You might be leaving the country for a variety of reasons – career prospects, love, adventure, new opportunities – or you may be returning home.
While you’ve probably got a checklist of things to cover off before you leave, spare a thought for any superannuation you might’ve accumulated while working in Australia. After all, it is your money, so it’s a good idea to keep track of it.
What can I do with my super if I’m an Aussie citizen or permanent resident leaving the country?
Even if you’re leaving the country permanently, if you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident, your super will remain subject to the same rules.
What that means is that in most instances you generally won’t be able to access your super until you reach your preservation age, which will be between 55 and 60, depending on when you were born.
Meanwhile, if you’re going to continue working for an Australian employer, they may still be required to contribute to your super, so check the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website for more info.
What can I do with my super if I’m a temporary resident leaving the country?
If you’re a temporary resident, when you leave the country you may be able to claim what’s called a departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP), which means you can take your super with you1.
Generally, to be eligible for a DASP, all of the following must apply to you2:
- you are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or permanent resident of Australia
- you entered the country on a temporary visa (listed under the Migration Act 1958, excluding subclasses 405 and 410)
- you’ve since departed Australia
- your visa is no longer valid in Australia.
What can I do with my super if I’m bound for New Zealand?
If you’re moving to New Zealand, different rules apply. After you’ve migrated, you can choose to leave your super in Australia or you can transfer it to a New Zealand KiwiSaver account under the Trans-Tasman Retirement Savings Portability scheme3.
You will need to check4:
- that your current and future fund are participants in the arrangement
- that your existing and future fund are compliant with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme
- that your existing fund is not a self-managed super fund
- that you’re aware of New Zealand’s retirement savings rules, as once your savings have been transferred, these rules will generally apply.
What can I do with my super if I’ve already relocated overseas?
- It’s worth checking out what the super or retirement savings situation is in the country you’ve relocated to. Do your research on whether, and on what basis, you can recover or withdraw any contributions you make while you’re away.
- And, if you’re close to your preservation age, find out if there are any tax implications for withdrawing your Australian super when you become eligible to do so.
What else do I need to do before moving?
Update your details
Ensure your super fund has all your up-to-date details so they can stay in touch with you. This will also help to avoid any small lost or unclaimed super balances you might have being transferred to the ATO.
Find your lost super
In Australia, lost super money accounts for just under $18 billion5. If you’ve lost track of your super and you’re an AMP customer, AMP can help locate it for you free of charge.
Consider consolidating your funds
If you do find you have super with multiple providers, there may be advantages to rolling your accounts into one, such as paying one set of fees which could save you hundreds of dollars each year and even thousands over many years.
If you’re an AMP customer we can do the consolidation legwork for you, but do look into the possibility of exit and withdrawal fees, or whether you might lose features like insurance that may not be transferable.
Research fees and options
Research what fees your super fund charges and what super investment options are available. A fund with lower fees will have less impact on your balance while you’re gone.
Look into contributions
If you’re under 65, or between 65 and 75 and meet work test requirements, you can continue to make personal contributions to your super fund no matter where you live and work. Making contributions however might not be tax effective, so you’ll need to look into the tax rules based on your circumstances and the country you’re moving to.
If you’d like help working out your super or retirement options, speak to your adviser. And, if you don’t have an adviser, call us on 03 6343 1007.