Superannuation FAQs

Superannuation is a savings vehicle designed to help you save for retirement. Superannuation funds that comply with Australian law receive generous tax concessions which provide an incentive for you to save for your own retirement. Your account balance generally consists of contributions from your employer, your own personal contributions, and earnings from investments.

Most superannuation funds allot your investments based on local and international shares, property, and fixed interest, by default.

You can withdraw your super:


  • when you turn 65
  • when you reach preservation age and retire, or
  • under the transition to retirement rules, while continuing to work.

All contributions to superannuation are preserved until you meet a condition of release. There are very limited circumstances where you can access your super early. These circumstances are mainly related to specific medical conditions and severe financial hardship.


You can refer to the Australian Taxation Office website for further details or speak to a financial adviser for more information.

Tax on your super benefits is generally taxed at your marginal tax rate, however this varies depending on several factors, including your preservation age and the age you will be when you get the payment, whether the money in your super account is taxable or tax-free, whether you will get the payment as an income stream or lump sum and the type of income stream.

These factors determine whether you:

  • pay tax on the withdrawal (for example, whether it is taxable income)
  • get tax offsets that reduce the amount of tax that you pay.

Generally, your super benefits will include both a tax-free and a taxable component.

You can refer to the Australian Taxation Office website for further details or speak to a financial adviser for more information.

You can withdraw your super:

• when you turn 65

• when you reach preservation age and retire, or

• under the transition to retirement rules, while continuing to work.

Your preservation age depends on when you were born. You can use this table to work out your preservation age.

Preservation age based on date of birth

Date of birthPreservation age
Before 1 July 196055
1 July 1960 to 30 June 196156
1 July 1961 to 30 June 196257
1 July 1962 to 30 June 196358
1 July 1963 to 30 June 196459
1 July 1964 or later60

The amount of super you will need when you retire depends on your expected costs in retirement, and the lifestyle you want.


Most people can now expect to live well into their eighties. This means that if you stop working at 65, you’ll need retirement income for 20 years or more.


The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) provides an industry retirement standard. This estimates how much money you’ll need, depending on your lifestyle.


ASFA Retirement Standard

Annual living costs

Weekly living costs

Couple — comfortable



Single — comfortable



Couple — modest



Single — modest



Source: ASFA Retirement Standard, December quarter 2019

You can make contributions into your super fund and your employer is eligible to make contributions.


Eligibility to contribute to superannuation is based on your age. Anyone under age 65 is automatically eligible to contribute to their superannuation. Once you reach age 75, contributions generally cannot be made unless the contributions are mandated employer contributions required under an agreement or award.

Under age 65No restrictions.
Age 65 – 74. You must have been gainfully employed for at least 40 hours within any 30 consecutive day period during the current financial year or the contributions are mandated employer contributions.
Age 75 or overOnly mandated employer contributions can be made.

Workers’ compensation payments are split into two payment types:

  • Workers’ compensation: returned to work
  • Workers’ compensation: not working

Workers’ compensation payments made to an employee for hours worked are considered ordinary time earnings (OTE). As super guarantee (SG) at 9.5% is payable on ordinary time earnings (OTE), super guarantee (SG) at 9.5% will be required on those payments.

Workers’ compensation payments made to an employee for hours where they are not working are not considered ordinary time earnings (OTE). In turn, these payments don’t require super guarantee (SG) at 9.5% to be paid.

We recommend that you check your applicable award, agreement and/or contract to ensure that there are no additional super requirements.

As super guarantee (SG) is payable on ordinary time earnings (OTE), super guarantee (SG) at 9.5% will be required on those payments.

Ordinary time earnings is generally what you earn for your ordinary hours of work, including:

  • over-award payments
  • commissions
  • shift loading
  • annual leave loading
  • allowances
  • bonuses

For more information about the superannuation guarantee, including what counts as ordinary time earnings, visit the ATO website.

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This website contains factual information only and does not consider your personal circumstances, needs, objectives or financial situation. This factual information is not intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. This information does not constitute financial advice or taxation advice, and the general nature of the content might not be applicable to you or your situation. Before acting on any information, you should seek professional advice and verify our interpretation/s before relying on the content or calculators within this website, while also considering its appropriateness in relation to your personal situation.


ASIC is simplifying the superannuation and retirement planner calculators while undertaking a scheduled review of assumptions.

As of 17 April 2020, these calculators will use a single set of assumptions.

The default assumptions in this calculator are based on Treasury’s long-term retirement income models. For more information on Treasury’s long-term retirement income modelling assumptions see the 2019 Treasury Research Institute paper ‘Accumulation of superannuation across a lifetime.


The calculator works for accumulation funds only. It will not work for defined benefit funds.

We assume your account balance will receive all income and outgoings mid-year, apart from Government co-contributions which we assume are received at the end of the year.

Results are in today’s dollars

Results are shown in today’s dollars, which means they are adjusted for inflation.

Inflation assumptions

We make the following default assumptions on inflation (which you can change under the ‘Advanced  – insurance and inflation’ section that appears below calculator results):

  • 2.5% each year due to the rising cost of living (CPI inflation)
  • A further 1.5% each year due to the cost of rising community living standards


We assume that your employer contributes an amount equal to 10.5% of your ordinary time earnings (you can change this in ‘You and your super fund’).

In future years we assume that:

  • Your employer and voluntary contributions will increase with inflation
  • You will satisfy the Work test at older ages and so are able to contribute
  • From 1 July 2021, the SG rate used for the default employer contribution rate is 10%. The SG rate is assumed to increase by 0.5% per annum until the SG rate reaches and stays at 12% from 1 July 2025 onwards.

Investment return

We make the following default assumptions for investment return and earnings tax:

  • Investment return before investment fees and earnings tax of 7.5% each year
  • An effective tax rate on investment earnings of 7.0%.

Actual returns will vary significantly from year to year and could be negative in some years, particularly for investment mixes where more is invested in shares and property. This calculator does not allow for such variations. You can vary assumptions in ‘You and your super fund’ and ‘Compare alternative fund’.

There is a lot to consider when comparing investment options between funds. Risk and return objectives and asset allocation within investment options may differ between funds and should be taken into account when comparing funds.

Further information

  • Super contributions must remain in super until you have met a condition of release. Weigh up the benefits of extra super against your other priorities, for example paying off your credit cards.
  • You will need to refer to your latest super account statement.


  • This is a model, not a prediction.
  • The results from this calculator are based on the limited information that you have provided and assumptions made about the future. The amounts projected are estimates only provided by this model and are not guaranteed.
  • This calculator cannot predict your final superannuation benefit with certainty because this will depend on your personal circumstances including unexpected events in your life and external factors such as investment earnings, tax and inflation. This calculator assumes that you can make steady, predictable contributions and that all assumptions including these external factors will operate at set, steady rates for as long as you remain in the fund, even if events turn out differently from what’s assumed. These assumptions are essential so the calculator can show the effect of things you may be able to control, such as choosing a low-fee fund.
  • You should consider updating the projections provided by this model regularly as your circumstances may have changed. You can also change and update some of the assumptions to reflect your personal circumstances.
  • Do not rely solely on this calculator to make decisions about your retirement, there may be other factors to take into account. Consider your own investment objectives, financial situation and needs. You may wish to get advice from one of our licensed financial advisers.

How do I find my TFN?​

If you do not know your tax file number you can locate it via your income tax assessment, employee payment summaries, MyGov online account or you can call the ATO directly on 13 28 61 and request it over the phone.

Why we require your Tax File Number (TFN)?

Lost Super Finder will use the ATO portal to track down your Lost and Missing super accounts. Without a valid TFN being supplied, we are unable to complete the superannuation search for you.