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Insurance through super: is it right for you?

Taking out insurance through a super fund can be a great option for some members, but it does also come with some pitfalls.

Most super funds provide their members with insurance options and an option to increase, decrease or cancel your default insurance cover. There are many benefits of taking out insurance through super, which include:
– the ability to purchase policies in bulk
– not having to pay for premiums with your take-home income
– the convenience of having your policy managed for you
– most policies in super tend to be pre-approved, meaning there is no need for interviews or medical check-ups
– life insurance inside super is deductible to the fund at 15 per cent annually; whereas life insurance premiums held outside of super are not tax deductible.

However, there are some pitfalls of holding insurance through your super, including:
– there is generally a limit on the payout that can be received from an insurance policy purchased by a super fund. In public funds, it is usually between $100,000 and $200,000. For some people, this amount may be more than enough. However, if you have dependents and a mortgage, it may be insufficient to look after your loved ones should something happen to you.
– the types of insurance and levels of cover are limited
– typically insurance cover rises after reaching 50 years – taking a large chunk of contributions
– life insurance coverage ends when you reach a certain age (usually 65 or 70); policies outside of super may cover you for longer

Anyone using a super fund to provide insurance should ensure that they have an appropriate death benefit nomination in place that specifies who their super will go to in the event of their death. If you nominate a non-tax dependent as the beneficiary then they might end up with a hefty tax bill in the event of a lump sum payout (whereas, life insurance payouts outside of super tend to be tax-free).

Posted on 1 March '17 by , under Super.

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Transition to retirement

The transition to retirement (TTR) strategy allows you to access some of your super while you continue to work.

You are able to use the TTR strategy if you are aged 55 to 60. You can use it to supplement your income if you reduce your work hours or boost your super and save on tax while you keep working full time.

  • Starting a TTR pension: To start your TTR pension, transfer some of your super to an account-based pension. You have to keep some money in your super account so that you can continue to receive your employer's compulsory contributions as well as any voluntary contributions you may be making.
  • Government benefits and TTR: The benefits you or your partner receive might be impacted if you choose to opt for this strategy. How and what exactly will change might become clearer upon discussing this with a Financial Information Service (FIS) officer.
  • Life insurance and TTR: In some cases, the life insurance cover you have with your super may stop or reduce if you start a TTR pension – check this before making any decisions or changes.

TTR can help ease your mind as you transition into retirement but it can be a bit complex. Before you choose whether you want to use TTR to reduce work hours or save on tax, or even if you want to use TTR altogether, you should figure out how this will impact all aspects of your finances.

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