Faced with COVID-19, highest number of Australians tap retirement funds since April

People queue up to enter Paddy's Market in Sydney, Australia. The wet market reopened on 05 June amid a gradual easing of coronavirus restrictions. EPA-EFE/JAMES GOURLEY AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

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Australians asked to pull out more than A$5 billion ($3.5 billion) from their pension funds in the first week of July, the highest since the government granted early access to retirement savings to support a coronavirus-hit economy.

Some 511,000 Australians applied to pull up to A$10,000 each from their retirement savings in the first week of the new financial year, government data showed, the highest number of people to do so since the first week the scheme was in operation in April.

Australia announced the six-month emergency scheme, which allows workers to take up to A$20,000 of their superannuation savings over two financial years, in March as part of a broader stimulus package.

The figures take the total amount Australians have applied to withdraw to A$23.3 billion. The government forecast a total of A$27 billion would be pulled from the world’s third-largest pension pool when it first unveiled the scheme.

“The long-term impact of this scheme will be felt for years to come,” said Kirstin Hunter, co-founder at Future Super, which manages A$750 million in retirement savings.

via Reuters / Business Times

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