This article explains how Transition to Retirement pensions work and identifies three scenarios where this strategy might be used to great benefit.
If you’re nearing retirement age but don’t want to stop work entirely, another option might be to transition into retirement. For those over 60, Transition to Retirement (TTR) pensions are tax-free and TTR strategies can provide a number of benefits.
Let’s look at some options available to 62-year-old accountant, Brian. He works full time and is on an annual salary of $100,000.
First up, Brian might consider reducing his hours as he prepares for retirement. Dropping from five to three days a week will see his $100,000 annual salary reduce by $40,000 to $60,000. But as his tax bill also falls, from $24,967 to $11,167, his net income only drops by $26,200. Subject to minimum and maximum pension payment rules, and as the pension payments are exempt from tax, Brian only needs to start a TTR pension paying $26,200 each year to maintain his current lifestyle.
Based on Brian’s reduced hours his employer’s super contributions will decrease by $3,400 after contributions tax of 15% is taken into account. Most simply, Brian could add this amount to his pension payments, and make a non-concessional contribution to his super.
TTR pensions can also help bridge the gap if household income takes a hit. What if Brian has no plans to reduce his hours, but illness prevents his partner from working for several months? He could start a TTR to tide them over and help meet mortgage repayments or medical expenses. However, once the crisis has passed the TTR pension will need to continue, as it can’t be withdrawn as a lump sum. Alternatively, it can either be converted to a regular account based pension when Brian either turns 65 or permanently retires, or rolled back into the accumulation phase.
With his partner restored to health and back at work, and Brian still working full time, what can he do with the now surplus income from the TTR pension? One strategy is to make salary sacrifice contributions to super.
Brian is able to salary sacrifice up to $17,500 of his pre-tax income to superannuation (the difference between the concessional cap of $27,500 less compulsory employer contributions of $10,000). Taken as salary, $6,037 of that $17,500 would go in tax. Make a concessional contribution to super and the tax could be reduced to just $2,625, a difference of $3,412!
If there’s still money to spare after the salary sacrifice contribution is made Brian can look at making non-concessional contributions to superannuation where earnings will only be taxed at 15%, significantly less than his marginal tax rate.
If you’re approaching retirement, it might be worth checking out what a TTR strategy may be able to achieve for you. It’s a complex area, so make sure you talk to your licensed financial planner before you act.
You need to consider with your financial planner (or adviser), your objectives, financial situation and your particular needs prior to making an investment decision. Sensibly Pty Ltd and its authorised representatives (or credit representatives) do not accept liability for any errors or omissions of information supplied on this website
Nick Shanley, Steve May, Luke Styles and Shanley Financial Planning T/A Steve May Financial Services are Authorised Representatives / Corporate Authorised Representative of Sensibly Pty Ltd, AFSL 533923. Please refer to our website at www.stevemayfs.com.au to reference our Financial Services Guides.
Shanley Financial Planning Pty Ltd trading as Steve May Financial Services (ABN 19 612 825 180) is a Corporate Authorised Representative of (1265706) of Sensibly Pty Ltd (AFSL 533923)
Nick Shanley, Steve May and Luke Styles are Authorised Representatives of Sensibly Pty Ltd (AFSL 533923)