Super Guide for 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).

Set out below are all SuperGuide articles explaining Super Guide for your 50s.

Super contributions: Beef up using a bring forward

Q: Under the 2-year bring-forward of non-concessional contributions, if a person makes an after-tax contribution of $180,001 when age 64 during the 2015/2016 year, can he continue to contribute the balance of the $540,000 anytime during the next 2 years without having to satisfy the work test?A: … [Read more...]

Making super contributions: 20 popular Q and As

We receive many interesting questions from readers. We believe this contact with our readers makes our SuperGuide site even more useful for readers because we enhance the SuperGuide website in response to the popularity of certain articles and topics, and in response to the types of questions that … [Read more...]

Concessional contributions: Turning 50 is all about timing

Q: I was born in May 1966 (turning 50 in May 2016). Can you explain which financial year I am considered to be over 50 in relation to the special $35,000 concessional contributions cap?A: For the benefit of other readers, I will first explain the concessional (before-tax) contribution rules for … [Read more...]

Superannuation contributions: Wearing two caps

Q: Are the caps relating to ‘concessional’ and ‘non-concessional’ contributions regarded as separate? Put simply, can I contribute $30,000 concessional and $540,000 non-concessional sums (a total contribution of $570,000) to my super fund for the 2015/2016 year?A: ‘Yes’ is the answer to the … [Read more...]

Bring-forward rule: 10 super facts you should know

I receive a lot of questions from readers seeking information about how the non-concessional (after-tax) rules work; in particular, how the bring-forward rules works. The bring-forward rule works over a 3-year period so it is very important that you keep track of the size and timing of any … [Read more...]

Contributions caps relate to financial years, not calendar years

Q: I understand the three-year bring-forward rule that allows you to contribute up to $540,000 in after-tax contributions. My question is: What date does the second three-year period start? For example, if I contributed $540,000 on 28 Dec 2015, does that mean I can contribute another $540,000 on or … [Read more...]

Help! How can we find independent financial advice?

Q: My husband and I are looking to start a SMSF. We have been able to find sources for the set up, accounting and audit of the fund and are now looking for assistance on the investment portfolio. We have a share portfolio outside super and so we have some knowledge in the area but do not feel … [Read more...]

Divorce and superannuation: Who gets what?

Q: I am at the end of a divorce/property settlement. My ex has agreed to give me my share of his super. Does this have to go into a superannuation fund or can he transfer it to me in some other way? And can you please explain how super should be treated when a divorce happens, because it has been … [Read more...]

Do you fit the latest profile of a ‘typical’ SMSF trustee?

Note: We regularly update this article with the latest data on self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) issued by the Australian Taxation Office. This article contains the latest data available as at November 2015 (for data up to June 2015).The latest ATO statistics on SMSFs (representing SMSF … [Read more...]

Divorce: How is Australian superannuation divided in a NZ divorce?

Q: Are you able to shed any light on how Australian super funds are treated/divided by New Zealand courts in the case of divorce, where the two parties are also New Zealand citizens?We’re not familiar with NZ family law but what I can say is that whatever a NZ court determines in relation to … [Read more...]