Frequently Asked Questions

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    Why is super required by law?

    The Australian government is moving away from the notion that retired people should live on taxpayer-funded pensions. Requiring all working Australians to have their own retirement savings plan places the responsibility on the individual rather than the community as a whole. Employers are required to pay a percentage of the eligible employee’s salary into a complying super fund such as EquitySuper. 

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    Who is eligible for super contributions?

    The super contribution must generally be paid for any employee that earns at least $450 (gross) in a calendar month. Employees are defined as individuals who receive payment in the form of a salary or wage in return for their labour or services. This includes directors or persons contracting wholly or principally for labour (even if their ABN is quoted). 

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    I have multiple super accounts. Can I consolidate them?

    Yes. In fact, you may save money on fees if you consolidate your accounts. Talk to your adviser to find out if this is appropriate for you. Check your super here.

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    What is salary sacrificing?

    A superannuation salary sacrifice agreement is a voluntary arrangement between you and your employer whereby you agree to reduce your take-home wage in return for higher employer superannuation contributions. This may reduce the tax you pay on your salary. Plus, any of the amounts salary sacrificed are taxed at the flat 15%. This can be a great way to boost your super in a tax-effective way. 

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    Can I withdraw my super before I retire?

    Generally speaking, superannuation is preserved until you retire, meaning that you can't access it until that time. Some people, however, may have part of their account classed as unrestricted non-preserved, meaning that it may be withdrawn at any time. Any restricted non-preserved portion may be withdrawn when employment is terminated. Your superannuation statement will show if you have any non-preserved monies in your account.

    In other limited circumstances, you may be allowed to withdraw some of your preserved superannuation such as:

    • If you suffer permanent incapacity for work
    • In cases of severe financial hardship
    • On specified (compassionate) grounds
    • If you are an eligible temporary resident of Australia who has the option of accessing their super benefits after permanently leaving Australia
    • Upon termination of gainful employment on or after 1 July 1997 where your preserved benefits at the time of the termination are less than $200. 

    You may also have limited access to your superannuation as you transition to retirement.

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    When can I retire?

    You can retire at any age you wish but it will usually depend on whether you have the funds to afford it. Generally, you don't have access to money in superannuation investments until you reach your 'preservation age' (see below).

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    What is my preservation age?

    Your preservation age is the age at which you generally have access to preserved money in superannuation investments. Your preservation age depends on the year in which you were born.

    Date of birth

    Preservation age

    Before 1 July 1960


    1 July 1960 - 30 June 1961


    1 July 1961 - 30 June 1962


    1 July 1962 - 30 June 1963


    1 July 1963 - 30 June 1964


    After 1 July 1964


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    What is the Transition to Retirement Pension?

    If you have reached your preservation age but have not permanently retired, subject to the rules of your Fund, you may be able to continue working part-time and use part of your super to supplement your income. 

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    What happens to funds I have forgotten about?

    When members lose touch with their super provider, their balance may be transferred into a special fund called an Eligible Rollover Fund (ERF). If the ERF has not established contact with you by your 65th birthday, your money will be transferred to the relevant government body. 

    To track down your super money, a good starting point is to gather up any superannuation statements you have. If these don’t seem to cover all the years you’ve worked, give your old employers a call and ask where they’ve paid your super. Another option is to contact the Tax Office and search their databases for any super that may have been reported to them as lost. You can call them on 13 10 20 or visit To help you find your lost super, we would suggest you start here

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    Why is Tax File Number notification important?

    Tax File Numbers are important and allow the ATO to identify member’s contributions, to calculate taxes and to identify lost super. If your Tax File Number (TFN) has not been provided to your super fund, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) may charge more tax on your super than is necessary.

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    What happens to my super if I separate or divorce?

    Amendments to the Family Law Act and Regulations ('Family Law Act') mean that married couples now have the option of splitting their super entitlements on separation or divorce. It's recommended that you speak to a financial adviser and seek legal advice to assist you with this process.

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    What happens to my super if I die?

    If you die, your super will be paid to your eligible beneficiaries. The Trustee of your super fund will look at your personal circumstances including the beneficiary and type of nomination that you have made to determine to whom the benefit should be paid.

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    How much do I need to retire?

    The Investment and Financial Services Council (FSC) estimates that most people need approximately 65% of their pre-retirement income to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement.