Many Australians have their wealth tied up in residential property, as many households consider these as a potential means of funding their retirement. But what was once a tax-free superannuation under a certain threshold has now become more limited, as the government puts a $1.6 million cap on the amount that can be put tax-free in a retirement account and a $500,000 lifetime cap on non-concessional contributions. Anything over the cap is already subject to a 15 per cent tax rate.
According to the Turnbull government, these superannuation changes will only affect the super-wealthy. Treasurer Scott Morrison even estimates that only four per cent of retirees will be affected. However, this is far from the reality that many retirees are experiencing.
"It happens all the time in the Brighton market," said Stephen Smith, a Marshall White agent. "A huge percentage of the clients you deal with are those who are downsizing and moving into smaller accommodation, and super is the obvious place where those funds go."
Still, financial advisors claim that the 15 per cent tax rate is an effective tax structure when compared to the marginal tax rate. Hence, retirees might not be able to generate sympathy from the general public.
"I don't think there would be a good listening ear from the general public if a couple has more than $3.2 million and is now only taxed at 15 per cent as opposed to having that money tax-free," said Ben Kingsley of Empower Wealth. "But there is certainly a lot of people caught up in this that are in the transition to retirement who made plans based on one set of rules."
In general, putting lump sums into their retirement funds could still be advantageous up the set limits.
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