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.

What are the super and retirement rules for over-65s?

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Q: My wife (age 63) and myself (age 65) have a small business. I was told by an organisation that at 65 or over I could put money into super, pay 15% tax on the way in and then draw it out when I wished and pay no tax. In fact I have been told to pay myself $30,000 or less and source the rest of my … [Read more...]

Updated life tables: Have our Australian life expectancies peaked?

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Australians born today are expected to live longer than Aussies born five years earlier, on average, according to the Australian Life Tables. The prospect of a longer life doesn’t seem to apply however if you’re a woman or man in your late-eighties or nineties (see tables 1 and 2 later in this … [Read more...]

Turning 55: Taking super, tax and timing

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Q: If at 55, I take up to $185,000 out of my super as a lump sum tax free, when I turn 60 will I be able to draw down as a lump sum the rest of my superannuation without having to pay tax as well? A: For an individual to access preserved super benefits they must satisfy a condition of release, … [Read more...]

I’m under 60. Does my super payout also affect my other income, and tax bill?

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Q: I have tried to phone the ATO re this query. Could you tell me the answer to this question? I turn 55 soon and I am eligible for a super payout of $185,554 next month of which only the $554 is taxable at 17.0%. However I still intend to keep working at my $58,000 a year job and wondered how this … [Read more...]

Tax-free super for over-60s, except for some

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If you withdraw your super benefits after you turn 60 years of age, you can expect to pay no tax on those super benefits, unless you are a member of certain public sector super funds (see summary table at the end of this article). Due to the large number of emails I have received about this topic … [Read more...]

Accessing super: Preservation age jumps to 56 years from July 2015

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Turning 55, retiring and accessing your super will become a thing of the past from July 2015. Anyone born on or after 1 July 1960 needs to push from their mind that the age of 55 is the ticket to superannuation access. From 1 July 2015, Australians turning 55 will have to wait at least another year … [Read more...]

I’m 58 and I have $230,000 in super.
Will my super be taxed?

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Q: I’ve just turned 58, and I’m thinking of retiring before I turn 60. I would like to know whether I would have to pay tax on my superannuation. I know that after I turn 60, it’s tax-free, so my inquiry is regarding the period until I turn 60. My super money consists of compulsory employer … [Read more...]

I retired at 59. Do I pay tax on my superannuation lump sum?

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Q: I retired in September 2014. I’m now living on a tiny super pension of about $710 a fortnight. In September 2014, I also received a $15,000 superannuation lump sum. The tax free component of my total superannuation is 66% and the taxable component is 34%. I turned 60 in February 2015. Do I have … [Read more...]

SuperGuide checklist: 10 more ways to boost your super

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Note: This article is the second in a special two-part series that SuperGuide updates regularly, designed to help SuperGuide readers more easily access the hundreds of questions and articles that we have published on the SuperGuide website. This article, ’Super checklist: 10 more ways to boost your … [Read more...]

SuperGuide checklist: 10 ways to save your super

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SuperGuide receives hundreds of questions every week from Australians wanting to create a better life for themselves in retirement. The types of questions we receive include: how much super should my employer contribute each year, how much money is enough, how can I work out if I am in a good super … [Read more...]