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What's a good investment return?

I'm building my wealth | | 2 min read

We all like seeing high numbers – in our bank accounts, in our super accounts, on our footy team’s score card. But what does ‘high’ mean when it comes to your super investments, and how can you cut through the numbers to better understand the returns on your investment options?  

How does a super fund measure a good return?  

Each diversified investment option a super fund offers will have an investment return objective. This is called a 'CPI+ target' and you can find these in our Product Disclosure Statements or listed alongside the respective option online.

These figures are calculated by taking into account market data and modelling for each investment option. Often, we will surpass these benchmarks, however, they offer an important guide regarding our return expectations over the long term for each investment option.  

The CPI+ target is expressed over a number of years, such as 10-year increments, and when it comes to investment returns it’s important to think long-term.   

That’s because returns will fluctuate from year-to-year and are near impossible to predict over short periods. While any particular year may be great, or not so good, history shows that returns tend to move towards an average over longer time periods. While shorter term returns tend to garner media attention, looking at performance over an extended period is more aligned with super, which, after-all, is a long-term investment.  

What about investment risk? 

All investments fluctuate. Sometimes they’re-up, sometimes they’re down. So, it’s important to choose an investment mix that you’re comfortable with and that suits your risk tolerance.  

Risk tolerance is determined by different factors, and the amount of risk you’re willing to be exposed to depends on you and your goals. For example, someone who is older and nearing retirement may want less exposure to higher risk investments, while someone younger might take more risk as they have greater opportunity to recoup any losses over the long term.   

Generally speaking, you’re always looking to find the balance between risk and return and keep in mind the long-term nature of your investments in super. 

Most funds offer a range of investment options, ranging from the security of cash and fixed interest to more growth driven options such as shares and property. This allows you to diversify your investment portfolio and pick a risk profile that suits your needs. 

We also offer members a default investment strategy. So if you don't want to choose your investment option, your super will automatically be invested using our default strategy.

What about investment fees? 

It is always important to bear in mind the role of fees in the long-term returns from super. Looking forward, given today’s very high valuations for most asset classes, we believe returns for coming years will be lower than what we’ve experienced recently. If returns are lower, the fees you’re paying become more important.   

But while we are very mindful of the fees you pay, ultimately, what matters is the net return you receive. That is, what is the end result when you take into account fees and returns. This is what helps to build your wealth over the long term.  

What are Catholic Super's investment returns?  

Our default (Growth Plus)* option returned 14.6% for the 2021 calendar year. The return over ten years was an average of 11% p.a. which is well in excess of the CPI+ target

For older members, the default (Balanced Growth)* option returned 12% for the 2021 calendar year. The return over ten years was an average of 9.2% p.a.

You can find a full breakdown of our investment returns in our investment performance section. We update these each month.   

As a fund, we’re focused on long-term returns for our members. But for an immediate comparison of investment returns, please have a look at our comparison page

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