The Courier-Mail

GOALS DETERMINE WHOSE NAME TO HOLD SUPER IN

Superannua­tion is not counted by Centrelink until the member reaches pensionabl­e age

- NOEL WHITTAKER

I AM 59 and my husband is 64. Are we better off holding all our super in my name only, to maximise Centrelink payments for a few years? We have had conflictin­g advice, including from our adviser.

Your best strategy depends on your goals and situation outside super. If you want early access it should be held in your husband’s name, but if you want to maximise your Centrelink entitlemen­ts it should be held in your name as super is not counted by Centrelink until the member reaches pensionabl­e age, which in your case is 66.5.

MY wife’s income for this financial year will be $11,800. To receive the tax offset of $360, do I only need to deposit $2000 into her super or do I have to deposit the full $3000?

The offset is 18 per cent of the sum contribute­d with a maximum offset of $540, therefore you would need to contribute $3000 to receive an offset of $540.

I AM 60, receive a disability pension and have a substantia­l amount of super I can draw down on tax free any time and not affect my pension. Why would a financial adviser tell me to take out an allocated pension and draw down hundreds of dollars a month? What advantage do I get by doing this?

You should ask your adviser to justify that recommenda­tion, but keep in mind the earnings on money in super are taxed at 15 per cent per annum whereas the earnings in an allocated pension are tax free. The big problem is Centrelink will assess money in super as soon as you start an income stream. Keep in mind that you could contribute any surplus funds to super without passing the work test until you reach age 65.

I AM 73, a self-funded retiree, with my entire super fund in term deposits as I don’t want to worry about share price movements. My fund retains $20,000 in a cash account at 0.9 per cent interest and refuses to lower the amount – is this the norm?

If you can’t negotiate with the fund, you should take advice about starting your own fund or moving to another superannua­tion provider who will act on your wishes.

WE own our home outright and have $500,000 in investment loans (including an offset account) covering shares and property. To enable us to save for the future, is it better to hold savings in a high interest account or in the offset account – even though that loan is set up for an investment property?

For flexibilit­y, I prefer the funds to be retained in the offset account, but if you’re serious about long-term saving it may be worth talking to an adviser about moving part of your cash into quality managed funds. This will give you some diversific­ation and will spread the risk.

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