Leaving Australia. Can I take superannuation with me?
May 14, 2009 12:07 PM   Subscribe

I'm an Australian citizen leaving Australia permanently. Can I withdraw anything from my superannuation?

I'm an Australian citizen and will soon be moving to the US to live, indefinitely. I'm currently self-employed and don't pay anything into my super, but I have some money in there from when I used to be an employee. Is there any way I can get those funds out of superannuation when I leave? If not, will I ever be able to get them, or does the money disappear into the state?
posted by Eastgate to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There's a reciprocity agreement between the US and Australian governments that allows superannuation credits to count towards Social Security in the US, and vice versa, based upon a variety of conditions.
posted by holgate at 12:16 PM on May 14, 2009

(Or to make a claim for payment from the Australian government while living in the US, if you're eligible.)
posted by holgate at 12:18 PM on May 14, 2009

You can, but as I recall, the fees are pretty hefty. Contact your super-fund, explain your situation, and they'll probably send you some forms etc. There shouldn't be an issue, but again, expect your super fund to take a pretty hefty chunk of your money in fees when you do.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:36 PM on May 14, 2009

Leaving Australia payments are for temporary residents, not emigrating citizens.

You won't be able to touch the preserved amount without evidence of financial distress and the agreement of the trustee. If you have any non-preserved amounts (generally: post-tax contributions you've made above the SG minimum), they're yours, free and clear.

If not, will I ever be able to get them, or does the money disappear into the state?

You'll be able to get the money when you reach the preservation age (currently 55, but possibly changing due to the recent budget).

That all said, it may well be in your interest to contact your super fund, and explain that you will be out of the country, and could they please move you into a low-fee option, and cancel any the life insurance that may be associated with your account. This should maximise your return on reaching preservation age. Also, give the ATO a bell and ask them this question. They're surprisingly nice and helpful.

This is not financial advice, I am not a financial advisor, and I'm certainly not your financial advisor.
posted by pompomtom at 4:13 PM on May 14, 2009

(sorry, better explanation of preservation age here)
posted by pompomtom at 4:17 PM on May 14, 2009

About ten years ago, a friend of mine left Australia to live in the UK. According to him, by making a court-sanctioned declaration (maybe a stat dec, I'm not sure) that he would NEVER, EVER seek employment in Australia again, he was able to access all the money he had in super.
This was, as I said, a while ago and I'm only relating what he told me, but it might be worth finding out whether this kind of thing can still be done.
posted by bunglin jones at 6:15 PM on May 14, 2009


Why don't you leave it there for when you retire? If you don't really need the money then leave it there. I am a big believer in having 'pots' of money saved in different currencies - you never know when your country will do a 'Zimbabwe'. You get it all with no 'exit fees' if you leave it there until you hit 55ish.

I moved to the UK. I moved my super into an Industry based one with the lowest fee and no contribution fees and I contribute a small amount to it each month (AMP wanted to tax me a few % on EVERY transaction.)

How are you not contributing to super legally when you are earning money - self employed or not?
posted by lamby at 7:25 AM on May 15, 2009

« Older How to introduce kids to a new SO?   |   Can I Eat This? If So, Got Any Recipes? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.