When can I access my Super?
YOU may at some point ask "when can I access my superannuation?"
This is a quite common question, and sometimes not easily answerable.
I won't get into specifics of how much you may be able to access, or in what form (a lump sum payment or as a pension). Rather, we will focus on what situations may allow you to withdraw money from your superannuation fund.
1. Reaching the age of 65
This is the over-riding release condition. Nothing else needs to be satisfied in this case. Phew! Now come the harder ones.
2. Retirement - for all those aged between 55 and 65.
The first step in this instance is reaching your preservation age. If you were born prior to 1 July 1960, your preservation age is 55, and if you were born after 30 June 1964, your preservation age is 60. If you fall in between this period, there is a yearly sliding scale from age 56 to 60. Once you have reached your preservation age, provided you can reasonably demonstrate that you do not intend to become employed for 10 hours or more per week, you can access your super.
3. Reaching Preservation Age without retiring
There are situations where you can still be employed and access your super at the same time, once having reached preservation age. However, there are restrictions on how much you can access and in what form, but there can be potentially significant tax advantages of doing this. I would strongly recommend talking to your financial advisors if you find yourself in this situation.
4. Medical conditions
Do you have a medical condition (mental or physical) that is preventing you from working in the area you are reasonably qualified (either by education, training or experience) to work in? Or have you been diagnosed with a terminal condition that is likely to result in your passing within the next 12 months? If so, you may be eligible to access a portion of your Superannuation.
5. Paying super-related tax bills
Have you received a lovely letter from the ATO to advise you that you have made excess contributions to your super fund, and you have to pay a tax on this amount? Don't worry - so have plenty of others. The only saving grace in this matter, is that you are permitted to ask your super fund to pay this liability on your behalf.
There are other conditions of release such as compassionate grounds and severe financial hardship - but we would hope many of our readers don't fall into those categories. The main thing to remember is that you should always check with your financial advisors before commencing withdrawals from your super funds...as getting this wrong could have rather nasty financial repercussions.
Until next time, happy super fund-ing!