My son has a $30,000 debt he is struggling to pay off. I am 60 years old, and am still working. Can I use my super to help him?

Hello Margaret, great question. As I can’t provide personal advice online, I’ll outline some things to consider.

If you’re still working, a transition to retirement (TTR) lets you access a maximum of 10% per year of your fund balance as an income stream. You don't need to retire or cease an employment arrangement to start a TTR.

There has been some recent tax changes that relate to the investment earnings of TTR pensions but don’t affect the income paid to you. The income paid by TTR accounts remain tax-free for members over age 60. However, from 1 July 2017, investment earnings are taxed up to 15% in line with normal super accounts.

Other than a TTR strategy, members over preservation age will need to satisfy a condition of release to access their super (e.g. retiring, or reaching age 60 and ceasing an employment arrangement).

Lastly, remember that people are now living longer, which increases the risk of outliving super savings. Before giving the money to your son, consider whether you can afford to help him.

A meeting with a financial planner can help you to work out your options.

The information contained in these responses are not legal, taxation or accounting advice. It is intended to provide general information only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or personal needs. Prior to making any investment decisions, you should speak with a financial adviser to consider whether this information is appropriate for your needs, objectives and circumstances. You should also obtain a copy of the relevant product disclosure statement (PDS) prior to making a decision regarding any investment in any financial product. Whilst care has been taken in the preparation of this information, the accuracy or completeness of the information is not guaranteed. This case study was prepared and issued by UniSuper Management Pty Ltd ABN 91 006 961 799, AFSL No: 235907, which is also the administrator of, and wholly owned by, the UniSuper Superannuation fund (ABN 91 385 943 850). UniSuper Limited (ABN 54 006 027 121) is the trustee of the fund. UniSuper Advice is operated by UniSuper Management Pty Ltd, which is licensed to provide financial product advice to members.

Answered by Matthew Sear


Matthew is a highly qualified and certified financial planner, with a Law degree from the University of Queensland.

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