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.

The super challenge: At what age should I retire?

Selecting a retirement age, even if you plan to continue some form of work during retirement, can be a difficult decision. In some cases, individuals don’t get a choice about when to retire due to health issues, or due to redundancy in later years and then difficulty finding another job. Although … [Read more...]

Salary sacrificing and super: 10 facts you should know

Salary sacrificing superannuation, by making before-tax super contributions, is a popular strategy for employees on middle-to-high incomes. The deal is that you increase your superannuation balance (and pay 15% contributions tax, and for those earning an adjusted taxable income of more than … [Read more...]

Concessional contributions caps: 10 facts you should know

We receive many questions about the concessional contributions caps. Throughout 2015 and into 2016, SuperGuide, as always, will regularly update readers on any proposed changes to the contributions caps (and other super changes), and the implications of such changes on super strategies. The list … [Read more...]

Financial freedom: Retirement planning in six steps

How much money do you need in retirement to live a lifestyle free of everyday money worries? For many Australians, this means a lifestyle where you can pay your bills without financial stress, you can enjoy an occasional holiday (or many!), you can maintain your car and house, and you can buy gifts … [Read more...]

Super for beginners, part 7: Can I split my super benefits with my spouse?

Q: I am 41 years old and my partner is 56 years old. We have a very big mortgage as we are both the casualties of wealth destroying divorces and single parenthood! Thus we intend to pay off our mortgage before putting more into our superannuation. Can I transfer part of my superannuation to his fund … [Read more...]

Contributing to your spouse’s super account

Q: My wife and I have established an SMSF. I’m fully employed while my wife has not been working since July, and she is unlikely to return to work before the end of this financial year. My question concerns maximising tax strategies for this year. Can I contribute on her behalf in after-tax dollars … [Read more...]