If you’re nearing retirement and keen to be debt free when you get there, you may be considering whether taking your super as a lump sum to pay off your home loan is a good decision.
It might be tempting, but it may not be the best option for everyone. For instance, you may be able to remove or considerably reduce your home loan debt, but depending on how you choose to go about doing this, it could impact the overall amount of money you have left to fund your retirement. Likewise, going into retirement with debt might not be ideal.
It’s important to think about this carefully, particularly as we’re living longer, with many Australians looking at a retirement of 30 years or more.
Yes, you can access your super before your preservation age, but only in certain circumstances—incapacity, severe financial hardship, compassionate grounds and terminal medical condition.
If you are leaning towards paying off your home loan with your super lump sum or other large debts, you need to think about what you will live on if you have no super left. Do you have other sources of income?
You may be eligible for government entitlements, such as the Age Pension, but according to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia—alone, that’s unlikely to be enough.1
Our ‘What’s my number?’ calculator can help you find out how much you might need to retire on, based on the retirement lifestyle you desire, so you can make a more informed decision.
When it comes to taking super as a lump sum, you also need to think about the tax implications and whether you might need help in terms of how you invest your super savings.
For instance, you may be looking to pay off your home loan right away or you might be thinking about investing your savings outside of super and using the earnings to pay off your loan gradually.
It’s important to bear in mind, if you’re under age 60, you might have to pay tax on the lump sum. And, if you invest your money outside super in your own name, you may be taxed on the interest or possibly the capital gain you make.
There’s a lot to weigh up. Taking super as a lump sum can give you flexibility and control, but so can moving your super into a tax-effective allocated pension, which will provide you with a regular income stream in retirement and the ability to still withdraw lump sums.
If you still have some years ahead of you before you retire, there are a number of little things you can do today to pay off your home loan sooner: