Register For Our Mailing List

Register to receive our free weekly newsletter including editorials.

Home / 211

Accessing super before retirement

Although earnings from assets supporting Transition to Retirement Income Streams (TRIS) are no longer exempt from tax, a TRIS is the only way a member can access their superannuation savings prior to turning 65 (although there are some exceptional Conditions of Release). You must also have reached your preservation age, which varies depending on your date of birth, ranging from 55 if born before 1 July 1960 to 60 if you born after 30 June 1964.

Yearly TRIS depends on age

There are limits on the minimum and maximum amounts of TRIS you can access from your superannuation fund each year. The minimum amount is based on your age at 1 July and is a percentage of your TRIS account balance. If you are aged 55 to 64, the minimum amount you can access is 4%, and it increases according to age until it reaches 14% for anyone aged 95 or older. If a TRIS commences during the year, the minimum amount will be calculated on a pro rata basis from the commencement date, rounded to the nearest $10. The maximum amount is 10% of your pension account balance, and this is not calculated on a pro rata basis.

TRIS is paid as a non-commutable income stream, which means you cannot convert it to a lump sum superannuation benefit, until either you reach the age of 65 or meet another condition of release. By commencing a TRIS, you can cut down on your working hours and maintain the same level of total income by supplementing what you no longer receive as salary.

Super contributions still possible

You may still continue to make contributions into your fund once you start a TRIS. You could consider setting up a salary sacrifice arrangement by putting your salary into your super fund and replacing the sacrificed salary with a TRIS. By doing this, your fund pays 15% on the sacrificed salary received instead of you personally paying tax at your marginal tax rate, which may be higher. Salary sacrifices are part of the concessional contributions cap of $25,000 per annum.

You could also consider receiving TRIS and re-contributing it back into your fund as non-concessional contributions. This will allow you to increase the tax-free portion of your superannuation savings in your fund. In this case the non-concessional contributions cap of $100,000 per annum needs to be considered. If you are under 65, the bring-forward rule applies, which means you can make total contributions of $300,000 in one year or over three consecutive financial years. For this to be possible your total superannuation balance must be below $1.6 million as at 30 June 2017.

Tax-free TRIS at 60

If you are aged 60 or older, a TRIS is tax-free. If you are aged 55 to 59, the taxable component of your TRIS is taxed at your marginal tax rate, but you will receive a 15% tax offset, which represents tax already paid by your fund.

Recent changes to the law will allow a tax exemption on earnings from assets supporting a TRIS with a balance of up to $1.6 million when the member turns 65. The tax exemption is because a TRIS will automatically be treated as a pension in the retirement phase because the member meets a condition of release by turning 65. It also means the member’s TRIS will count towards their general transfer balance cap, which is currently $1.6 million. Any amount in excess of the cap will attract an excess transfer balance tax.

If a member accessing a TRIS meets other conditions of release such as completely retiring, suffering from a terminal medical condition, or becoming permanently incapacitated, the member will need to notify the trustee of their fund that they have met a condition of release before they are eligible for the earnings tax exemption on assets supporting their TRIS. The TRIS will also count towards their transfer balance cap from the date they notify their fund regardless of when they met the condition of release.


Monica Rule is an SMSF Specialist. She runs webinars and seminars on the superannuation law and SMSF compliance. For more details visit This article is general information and does not consider the circumstances of any individual.


Most viewed in recent weeks

10 reasons wealthy homeowners shouldn't receive welfare

The RBA Governor says rising house prices are due to "the design of our taxation and social security systems". The OECD says "the prolonged boom in house prices has inflated the wealth of many pensioners without impacting their pension eligibility." What's your view?

Three all-time best tables for every adviser and investor

It's a remarkable statistic. In any year since 1875, if you had invested in the Australian stock index, turned away and come back eight years later, your average return would be 120% with no negative periods.

The looming excess of housing and why prices will fall

Never stand between Australian households and an uncapped government programme with $3 billion in ‘free money’ to build or renovate their homes. But excess supply is coming with an absence of net migration.

Five stocks that have worked well in our portfolios

Picking macro trends is difficult. What may seem logical and compelling one minute may completely change a few months later. There are better rewards from focussing on identifying the best companies at good prices.

Let's make this clear again ... franking credits are fair

Critics of franking credits are missing the main point. The taxable income of shareholders/taxpayers must also include the company tax previously paid to the ATO before the dividend was distributed. It is fair.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 424 with weekend update

Wet streets cause rain. The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect is a name created by writer Michael Crichton after he realised that everything he read or heard in the media was wrong when he had direct personal knowledge or expertise on the subject. He surmised that everything else is probably wrong as well, and financial markets are no exception.

  • 9 September 2021

Latest Updates

Investment strategies

Joe Hockey on the big investment influences on Australia

Former Treasurer Joe Hockey became Australia's Ambassador to the US and he now runs an office in Washington, giving him a unique perspective on geopolitical issues. They have never been so important for investors.

Investment strategies

The tipping point for investing in decarbonisation

Throughout time, transformative technology has changed the course of human history, but it is easy to be lulled into believing new technology will also transform investment returns. Where's the tipping point?

Exchange traded products

The options to gain equity exposure with less risk

Equity investing pays off over long terms but comes with risks in the short term that many people cannot tolerate, especially retirees preserving capital. There are ways to invest in stocks with little downside.

Exchange traded products

8 ways LIC bonus options can benefit investors

Bonus options issued by Listed Investment Companies (LICs) deliver many advantages but there is a potential dilutionary impact if options are exercised well below the share price. This must be factored in.


Survey responses on pension eligibility for wealthy homeowners

The survey drew a fantastic 2,000 responses with over 1,000 comments and polar opposite views on what is good policy. Do most people believe the home should be in the age pension asset test, and what do they say?

Investment strategies

Three demographic themes shaping investments for the future

Focussing on companies that will benefit from slow moving, long duration and highly predictable demographic trends can help investors predict future opportunities. Three main themes stand out.

Fixed interest

It's not high return/risk equities versus low return/risk bonds

High-yield bonds carry more risk than investment grade but they offer higher income returns. An allocation to high-yield bonds in a portfolio - alongside equities and other bonds – is worth considering.



© 2021 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.

The data, research and opinions provided here are for information purposes; are not an offer to buy or sell a security; and are not warranted to be correct, complete or accurate. Morningstar, its affiliates, and third-party content providers are not responsible for any investment decisions, damages or losses resulting from, or related to, the data and analyses or their use. Any general advice or ‘regulated financial advice’ under New Zealand law has been prepared by Morningstar Australasia Pty Ltd (ABN: 95 090 665 544, AFSL: 240892) and/or Morningstar Research Ltd, subsidiaries of Morningstar, Inc, without reference to your objectives, financial situation or needs. For more information refer to our Financial Services Guide (AU) and Financial Advice Provider Disclosure Statement (NZ). You should consider the advice in light of these matters and if applicable, the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision to invest. Past performance does not necessarily indicate a financial product’s future performance. To obtain advice tailored to your situation, contact a professional financial adviser. Articles are current as at date of publication.
This website contains information and opinions provided by third parties. Inclusion of this information does not necessarily represent Morningstar’s positions, strategies or opinions and should not be considered an endorsement by Morningstar.

Website Development by Master Publisher.