Superannuation can be hard enough if you’re living and working in Australia to keep on top of, let alone if you’re living and working overseas as an expat.
Two of the most common things that I face when working with our Australian expat clients is either:
- They ignore the whole thing and figure that they’ll deal it when they get back home or
- They simply don’t have the time or the expertise to keep on top of all of the changes to the limits, the rules, the caps and so on.
Let’s get into today how and when you can access your superannuation.
For most people we can access our superannuation in one of two ways.
The first and most common is when we’ve fully retired, i.e. we’ve left the workforce and we’ve reached our preservation age.
Our preservation age is based on our date of birth and ranges from 55 to 60. You’ll see exactly what these numbers are in the following table.
The second way we can access our superannuation funds is through what is called a transition to retirement income stream. This is where we make regular contributions whilst also making withdrawals from our super fund, and it’s important that we’re still working at the time.
We won’t get into the tax treatment and exactly how this strategy works, or when you might want to consider it, but if you are nearing retirement and want to explore if it’s right for you, reach out to your accountant and your financial planner and start exploring the implications for yourself.
Once you have actually retired you can typically access your superannuation in one of three ways.
The first of these is as a lump sum whereby it’s yours to spend as you please.
The second is through what is called an account-based pension. This is common for most people whereby you’ll make regular withdrawals as your income generally under a tax-free structure, but again it’s important to speak to your Adviser or your super fund and explore these details.
The third is through what is called an annuity product, whereby you utilise your superannuation funds to purchase an annuity that will provide you with a regular income for a fixed period of time.
Each of these will have their own costs and benefits, and unique tax implications also, so remember to speak to your accountant or your financial planner and explore the details and which one is going to be best for yourself.
A common question that I’m asked by our clients is ‘can I get access to my superannuation funds early?’ Unfortunately, for the majority of us, the answer is no, however there are some limited circumstances whereby the trustees of the super fund will grant an early release.
These include circumstances like being diagnosed with a terminal illness, under financial hardship, working in Australia as a temporary resident on a temporary visa or if you suffer a long-term disability preventing you from ever likely returning to the workforce.
We won’t get into all of the details and these will require trustee approval so if you feel that you might fall into one of these categories speak to your financial planner or your superannuation fund and explore the implications for yourself.
If you have any questions at all about your superannuation, how you can get access it, or just want to be sure that it’s working hard for you, feel free to reach out to me on the contact details provided.
Likewise, if you have a personal finance question that you’d like us to tap into for one of our future videos, let me know and we’d be happy to explore it.
To Your Financial Success!
Jarrad Brown is an Australian-trained and qualified Fee-Based Financial Planner with Australian Expatriate Group of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd providing specialist financial advice and portfolio management services to Australian professionals in Singapore. Jarrad Brown is an Authorised Representative of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd – No: 200305462G | MAS License No: FA100035-3
Australian Expatriate Group is a division of Global Financial Consultants in Singapore providing specialist advice to Australians living abroad.
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General Information Only: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take into account your individual financial situation, objectives or needs. You should consider your own financial position and requirements before making a decision.
*Please note that Jarrad Brown is not a tax agent or accountant and none of the content outlined here should be taken as personal advice. You should consult your tax agent and financial adviser to review your current personal finances and financial goals to consider whether this strategy is appropriate for you.