Superannuation funds act like a specialist savings accounts aimed at enabling you to save for your retirement and are widely available. These funds can be diverse and some will involve less risk to your savings than others depending on where and how your funds are invested along with the fees they charge for doing so. They are designed to be a form of manditory long-term investment to be accessable either upon reaching the retirement age, currently age sixty-five, or at age fifty five in the case of non-commutable allocated pension (whereby from age fifty-five but less than sixty five you can draw down a pension from your superannuation - see Transition to Retirement). Once savings are invested in a superannuation fund, they cannot be withdrawn or usually even transferred without meeting very specific requirements and can incur extra charges and penalties, although transfer of the whole superannuation fund from one provider to another may be free of charge depending on the financial institutions or fund managers involved.
If you belong to a superannuation fund which invests your savings, primarily into the share market, then there is a level of risk that the value of your superannuation fund when you reach retirement could be less than the amount you have invested. So ensure you understand where your funds are to be invested and how or seek advice from a superannuation expert to help guide you on what is the best way to plan for and meet your retirement needs. Superannuation funds offer many advantages such as tax benefits, and at pensionable age, you can receive your super as a super income stream, lump sum or a combination of both - the options are yours.
For more information on Superannuation see: