Protecting Your Superannuation
by Matthew Ford 21st October 2023
(first posted 17st
© Forward Computing and Control Pty. Ltd. NSW Australia
All rights reserved.
RiskYourSuper is more suited to a low interest rate environment than ProtectYourSuper. Currently it appears we are in a transition between low interest rates and higher interest rates. It remains to be seen if these higher interest rates are maintained in the longer term. See the Commentary below and the previous commentaries
Legal Disclaimer: I do not hold a Financial Advisor’s Licence and nothing in this article should be considered as recommending any particular course of action to anyone else.
1) Install Java 8 (important to use Java 8) from www.java.com After downloading the java install file you need to add the “.exe” to the file name to make it runnable. Then double click to install java.
2) Download RiskYourSuper1_1_2.jar
3) Right click and create a ShortCut. Right click on the short cut and open Properties and replace the highlighted Target: with the cmd
C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /k java -jar RiskYourSuper1_1_2.jar -V
Then double click the shortcut to run RiskYourSuper.
Installation Mac: jar does not open downloaded share data currently, use bootcamp to install Windows
1 – Invest in a Super Fund with exposure to Shares and stay in
that fund until the share market drops by 10% from the last high.
Rule 2 – In not in 'shares' then, stay in 'cash' until the 99 day moving averages starts to turn up (on a weekly basis).
Rule 3 – Adjust the % of the superannuation balance invested in shares to a 'comfort' level of risk.
E.G invest only a proportion of your super and/or invest in a Balanced Fund instead of a pure share fund.
RiskYourSuper has superseded ProtectYourSuper as the method I am using for my superannuation in a low interest rate environment. As the name suggests the RiskYourSuper approach has more risk. However interest rates have now risen again to levels where ProtectYourSupper looks more appropriate. See the Commentary below and the previous commentaries
Unhappy with your superannuation performance, this article describes how I took back control of my super, avoided losses and made more money. I use this simple method to give my superannuation protection against drops in the share market. All I needed to do was to select an appropriate super fund and to have access to the internet once a week, from the local library for example. I did not need to start my own super fund. I use the software provided here to give me superannuation protection.
I currently have 100% of my super in Hostplus cash returning ~4% pa. Below is a chart of the % change in some Hostplus funds from the 3rd July to 20th October 2023
This shows that Hostplus Cash has out performed Hostplus Australian Shares, Balanced and Diversified Fixed Interest (Property is not longer a Hostplus investment option). Cash is also much more stable than any of the others. This validates my previous decision to switch to 100% cash.
Looking forward, it appears we may be transitioning from RiskYourSuper back to ProtectYourSuper. ProtectYourSuper was biased towards Cash except when the Shares were rising strongly. Currently the Australian Share market appears to be going sideways while Hostplus Cash is returning 4% a year with zero risk which makes Cash look like the way to protect your super until such times as the Australian Share market starts rising strongly again. Given the current downward trajectory of the US market and the tendency for the Australian Share market to follow in a knee jerk reaction to any sudden falls in the US market, it appears prudent to stay in 100% Cash for the time being. Once the Australian Share market starts rising strongly again, the level of the Cash interest rate will determine whether I use RiskYourSuper (low interest rates) or ProtectYourSuper (higher interest rates) to guide the allocation of my superannuation.
Download the Free Software (runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris)
Results for AustralianSuper funds since 1st July 2008
Summary of Results
The previous version of the software is ProtectYourSuper2_2_1.jar
and pdf documentation.
Super got a lot of bad press after the 2008 GFC. Many people have seen the value of their nest egg drop dramatically. But it is not the Superannuation system that is the problem, rather it is where your money has been invested that has lead to the drop in value.
Many people are in the ‘default’ Balanced option that has a large exposure to the share market. This is good if the market is going up but not so good when it is going down. This article describes the simple steps I use to take back control of my super, stop the drop in value when the share market falls and still reap the rewards when it rises. I spend no more that a few minutes each week on it and I did it without starting my own super fund. I have been doing this method since 2010 using a variety of method, the latest being this one. For a discussing of the background to RiskYourSuper see this page.
Here is a comparison of RiskYourSuper/ProtectYourSuper versus AustralianSuper Balanced and AustralianSuper Australian Shares funds. The returns for all three, over the last 11 years, has averaged between 6.9% to 8.3% but as the following chart shows, the variation from year to year is markedly different. The blue squares show the average return, while the vertical bars show the range of returns over the years.
Of the three ways of investing your superannuation, ProtectYourSuper has so far shown the least variation in returns from year to year. ProtectYourSuper gives me more confidence in planning my financial future.
I have made a program available which process the downloaded share index data and does the calculations for the three rules used in this method and advises me on when to switch. The program runs on Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris. Installation and running documentation in pdf format is also available. This program also assists in starting to use the method by suggesting when to start switching. See the pdf documentation for details.
Before discussing the method in detail, let’s look at how it would have worked since 1st July 2008 (the earliest date AustralianSuper provides detailed data for).
The Green line is the RiskYourSuper/ProtectYourSuper performance switching method described switching between 100% 'shares' and 100% 'Cash' alternative.
The Blue line is the AustralianSuper's Share fund performance. The Red line is the AustralianSuper's Balanced fund performance. The Yellow (bottom) line indicates when the switches were made for the top Green line. It is high when 100% of the money is in Shares. These graphs were drawn using the data available on the AustralianSuper's web site.
The results shown here are for ProtectYourSuper using 11/33 values switching between AustralianSuper Shares and Cash between 1st July 2008 and 28th Dec 2011. Then between 28th Dec 2011 and 1st August 2012 I switched between AustralianSuper Shares and Fixed Interest. From 1st August 2012 to 2nd June 2014, the switches were between AustralianSuper Shares and DiversifiedFixedInterest. From 2nd June 2014 to 14th Jan 2019, the switches were between AustralianSuper Shares and Property (except for 26th August 2015 to 12th Oct 2015 and 11th Oct 2018 to 14th January 2019, when I switched to AustralianSuper Cash as a safety precaution). From 11th February 2020 the switches are between Hostplus Australian Shares and Hostplus Property Fund, except that the latest switch on 29th February 2020 was to 100% pure Cash Fund (Hostplus Cash Fund) as a safety precaution. From 30th June 2020 I switched to using RiskYourSuper V1.0.0
RiskYourSuper currently switches between Hostplus Balanced Shares and Hostplus Cash. RiskYourSuper stays in Balanced until the share market drops by more than 10% from its last peak. Then RiskYourSuper switches to Cash until the 99 day SMA line turns up (on a weekly basis)
This summary is mainly ProtectYourSuper which I was using for the last 10years. The RiskYourSuper results take over from 30th June 2020.
Having convinced myself that this switching method performed well, I started using it in Oct 2010 with moving average values of 15 and 30. Prior to Oct 2010 I used other versions of this switching method, see Background to Protecting your Superannuation for more details. On 15th January 2012 I made a small adjustment to the moving average values I used changing them to 11 and 33. On 22nd November 2012 I revised the definition of profit in Rule 3 which resulted in noticeable improvements in the results. On 7th April 2020 I revised Rule 3 to ignore the last switch's profit/loss if the market had fallen by >10% which showed ~10% improvement on back testing since 2008.
The results shown here are for the 11/33 values
switching between AustralianSuper Shares and Cash between 1st
July 2008 and 28th Dec 2011. Between 28th Dec
2011 and 1st August 2012 I switched between
AustralianSuper Shares and Fixed Interest. From 1st August
2012 to 2nd June 2014, the switches were between
AustralianSuper Shares and DiversifiedFixedInterest. From 2nd
June 2014 the switches were between AustralianSuper Shares and
Property, except for 26th August 2015 to
12th Oct 2015 when I switched to AustralianSuper Cash as a
safety precaution. From 11th February 2020 the switches
are between Hostplus Australian Shares and Hostplus Property Fund,
except that the latest switch on 29th
February 2020 was to 100% pure Cash Fund (Hostplus Cash Fund) as a
From 30th June 2020 I switched to RiskYourSuper. Currently RiskYourSuper switches between Hostplus Australian Balanced and Hostplus Cash
So, in summary, a check of the Switching method over the last 15 years (since 4th July 2000) shows a relatively steady rise in value with low variability from year to year. However in the last few years the very low cash interest rate has held back the results prompted my move to RiskYourSuper. RiskYourSuper current switches between HostPlus Balanced and HostPlus Cash Funds.
Having used ProtectYourSuper for the last 10 years, I now find it is not effective when the interest rates are almost zero. There Is No Alternative (TINA) to shares for earning a return on your money in this economic environment. So I have replaced ProtectYourSuper with RiskYourSuper, which spends most of its time in shares and only switches to cash when the share market falls by more then 10%. have found that by selecting an appropriate super fund and using the simple rules described above, based a chart of All Ordinaries index available on the internet, that I am able to avoid heavy losses in my super over the last few years while still making gains now that the share market is recovering. I sometimes lose money switching into Shares and out again, but I catch the major rises in the market while avoiding the major falls.
Spending a few minutes once a week applying this method, lets me sleep peacefully every night when the share market goes in to a substantial decline because this method has has told me to put all my super into Cash and using this method also removes the worry about when I should put my super back into Shares as the market recovers.
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