The rules of super by age

The rules of super vary according to your age - your date of birth can impact how much superannuation contributions you can make and when you can access your super.

Growing your super

Generally, if you earn $450 or more (before tax) in a calendar month, your employer is required to pay superannuation contributions worth 9.5% of your base wage or salary known as Superannuation Guarantee contributions (SG). If you are aged under 18 years, or if you work in a private or domestic capacity (for example, you are a nanny), you will also need to work more than 30 hours per week to qualify for employer-paid superannuation contributions.

You can continue to receive superannuation contributions from your employer right up to the day you retire, regardless of your age.

Super caps by age

Annual limits apply to how much you can add to your super depending on the type of contribution and your age.

Before-tax contributions

Before-tax (concessional) superannuation contributions – including salary sacrifice contributions plus employer contributions, are limited to $30,000 annually or $35,000 if you were aged 49 or over on 30 June in the previous financial year. The Federal government has proposed that the concessional (before-tax) contributions limit be reduced to $25,000 annually for all workers, irrespective of age, commencing 1 July 2017.  In addition the 2016/17 Federal budget has proposed that from 1 July 2017 workers with less than $500,000 in superannuation will be allowed to make additional before-tax contributions if they have not used their full concessional (before tax) contribution limits in previous years, although this will only apply to unused caps from the 2017/18 and later financial years.

After-tax contributions

Superannuation contributions made using after-tax money (non-concessional contributions) are limited to $180,000 in a single financial year, or $540,000 as long as you make no further after-tax contributions for the following two years.

As part of the 2016/17 Federal Budget, the government has proposed replacing the annual limit on after-tax superannuation contributions with a $500,000 lifetime cap. If introduced, this limit will take into account all non-concessional contributions made on or after 1 July 2007.

Once you reach age 65, voluntary after-tax contributions can only be made if you work for at least 40 hours over any consecutive 30-day period during the financial year. Voluntary contributions cannot be made to super once you reach age 75. 

The Federal government has proposed to scrap the work test from 1 July 2017.

Accessing your superannuation

You can start to withdraw from your super account when you reach ‘preservation age’. This varies depending on when you were born as shown in the table below.

Date of birth

Preservation age

Before 1 July 1960


1 July 1960 – 30 June 1961


1 July 1961 – 30 June 1962


1 July 1962 – 30 June 1963


1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964


From 1 July 1964


Once you reach age 65, you can access your superannuation even if you haven’t retired.

To learn more about how much super you will need, contact us to speak to a BT Adviser
We explain the range of strategies you can use to help grow your super. Try just one or embrace them all to boost your super savings over time.
What is Superannuation? Superannuation is an investment designed specifically to help you save for retirement. Here are some super basics to get you started.
Take control of your super today to potentially enjoy a more financially rewarding retirement. By the time you retire, your super could be one of your most valuable assets.

This information is current as at 15/08/2016.

The information provided is factual only and does not constitute financial product advice. Before acting on it, you should seek independent financial and tax advice about its appropriateness to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

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