What is the Preservation Age?

The preservation age is the earliest you can generally access your super savings as a lump sum or income stream. It acts as a safeguard, ensuring you have a nest egg built up for retirement. This age varies depending on your date of birth and falls within a range of 55 to 67 years old.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Born before July 1, 1954: Your preservation age is 55.
  • Born between July 1, 1954 and June 30, 1956: Your preservation age increases gradually over two years.
  • Born after June 30, 1956: Your preservation age progressively increases towards 67, with the current age being adjusted every few years.

Why Does the Preservation Age Exist?

The government established the preservation age to encourage long-term saving for retirement. The idea is to prevent people from accessing their super too early and potentially spending it down before they truly need it. This ensures a financial buffer for your later years when you may no longer be earning a regular income.

Accessing Your Super Before Preservation Age

There are limited circumstances where you can access your super before reaching the preservation age. These include:

  • Permanent retirement: If you’ve permanently retired from the workforce, you can access your super regardless of your age.
  • Severe financial hardship: You may be eligible to withdraw some of your super if you’re experiencing extreme financial hardship. This requires meeting strict criteria set by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
  • Terminal medical condition: If you have a terminal medical condition with a life expectancy of less than 12 months, you can access your super.
  • Compassionate grounds: In some cases, such as experiencing a permanent disability or needing funds for medical treatment, you may be able to access your super on compassionate grounds.

Important Points to Remember:

  • Reaching preservation age doesn’t mean you have to withdraw your super: You can choose to keep your super invested and continue growing your retirement savings even after reaching the preservation age.
  • Tax implications: Withdrawing your super before reaching age 60 may incur tax consequences.
  • Seek professional advice: Superannuation can be complex. It’s wise to consult a financial advisor to understand your specific situation and make informed decisions about your super.

By understanding the preservation age and the options available, you can make informed choices about your super and plan for a comfortable retirement.


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