Superannuation Retirement Rules & Definitions




  1. Hemi

    I am 62yrs and possibly could be made redundant and thinking of early retirement can i access my super lump sum etc…

    • Chris Strano

      Hi Hemi, in order to have full unrestricted access to you super, you need to meet a superannuation condition of release. One such condition of release is meeting the definition of ‘retirement’. One definition of retirement includes ‘having an employment arrangement come to an end after age 60’. I would think being made redundant constitutes this. Once made redundant, you should notify your superannuation fund that this has occurred and your superannuation benefits should become ‘unrestricted non-preserved’, providing you with full access. However, keep in mind that any subsequent contributions to your super fund, after the date of your redundancy, will not be accessible until you meet another condition of release. For example, if you were to get a new job and received employer contributions as part of that job, you would not be able to access those contributions until you meet another condition of release.

  2. Judy Elizabeth

    Hi Chris,
    I am 65 in February 2019 l have been retired since 2011

    retired and live off my super self managed fund

    I get a wage each week From my super

    I want to know if I can take a lump sum

    and buy a house
    I want to live in the house

    Would I have to pay tax if I took $1 million out of my Super

    can I transfer all my super into a bank account from my SMSF

    Would I have to pay my financial advisor any money for leaving them as I am not happy with them my financial advisor and taxman are in the same office

    please help me I’m getting desperate
    I need to buy a home To living as I said I am 65 in February 2019 and living off my super since retirement in 2011

    Please ring me I need answers so desperately


    • Chris Strano

      Hi Judy, I am not authorised to provide personal financial advice. All information on this website is general advice only. You should always consult a financial planner or tax accountant prior to making any financial decisions, particularly large financial decisions.
      In answer to your questions:
      1. There is generally no limit on how much you can withdraw from super over age 65.
      2. Withdrawals made from super over age 60 are tax free (unless your balance includes a taxable (untaxed) element… ask your super provider)
      3. There should not be any fees for leaving your financial advisor. However, they may charge administration costs for assisting you with any part of the process. It is best you ask them if there are any fees.
      You shouldn’t be afraid of asking these questions to your accountant or financial advisor.

      Related Posts:
      Lump Sum Super Withdrawals over 65
      Super Rules for Over 65s

  3. Craig

    Have superannuation,now live in UK over ten years, have reached preservation age of 57, how do I prove to super I no longer work so can take lump sum? Thanks.

    • Chris Strano

      Hi Craig, despite living in the UK, you still need to meet standard condition of release rules to access super. Reaching your preservation age and being retired with no intention of returning to work satisfies a condition of release. You will need to contact your superannuation and complete a withdrawal form. If you genuinely intend on never working again, you can sign a declaration on the withdrawal form stating this. It is best to contact your super provider to explain your situation and ask how the withdrawal process works.

  4. David Leach

    Hi Chris, Thanks for all of the information provided. I guess I am just trying to confirm that the following is OK.
    I am aged 60, working full time on an employment contract and would like to access my super as a lump sum. Can I finish the current contract, and start a new contract with the same employer with different conditions (eg longer annual leave with a reduced salary) on the next day? What I am reading seems to confirm this is OK, but just wanting to check.
    Many thanks for your advice

    • Chris Strano

      Hi David,
      I can’t comment on your situation specifically, but you need to be comfortable that ‘an arrangement under which you were gainfully employed has come to an end‘ and you are willing to sign a declaration with your super fund stating so.
      It might be worth explaining your situation to the trustee of your superannuation fund or an adviser.
      Related Posts:
      Establishing Whether Gainful Employment Has Ceased
      Working After Retirement Rules

  5. Jeff

    Hi Chris, I was made redundant 2 1/2years ago (just after I turned 58) and wasn’t able to get another job. So now I’m 60 and thinking I may as well pull the plug. Have been living off payout and savings(and will do so for another 18 months or so before I look at accessing my Super). Do I need to advise my super funds (I have 4 as a result of different jobs over the years) now that I’m not working ? Also do I need to advise all 4 and close all 4 at the same time ? They range in value from $42k to $700k, (about $1.5m in total) and I’d like to leave them running if possible. Thanks.

    • Chris Strano

      Hi Jeff, in order to access your super you will need to sign a declaration stating that you have met a superannuation definition of retirement (e.g. reached your preservation age with no intention of returning to work). Signing the declaration does not mean that you need to close your account/s or even make a withdrawal. It will simply convert your savings from preserved to non-preserved. Your balance can remain invested within super. You may even choose to commence an income stream such as an account based pension where all investment earnings within the account are received tax free. However, this would require you to draw a minimum income each year. Given your position of transitioning into retirement and having a reasonable level of super savings, you might consider seeking professional advice from a financial planner.

  6. Debbie Di Lullo

    Hi Chris, I am 60 years old working full time and instead of buying a house/unit now I am thinking I will a non-concessional contribution to Super (bring forward rule) but need to know if I can withdraw this money at any time if I change my mind. I will probably work until I am 68-70.


    • Chris Strano

      Hi Debbie, apologies for the late reply, you comment somehow escaped me.
      If you make a non-concessional contribution to super it is inaccessible in full until you meet a superannuation condition of release. An example of a condition of release is having an employment condition come to an end over age 60 (this basically means you stop working in your current job – even if you start a new job somewhere else). Another example of a condition of release is reaching age 65. If you meet either of these conditions, you generally have unrestricted access to your super that has accumulated up until the point you reach the condition. For example, if you quit a job, then started a new one, any subsequent contributions made after starting your new job would not be accessible until you meet another condition of release. Hope that wasn’t too confusing!
      Alternatively, if you decide to continue working, you are able to have limited access to your super via a TTR pension, given you are over your super preservation age.
      Related Posts
      Accessing Super Over 60
      What is a TTR Pension?
      Can I Access My Super If I Am Still Working?
      Why Is My Preservation Age Important?

  7. Viv Fernley-Jones

    Hello – I reach 60 next year and would like to withdraw my superannuation – I have not worked in Australia since 2012 and have lived back in England since that time. However I am still employed in England – can I claim my super as having retired in Australia ?

  8. rick

    Hi Chris, firstly thanks for the helpful articles and answers to comments.
    My position is that i was made redundant from a long career at 52, i had a year travelling overseas and then started my own company.

    I no longer draw a wage from the company, but it suits us to continue running it and I do some work each week. (more than 10 hours). I am having trouble understanding whether I could continue to run the company and also declare myself retired for the purpose of accessing super through my SMSF.

    I am 57 now, so can access, but probably more likely to wait until I am 60. There are significant advantages in continuing to run the company, not least that its mentally stimulating and fulfilling!

    I dont intend to take any wage from the business in the future, the only possibility would be that I might pay myself a dividend from retained profits at some point.

    Hope that makes sense and is enough info.

    • Chris Strano

      Hi Rick, no probs!
      In order to declare yourself retired, you need to have reached your super preservation age and have no intention of returning to work.
      Alternatively, ceasing an employment arrangement after age 60 or reaching age 65 will also give you full access to your super.
      If you have reached your preservation age, you can commence a TTR income stream even if you are still working, which provides limited access to your super.
      Generally, being gainfully employed requires being compensated, meaning that you may be considered retired if you are not being remunerated. However, then taking dividends/distributions from the company may be viewed as circumventing the rules.
      Related Posts
      Definition of Retirement for Superannuation Purposes
      What is a TTR Pension?
      What is my Superannuation Preservation Age?

  9. Matt Stedman

    Hi Chris

    My wife retired a few years back and put her accumulation account into pension phase. Subsequently she returned to work helping me in a small consulting practice. Circumstances changed and I could no longer employ her for all of LY. For all of FY20 her only “income”was from some investments and her pension account.

    I would like to split my LY super contributions with my wife into her accumulation account however the super fund says I can’t do this if she is retired. My question is – who determines if she is retired. She is certainly unemployed but if she says she is not retired would that be sufficient for me to say to the super fund that she is not retired.

    • Chris Strano

      Hi Matt,
      In order to spouse split super contributions, your wife needs to be under her superannuation preservation age OR under age 65 and not retired. It’s possible that, in order for her to have commenced a pension a few years ago, she would have signed a declaration stating that she is ‘retired with no intention of returning to work’. Therefore, the super fund could have this on her file. However, signing that declaration does not preclude her from returning to work, provided her intention at the time was genuine. So, yes, you may consider telling the super fund she has returned to work – although she does need to actually be working! Furthermore, contributions cannot be made to a pension account, she will need an accumulation account also.
      Hope this helps,


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