Accessing Super For Medical Procedures

There has been a growing trend in recent times of people accessing superannuation early for a variety of reasons. At present, early access to superannuation could be due to; severe financial hardship or on medical grounds, as well as some other reasons.

In 2016-17 alone 15,000 Australians accessed their superannuation for medical procedures, this is three times the number in 2011. Weight Loss Surgery and IVF topping the list. In dollar terms, there was $290M released in the 2016-17 year for medical procedures.

In certain cases, without these procedures some may not even live to see retirement age. Let alone be able to enjoy the superannuation they’ve already worked hard to accumulate. The issue they will face however, is that accessing super early to fund these surgeries could have a considerable impact on their end retirement balance.

What can they do?

For those that choose to access their superannuation early for medical procedures, it’s important to give some consideration to the shortfall. For instance, noting an intention that making additional ongoing contributions can help reduce any potential gaps by retirement.

EXAMPLE

A 30 year old with $50,000 in super and earning $55,000 per annum would have around $475,000 in today’s dollars at age 67, or a future value of $998,325. If this person accessed $20,000 at age 30, their superannuation would drop to $415,000 or a future value of $863,484. Making the balance approximately $125,000 less by retirement.

To bridge this gap, the 30 year old could salary sacrifice approximately $20 every week, from age 30 to age 67 to have the same or similar balance. If they did not want to salary sacrifice, the equivalent non-concessional contribution would be approximately $850 per year.

Should you withdrawal superannuation to fund IVF and achieve a successful result, you may decide to take time off work or reduce your hours to care for your child. In this case, another way of getting money back into super and to take advantage of tax breaks, is spouse contributions. This is where a spouse can contribute monies into their spouse’s fund and claim a tax deduction. You can receive a maximum tax offset of up to $540, if your spouse earns less than $40,000. To receive the full $540 offset, the income must be under $13,800 and the spouse contribution needs to be $3,000.

The ability to access superannuation can provide these individuals with a life changing opportunity they may not have otherwise had. It’s just important to give some thought to not only looking after themselves now, but all the way through their retirement. If you want to know more about how this might reflect your current situation, get in touch with us.

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