How much money do you get on the pension?

The standard age pension for Australians is $894.40 per fortnight for singles and $1,348.40 per fortnight for couples.

How to know if you can afford to retire

While there’s no set-in-stone timeframe, you can help calculate whether you can afford to retire based on a few factors.

How millennials can become millionaires

The media is full of stories about how millennials are doomed to live poverty-stricken lives. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

How do I consolidate my superannuation accounts?

Many Australians have multiple superannuation accounts, which they’ve acquired after swapping jobs during their career.

What are industry superannuation funds?

Industry superannuation funds are funds that are owned by members rather than shareholders.

What is the superannuation guarantee?

The superannuation guarantee rate is the minimum percentage of your salary that your employer must pay into your superannuation fund.

What happens to my superannuation if I divorce?

You or your partner could be forced to surrender part of your superannuation if you divorce, just like with other assets.

What is salary sacrificing?

Finding additional ways to increase your super balance could help you live a comfortable post-working life. This is where making salary sacrifices comes into play.

What is an SMSF?

An SMSF is a self-managed superannuation fund. SMSF members directly invest their own retirement savings, instead of paying others to do it on their behalf.

Changes to the pension asset test to come into effect Januar

For those who receive, or that are planning to receive the aged pension, it would pay to double check your eligibility in light of changes to the asset test that will come into effect in the new year.

Making sense of the super changes

After backlash from both savers and crossbenchers, the Government came to a compromise last week and shelved one of its most controversial super plans.

Retirement funding gender gap closing slowly but surely

The average net worth of Australian women in the pre-retirement phase (aged 50-64 and still working) has increased by 26.8 per cent in the past 8 years, bringing it closer than ever to that of their male counterparts.

Super pay out: Income streams trump lump sums

New data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this month shows an increasing number of retirees are choosing to access their superannuation through an income stream rather than by receiving lump sum payments.

Learn more about Superannuation

How long after divorce can you claim superannuation?

You or your partner could be forced to surrender part of your superannuation if you divorce, just like with other assets.

You can file a claim for division of property – including superannuation – as soon as you divorce. However, the claim has to be filed within one year of the divorce.

Your superannuation could be affected even if you’re in a de facto relationship – that is, living together as a couple without being officially married.

In that case, the claim has to be filed within two years of the date of separation.

Either way, the first thing to consider is whether you’re a member of a standard, APRA-regulated superannuation fund or if you’re a member of a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF), because different rules apply.

Standard superannuation funds

If your relationship breaks down, your superannuation savings might be divided by court order or by agreement.

The rules of the superannuation fund will dictate whether this transfer happens immediately, or in the future when the person who has to make the transfer is allowed to access the rest of their superannuation (i.e. at or near retirement).

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SMSFs

If your relationship breaks down, you must continue to observe the trust deed of your SMSF.

So if you and your partner are both members of the same SMSF, neither party is allowed to use the fund to inflict ‘punishment’ – such as by excluding the other party from the decision-making process or refusing their request to roll their money into another superannuation fund.

This no-punishment rule applies even if the two parties are involved in legal proceedings.

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Financial consequences

Superannuation funds often charge a fee for splitting accounts after a relationship breakdown.

Splitting superannuation can also impact the size of your total super balance and how your super is taxed.

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When did superannuation start?

Australia’s modern superannuation system – in which employers make compulsory contributions to their employees – started in 1992. However, before that, there were various restricted superannuation schemes applying to certain employees in certain industries. The very first superannuation scheme was introduced in the 19th century.

What is superannuation?

Superannuation is money set aside for your retirement. This money is automatically paid into your superannuation fund by your employer.

When did superannuation start in Australia?

Australia’s modern superannuation system – in which employers make compulsory contributions to their employees – started in 1992. However, before that, there were various restricted superannuation schemes applying to certain employees in certain industries. The very first superannuation scheme was introduced in the 19th century.

How many superannuation funds are there?

There are more than 200 different superannuation funds.

How can I increase my superannuation?

You can increase your superannuation through a ‘salary sacrifice’. This is where your employer takes part of your pre-tax salary and pays it directly into your superannuation account. Like regular superannuation contributions, salary sacrifices are taxed at 15 per cent when they are paid into the fund.

Who can open a superannuation account?

Superannuation accounts can be opened by Australians, permanent residents and temporary residents. You’re automatically entitled to superannuation if:

  • You’re over 18 and earn more than $450 before tax in a calendar month
  • You’re under 18, you work more than 30 hours per week and you earn more than $450 before tax in a calendar month

Is superannuation included in taxable income?

Superannuation is not included when calculating your income tax. So if you have a salary of $50,000, your assessable income would be $50,000, not $50,000 plus superannuation.

That said, superannuation itself is taxed. It is generally taxed at 15 per cent, although if you earn less than $37,000, you will be reimbursed up to $500 of the tax you paid.

How do you access superannuation?

Accessing your superannuation is a simple administrative procedure – you just ask your fund to pay it. You can access your superannuation in three different ways:

  • Lump sum
  • Account-based pension
  • Part lump sum and part account-based pension

However, please note that your superannuation fund will only be able to make a payout if you meet the ‘conditions of release’. The conditions of release say you can claim your super when you reach:

  • Age 65
  • Your ‘preservation age’ and retire
  • Your preservation age and begin a ‘transition to retirement’ while still working

The preservation age has six different categories:

Date of birth Preservation age
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
From 1 July 1964 60

There are also seven special circumstances under which you can claim your superannuation:

  • Compassionate grounds
  • Severe financial hardship
  • Temporary incapacity
  • Permanent incapacity
  • Superannuation inheritance
  • Superannuation balance under $200
  • Temporary resident departing Australia

Am I entitled to superannuation if I'm not an Australian citizen?

Yes, permanent and temporary residents are entitled to superannuation.