AIST rejects opening super to first home buyers

Allowing first home buyers to access their superannuation for housing deposits would see many Australians “worse off in retirement”, warns the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST).

In a statement last week, independent Senator Nick Xenophon said he will introduce legislative changes that would give first home buyers access to super, but which AIST chief executive Tom Garcia said is not the “silver bullet” for housing affordability.

“The purpose of superannuation is to enable all Australians to have enough money for a dignified retirement,” Mr Garcia said

“It is a key plank of the nation’s retirement incomes policy and should never be used for any other purpose than helping people save for their retirement.”

Mr Garcia said the growth of the superannuation pool was “vital” in tackling the problem of Australia’s ageing population.

He also urged the Financial System Inquiry, in its final report, to call for bipartisan support in enshrining the key objectives of superannuation.

“Removing even relatively small amounts of savings from the superannuation system would see many more Australians reliant on the age pension and significantly worse off in retirement,” Mr Garcia said.

“Critically, they would miss out on the benefits of compounding interest and portfolio diversification.

“Even when the superannuation contribution rate eventually reaches 12 per cent, most young Australians will need every cent of their superannuation to achieve adequate levels of income in retirement,” he said.

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