Early access to Super

posted on 27.10.2021

What was the real cost?

Covid times, lockdowns, loss of work etc. has meant hardship for many. We all have commitments; mortgages, loans, rent, and more – the bills keep coming in and have to be paid. Many of us have accessed our super to get by, but what is the real cost of doing that?

When the first $10,000 tranche of the Early Release of Super Scheme was made available to members from 20 April 2020, the Australian share market had fallen by 23% from its pre-pandemic peak on 21 February 2020. Accessing super when markets are down consolidates losses. With the Balanced investment option achieving a one-year net return of 20.0%, that is an additional loss of $2,000. If the member accessed the second tranche of an additional $10,000 then this loss would have been greater.

In total, REI Super members who accessed the full $20,000, amounted to $36 million when the scheme concluded on 31 December 2020. 

And it doesn't end there. The compounding interest lost* over time is significant when you consider the length of time that money is invested in super:

Estimated yearsTotal
In 10 years the cost is estimated to be:$3,064.00
In 20 years the cost is estimated to be:$6,811.00
In 30 years the cost is estimated to be:$11,320.00

Don’t despair – you can rebuild 

There are many ways to rebuild your super:

  • Salary sacrifice is an easy way to grow super and there are tax advantages to be made also.
  • Find and combine other super into your REI Super account.
  • Add a little extra when you have extra, such as if you receive an ATO refund, if you earn a commission, if you make a profit on the sale of an investment asset or if you receive an inheritance.


If you accessed a COVID-19 Early Release of Super, you are now able to re-contribute up to the amount you received without the contributions counting towards your non-concessional cap. Visit the ATO website for further details. 


Disclaimer: Future investment performance can vary from past performance, and you should not base your decision to invest in REI Super simply on past performance. Past earning rates are not an indicator of future earning rates. The investment returns of REI Super are not guaranteed, and the value of the investment may rise or fall. The information contained in this article does not constitute financial product advice. However, to the extent that the information may be considered to be general financial product advice, REI Super advises that REI Super has not considered any individual person’s objectives, financial situation or particular needs. Individuals need to consider whether the advice is appropriate in light of their goals, objectives and current situation. Members should obtain and read the Product Disclosure Statement for REI Super before making any decisions. REI Superannuation Fund Pty Ltd ABN 68 056 044 770 AFSL 240569. RSE L 0000314 REI Super ABN 76 641 658 449 RSE R1000412 MySuper unique identifier 76641658449129.

*Assumptions: starting balance of $20,000.00, admin fee of $86.00 p.a., admin fee of 0.25% p.a., net investment return of 5.50% p.a., tax of 15.00% p.a. and inflation of 2.50% p.a in today’s dollars. Note that these figures are illustrative only. 

Personal finance