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Making a smooth transition

Date: Mar 31st, 2014

With a Transition to Retirement strategy you can continue working and access your super.

Retirement used to represent a sharp break with the past—one day you were working full time, the next you were sitting at home with the rest of your life ahead of you. These days, the transition doesn’t have to be quite so abrupt.

Many Australians are keeping themselves active and engaged by continuing for longer in the workforce on a part-time or contractual basis. In fact, more than two in five Australians who work full time and intend to retire are looking to reduce their hours first.[1]

The good news is that in the few years prior to retirement you can start to draw an income from your retirement nest egg while you continue working and contributing towards your super.

Access your super the smart tax way

If you’ve reached your super ‘preservation age’ (currently 55 but rising to 60), you can take some of your existing super as an income stream to help make your transition to retirement a smooth one.

This is called a transition to retirement (TtR) strategy. And it can be very tax effective.

  • You can continue to work and contribute towards your super using tax-effective salary sacrifice contributions.

  • You can top up your income with a tax-effective income stream from your retirement account (between 4% and up to 10% of the account balance can be drawn each year).

  • And there’s even a way to ‘refresh’ your TtR strategy every year for potentially even more tax benefits.

There are two main ways you can use a TtR strategy.

1.    Less work, potentially the same after-tax income

The first option is a TtR strategy that may allow you to cut down your working hours while maintaining the same level of after-tax income.

Let’s say you’re over 55, you earn $75,000 a year before tax and you have $250,000 in your super. You want to cut back your working hours, which will reduce your before tax salary from $75,000 to $53,500.

As shown in the table below, by using a TtR strategy, you can maintain your after-tax income, despite reducing your work hours.

 

Before TtR strategy

After TtR strategy

Salary

$75,000

$ 53,500

TTR allocated pension

$ 17,519

Gross assessable income

$75,000

$71,019

Income tax

($17,047)

($13,066)

Take home pay

$57,953

$57,953

But it does come at a price—your super balance may dwindle over time as you draw down your pension payments.

2.    Same hours, more super

The other option is a TtR strategy that may allow you to maintain your work hours, but increase your salary sacrifice contributions to super, and supplement your income with a TtR pension so that there is no reduction in your after-tax income.

So let’s say you’re over 60, earning $60,000 a year before tax and you have $200,000 in your super, and you choose to use the full amount to start a pension.

As shown in the table below, together with your pension income, you can salary sacrifice $24,380 a year and still receive the same amount of after-tax income in your pocket.

 

No transition to retirement

Transition to retirement

Gross salary

$60,000

$60,000

Less salary sacrifice

$0

($24,650)

Pension income

$0

$20,000

Less tax paid on salary (and pension)

($12,000)

($7,350)

Net income

$48,000

$48,000

Tax paid on super contribution

$0

$3,697

After tax contribution to super

$0

$20,953

Total tax paid

$12,000

$11,047

What’s more at the end of the year, you’ve boosted your super by $953. If you do this for ten years, that’s potentially an extra $9,530 for your retirement, simply by managing your money in a different way.

Finding the right balance

A TtR strategy can be an effective way to boost your super savings, but it also has superannuation, taxation and social security implications.

We can help you strike the right balance and work out how to make your transition to retirement.

To find out more about TtR strategies or whether a TtR strategy may be suitable for you, call us today on 07 5447 7740.

 

What you need to know

Any advice in this document is general in nature and is provided by AMP Life Limited ABN 84 079 300 379 (AMP Life). The advice does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of this advice having regard to those matters and consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about the product. AMP Life is part of the AMP group and can be contacted on 131 267. If you decide to purchase or vary a financial product, AMP Life and/or other companies within the AMP group will receive fees and other benefits, which will be a dollar amount or a percentage of either the premium you pay or the value of your investments. You can ask us for more details.

The examples provided are illustrative only and are not an estimate of the income you will receive or fees and costs you will incur. The examples are based on the following assumptions:

  • $35,000 p.a. concessional cap for individuals aged 60 and over, and after allowing Superannuation Guarantee contributions of 9.25%, the concessional cap is not exceeded.
  • Tax rates for 1 July 2013 have been applied
  • Individual earns less than $300,000 pa

[1] http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/61A0264E827F59C4CA25768E002C8F72/$File/62380_jul%202008%20to%20jun%202009.pdf

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