In tough financial times, it can be tempting to draw upon your superannuation — but not only is that a bad long-term strategy, it's also downright illegal.
The Australian Taxation Office didn't mince its words in a warning it put out this week:
Various plans offer access to your superannuation (super) savings before you retire. The promoters of these plans will tell you that they can help you access your super savings for reasons such as paying off debts, buying a house or car, or even going on holiday. These schemes are illegal and heavy penalties apply if you decide to participate in these schemes.
There is some provision for drawing on superannuation in cases of extreme illness, but they're tightly defined (and you'll end up paying tax on any money you do get to withdraw). Bottom line? It's called retirement funding for a reason, and you can't hit it until you actually retire.