Australians are raiding their super at a rate of $1 billion a day as the new financial year kicks off

Australians are eagerly cashing in on the early access to super scheme. (Steve Christo, Corbis via Getty Images)
  • Australians have taken out more than $1 billion a day since the second round of super withdrawals kicked off on July 1.
  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed on Wednesday that $7.1 billion had been withdrawn so far.
  • It would bring the scheme total to around $27 billion, with three months left to run.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Treating the start of a new financial year like a starter’s gun, Australians are rushing to get hold of another chunk of retirement savings.

The passing of July 1 means Australians are able to withdraw another $10,000 from their super funds, with no shortage of applications flooding in.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed on Wednesday that $7.1 billion has been withdrawn in the very first week of the new financial year, amounting to a little over $1 billion every single day.

“Up to $10,000 last financial year, up to $10,000 this financial year. [It’s] tax-free and it’s the people’s money and this money should be put to good use,” he told 2GB this morning.

“We have some ABS payroll data that shows over 55% of the spending from that $10,000 that has been early accessed, has gone towards discretionary items that the people need, including paying their rent, and over 30% has gone to paying loans,” he said. “Obviously that puts people in a better financial position overall as well.”

The latest update brings the total withdrawn under the scheme to around $27 billion, or just $2 billion shy of government forecasts.

It comes despite the economy being in markedly better shape than thought at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, and with temporary workers excluded from the second round.

With three months yet to run, and with most of last financial year’s 2.36 million approved applicants now able to make a second withdrawal, it’s expected the actual figures will blow past those estimates.

It’s no wonder. As Business Insider Australia reported, hundreds of thousands of Australians may have accessed their super despite being ineligible, and would hardly have figured in the government’s calculations.

Some have defended themselves doing so by enacting the very phrase by which the Treasurer used to describe the scheme: “It’s the people’s money”.

For more than half a million people, it is in fact all the retirement money they have.

Whatever their intent, the figures from the last financial year show that nearly one in five Australian workers took all their money given the chance to do so.

Granted another opportunity, many will again.

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