Superannuation may not be the first thing that leaps to mind if we mention COVID-19, but it’s a potential new tool in your coronavirus armoury.
The Australian government has announced that eligible people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic can apply to withdraw up to $10,000 from their super before 1 July 2020 and another $10,000 in this financial year by 31 December 2020 (extended from 24 September 2020). For some people and households, especially workers in industries heaviest hit – such as food service, accommodation and retail – the initiative could be a welcome safety net.
So is withdrawing your super early worth considering?
Let’s step through it. Don’t worry, we’re not going to get nerdy or complicated – we’re just going to throw a few questions at you. Don’t look away! You don’t need to have the answers right now. They’re just things to think about before deciding what’s appropriate for you.
We’re putting these questions into two big thought bubbles: income and expenses.
So, your income. Have you lost your job? Has your household income been cut? Will you qualify for any of the new government payments? Are there other ways you can earn more income?
And in the expenses bubble: Do you need a mortgage freeze? Can you ask for rent relief or a reduction? And what are your repayment options for other major bills, such as car loans, credit cards, insurances and utilities? Many organisations are offering flexible repayments.
In many cases, super balances have gone backwards in the past couple of months. Taking out $10,000 or $20,000 means you ‘cash in’ any losses your super may have incurred. Those ‘paper’ losses become real losses. This could make it harder to get your super back up to pre-pandemic levels as you could miss out on any potential gains if the market bounces back.
But early withdrawal may be a necessary reality. So it’s important to have a clear plan about how you’re going to use the money. Putting it aside for rent, mortgage and debt repayments can be a good starting point. Remember: it’s not spending money, it’s survival money.
For a lot of people, retirement is a long way from mind and there are more immediate concerns. Rest assured, whatever your decision, we’re here to support you. If you’re thinking about withdrawing money from your superannuation, we suggest you do some research to understand the pros and cons. It may be good to speak to a financial adviser if you need personal financial advice.first. We can help put you in touch with Link Advice (our partner) or you can get advice through the Financial Planning Association at fpa.com.au . Otherwise the Australia Government’s Financial Information Service is also available – it’s an education and information service available for everyone in the community. While they don’t provide personal financial advice, their Financial Services Officers can help you make informed financial decisions to help you plan for your future needs and the service is free.
Things to keep in mind before deciding if early access to super is right for you:
- Think about ways to increase your income and reduce your expenses. New government payments, like the Jobseeker and Jobkeeper payments, have been introduced, which you may be eligible for. Also, banks and telecommunications and utility companies may be able to pause or reduce debt repayments.
- Taking money out of super now could lock in any recent investment losses.
- Withdrawing a relatively modest amount now can significantly reduce your retirement savings. If you withdraw early, weigh up the pros and cons of accessing your money now against letting it grow to support your retirement down the track.
- Check your current super balance and if you have any insurance held with your superannuation fund that you want to keep, make sure there’s enough funds to cover the cost of your ongoing insurance premiums. If your withdrawal results in insufficient funds to pay the ongoing premiums, there may be a risk that these existing insurance(s) lapse and are cancelled.
- For Living Super members, you can check your super balance and existing insurance(s) by logging in at ing.com.au and going to My Accounts > Superannuation.
- Check with the Australian Tax Office for notice periods and eligibility to meet the early withdrawal requirements. The ATO is managing the applications and approvals.
Diversa Trustees Limited ABN 49 006 421 638, AFSL 235153, RSE L0000635 is the Trustee of the ING Superannuation Fund ABN 13 355 603 448 (Fund) and the issuer of interests in the Fund. ING Living Super is a product issued out of the Fund. ING, a business name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292, AFSL 229823, is the Promoter of the Fund. Financial advice is provided by Link Advice Pty Ltd ABN 36 105 811 836, AFSL 258145.
Living Super is not available for U.S. Persons (i.e. persons with U.S. residential, postal or fiscal address, phone number, citizenship, Green Card or any U.S. related proxy).
The information is current as at publication. Any advice on this website does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you. Deposit products, savings products, credit card and home loan products are issued by ING, a business name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229823. ING Living Super (which is part of the ING Superannuation Fund ABN 13 355 603 448) is issued by Diversa Trustees Limited ABN 49 006 421 638, AFSL 235153 RSE L0000635. The insurance cover offered by ING Living Super is provided by Metlife Insurance Limited ABN 75 004 274 882, AFSL 238096. ING Insurance is issued by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited (AGIC) ABN 42 111 586 353 AFSL Licence No 285571 as insurer. It is distributed by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd (AGS) ABN 61 003 617 909 AFSL 241411 and by ING as an Authorised Representative AR 1247634 of AGS. All applications for credit are subject to ING's credit approval criteria, and fees and charges apply. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Terms and Conditions, Fees and Limits Schedule, Financial Services Guide, Key Facts Sheet and Credit Guide available at ing.com.au when deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, a product. Before interacting with us via our social media platforms, please take a minute to familiarise yourself with our Social Media User Terms https://www.ing.com.au/pdf/Social_Media_User_Terms.pdf.