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Making your super last

When Australians reach retirement age, they have the option of withdrawing their superannuation as a lump sum or taking a pension that will be a reliable source of income for a number of years.

Taking out your superannuation as a lump sum can be incredibly tempting, especially if you reach retirement age with some debts that still need to be paid off. However, blowing through your superannuation is easier than you think. If you choose to withdraw a lump sum, then you find your superannuation is insufficient to fund a comfortable retirement.

Industry experts estimate that a single person needs an income of approximately $43 000 per annum to fund a comfortable retirement while a couple needs approximately $58 000. The age pension, at its current rate, only just exceeds half of these amounts.

If you are nearing retirement age, you should carefully consider your options when it comes to withdrawing your superannuation. If there is some reason that you need to make a lump sum withdrawal, for example, a daunting mortgage, then you may care to investigate a variety of strategies. Remaining in the workforce for an additional few years will boost your superannuation savings and the transition to retirement program offers over 55s some significant tax breaks.

Posted on 19 January '15 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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