FAQ & News

When can I access my super?

You can access your super:

  • when you turn 65 (even if you haven't retired), or
  • when you reach preservation age and retire, or
  • under the transition to retirement rules, while continuing to work.

There are very limited circumstances where you can access your super savings early. These circumstances are mainly related to specific medical conditions or severe financial hardship.

Your preservation age is not the same as your pension age. Your preservation age is the age at which you can access your super if you are retired (or have started a transition to a retirement income stream). Your preservation age depends on when you were born.

Should I buy shares?

When you buy shares, also known as equities, you buy part-ownership of a company. Listed shares can be bought and sold on an exchange such as the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). Through shares, you can hold an ownership stake in local and international businesses across a wide range of industries. Shares are generally considered a growth asset, which means they offer potentially higher returns than other asset classes. But share prices can also experience highs and lows over the short term.

Can I buy a house with my super?

Buying property through your super can be a great way to build up your retirement savings, but it pays to think long and hard about whether it is the right strategy for you before embarking on the strategy. As Australian Taxation Office Superannuation Assistant Commissioner Matthew Bambrick said recently at an industry SMSF conference:

"Be cautious; watch out for property spruikers; take the time to make sure the property is the right investment for your fund; make sure it fits with your existing investment strategy and if it doesn't, take the time to revisit your investment strategy properly before deciding whether to buy the property. Don't get caught up in the moment."

What insurances do I need?

Most of us think about life insurance as just death cover, but in reality there are many other illness and injury related risks we face as individuals, ranging from minor conditions that leave us unable to work for a few weeks or months, through to major health traumas such as heart attack, cancer and stroke, or disablement so severe you are unable to work ever again.

Should I manage my own super?

If you set up a self-managed super fund (SMSF), you're in charge – you make the investment decisions for the fund and you're held responsible for complying with the super and tax laws. It's a major financial decision and you need to have the time and skills to do it. There may be better options for your super savings.

An SMSF must be run for the sole purpose of providing retirement benefits for the members or their dependants. Don't set up an SMSF to try to get early access to your super, or to buy a holiday home or artworks to decorate your house.

Who gets my super when I die?

In most cases, when a person dies, their superannuation fund will pay their remaining super to the person they have chosen as their nominated beneficiary. Super paid after a person's death is called a 'super death benefit'.

If there are no binding death nominations, then the trustee of the super fund will decide how the benefit will be paid. Depending upon the trust deed, rules and regulations of superannuation, the trustee may pay it to the deceased estate, then the executor will deal with it accordingly. However, the super is not part of the will (except in NSW).

How much does a financial plan cost?

Recent changes to the industry have seen the way advisers charge for financial advice change dramatically. Not only has there been a shift away from commission-based advice to a fee-for-service model for investments and super (meaning you can be sure your adviser is acting in your best interest) but there have also been changes that allow advisers to give advice exclusively on one area of your finances.

Most of the time, the first meeting is free of charge so you'll have the opportunity to decide how you feel before you begin the full advice process. After that, what you'll pay will vary greatly depending on your personal situation.

How much do I need to retire on?

Most of us daydream about the day we finally finish work and retire. Whether you dream of cruising around the world, campervanning around Australia, or just pottering about in the garden and improving your golf handicap, the magic question is: how much do you need to make your retirement dreams a reality?

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia's Retirement Standard, to have a 'comfortable' retirement, single people will need $545,000 in retirement savings, and couples will need $640,000. To find out how much money you'll need to support the lifestyle you want in retirement, use the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia's Retirement Standard.

How to get advice on GESB West State Super?

We have experience in providing advice to many of former and current State Government employees who have GESB West State and Gold State superannuation. These funds offer a number of unique benefits that may not be able to access through other superannuation funds.

These funds are Constitutionally Protected Untaxed Superannuation funds they work differently to convention super funds, in that tax is not paid on any contributions or earnings, but is deferred until the time a benefit is received. The West State fund also provides a more favourable concessional contribution cap than most "normal" superannuation funds.

Advice in this area is complex and you should seek advice from a qualified financial adviser , experienced in dealing with GESB West State and Gold State Super, like the advisers at Panoramic Financial Solutions.

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