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 currently limited to $25,000 annually.

In addition, from 1 July 2018, workers with less than $500,000 in superannuation will be allowed to make additional before-tax contributions using the unused portions of their before-tax caps in previous years (incorporating up to five years of contributions). The unused cap amount can start to be carried forward from the 2018/2019 financial year so you will be unable to carry forward unused amounts from years prior to this.

After-tax contributions

Superannuation contributions made using after-tax money (non-concessional contributions) are currently limited to $100,000 in a single financial year, or $300,000 as long as you make no further after-tax contributions for the following two years.

If your total superannuation balance is $1.6 million or more, you will not be able to make additional after-tax contributions.

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.

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.

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.

This information provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

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The tax position described is a general statement and is for guidance only. It has not been prepared by a registered tax agent. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current tax laws and our interpretation. Your individual situation may differ and you should seek independent professional tax advice.