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.

Accessing super early: 14 legal reasons to cash your super

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Many Australians are facing hard times, especially with structural change transforming our economy. The harsh reality is that mortgage repayments and everyday living expenses continue even when you when suffer redundancy, illness or other forms of misfortune. We receive hundreds of emails from … [Read more...]

Accessing super: What is my preservation age?

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We receive hundreds of questions each year asking when you can retire under the super rules, and any special conditions you need to meet before you can take your super benefits. The key concept that every Australian needs to be aware of in terms of superannuation, and accessing super benefits, is … [Read more...]

Accessing super early: Terminally ill receive tax break

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Individuals with a terminal medical condition are able to access their super lump sum payments tax-free, regardless of age. A super fund can release super benefits to a member if they have a terminal medical condition. According to the legislation, a terminal medical condition exists if two … [Read more...]

Can I access super early due to ‘severe financial hardship’?

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Q: I am in financial hardship. Can I withdraw my super to pay my expenses? A: I’m sorry to read about your circumstances. Yes, in certain circumstances individuals suffering financial hardship may be able to access a portion of their super benefits. You must apply to your super fund to claim … [Read more...]

Accessing super early: Not for business debts

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Q: I am in partnership in a franchise business. We have been struggling since the beginning of the recent financial crisis, and have fallen behind on rent and we are just managing to keep up with service providers. I would like to withdraw my superannuation to invest into the business. I only have … [Read more...]

Super for beginners, part 24: Do I have to withdraw my super when I turn 65?

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Q: I retired, sold my large house, downgraded, invested spare money and one month after I invested, I lost $50,000 just like that. I would like to know whether I can keep my super going beyond age 65, maybe to age 67 to help recoup my losses on my outside investment? A: I’m very sorry to read … [Read more...]

Accessing super early: Unemployed and in financial hardship

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Q: I have been unemployed for 10 months now and I am still having problems finding work. I’ve got bills to pay off and I’m finding it hard to do that with the tiny amount I get from Centrelink each fortnight. Is there any way I can claim I have financial difficulties and use my superannuation … [Read more...]