key advantages of setting up an SMSF is the potential for cost savings compared to traditional super funds. However, it’s important to note that there are still costs involved in establishing and managing an SMSF. Some of the primary costs include:

  • Establishment Costs: These costs involve setting up the SMSF structure, including the trust deed, corporate trustee (if applicable), and initial regulatory compliance. These costs typically range from $800 to $2,000, depending on the complexity of the fund structure.
  • Annual Operating Costs: SMSFs have ongoing expenses, such as accounting and audit fees, investment costs, and administration fees. On average, these costs can range from $2,000 to $5,000 per year, depending on the size and complexity of the fund.

The Cheapest SMSF Setup Options

  • DIY Approach: The most cost-effective option is to set up the SMSF yourself, without professional assistance. This approach requires a thorough understanding of superannuation laws and regulations, as well as the ability to manage the ongoing compliance requirements. However, it may not be suitable for everyone, especially those lacking the necessary expertise.
  • Online SMSF Providers: Another affordable option is to utilize online SMSF providers. These platforms offer pre-packaged SMSF establishment services at a lower cost compared to engaging a traditional accountant or lawyer. Online providers typically guide you through the setup process, provide legal documentation, and offer ongoing support.

Step-by-Step Guide to Setting up an SMSF

  • Research and Planning: Begin by conducting thorough research and assessing whether an SMSF is the right choice for your financial goals. Consider factors such as investment flexibility, control, and regulatory obligations. Develop an investment strategy that aligns with your retirement objectives.
  • Establish the SMSF Trust: Prepare the SMSF trust deed, which outlines the rules and regulations governing the fund. Ensure compliance with the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act) and Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (SIS Regulations). Seek legal advice or use online SMSF providers to create a valid trust deed. Click here to read about Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) Setup and Management: Taking Control of Your Retirement.
  • Appoint Trustees: Determine who will act as trustees of the SMSF. A minimum of two trustees is required, or a single corporate trustee can be appointed. Each trustee must be eligible to act as per the SIS Act guidelines.
  • Obtain an ABN and TFN: Apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and Tax File Number (TFN) for your SMSF. These are essential for tax reporting and compliance purposes.
  • Open a Bank Account: Establish a separate bank account for your SMSF. Ensure the account is compliant with SMSF regulations and meets the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s (APRA) requirements.
  • Develop an Investment Strategy: Create a comprehensive investment strategy that reflects your risk tolerance, financial objectives, and retirement goals. The strategy should be regularly reviewed and updated as needed.
  • Roll Over Existing Super Funds: If you have existing super funds, consider rolling them over into your new SMSF. This consolidation can streamline your retirement savings and potentially reduce costs.
  • Engage Professionals (Optional): While not the cheapest option, engaging professionals such as accountants, tax advisors, or financial planners can provide expert guidance and ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.


Establishing an SMSF can offer significant advantages in terms of control and flexibility over your retirement savings. By exploring the cheapest SMSF setup options and following a step-by-step guide, you can navigate the process efficiently and cost-effectively. Remember to consider ongoing compliance obligations and seek professional assistance when needed. Take charge of your retirement future with a well-structured and appropriately managed SMSF.