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Accessing your money

Super is a long-term investment, designed by the Government to pay for your retirement. It has set rules for when it can be accessed, which are generally the same for all super funds.

When can I access my super?

  • After you reach preservation age
  • In times of financial hardship
  • On compassionate grounds
  • If you're a temporary resident permanently leaving the country; or
  • If you are terminally ill or permanently incapacitated

What’s my preservation age?

Your preservation age is the minimum age, set by law, that your super must be 'preserved' until. Your preservation age is currently between 55 and 60, depending on when you were born.

When you reach preservation age, you can access your super as long as you are permanently retired (or reached age 65). If you haven't permanently retired, you can still access part of your super via a transition to retirement pension.

Date of birthPreservation age
Before 1 July 196055
1 July 1960 to 30 June 196156
1 July 1961 to 30 June 196257
1 July 1962 to 30 June 196358
1 July 1963 to 30 June 196459
1 July 1964 and onward60

Retirement benefits & retirement income options

Once you have reached preservation age and the terms of release, you can choose to receive your super as a:

  • lump sum (part or the whole amount deposited to your bank account) or
  • an account-based pension, also known as a retirement income stream (e.g. $500 a fortnight)
  • or a combination of both. 

Seek financial advice if you need help working out what's best for you.

Transfer balance cap

There is a limit on how much money can be held in an account-based pension. This is called the transfer balance cap and is currently set at $1.9 million. Details of this and other changes to super are available on the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website.

Cashing in your super 

When you retire you can take your super as a lump sum. You don't have to take it all at once, you may decide to leave it in super and withdraw it a bit at a time as you need it.

Taking your super as a lump sum can have tax and Centrelink implications. If you make a mistake you might not be able to put the money back into super.

If you are aged 60 or over you can withdraw your super tax-free. If you are under age 60 you may have to pay tax depending on the components of your super.

If you would like to access your super, please contact us.

Temporary residents

By law, legalsuper must pay the ATO the benefit of any temporary resident who has departed Australia (and whose visa has not expired or been cancelled) if it is not claimed within six months of departure. On request, legalsuper will provide an exit statement to a non-resident. Visit ato.gov.au for more information.

New Zealand’s KiwiSaver

If you are moving from Australia to New Zealand you can take your super with you. You may transfer your superannuation benefits to a New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme (which is not taxed on exit). You must let legalsuper know that you wish to transfer your benefits to a KiwiSaver scheme and we will provide a statement demonstrating your balance to both you and to your KiwiSaver scheme provider.

The same rules apply when accessing your Australian superannuation benefits - you are unable to use your Australian super benefits until you reach the relevant preservation age or if you meet certain criteria. For more information refer to the ATO website.