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: $1 million opportunity

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Q: I am aged 54. How much can I make in super contributions without attracting penalty tax? Is it $210,000 or $215,000 or some other figure? A: Before I answer your question in detail, for the benefit of other readers I will first explain the figures you quote in your question. The general … [Read more...]

Super for beginners, part 17: Four must-knows about super’s tax rules

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Q: I am trying to understand how my super is taxed and it seems that it is taxed at every turn. Can you please explain when, and how, a super benefit is taxed? A: If it were not for tax, superannuation wouldn’t exist. You would simply invest in your own name. Superannuation is taxed at lower … [Read more...]

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

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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...]

A key reason Australians leave large funds and choose SMSFs

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Not so long ago, many in the super industry predicted that Australia's love affair with SMSFs would fade, and some commentators announced that the number of SMSFs operating had peaked due to our small population. If I recall, that prediction was made when around 400,000 SMSFs were in existence. … [Read more...]

Retirement: Can Australia afford to support your lifestyle?

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Are you planning to support yourself over a 30-year or even 40-year retirement or do you think Australia can afford to finance your retirement? The superannuation industry and the federal government continues to grapple with this issue, that is, whether Australia will continue to be in a position to … [Read more...]

Super for beginners, part 14: Save tax – Supply TFN to your super fund

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Here’s a tip that can potentially save you thousands of dollars. Check that your super fund has your tax file number. If you joined a super fund before July 2007, or started your current job before July 2007, then your fund may not have your TFN. Effective since 1 July 2007, when you give your … [Read more...]

Super health check for beginners: 10 tips for your 2014/2015 retirement planning

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Note: This article is current for the 2014/2015 financial year. Near the start of each financial year, SuperGuide publishes an updated super checklist for beginner readers. More advanced checklists will follow in coming months. Use this list as a kick-start for your 2014/2015 super resolutions. … [Read more...]

Super for beginners: 8 steps to super success

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Merely thinking about your super means you’re straddling the first major hurdle that most Australians face when planning (or not) for their retirement and looking into your future. As an employee, you have your employer helping you with your retirement plans by making compulsory super … [Read more...]

Super in 3 steps: You’re probably richer than you think

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If you have more than one super account you’re probably paying more in fees than you need to, and possible having insurance premiums deducted from each of your super accounts. Paying at least double (and triple if you have 2 super accounts) in fees and insurance is not a great retirement planning … [Read more...]

Life insurance: One in five parents will die early, or be too sick to work

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On average, Australians enjoy long lives but the flipside of that equation is that some people die young, and many of those who die young are parents. One in five parents will become too sick or injured to work, or will die before retirement age, according to a disturbing report released during … [Read more...]