Outside of restricted access in the case of serious illness or financial hardship, the only way to access the bulk of your super is to have both reached the preservation age and to have retired. The specific preservation age that applies to you depends on the year you were born, and as of 1 July 2018 you will need to be at least 57 years old to access your super. This age will continue to rise over the next few of years until it is uniformly 60 for everyone.
The below table shows the different preservation ages you need to be to access your super; while people born before July 1960 could access their super at 55, they will now all be older than that.
|Date of birth||Preservation age(years)|
|Before 1 July 1960||55|
|1 July 1960 – 30 June 1961||56|
|1 July 1961 – 30 June 1962||57|
|1 July 1962 – 30 June 1963||58|
|1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964||59|
|After 30 June 1964||60|
If you have reached your preservation age, you can then retire and gain access to the entirety of your super. However, if you want to continue to work it’s a little more complex. If you’re 65 or older then you can simply access your super and still keep working, either full or part-time, with no special conditions. If you’re aged between 60 and 64, you need to resign from a current employer to access your super, but you can return to work at any time. If you’re aged between you’re preservation age and 59, the main strategy to access some of your super while continuing to work is to start a transition to retirement pension.
Transitioning to retirement
A transition to retirement pension, sometimes known as a TRIP or a TTR pension allows you to access between 4% and 10% of your super each year as an income stream while still working and making concessional super contributions. This may be quite tax effective for some, as your super withdrawals will be taxed at your applicable marginal rate, with a 15% offset to account for the tax already paid. This continues until you reach 60, at which point the withdrawals become tax free, and all the while you can continue to put money into your super fund from working.
If you want to access some of your super but continue working, then a TTR pension may be the most straightforward way to do so. You can find more information about them here.