Money taken from super today could really help you now, but there are long-term repercussions.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, from 20 April 2020, the Australian Government has allowed those financially impacted by the virus to access some of their super: up to $10,000 this financial year, and $10,000 next financial year.
Should you do it?
It’s a personal decision. We all know super was designed to support you at retirement. A time when you can no longer work and generate income.
When it comes to wellbeing, financial wellbeing is really important. We all want the security of knowing we’re able to provide for ourselves and our families. The coronavirus pandemic, while an obvious health crisis, has also caused a financial crisis in the day-to-day lives of many Australians.
Then there’s the (really bad) timing
Since this crisis started, the stock market is down approximately 30 per cent. By taking your super out now, you’re taking it out at a discount – an amount much smaller than the result of what you put in and earned over years of compounding returns.
History tells us that over the long term, the stock market goes up. What this means is, if you take some out now, when the stock market does recover you’ll have less in your super account to grow from the rebound. That’s where it could really affect your future.
Make a deal with future you
Hopefully, in a few months from now (or maybe more) we’ll look back at the days of social distancing and toilet paper shortages as a strange memory. The coronavirus crisis will one day be over. But your retirement is something that will last for decades, and it’s something you need to prepare and pay for.
So, if you do have to access your super now, why not make a deal with future you to contribute more when you do get back to work? Think about increasing your contributions to 15 per cent of your wages – that’s a little over 5 per cent more than is mandated by the Government. That 5 per cent could mean a world of difference for you in retirement.
How to access your super now
If accessing your super early is the right decision for you, you can apply directly to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) through myGov. You’ll need to meet specific eligibility criteria.