Is it too late to start a super fund?

John has taken all the money out of his super but fears he may have made a mistake. Is it possible to fix it?

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Q. John
When I retired, I withdrew all my super because it wasn’t a lot of money and I was buying a new home and wasn’t sure how much money I would need. Now I see the value of my home and the costs involved in selling and note that buying a new home will put me well behind breaking even. Can I now put the money I have sitting in a bank getting virtually nothing in interest back into superannuation funds or is this not allowed?

On a different topic, I have also been considering a move to China. My wife is Chinese and has no family here. We applied for her daughter to come to Australia, but it was rejected by our Government because her father is alive in China and she is therefore deemed as having family there, although there has been no contact between them for almost 30 years. My wife worries that when I die, she will be alone and isolated as we do not socialise, and she has nobody to aid her here. If I were to move to China with her, what will happen with regard to my Age Pension? Can it simply be paid into my bank account or do I have to return to Australia to keep it activated? I am now 70 years old and need a solution to this problem. My wife is 59 years old, and we would like to consider a move to China and buying an apartment there with our daughter.

A. To answer your first question, once you have retired and taken all of your money from your superannuation account you cannot restart a superannuation fund. That won’t stop you from being able to invest the money more wisely than just have it sitting in a bank account, but you should contact a financial adviser to find out what options you have.

In answer to the second question, it is possible to get the Age Pension for the whole time you’re overseas. Once you have been outside Australia for longer than 26 weeks, your pension will be reduced to a proportional rate based on your ‘Australian working life residence’. This is the number of years you have resided in Australia since age 16 to Age Pension age.

If you have lived in Australia for 35 years (420 months), then you are paid the full rate of Age Pension to which you are entitled. If, however, you have only resided in Australia for 20 years, then you will be paid 241/420 of the Age Pension (20 x 12, plus an extra month). If you leave Australia permanently, the rate of Pension Supplement you receive will be reduced on departure and the Energy Supplement will cease.

As long as you remain eligible, your Age Pension will be paid every four weeks. 

Related articles:
UK Pension and the Age Pension
Reapplying for widow’s allowance
Living overseas and the pension

Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

Written by Ben

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