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Accessing Your Super

I personally cannot imagine retiring, but maybe that’s because I’m only 30. But, when I do, I am pleased to know I am building my Superfund to fund my super retired lifestyle I plan on having one day.

Most people assume they cannot access their Super until they retire. The purpose of Super is to protect you when you are older and no longer able to work and earn an income. It is like long-term savings locked up for the future. 

In most cases you can withdraw money from your Super when: 

  • You are 65 years old
  • You reach the preservation age, or
  • When under the ‘transition to retirement’ rules

More info on these here! 

But what if that’s not you and you need the money now? In what circumstances can you access your Super?

This is just education and information - I am not suggesting you should do this necessarily. Speak to your adviser about what is the right move for you! Penalties and fees apply when you access Super early without meeting a condition of release. 

There are various circumstances where you can could potentially access your super early:

  • are saving for your first home – first home super saver scheme (more info below too!)
  • need to withdraw super on compassionate grounds or if you have a terminal medical condition
  • are temporarily unable to work or are permanently incapacitated
  • have a super account balance less than $200
  • are in severe financial hardship
  • covid-19 support (temporary reason - more info here)

NOTE: Be cautious that there are some promoters who offer to claim Super by transferring it into a self-managed Super fund. This practice is illegal and you should not associate yourself with this.

We encourage you to always seek financial advice from a professional before accessing your Super to make sure it is the right thing to do for your unique circumstances.


First home Super saver scheme

How did I save for my house? I put some in the bank AND I made use of the Australian government’s first home Super saver (FHSS) - this was established in the 2017–18 Federal Budget to help with property affordability. I’d argue property is still out of reach of a lot of people, but I guess it helps. Maybe it is something you need to consider (broken record over here) - chat to your adviser!. 

What is it and how does it help you?

The FHSS scheme allows you to put money aside in your Super fund and then withdraw it (before retirement!) for the purposes of buying your first property. Basically, you make contributions to the fund, and then when you are ready to buy your first home you apply through the ATO (myGov) to withdraw the funds. Because of the favourable tax treatment of Super, you can save more quickly which is great. Read about it here.

You can make the following existing types of contributions towards the FHSS scheme:

  • voluntary concessional contributions – including salary sacrifice amounts or contributions for which a tax deduction has been claimed, these are usually taxed at 15% in your fund
  • voluntary non-concessional contributions that you have made – these are made after tax or if a tax deduction has not been claimed

It’s not designed to hold all of your house deposit necessarily. You can request to have up to $15,000 of your voluntary contributions from any one financial year included in your eligible contributions to be released under the FHSS system, up to a total of $30,000 across all years. If you put more than $30,000 in it might get stuck in the Superfund! 

To apply for the release of these funds, you must meet the eligibility requirements: .

  • Be a first-home buyer
  • You either live in the property you're purchasing or plan to do so as soon as possible
  • After it is practicable to move in, you aim to dwell in the property for at least six months during the first 12 months you own it

So, while Super is designed to be held for the long-term it can be withdrawn under certain special circumstances. If you have any questions about my experience with my house purchase or the FHSSS just let me know! 

You might also like our Superannuation Video covering everything you need to know, in heaps of depth. 


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