The primary purpose of your super is to ensure you have money saved for your retirement, or can leave some financial protection for your loved ones if you die before retirement.
For this reason, the law requires you to keep your super within the superannuation system until you satisfy a condition of release. Although you are free to move your super around the system (e.g. from one complying fund to another), you generally cannot get your hands on the money at least until you have reached your preservation age. This depends on when you were born:
|If you were born:||Preservation age|
|Before 1 July 1960||55|
|1 July 1960 to 30 June 1961||56|
|1 July 1961 to 30 June 1962||57|
|1 July 1962 to 30 June 1963||58|
|1 July 1963 to 30 June 1964||59|
|After 30 June 1964||60|
Even when you’ve reached you’re preservation age, you generally won’t be able to access it unless you’ve also retired, started a transition to retirement income stream, or reached your 65th birthday.
In special circumstances, at least part of your super can be accessed before you have reached your preservation age; for example, if you’re experiencing financial hardship.
Refer to the Australian Tax Office website for more details on accessing your super.