Age-based superannuation guides

Under 18s

An individual under the age of 18, who is a child of a fund member, is automatically treated as a dependant for super and tax purposes if the parent dies leaving superannuation benefits. What this means is that such an individual will receive such super benefits tax-free.

View the Super Guide for under 18s

Your 20s, 30s and 40s

If you are under the age of 50, you are subject to a lower contributions cap when making concessional (before-tax) contributions. In addition, anyone under the age of 50 cannot access super benefits except in limited special circumstances, such as, suffering severe financial hardship or permanent disability.

View the Super Guide for your 20s, 30s and 40s

Your 50s

Superannuation is designed to finance your retirement so the Government has special rules about when you can access your super benefits, and the tax that applies to super benefits. Generally speaking, you cannot access super benefits before the age of 55. If you fall into one of the exceptions that enable you to access super benefits under the age of 55, then you can expect to pay a higher rate tax on those super benefits than if you waited until your turned 55, or waited until you turned 60.

If you are aged 50 or over, you are subject to a special contributions caps when making concessional (before-tax) contributions. Anyone in the 50-plus age group needs to be aware that as you get older, aged-based super rules come into effect. For example, you must satisfy a work test if you intend to make contributions after the age of 65, and you can’t make any super contributions once you turn 75.

Turning 55 can be significant in the super world because it is the minimum age for accessing super benefits (assuming you have retired and born before a certain date). If you are 55-plus, you can also access your super when you haven’t retired if you choose to start a transition-to-retirement-pension (TRIP). Although super benefits are not generally tax-free between the ages of 55 and 60, you can still take advantage of a tax-free threshold when taking a superannuation lump sum, and a 15% tax offset when taking a superannuation income stream (pension).

View the Super Guide for your 50s

Your 60s

If you are under the age of 65, you can make superannuation contributions whether you are working or not. If you’re planning to make non-concessional (after-tax) contributions, special rules apply if you are aged 63 or 64. If you’re in your 60s, milestone ages to consider include 60 (tax-free super), and turning 65 (work test for making contributions, unlimited access to super benefits, pension payment factors).

When you turn 65, the rules for accessing super are relaxed. The rules for making super contributions however, become stricter. If you’re 65-plus, you must satisfy a work test if you want to make super contributions. When you turn 70, your employer no longer has to make Superannuation Guarantee contributions on your behalf (although this rule is set to change from July 2013). When you turn 75, you can no longer make super contributions. When taking a pension, different pension payment factors apply depending on your age. Note that the Age Pension age is currently 65 but gradually increasing to age 67.

View the Super Guide for your 60s

Your 70s (and over)

When you turn 70, your employer is not required to make compulsory Superannuation Guarantee contributions to your super account (although this rule is set to change from July 2013).

If you’re 75 or over, you are no longer able to make super contributions. Any super benefits that you withdraw will be tax-free (unless you’re a member of certain older public service super schemes. If you’re receiving a private account-based pension, then you need to be aware of the special payment factors for individuals aged 75-plus.

View the Super Guide for your 70s