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.

Age Pension: Does my superannuation lump sum count for income test?

Q: I’m over 65 and a member of a super fund, from which I receive an account-based pension. I need to withdraw a lump sum of $40,000 from my super, as my super is not enough to live on. I will have to apply for a part pension (Age) from Centrelink. Will my lump sum be counted as income in the … [Read more...]

Does Trish Power offer personal financial planning advice?

Q: I have met many financial planners including 3 independent ones, but they don’t seem to know much and all said different things. They don’t seem to show interest and care for my retirement. I am a 61 year-old female and have no super. I need to do something fast. I am just a piano teacher and … [Read more...]

Super for Beginners (25 Q&As)

One of SuperGuide’s more popular initiatives has been the development of a ‘Super for Beginners’ section that answers some of the many questions that we receive from those readers who are new to superannuation and new to super’s terminology.The series currently consists of several lead articles, … [Read more...]

Super for beginners, part 25: Is super worthwhile if I’m earning less than $37,000?

Q: Great site! Lots of excellent information. I now work part-time, earning just under $37,000, and wondered whether I should bother with super. I am pretty sure I will get the Age Pension, and based on my income I reckon I would be better to save outside super and pay less tax, rather than have my … [Read more...]

Super for beginners, part 22: How do you speak ‘superannuation’ (… in 20 words)?

Many Australians find the stodgy language of superannuation confusing. The terminology associated with superannuation is a barrier to self-education and may deter some Australians from taking early steps to plan for retirement. Millions of Australians care about their super account even though they … [Read more...]

Super for beginners, part 16: Tax-free twice

Q: I am confused. When I retire and I am over 60 I receive tax-free super benefits. Someone has told me that I also get other tax-free stuff. Can you tell me what that is?In terms of retirement and superannuation, when you reach 60 and start a retirement income stream (super pension) you get two … [Read more...]

Know your super limits: Reducing CGT via concessional contributions

Q: I am one of those people (and my wife) who made the decision years ago to invest in property rather than super. Now at 60, (wife 55) I am retired and live off my property investments. I would like to get rid of the properties at about age 65. Mainly because of the worry, and maintenance upkeep, … [Read more...]

Super for beginners, part 15: Super tax – as easy as 1-2-3

Superannuation only exists because of how super savings are taxed. Superannuation savings receive tax incentives to encourage Australians to choose super as a retirement savings option. Even so, superannuation is still taxed (for most Australians) at a lower rate of tax than non-superannuation … [Read more...]