The three phases of super

The three phases of super


Having a basic understanding the different phases that your superannuation goes through during your life can help when it comes to working out the tax treatment of an individual’s fund and any pension they take.

While not directly related, the overall investment strategy of a fund will also tend to change as the super transitions from one phase onto the next.

The lifecycle of superannuation can be divided into three phases; accumulation phase, transition to retirement phase and pension phase.

The accumulation phase is often the longest phase super goes through, running from when an individual starts work until they reach their 50s. The key during this phase, is to save and invest in as much as possible through contributions to super. Individuals can make concessional contributions, which are subject to an annual cap of $30,000 (or $35,000 for those over the age of 49) or non-concessional contributions, which are subject to an annual cap of $180,000.

Even though it is the shortest of the phases, the transition to retirement (TTR) phase is still quite important. A TTR typically starts when an individual turns 55, but individuals can also begin a TTR pension when they reach their preservation age. A TTR allows individuals to reduce their paid working hours (therefore, ‘transitioning into retirement’) and start taking money from their super.

The pension phase is when an individual has stopped accumulating and is now only withdrawing from their savings. The pension phase begins when an individual satisfies a ‘condition of release’. The main conditions of the release are:

  • retiring from the workforce at or after your preservation age
  • leaving one paid job after age 60
  • reaching age 65
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If you believe the matters discussed above are relevant to your business, please contact Darren Smith of our office to discuss further.


Darren is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience, including working in the big 4 and medium sized firms before becoming a partner of a city based firm in 2000.

He has gained much experience and has extensive knowledge in providing business and taxation advice, superannuation planning, negotiation of sales and acquisitions of businesses and property development. His client base covers a wide range of industry groups.

Darren works with business owners to grow their businesses and create personal wealth within and outside of their business.


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