When it comes to planning your retirement, knowing when you can access your super is a key part of the process.

Typically you can access your super:

  • When you cease paid work after age 60
  • When you turn 65 (regardless of whether you keep working or not)
  • When you reach your preservation age and permanently retire
  • When you reach your preservation age and start a transition to retirement income stream
  • If you become incapacitated
  • In some special circumstances including compassionate grounds and severe financial hardship

You can find out more at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.

What is your preservation age?

Your preservation age is the age you’re generally allowed to access your super. It depends on your date of birth.

Date of birth
Preservation age (years)
Before 1 July 1960
55
1 July 1960 – 30 June 1961
56
1 July 1961 – 30 June 1962
57
1 July 1962 – 30 June 1963
58
1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964
59
After 30 June 1964
60

Things to consider

It’s up to you to decide the right time to draw down your super. Think carefully about how the timing fits in with your financial situation and personal circumstances.

For example, you may pay tax if you withdraw your super before you turn 60, either via an income stream or as a lump sum, although some of it might be tax-free. After the age of 60, your super withdrawals are usually tax free (tax may still apply to withdrawals after age 60 from untaxed funds such as some government superannuation schemes).

Superannuation rules can be complex, so it's a good idea to seek advice from a financial planner who can help you put the right strategy in place to suit your needs.

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Things you should know

This article contains general advice only. It does not take account of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial planner before making any financial decision based on this information. This document has been prepared by Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited ABN 65 003 900 169, AFSL 231139, (Commonwealth Financial Planning) a wholly-owned, but non-guaranteed subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124. Commonwealth Financial Planners are representatives of Commonwealth Financial Planning. Information in this article is based on current regulatory requirements and laws.

While care has been taken in the preparation of this document, no liability is accepted by Commonwealth Financial Planning, Commonwealth Financial Planning related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document. Commonwealth Financial Planning is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as a Registered Tax (Financial) Adviser. However your Financial Planner is not a Registered Tax Agent. Consequently, tax considerations are general in nature and do not include an assessment of your overall tax position. You should seek tax advice from a Registered Tax Agent.