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Planning for retirement questions

We get a lot of questions from members when they start to plan their retirement. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from our members.

Can I return to work after accessing my super?

Yes, you can return to work after accessing your super in retirement. Sometimes plans change and people choose to return to part-time work after retirement. You can still access your existing retirement savings.

Any new contributions made to super (and their investment earnings) will need to be preserved until you either retire again or meet a ‘condition of release’ once aged 65 and over.

In some situations, if you have retired and are on the Age Pension, should you return to work, you can earn up to a certain amount each week without impacting your Age Pension payments. It’s known as a work bonus

I have reached my preservation age but I don’t want to access my super yet

That’s fine. You can keep your super in your First Super superannuation account.

When you’re closer to retiring you can transfer it to a First Super Retirement Income account. Keeping your super savings with First Super will ensure it continues to be well invested and grow through investment returns.

How long will my retirement savings last?

How long your retirement savings will last will depend on the amount of retirement income payments and how often you receive them, together with how your retirement savings are invested. Each time you make an extra withdrawal from your First Super Retirement Income account it reduces the length of time your retirement income payments will last.

The best way to find out how long your Retirement Income account may last is to complete a Retirement Health Check. There’s no cost to you, and a financial planner can guide you through what information you need to get started.

It takes only 30 – 40 minutes and your financial planner will give you a great picture of your income in retirement, the role the Age Pension can play, as well as highlighting the effect of any lump sum withdrawals. We can include your partner in the Retirement Health Check, even if they are not a First Super member.

If you prefer, try using Money Smarts Retirement Income Calculator to get an idea of how long your pension may last.

Call 1300 360 988 to arrange a Retirement Health Check for your super today.

Can I access my super and Age Pension?

Yes, provided you meet the eligibility conditions for the Age Pension you can use both your First Super Retirement Income payments together with the Age Pension to fund your retirement.

Many First Super members use a combination of super and the Age Pension in retirement. Visit the Super and Age Pension for more information.

Can I access my super at 60 and still work?

Once you have reached your preservation age, you can access a limited amount of your super whilst you are still working with your current employer. It’s called Transition to Retirement.

If you are aged between 60 – 64, you can access your super when you leave your employer or retire. Even if you return to work, you can still access your current super. However, any new super you accumulate through returning to work will be preserved until you either retire again or meet a ‘condition of release’ once aged 65 and over.

When you reach Age 65 you have full access to your super even if you continue to work.

Is my super tax-free?

Age 60 and over

1. If you retain funds in your superannuation (accumulation) account, any investment earnings and concessional contributions (employer, salary sacrifice and any voluntary contributions claimed as a tax-deduction) will be taxed up to 15%. First Super will automatically deduct the tax payable on superannuation investment earnings and concessional contributions from your account. Any non-concessional contributions will not be taxed. This will be itemised in your annual statement.

2. If you have a Transition to Retirement (TTR) income account, then your TTR drawings are tax free, but the investment earnings will continue to be taxed up to 15%. Any concessional contributions will continue to be taxed at 15%.

3. When you start a First Super Retirement Income account your retirement income payments, lump sum withdrawals and investment returns are all tax free.

Between Preservation Age and age 60

Your super is made up of taxable and tax-free components, depending on how the contributions were made to your super account. When you make a withdrawal, the amount will be proportionately withdrawn from the taxable and non-taxable components of your account balance.

If you make a lump sum withdrawal from your First Super account, then an amount up to ‘Low Rate Cap’ can be withdrawn tax-free. If you start a Retirement Income account, then any money withdrawn will have the taxable component taxed at your marginal tax rate, less 15% offset, with no tax applied to the tax-free component.

Reduce your tax with a re-contribution strategy

There are strategies you can use to reduce the tax payable; or even reduce your retirement taxable component using a re-contribution strategy. 

Under Preservation Age

You can usually only access your super before preservation age due to permanent incapacity. In this case you will be taxed the same as those above, under age 60.

Tax on Investment Returns

The money you earn through your First Super Retirement Income account investment option(s) is not taxed. Investment earnings in the retirement stage are all tax-free.

We’re here to help

Anything to do with your super and tax, it’s best to discuss with our financial advice team. There’s no additional cost as it is included in your membership. Book an appointment with a financial planner.

When can I withdraw a lump sum from my super?

Once you retire, you have full access to your super (provided you have reached your preservation age). You can generally withdraw a lump sum at any stage; however, you may have to pay tax on the lump sum if you are aged under 60.

Rather than taking your super savings out as a lump sum at retirement, consider keeping them invested with a Retirement Income account making your retirement savings go further in retirement.

In some situations, you may be able to access your super early. Find out more about when you can access your super.

Can a lump sum withdrawal from my super affect my Age Pension?

If you are eligible for the Age Pension, a lump sum withdrawal from your Retirement Income account will not impact your Age Pension benefit payment entitlements, depending on what you do with the money you withdraw (Centrelink gifting rules).

Withdrawing money from your Retirement Income account to purchase a car/caravan, spend on a holiday or home renovations will generally mean you have less money subject to Centrelink’s assets test and income test. However, you must notify Centrelink when you make a withdrawal; they will usually require proof of how the money was spent.


What happens if my super runs out in retirement?

When your First Super Retirement Income account falls below the minimum $10,000 balance, we will close your account and transfer your balance to your nominated bank account.

If you were already receiving part Age Pension payments, then these may increase to full payments. You just need to let Centrelink know you are no longer receiving First Super Retirement Income payments, and they will reassess your case.

If you have not been receiving Age Pension payments you would need to apply to Centrelink. If you meet the eligibility requirements of the assets and income tests you can apply for the Age Pension.

Get your questions answered

If you have a question, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Member Services contact centre. Call us on 1300 360 988 or book an appointment with one of our financial planners.