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What can I do with my super when I retire?

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For most of your life, access to your super has seemed a long way off.
Now that day is getting closer and there are decisions to be made.

Once you can access you super, your options include: cashing it out as a lump sum, leaving it in accumulation phase, converting it to an account-based pension or a combination of these.

When can I access my super?

Your superannuation is accessible once you turn 65 (even if you haven’t retired), though there are circumstances where you can access it sooner.

If you reach your preservation age and retire — or you're over 60 and change jobs or temporarily stop working — you may also be eligible to access your super.

The preservation age differs depending on when you were born, ranging from 55 to 60.

Date of birth Preservation age
Before 1 July 1960 55
1 July  1960 to 30 June 1961 56
1 July 1961 to 30 June 1962 57
1 July 1962 to 30 June 1963 58
1 July 1963 to 30 June 1964 59
After 30 June 1964 60


Once I can access it, what can I do with it?

Cashing out

Cashing out your superannuation can be tempting, since it provides immediate access to a lump sum of money that can help cover expenses or pay off debts.

But it's important to carefully consider the drawbacks.

Withdrawing your super before you turn 60 may result in paying tax. It can also negatively impact your retirement savings by reducing your overall balance and potential earnings.

Leaving it in

Leaving your money in a super account can potentially help your retirement savings grow through investment returns and further contributions.

One significant advantage of leaving your money in super is that you can withdraw from it whenever you want after reaching your preservation age and retiring.

You'll generally pay a maximum of 15% tax on earnings within your super account, which may be significantly lower than the tax rates you face outside of super.

Converting to an account-based pension

Another option is to transfer up to $1.9 million of your super into an account-based pension. This provides many benefits including:

  • Flexibility to choose how much and when you receive payments
  • Tax-free investment earnings
  • Tax-free lump sum or pension payments for those aged 60 or over

It’s important to note there are some requirements associated with account-based pensions.

For example, you are required to have a minimum annual payment from your pension account, which is calculated based on your age and account balance.

There is also a transfer balance cap, which is the maximum amount of money that you can transfer into retirement phase income streams (including account-based pensions). The current transfer balance cap is $1.9 million.

How do I open an account-based pension with Perpetual?

Perpetual Select Pension Plan – open an account

Perpetual WealthFocus Pension Plan – open an account

Further information

For further information please speak to your financial adviser or call us on 1800 022 033 during business hours (Sydney time).

However, as a general starting point, you can use the Money Smart calculator to work out:

  • How long your account-based pension will last
  • How investment returns will affect your pension balance

Read more retirement articles here.

This information has been prepared by Perpetual Superannuation Limited (PSL) ABN 84 008 416 831, AFSL 225246, RSE L0003315 as trustee of the Perpetual’s Select Superannuation Fund (ABN 51 068 260 563) and Perpetual WealthFocus Superannuation Fund (ABN 41 772 007 500). It is general information only and is not intended to provide you with financial advice or take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Any tax information contained in this article is not tax advice (and should not be relied on as such) and is believed to be accurate at the time of compilation. You should consider, with a financial adviser, whether the information is suitable for your circumstances. To the extent permitted by law, no liability is accepted for any loss or damage as a result of any reliance on this information. The Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the relevant Fund, issued by PSL, should be considered before deciding whether to acquire or hold units in any of the options. The PDSs and Target Market Determinations can be obtained by calling 1800 022 033 or visiting out website www.perpetual.com.au. No company in the Perpetual Group (Perpetual Limited ABN 86 000 431 827 and its subsidiaries) guarantees the performance of any fund/option or the return of an investor’s capital.