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Over the past thirty years with the number of legislative and tax changes, Superannuation has become a very complex issue to understand for most Australians who prefer to have someone they can trust and rely upon to assist them with these matters.


Despite these changes, Superannuation is one of the major assets of many Australians.

It forms an integral part of your financial planning in helping you achieve your lifestyle goals and objectives in a very tax efficient manner.

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Superannuation - How much is enough?

Superannuation is attractive because it receives favourable tax treatment, both when you are working and once you have retired. The government offers these tax savings to encourage you to build your retirement savings.

Tax Benefits of Super include:

 contributions made to super may attract a tax deduction, Government co-contribution or tax offset.

 investment earnings are taxed at a maximum of 15% rather than your marginal tax rate of up to 47%. Capital gains are taxed at a maximum rate of 15%.

 your super benefit can be paid as a tax-free pension or lump sum when you reach 60 and satisfy the criteria to access your funds, provided your pension account balance is no more than $1.6 million.

How Much Super Will You Need?

The amount of money you will need in retirement varies from person to person, and depends on:

  •  the kind of lifestyle you want other income options in retirement (such as pert-time work or payments from other investments) that will supplement your super, and

  •  the age at which you would like to retire.

Managing Your Own Super Fund

A self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) has the same purpose as other super funds - to provide retirement venefits for its members.

How are SMSF different?

Perhaps the main difference between SMSFs and other types of super funds is the control of the fund. All super funds are controlled by a trustee, but in the case of industry funds, employer funds or personal funds the trustee is an institution or large entity, such as a company. With an SMSF, the trustees are the members of the fund. Perhaps the most influential difference with an SMSF is that you have greater control over the investment of your super savings. This is because you are making the investment decisions.

What is Transition to Retirement

Transition to retirement is a strategy that can help you reduce your working hours while maintaining the same level of income. This is achieved by drawing a pension from superannuation using the 'transition to retirement' condition of release. Everyone who is preservation age (currently 56) but less than 65 years of age is eligible to commence a non-commutable allocated pension.

Transition to retirement income stream 'TRIS' have been popular since the federal government's transition to retirement rules were introduced in 2005. This is because TRISs allow older Australians access to their preserved super benefits  without having to retire.

Key benefits of an TRIS strategy may include:

  •  the opportunity to maintain your current income and boost your retirement savings through salary sacrifice (income swap strategy), or 

  •  supplementing your income while reducing your work hours and gradually transitioning into retirement.

The case study is illustrative only and is not an estimate of the benefits or investment returns you will receive or fees and costs you will incur.

The case study is based on the following assumptions:

(a) Michael beginning a transition to retirement income swap at age 56;

(b) Based on Michael's gross salary of $60,000 per year, $200,000 accumulated super savings; and

(c) Michael has salary sacrificed an amount of $24,687 for the 2016/17 financial year.

This document contains general advice only. You need to consider with your financial planner, your investment objectives, financial situation and your particular needs prior to making any strategy or products decision.

This information is correct as of April 2016