Getting even with super

Superannuation balances between spouses can differ greatly due to many factors including wages, length of time in the workforce, illness, career breaks, or family commitments.

Fortunately, there are a number of strategies that can be implemented to even up such imbalances to maximise a couple’s combined super.

One such strategy focuses on evening up superannuation balances between spouses and maximising their combined superannuation with a withdrawal and recontribution strategy.

The benefits of this strategy include:

  • Spouses with lower Total Super Balances (TSB), under $1,700,000, are able to utilise non-concessional contributions caps.
  • Maximising each spouse’s benefits in a tax-free retirement phase income stream, up to current Transfer Balance Cap (TBC) of $1,700,000.
  • Reducing superannuation benefits in accumulation phase attracting income tax at 15%.
  • Savings of death benefits tax (by converting taxable benefits into tax free).

A withdrawal and recontribution strategy has been bolstered from 1 July 2022, with the 2021 Federal budget announcements passing both houses of Parliament in early February:

  • Members over the age of 67 (and up to just prior to age 75) no longer need to meet the work test – creating greater potential to make non-concessional contributions to even up super balances.
  • Members with Total Super Balances less than $1,700,000 will be entitled to bring-forward up to 3 years non-concessional contributions until the age of 75 (including just prior to their 75thbirthday).

Its best to run through an example as it can get a little complicated:

Take Scott (68) and Kathy (63), they have the following superannuation benefits:

Benefits as of 30 June 2022Tax free %Benefit composition
Scott$1,068,00045%Pension ($900,000 against TBC*)

*TBC = Transfer Balance Cap. It is a lifetime limit (currently $1.7 Million) on the total amount of superannuation that individuals can transfer into retirement phase income streams, including most pensions and annuities.


Kathy is still working to maximise her retirement benefits. However, she has ceased an employment arrangement so has full access to her Unrestricted and Restricted Non-Preserved (URNP) benefits. Considering this, and the transfer balance cap of $1,700,000, Kathy will maximise the amount of benefits she can put into retirement phase upon her eventual retirement. A portion will remain in accumulation, paying tax on earnings at 15%.


Scott on the other hand, has already retired and has not maximised his transfer balance cap. He will have an indexed TBC of an amount between $1,600,000 and $1,700,000.


As of July 1, 2022, Scott no longer needs to satisfy the work test and now has access to the bring forward non-concessional contributions cap. Kathy and Scott should therefore consider withdrawing up to $330,000 from Kathy’s accumulation interest and re-contributing them into Scott’s superannuation account.


By implementing this strategy from July 1, 2022, Kathy is reducing her total superannuation balance by $330,000, thereby giving her the potential to also make non-concessional contributions, and Scott can commence a retirement phase income stream on the re-contributed amount within his TBC. The amount now attributed towards his TBC is $1,230,000.


Savings of future income tax will also be achieved once Kathy goes into the retirement phase as a greater amount of her benefits will be within her TBC.


Kathy is also converting a portion of her benefits ($330,000) that are currently 18% tax free into 100% tax free monies. This provides additional savings of approximately $46,000 in death benefits taxes upon the death of one spouse, when paid out through superannuation to beneficiaries (presuming Scott and Kathy have estate planning matters in place directing benefits to each other on their death).



Superannuation contribution rules are complex, but rest assured there are a number of different strategies that couples can use to help maximise their combined super, subject to their individual circumstances. Please contact Calibre if you would like to explore whether any of these strategies may be of benefit to you and your family.


Next steps

If you have any questions/thoughts in relation to this article or would like more information, please contact Gordon Thoms or David Conte at Calibre Private Wealth Advisers on ph. (03) 9824 2777 or email us here.


The information contained in this article is of a general nature only and may not take into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs. Accordingly, the information should not be used, relied upon or treated as a substitute for personal financial advice. While all care has been taken in the preparation of this article, no warranty is given in respect of the information provided and accordingly, neither Calibre Private Wealth Advisers, its employees or agents shall be liable for any loss (howsoever arising) with respect to decisions or actions taken as a result of you acting upon such information.


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