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Nobel laureate recommends changes to Australian super system

Robert Merton, who was awarded the Nobel prize for economics in 1997, has recommended that the Australian superannuation system needs to rethink the way that it communicates with people about their retirement savings. Merton, who has spent the last decade studying retirement savings systems, believes that the Australian system is too focused on lump sum amounts, and should be regarded to make investors think about their future income streams.

“We are teaching people to look at the wrong number,” Mr Merton said in an interview. “What is a good retirement is measured by the standard of living you want in retirement, and standard of living is not defined by a pot of money but a stream of income. A good amount for retirement would be to sustain the standard of living you have become used to enjoying in the later part of your working life. That is an income goal; it’s not a wealth goal.

Merton also claims that the Australian super system needs to improve services in the pension phase of retirement savings.He claims that too many products that are classified as low-risk investments actually have highly volatile income streams, and retirees are given insufficient information from superannuation funds in regards to deciding when and how to withdraw their super.

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SMSFs: beware of illegal early super release

July 13, 2018

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is reminding self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees to beware of allowing members to access their super early.

A self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustee must meet a condition of release before any funds can legally be released.

The ATO can issue severe penalties if you or a SMSF member access your super before you are legally entitled to do so.

Some consequences of getting caught up in an illegal super scheme include the disqualification of trustees, imposition of administrative penalties, the fund being made non-complying and prosecution.

The Tax Office encourages those members who have been involved in an illegal super scheme to contact them immediately. The ATO will review your voluntary disclosure and take your circumstances into account when determining any penalties.