Hey Lifehacker, Is there any way to access your superannuation before retirement? Would I be able to do that if I had a family emergency or debts to pay off or got the sack and needed to support myself? Thanks, Super Trouper
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While it's possible to access your super before retirement, the circumstances in which this is permitted are extremely tight. Basically, you need to have a terminal illness, an incapacitating injury or be suffering from severe financial hardship.
You may also be granted early access under certain compassionate grounds, such as costly medical expenses that Medicare doesn't cover. The latter requires you to send an application to the Department of Human Services (DHS) who will assess your case.
To put it another way — to qualify for early superannuation, your life has to really suck hard. Getting fired from your job or struggling with financial debt doesn't really cut it. You'd have to be living in literal poverty for your super fund to consider either of the above reasons. In addition, some super funds have stricter policies, which can make things even more difficult.
While you may well grumble, these tight conditions are in place for a very good reason. The whole point of superannuation is to lessen the burden of age pension payments on the Australian economy while ensuring retirees still have a reasonable standard of living. If everyone was allowed to dip into their superannuation to get out of a temporary jam, lots of people would deplete their savings before retiring, thus defeating the whole point.
Instead of haggling for the keys to your super, your energy would be better expended setting up an emergency savings account. If you find it tough to save money, you can find plenty of helpful advice on our website via the Saving Money tag.
That said, if you legitimately require a portion of your super, the first step is to ask your super fund about whether you may be able to access it before applying. You can find out more information at the Australian Taxation Office website.
See also: How To Break The Living Pay-To-Pay Cycle | Take The 52 Week Money Challenge And Easily Save Almost $1400 | Real-world Money Saving Strategies Cheers Lifehacker
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