Leaving a job? What happens to your superannuation?

When you’re working, your employer contributes a part of your salary into your super account. If you leave a job or decide to retire, there are a few decisions you have to make about your super.

Options for managing your superannuation after leaving a job

Leaving your superannuation with your current fund

If you have choice of fund at your new job, you can choose to stay with your current superannuation fund. This also means you can keep your current insurance cover and investments. You just need to give your employer the details of your fund so they can pay your super contributions. Otherwise your new workplace may pay your employer contributions to another fund. Your preferred fund's account can still stay open and you can still contribute to it so your investments can continue to grow. In the event you have accounts with several superannuation funds, you could simply combine your super into your preferred fund.1

Rolling over your superannuation to your preferred fund

If you join a different fund after starting a new job, you may decide to roll over your superannuation. Rollover is when you move money from one super fund into another super fund. To start the process, fill out a rollover form from your preferred fund. They will then help you transfer your super balance over from that fund to your preferred fund. If you feel like you have lost super from previous funds, see how to find lost super. You can also combine your super into one fund if you have many accounts. This will save you paying multiple fees and charges. Learn more about rolling over your super and switching investments.1

Taking superannuation as a lump sum

If you’re permanently retired and have reached your preservation age or met another condition of release, you can generally access part of or all your super as cash, known as a lump sum. To do this, contact your super fund for the necessary forms. Fill them out and wait for approval. Before making a lump sum withdrawal, make sure you know about any tax you might have to pay and if your investment options are affected. It’s best to seek financial advice if you’re unsure. Find out more about lump sum and pension withdrawals.

What happens to employer contributions?

What are employer contributions?

Employer contributions is the money that your employer puts into your super account. By law, they have to pay a percentage of your salary into your super fund, helping it grow over time. They are an important part of helping you grow your super balance for a comfortable retirement.

What happens to employer contributions when you leave a job?

When you leave a job, that employer will no longer be making contributions to your super fund. Any super you did receive into your account will remain. It is still able to be invested and will continue to grow until you reach retirement age or when you are able to access your super.

Options for maintaining or transferring employer contributions

You have options when it comes to where your employer contributions get paid to. If you have an existing preferred super fund, you can have them pay it into that. Or you can have them contributed to a new super fund account.

Accessing superannuation when you have stopped working

Preservation age and conditions of release

You can usually access your super if you've reached preservation age (it can be younger, but for people born on or after 1 July 1964 your preservation is age 60) and if you meet any of the following:

  • Are permanently retired from employment
  • Have commenced a transition to retirement income stream
  • Are retired from an employment arrangement on or after turning age 60.

Once you turn 65, you can access your super whether you’re still working or not.

Super is a long term investment for you retirement, but you may also be able to access your super early If you meet certain conditions. These conditions include:

  • on compassionate grounds
  • if you're experiencing financial hardship
  • buying your first home under the First Home Super Saver Scheme
  • leaving Australia (if you are a former temporary resident).

Transition to retirement income streams

Thinking about retirement, but not ready to stop working yet? If you’ve reached your preservation age and are under age 65, starting a transition-to-retirement (TTR) pension account could be for you. You can learn more about the types of income streams and pension payments.

Special considerations

Superannuation and redundancy

Redundancy payments are often paid in a lump sum. You might want to consider putting some of it into your super account to increase your retirement savings. When deciding how to manage your super after redundancy, you should think about your financial goals, and future retirement plans. It’s a good idea to seek financial advice to help you make informed choices. If redundancy has you thinking of taking a career break, learn more about how to manage your super.

Superannuation and self-employment

If you're self-employed, you're in charge of your own super. This means you need to make super contributions into your fund yourself. You can claim tax deductions on your contributions, manage your investment choices, and track your superannuation balance to meet your retirement goals. Getting advice from a financial expert can help you manage your super.

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1 Before combining your super, consider the possible effects this might have on things like the fees you pay, the conditions of your insurance (including whether you can transition your insurance in your other fund to your preferred fund) and the tax on your super. There could be other effects too, so it’s best to seek financial advice if you’re unsure.

The information is of a general nature and doesn't consider your personal circumstances. Before making decisions, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for your circumstances otherwise seek financial advice.

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