Archive for 'Super'

What Is The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House?

Posted on 2 April '24 by , under Super. No Comments.

For small businesses in Australia, managing superannuation payments for employees can be a time-consuming and complex task.

Super guarantee payments must be made quarterly, with the next due date being the 28 April.

However, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) offers a solution in the form of the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (SBSCH).

This online service simplifies paying super contributions for employees, providing small businesses a convenient and efficient way to meet their super obligations.

Let’s explore the SBSCH’s features and benefits and how small businesses can use this tool to streamline their super payments.

What is the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (SBSCH)?

The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House is a free online service the ATO provides to help small businesses meet their superannuation obligations.

It allows employers to pay super contributions for their employees in one transaction, regardless of the number of funds they contribute to.

The SBSCH acts as a central hub where employers can lodge their super payments, which are then distributed to the respective employees’ super funds.

You’re eligible to use the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (clearing house) service if your business has either:

  • 19 or fewer employees, or
  • annual aggregated turnover of less than $10 million.

You must meet one of these eligibility criteria each time you use the service.

Features and Benefits of the SBSCH:

  • Consolidated Payments: Employers can consolidate all their super contributions into a single transaction through the SBSCH instead of making separate payments to multiple super funds. This simplifies the payment process and reduces administrative burden for small businesses.
  • Accessibility: The SBSCH is accessible 24/7 through the ATO’s online services portal. Employers can log in to the portal anytime to submit their super payments, providing flexibility and convenience.
  • Secure and Confidential: The SBSCH employs strict security measures to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of employers’ financial information. All transactions are encrypted and protected by robust security protocols, giving employers peace of mind when making super payments.
  • Compatibility with Different Payment Methods: When using the SBSCH, employers can choose from various payment methods, including electronic funds transfer (EFT), BPAY, and direct debit. This flexibility allows businesses to select the best payment method for their needs and preferences.
  • Integration with Business Accounting Software: The SBSCH is compatible with most business accounting software, making it easy for employers to integrate super payments into their existing financial workflows. This seamless integration reduces manual data entry and streamlines the payment process for businesses.

How to Use the SBSCH

Using the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House is straightforward and user-friendly.

Employers can follow these simple steps to make super contributions for their employees:

  1. Register: Employers need to register for the SBSCH through the ATO’s online services portal. Registration is free and only takes a few minutes to complete.
  2. Log In: Once registered, employers can log in to the SBSCH portal using their unique credentials.
  3. Enter Payment Details: Employers need to enter the payment details, including employee information, contribution amounts, and payment method.
  4. Submit Payment: After verifying the payment details, employers can submit the super contribution payment through the SBSCH portal.
  5. Receive Confirmation: Upon successful submission, employers will receive a confirmation receipt confirming that the super contributions have been lodged with the SBSCH.

The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (SBSCH) is a valuable resource for small businesses in Australia. It offers a simple and efficient way to manage employee super contributions.

By leveraging the SBSCH’s features and benefits, businesses can streamline their super payment process, reduce administrative burden, and ensure compliance with their superannuation obligations.

For small business owners looking to simplify their superannuation management, the SBSCH is a practical and accessible solution provided by the ATO. 4

Need further assistance with meeting your superannuation guarantee payment dates and submitting? Speak with a trusted advisor.

Choosing The Right Super Fund For Your Needs

Posted on 13 March '24 by , under Super. No Comments.

Selecting the right superannuation fund is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your financial future in retirement.

With numerous options available, it’s essential to understand the key factors to consider when making this important choice.

Let’s examine the factors that should guide your decision-making process to ensure you choose a superannuation fund that aligns with your needs and goals.

  1. Investment Performance:

One of the primary considerations when choosing a superannuation fund is its investment performance. Look for funds that have consistently delivered strong returns over the long term, considering factors such as risk-adjusted performance and investment strategy. Review historical performance data and compare it to relevant benchmarks to assess the fund’s track record.

  1. Fees and Costs:

Fees and costs can significantly impact the growth of your superannuation savings over time. Consider the fund’s management fees, administration fees, and any other charges associated with investing in the fund. Look for funds that offer competitive fees while providing value for their services. Keep in mind that even seemingly small differences in fees can have a substantial impact on your retirement savings over time.

  1. Investment Options:

Evaluate the investment options available within the superannuation fund to ensure they align with your risk tolerance and investment objectives. Look for diversified investment options, including cash, bonds, equities, and alternative investments. Consider whether the fund offers pre-mixed investment options or the flexibility to build your investment portfolio according to your preferences.

  1. Insurance Coverage:

Many superannuation funds offer insurance coverage, including life insurance, total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance, and income protection insurance. Assess the insurance offerings each fund provides, including the coverage level, premiums, and any exclusions or limitations. Choose a fund that offers appropriate insurance coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

  1. Member Services and Support:

Consider the level of member services and support offered by the superannuation fund, including online account management, educational resources, and access to financial advice. Evaluate the fund’s customer service reputation and responsiveness to member inquiries or concerns. Opt for a fund that prioritises member satisfaction and provides resources to help you make informed decisions about your retirement savings.

Choosing the right superannuation fund is a critical step in planning your retirement’s financial future.

By considering factors such as investment performance, fees and costs, investment options, insurance coverage, and member services, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and goals.

Regularly review your superannuation fund’s performance and reassess your choices as your circumstances change to ensure you can achieve your retirement objectives.

Closing The Gap: Gender & Superannuation

Posted on 18 February '24 by , under Super. No Comments.

There exists a persistent and concerning gender gap in superannuation.

Women often find themselves disadvantaged compared to their male counterparts when building wealth for their golden years. Superannuation plays a crucial role in this narrative, whether via income, career breaks or even Australia’s retirement savings system.

Let us explore the factors contributing to the gender gap in superannuation and discuss actionable steps to empower women to bridge this divide and secure their financial futures.

Understanding The Gender Gap

  • Income Disparity: One of the primary drivers of the gender gap in superannuation is the income disparity between men and women. Women, on average, earn less than men across various industries and occupations, resulting in lower superannuation contributions throughout their working lives.
  • Career Interruptions: Women are more likely to experience career interruptions due to caregiving responsibilities, including raising children or caring for elderly relatives. These interruptions can lead to periods of reduced income and missed superannuation contributions, further widening the gender gap in retirement savings.
  • Part-Time Employment: Women are disproportionately represented in part-time and casual employment, often with lower wages and reduced access to employer-sponsored superannuation contributions.
  • Longer Life Expectancy: On average, women tend to live longer than men, requiring more significant retirement savings to support themselves throughout their extended retirement years. However, the gender gap in superannuation means that women may face greater financial insecurity in their later years.

Closing The Gap

  • Equal Pay: Addressing the root causes of the gender pay gap is essential for closing the superannuation gender gap. Employers must commit to paying women fairly for their work, regardless of gender, and take proactive steps to eliminate wage disparities within their organisations.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Providing flexible work arrangements, including remote work options and flexible hours, can help women balance their caregiving responsibilities while maintaining their careers and superannuation contributions.
  • Education and Awareness: Increasing financial literacy among women is crucial for empowering them to take control of their financial futures. Educational programs and resources focusing on superannuation planning, investment strategies, and retirement savings can help women make informed decisions about their finances.
  • Government Policies: Governments can implement policies and initiatives to close the gender gap in superannuation, such as increasing the superannuation guarantee rate, extending superannuation contributions to paid parental leave, and providing tax incentives for low-income earners to boost their superannuation savings.
  • Supportive Partnerships: Encouraging open and transparent conversations about finances within relationships can ensure that both partners are actively engaged in superannuation planning and retirement savings. Couples can work together to set joint financial goals and develop strategies to achieve them.

Closing the gender gap in superannuation is a multifaceted challenge that requires concerted efforts from individuals, employers, governments, and society.

By addressing income disparities, supporting women’s career progression, increasing financial literacy, implementing supportive policies, and fostering equitable partnerships, Australia can empower women to bridge the superannuation gender gap and achieve financial security in retirement.

Together, we can create a future where all women have the opportunity to retire with dignity and independence.

How The Small Business CGT Concessions Could Boost Your Super

Posted on 29 January '24 by , under Super. No Comments.

As a small business owner gearing up for retirement, selling your business can be a strategic move to give your nest egg that final boost.

However, navigating the intricacies of selling a business requires careful consideration, especially when it comes to contributing the sale proceeds to your superannuation fund. Let’s explore these essential considerations and small business concessions that can significantly impact your retirement savings.

Remember: always consult with a trusted and licensed adviser before acting.

When selling a business or business asset, small business owners have the opportunity to contribute a substantial portion of the sale proceeds to their superannuation fund without breaching the super caps. To make this work effectively, it’s crucial to understand and leverage four small business concessions that can help minimize capital gains tax (CGT) implications.

The 15-Year Exemption

The 15-year exemption is the most valuable concession, allowing superannuation contributions beyond the usual caps (generally as a non-concessional contribution).

However, the contribution must be made on or before the later of:

  • the day you lodge your income tax return for the income year in which the relevant CGT event happened
  • 30 days after you received capital proceeds.

If you receive a 15-year exemption amount from a company or trust, the contribution must be made within 30 days after the entity made the payment to you.

If you’ve owned the business asset for over 15 consecutive years, are over 55, and are selling in connection with retirement or due to permanent incapacitation, you may qualify.

This exemption provides a complete CGT exemption on the business sale, enabling you to contribute the full sale proceeds to superannuation.

The 50% Reduction

The 50% active asset reduction is an additional benefit, providing an extra 50% reduction of the capital gain on top of the standard 50% CGT discount available for individuals. This concession further enhances your ability to maximise your retirement savings when selling your small business.

You need to meet the basic eligibility conditions common to all 4 small business CGT concessions. This concession is applied automatically unless you elect not to apply it.

Retirement Exemption

The retirement exemption allows for a $500,000 reduction in the assessable capital gain. While this is a lifetime limit for each individual, it offers flexibility for those under 55 to pay the amount into superannuation or, for those over 55, the option to keep the amount outside superannuation.

Small Business Roll-Over

The small business roll-over permits the deferral of capital gains by rolling them into another active business asset. Utilising the retirement exemption in this context allows for a two-year deferral to contribute to superannuation or reach the age of 55. This strategic move enables small business owners to contribute to superannuation on a sale that may not have been possible otherwise.

Other Considerations and Strategies

While these concessions primarily apply to capital gains, it’s crucial to consider other factors, such as the sale of plant and equipment or trading stock, which fall under different tax sections. Additionally, the timing of the sale and the relevant contribution dates for concessions should be carefully considered.

Beyond small business CGT concessions, there are alternative strategies to boost superannuation, such as bringing forward non-concessional contributions or carrying back concessional contributions. These methods provide additional avenues for enhancing retirement savings, subject to eligibility criteria.

Selling your small business as part of your retirement strategy can be a wise move, but it requires careful planning and consideration of available concessions.

Engaging with experienced advisers early in the sale process is essential to maximise the benefits of these concessions and ensure a seamless transition into retirement.

By leveraging these strategies and consulting with knowledgeable professionals, you can make that final boost to your nest egg and embark on a secure and comfortable retirement journey.

Rightsizing Your Lifestyle: The Art of Property Downsizing

Posted on 10 December '23 by , under Super. No Comments.

As retirees embrace a new phase in their lives, the concept of property downsizing is gaining momentum as a strategic and rewarding financial move.

Downsizing isn’t just about reducing square footage; it’s a lifestyle choice that can offer a range of benefits for those entering their golden years.

The Changing Landscape of Retirement Living

Many retirees find themselves sitting on a valuable asset—the family home. The Australian property market has witnessed significant growth over the years, and this presents a unique opportunity for retirees. Downsizing involves selling a larger property, often the family home, and purchasing a smaller, more manageable one. This shift not only streamlines day-to-day living but also releases equity tied up in the existing property.

Financial Freedom and Flexibility

One of the primary advantages of downsizing for retirees is the financial windfall it can generate. Selling a larger property in a desirable location can lead to a substantial cash injection. This liquidity can be used to fund retirement activities, travel plans, or simply serve as a safety net for unexpected expenses. Downsizing gives retirees the financial freedom to enjoy their retirement years without the burden of maintaining a larger property.

Enhanced Lifestyle and Convenience

Downsizing often means trading a sprawling home for a more compact, easily maintainable residence. This can result in reduced household chores, lower utility bills, and a generally more manageable living environment. Additionally, many retirees choose to downsize to a location that offers greater convenience, such as proximity to amenities, healthcare facilities, and public transportation, enabling a more active and engaged lifestyle.

Navigating the Downsizing Process

While the benefits of downsizing are clear, the process requires careful consideration and planning. It’s essential for retirees to assess their current and future needs, identify the ideal location, and understand the financial implications of the move. Seeking advice from financial planners and real estate professionals can help retirees make informed decisions that align with their retirement goals.

Government Incentives

Recognizing the positive impact downsizing can have on retirees and the property market, the Australian government has introduced incentives to encourage this trend. The Downsizer Contribution allows eligible individuals to contribute up to $300,000 from the proceeds of selling their home into their superannuation fund, providing an additional financial boost for retirement.

Property downsizing for retirees is not just a practical choice; it’s a transformative step towards a more fulfilling retirement. By unlocking the equity in their homes, retirees can enjoy financial freedom, a more convenient lifestyle, and potentially even take advantage of government incentives.

As the trend continues to grow, downsizing is proving to be a key strategy for retirees looking to make the most of their golden years.

5 Superannuation Misconceptions Australians Have…

Posted on 19 November '23 by , under Super. No Comments.

Superannuation, often called ‘super,’ is a vital part of Australia’s financial landscape. It’s a retirement savings system intended to provide financial security in your golden years. However, despite its widespread use and importance, there are several common misconceptions about superannuation that many Australians hold. Let’s shed light on some of these misconceptions and clarify how super works.

Misconception 1: “I don’t need to worry about my super; the government will take care of me.”

One of the most widespread myths is that the government will cover your retirement expenses entirely. While the Age Pension does provide financial support to eligible retirees, it’s typically not enough to maintain the lifestyle you desire in retirement. Relying solely on the Age Pension can lead to financial stress.

Superannuation is designed to complement the Age Pension and ensure you have enough savings to enjoy a comfortable retirement. So, it’s essential to take an active role in managing your super and contributing to it regularly.

Misconception 2: “I don’t need to think about super until I’m older.”

Many Australians believe that super is something they can deal with when they’re closer to retirement age. However, this misconception can cost you dearly. The earlier you start contributing to your super, the more time your money has to grow through compound interest. Even small contributions in your younger years can have a significant impact on your retirement savings.

Misconception 3: “Super is all the same; it doesn’t matter where I invest it.”

Another common misunderstanding is that all super funds are equal. In reality, different super funds offer various investment options, fees, and performance outcomes. It’s crucial to choose a super fund that aligns with your financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment preferences. A well-considered choice can significantly affect the final amount you have in your super when you retire.

Misconception 4: “I can access my super whenever I want.”

Superannuation is a long-term investment designed to support you in retirement. However, some Australians believe they can access their super whenever they please. In most cases, you can only access your super once you reach your preservation age (which is currently between 55 and 60, depending on your birthdate) or meet specific conditions such as severe financial hardship or terminal illness.

Misconception 5: “I don’t need to check my super statements; it’s all on autopilot.”

Setting up your super contributions and investments and then forgetting about them is a risky approach. Superannuation is not a ‘set and forget’ asset; it requires regular monitoring. By reviewing your super statements, you can ensure your fund is performing well, fees are reasonable, and your investment strategy remains aligned with your financial objectives.

Understanding superannuation is essential for all Australians. Dispelling these misconceptions and actively managing your super can lead to a more comfortable and secure retirement.

Take the time to educate yourself about your super options, seek professional advice if needed, and start contributing early to harness the full potential of your superannuation for a brighter retirement future.

Transitioning to Retirement Made Simpler

Posted on 29 October '23 by , under Super. No Comments.

Not quite ready to take the plunge into full retirement, but ready to make a start?

Transitioning into the retirement phase of your life means undergoing the process of slowly relying less on work-related earnings and more on superannuation and investments to cover your lifestyle expenses.

The time taken to transition into retirement is up to you;  it may take as little as 6 months or as long as 5 years.

However, income may be a source of concern during this transition period – this is why transition to retirement pensions can be of assistance.

A transition to retirement (TTR) pension allows you to supplement your income by allowing you to access some of your super once you’ve reached your preservation age.

This type of pension is similar to an account-based pension, but has a few extra rules.

Not only must you first have reached your superannuation preservation age, for TTR pensions in the pre-retirement phase, the minimum pension payment is 4% up to a maximum 10% of your account balance as at 1 July of each financial year or the value from the date your TTR pension started in that financial year. The minimum payment percentage is pro-rated in the first financial year.

If you start a TTR pension part way through a year, the 4% is pro-rata based on the remaining days in the financial year, divided by the total days in the year. The 10% upper threshold remains calculated based on a full year (i.e. no pro-rata necessary).

How Can A TTR Pension Benefit You?  

  • You cut back your working hours without reducing your income.
  • The taxable component of TTR pension payments attracts a 15% tax offset between the preservation age and 59, and all payments are tax-free at age 60 or over.
  • Investment earnings are generally taxed at a maximum rate of 15%.

You can start a transition to retirement pension by contacting your superannuation fund and asking if they offer transition to retirement pensions. If they do and you are comfortable using their product, you can then follow the process to commence the pension. Alternatively, you may choose to start a transition to retirement pension with a different superannuation fund.

However, bear in mind:

  • You’ll need to keep a super account open to accept employer contributions (or any other contributions), as these can’t be contributed directly to a pension account.
  • TTR pensions don’t hold any insurance cover. This means you may want to keep any personal insurance you have connected to your super account.

There are a number of things you should consider before starting a TTR pension; professional financial advice is recommended. Why not start a conversation with a trusted, licensed adviser today?

The Age Pension Thresholds Have Changed Since 1 July 2023…

Posted on 9 October '23 by , under Super. No Comments.

One of the most common questions from those entering or nearing retirement is, ‘How much money can I have before it affects my pension?’

Our answer is usually derived from the total value of your savings, other assets and any income that might be earned from other sources. However, from 1 July 2023, the thresholds determining how much pension you may be paid have changed due to inflation-related adjustments.

This means that many of those who may otherwise have been looking at a part-pensioner status due to being over the threshold may be able to be on a full pension with the adjusted thresholds (depending on their circumstances).

Similarly, those who may have been ineligible for a pension due to being over the cut-off point for the assets test should become eligible to start claiming a part pension (and all the concessions that go with it).

What Assets Will I Be Tested On? 

The assets that you or your partner own that are included in your assets test include the following:

  • Real estate (excluding your family home)
  • The market value of your household contents (such as fridges, appliances, etc).
  • Superannuation balances if you and your partner have reached the Age Pension eligibility age, including the balance of your pension accounts that provide you with an income stream. If your partner is below the Age Pension eligibility age, their super balances will not be included in your assets test
  • Other financial investments, like term deposits or any surrender value of life insurance policies
  • Retirement village contributions
  • Business assets
  • Motor vehicles
  • Boats
  • Caravans
  • Jewellery
  • Cryptocurrencies

The Age Pension assets limits are adjusted three times a year based on movements in the consumer price index (CPI). The thresholds for the full Age Pension change in July, while thresholds for the part-Age Pension change in March and September.

Assets Limit For A Full Age Pension

To be eligible for either a full or part-Age pension, there are limits on the value of the assets you (and your partner combined) can own.

The limits depend on whether you own your own home, as well as your living arrangements (including if you have a partner and whether they are age-eligible for the pension or not). The asset limits are higher for non-homeowners in recognition of the higher cost of housing for pensioners who rent their homes.

You also need to pass the income test and age and residency requirements.

The asset-free thresholds for full-age pension are the same for couples living together and those separated by illness.

If the value of the assets is above the thresholds, you may still qualify for a part-Age Pension.

The Income Test

The new thresholds also increase the amount pensioners can earn before their pension starts to reduce under the income test. For a couple, the income test cut-off point rises from $336 a fortnight to $360 a fortnight – for singles, it increases from $190 a fortnight to $204 a fortnight.

If you reach the threshold limits in the assets and income tests, your pension will be based on the lower amount.

For example, if you are eligible for $400 per fortnight according to the assets test and $500 per fortnight under the income test, then the $400 per fortnight test will apply.

Questions About The Pension

If you have questions about your retirement plan or pension eligibility, why not start a chat with a trusted advisor (like us) today?

What’s All The Fuss About SMSFs?

Posted on 17 September '23 by , under Super. No Comments.

A Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) is a unique and increasingly popular retirement savings vehicle.

SMSFs offer individuals and families greater control, flexibility, and investment choices than traditional superannuation funds.

In this article, we’ll explore what SMSFs are, how they work, their benefits, and some considerations for those interested in establishing and managing one.

What is an SMSF?

An SMSF is a type of superannuation fund that allows individuals to manage their own retirement savings.

Unlike industry or retail super funds, where investment decisions are made by professional fund managers, an SMSF puts the control firmly in the hands of its members, who are also the trustees of the fund. This level of control is what sets SMSFs apart.

How Does an SMSF Work?

An SMSF can have a maximum of four members, all of whom must also be trustees or directors of the corporate trustee. As trustees, members are responsible for making investment decisions, complying with legal obligations, and managing the fund’s assets. SMSFs can invest in a wide range of assets, including shares, property, cash, and fixed income.

Benefits of an SMSF:

  • Control and Flexibility: SMSF members have complete control over their investment choices and strategies. This allows for a highly tailored approach to meet specific financial goals and risk appetites.
  • Tax Efficiency: SMSFs offer potential tax advantages, particularly for those in retirement. Capital gains, for instance, are often taxed at a concessional rate if the assets are held for more than 12 months.
  • Estate Planning: SMSFs provide estate planning benefits, allowing members to dictate how their assets are distributed upon their passing. This can be especially important for complex family situations.
  • Asset Diversification: With greater control, SMSF members can diversify their investments across various asset classes, reducing risk and increasing the potential for returns.
  • Borrowing for Investments: Under certain conditions, SMSFs can borrow to invest in assets like property, which can magnify returns and portfolio diversification.

Considerations for Establishing and Managing an SMSF:

  • Compliance: SMSFs must adhere to strict regulatory guidelines set by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Non-compliance can result in penalties or the loss of tax concessions.
  • Investment Knowledge: Managing an SMSF requires a strong understanding of financial markets, taxation rules, and investment strategies. It’s essential to keep abreast of changing regulations.
  • Costs: While SMSFs can be cost-effective for those with substantial assets, they may not be suitable for smaller balances due to administrative and compliance costs.
  • Time Commitment: Trustees need to invest time in managing their SMSF, including record-keeping, administrative tasks, and annual auditing requirements.
  • Professional Advice: It’s advisable to seek professional guidance from accountants, financial planners, or SMSF specialists when setting up and managing an SMSF. Their expertise can help navigate complex regulations and optimize investment strategies.

Self-Managed Super Funds (SMSFs) have become a valuable retirement planning tool for many Australians, offering unparalleled control, flexibility, and investment options.

However, the decision to establish and manage an SMSF should not be taken lightly. It requires a solid understanding of financial markets, compliance obligations, and a long-term commitment to effective management.

When approached with diligence and professional guidance, an SMSF can be a powerful vehicle to achieve financial security and retirement success.

Your Health Has A Place In Estate Planning: What You Should Consider If You Fall Ill

Posted on 27 August '23 by , under Super. No Comments.

When estate planning, most people focus on what will happen to their family and their assets after they pass, often neglecting to consider what would happen if they were to become ill or incapacitated.

Falling ill can be a very stressful and traumatic time for you and your family, especially if you are the primary financial provider for your household. Taking the time to become prepared and evaluating your financial situation can help you to prove if you are out of work for health reasons. It is essential to ensure you know of every entitlement available should you become sick or incapacitated.

Income Protection:

Income protection is a form of insurance that pays you a regular cash amount if you are unable to work as a result of a sudden illness, covering up to 75% of your income for a set period of time. You can insure your income through agreed value, where you decide the amount you wish to receive each month, or indemnity, where you prove your income at the time of claim rather than during application. Generally, you can claim part or all of your income protection insurance premiums that are taken outside of your super as a tax deduction, helping you save more on your tax bill. However, you are not entitled to deductions for a policy that compensates for a physical injury. Other insurance policies include health insurance, trauma cover or total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance.

Incapacity Plan:

Incapacity planning is a process through which capable adults make choices and plans about future events that are a possibility. It addresses what you would want to happen in relation to health care decisions and financial matters should you lose your ability to make or express choices. In the event you are seriously injured or develop an illness such as dementia, you may not be able to pay bills, file taxes or manage your assets and investments. Incapacity planning allows for those types of things to still be done by someone with the authority to handle them. An incapacity plan should contain the following documents:

  • Living Will: states what kind of health care you wish to receive or refuse to receive, should you lose consciousness or capacity. Unlike a last will and testament, your living will has nothing to do with what happens to your property after you die.
  • Financial power of attorney: allows you to choose someone who will have the legal authority to manage your financial affairs if and when you lose the ability to do so yourself.
  • Medical power of attorney: allows you to choose someone to have the legal right to make medical choices on your behalf if you cannot make them on your own. You should discuss your wishes with the chosen representative before you are incapacitated and they need to make medical decisions.

Early Release of Super:

There are very limited circumstances in which you can access your super before you retire. You may apply for early release on the grounds of:

  • Incapacity: if you suffer permanent or temporary incapacity.
  • Severe financial hardship: if you have received Commonwealth benefits for 26 continuous weeks but are still unable to meet immediate living expenses.
  • Compassionate grounds: to pay for medical treatment if you are seriously ill.
  • Terminal medical condition: if you have a terminal illness or injury likely to result in death within 2 years, as certified by two registered medical practitioners, at least one of whom is a specialist