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Clients' retirement income needs tend to be higher in the earlier years of their retirement and trail off over time. However, we find the majority of our members take the minimum drawdown from their account-based pension, so under the current legislation, their income increases over time as their minimum drawdown percentage increases. This means they might not have the confidence to take the amount of income they actually want or need earlier in retirement, and might end up leaving more money than planned to their beneficiaries.

The purpose of our Lifetime Pension product is to provide your clients with the peace of mind that they can have a tax-free income for life. This product works in partnership with our award-winning Retirement Income account,1 which gives clients the flexibility to make withdrawals from their super.

While every retirement journey is different, the potential benefits of Lifetime Pension may suit your clients who:

  • Want the confidence of a lifetime income
  • Would like a higher level of income in the earlier stages of retirement
  • Are close to the Age Pension threshold or may receive higher Age Pension payments with a Lifetime Pension.

We've created a number of case studies to illustrate which clients could potentially benefit from our Lifetime Pension, in our Lifetime Pension Adviser Guide (pdf).

The government has made changes to legislation to allow a new product category called Innovative Retirement Income Streams (IRIS). This has created an opportunity for super funds to help your clients capitalise on their retirement income with an alternative option to an account-based pension or a traditional annuity.

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You and your client can be assured that the Lifetime Pension will continue to pay an income for the life of your client, however long they live.

We can offer this because the pool is rebalanced each year to capture changes in our calculation of the future payments that the Lifetime Pension assets can support. The level of assets and liabilities naturally fluctuate based on how many members remain in the product pool (mortality experience) and the investment performance of the pool. So that all QSuper Lifetime Pension members can rely upon receiving income for as long as they live, the amount of income is adjusted up or down each year (see 'annual adjustment' below for more detail).

There are a few key differences between our Lifetime Pension and a traditional annuity:

  1. The Lifetime Pension is linked to the market, so it generally provides a higher income, compared to an annuity that pays a fixed income for life.
  2. The rate of income is not guaranteed and the payment amounts can go up and down each year, depending on how the pool performs. However, it is designed to be a lower cost product and provide higher payments than a traditional annuity.
  3. With the Lifetime Pension, payments will continue for the rest of your client’s life, whereas an annuity typically has payments for the client's anticipated life expectancy, with an added option available for payments until death.
  4. To take advantage of this product, your client must be a QSuper member and their money must be within the superannuation system, whereas a traditional annuity can only be issued by a registered life insurance company.

There are several main ways our Lifetime Pension is different to an account-based pension:

  1. With an account-based pension, there is no guarantee that the client's account balance will last their lifetime - it may run out - while Lifetime Pension provides an income for life.
  2. An account-based pension is more flexible because it offers the ability to choose investment strategies, vary how much your client draws down each fortnight, and take out money when needed - while Lifetime Pension payments are set based on the annual adjustment.
  3. With the Lifetime Pension, once the purchase is made, there is no ability to access that money after the 6-month cooling off period, except for a death benefit.

These key differences are why the Lifetime Pension was designed to be used alongside an account-based pension like our Retirement Income account. Using these two products together can give your client the confidence of having the best of both worlds - an income for life, supplemented by the ability to withdraw money as needed.

Please see our QSuper Lifetime Pension Income Estimator  or review the income rates for the first year only in the Product Disclosure Statement for Income Account and Lifetime Pension (pdf).

How much your clients will be paid from their Lifetime Pension depends on:

  • Their purchase price
  • Their age at the time their Lifetime Pension starts (if they selected spouse protection, this is based on the age of the younger person)
  • Whether they have nominated the single or the spouse protection option.

Payments in the first year are also determined by when your client starts the pension. If they start during a financial year, they will receive a prorated amount for the remaining portion of the financial year.

The payment amounts for the Lifetime Pension product will be adjusted effective 1 July each year, based on the pool’s financial results during the past year. The Lifetime Pension is designed to generally increase over time to assist with rising costs of living, but depending on the pool's financial results, payment amounts may go up or down each year.

The benchmark for the pool’s financial result is set at 5%. If the financial results are above 5%, income payment amounts will increase in the following year, and if results are below the benchmark, payment amounts will be adjusted down.

The pool's financial results depend on a few factors, including:

  • Investment returns
  • Whether any Lifetime Pension members pass away in a given year (the mortality experience)
  • The timing of the initial purchase and payments
  • Fees and costs.

Negative investment returns may result in your client’s income being reduced following the annual adjustment, but it’s important to remember that returns are only one factor that affects the annual adjustment. Other factors include the mortality experience of the pool, and fees and costs deducted from the pool.

Your client can find their new payment rates after each annual adjustment in their annual statement.

Payments are made each fortnight on Wednesday. In the event there are 27 Wednesdays in a year, your client's annual amount of income stays the same, and instead the payment amount each fortnight will be adjusted accordingly.

We've designed the Lifetime Pension with in-built money-back protection so your client will, at the very least, receive back their initial purchase price - either in income payments until their death, or as a death benefit to their beneficiaries. Once your client has received their initial purchase price back in income payments, the income payments will continue but when they pass away, their beneficiaries won't receive a death benefit.

If your client has selected the spouse protection option, money-back protection applies after the death of both your client and their spouse.

There is a maximum amount your client can receive back through money-back protection under legislation, known as the capital access schedule.

For more information, please read the Product Disclosure Statement for Income Account and Lifetime Pension (pdf).

The Lifetime Pension is designed so that your client and their beneficiaries receive at least their purchase price back from their Lifetime Pension, either as pension payments or as a death benefit. The death benefit payment is guaranteed by our insurer through a pooled life policy issued to the Board. This means the death benefit is ultimately paid by the insurer, and money contributed to the pool to purchase a Lifetime Pension always remains in the pool.

Our actuaries estimate what the expected mortality experience for all pool members will be. If the actual mortality experience is higher or lower than expected, it will impact the following year’s annual adjustment by increasing or decreasing income respectively.

No. Payment amounts are set for the financial year and are adjusted up or down on an annual basis. For more information on this annual adjustment, check the question above or read the Product Disclosure Statement for Income Account and Lifetime Pension (pdf).
All fees and costs are deducted from the pool, so there is no direct cost to your clients. There are no additional fees, as these have been taken into account when calculating the financial results of the product each year, including administration, investment, and insurance fees and costs.

Introducing clients to this product Show all Hide all

To purchase a QSuper Lifetime Pension, your client must be aged between their 60th and 80th birthdays, with a minimum balance of $10,000, and meet one of the following conditions:

  • They have permanently retired (this doesn't mean they can't return to part-time or full-time work in the future)
  • They have stopped work on or after age 60
  • They have reached age 65
  • They have met another condition of release previously approved by us
  • They are an eligible recipient of a superannuation death benefit.

If your client chooses the spouse protection option, their spouse must also meet these eligibility criteria.

If your client is already a QSuper member, they can either:

If your client is not yet a QSuper member, they'll need to open a QSuper Accumulation account first before they can apply for a Lifetime Pension.

  • Step 1: Open an Accumulation account using the form in the back of the PDS (pdf). Or if you're the spouse of a QSuper member, simply open your account online.
  • Step 2: Open your Lifetime Pension using the Open a Retirement Income Account and/or Lifetime Pension form in the back of the PDS (pdf). Or if you're the spouse of a QSuper member, simply start your Lifetime Pension online.

Yes, you can use our Retirement Calculator to calculate your client's options using the Lifetime Pension and/or the Retirement Income account.Use this calculator to get a comprehensive view of your client's retirement income and understand the impact of the decisions they make now, and how it will influence their short and long-term goals. It will help you find the right balance between these two types of retirement income products and understand what might work best for your client.

You can also use our QSuper Lifetime Pension Income Estimator to estimate any potential extra benefit they might receive from the Age Pension by purchasing a Lifetime Pension.

We offer a retirement bonus when an eligible QSuper member moves money from their QSuper Accumulation account or Transition to Retirement Income account to a Lifetime Pension or Retirement Income account.

Your clients won’t need to apply for the retirement bonus. If they’re eligible, the bonus may be automatically added to their retirement savings at the same time their money is transferred. This was previously referred to as the “transfer bonus”.

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This product is designed to work alongside our Retirement Income account, which clients can use to access their super. Because the Lifetime Pension product does not allow access to the money, and is a permanent purchase, many clients may benefit from diversifying their investments with a Retirement Income account or another product.

There are two cooling-off periods for Lifetime Pension.

There is a 14-day cooling off period from the day your client’s Lifetime Pension starts. Your client can find their start day in Member Online. If they decide to exit the product within the 14-day cooling-off period, they will be refunded their full purchase price.

Your clients also have a 6-month cooling-off period from the day their Lifetime Pension starts. After this time, the Lifetime Pension is a permanent purchase. Within the 6-month cooling-off period, QSuper will refund the purchase price, less the following amounts:

  • Any income payments that have already been paid to your client from the Lifetime Pension
  • Any adjustments for negative investment returns
  • Any adjustments that may be required due to the capital access schedule.

If your client would like to exercise their cooling-off rights, please ensure they complete the Cancel a Lifetime Pension form and that it is received by us within the 14-day or 6-month period (be mindful of postage times if you mail the form to us).

If your client invested a portion of their super in the Balanced option and received a regular income stream and accessed their super from that option using a Retirement Income account, they could miss out on the potential benefit to their Age Pension assets test and income test that comes from investing in a Lifetime Pension.

In addition, they would not benefit from the security of income for as long as they live. If your client was only invested in a Retirement Income account or another account-based pension product, their account balance might run out before they pass away, leaving them relying on the Age Pension. Members have told us this is something they want to avoid.

To have your authority added to your client’s QSuper account, please send us a completed Authority to Release Information form (pdf).

If you would prefer to use your own authority form, please ensure you provide all the information we need to action your authority:

  • Your client’s full name, address, and date of birth
  • Your name and your organisation’s name
  • Your ARN and AFSL
  • Whether the authority is to be given only to you, or additional representatives from your organisation
  • Whether or not the authority has an expiry date (we do not automatically apply expiry dates).

For more information

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1. QSuper's Income account has received Pension Fund awards from Money magazine, SuperRatings, Chant West, and Connexus between 2015 and 2020. Find out more. These awards are solely statements of opinion and do not represent a recommendation to purchase, hold, or sell any securities, or make any other investment decisions. Ratings are subject to change. Ratings, awards, or investment returns are only one factor that you should consider when deciding how to invest your super. Past performance may not be a reliable indicator of future performance. These awards were received before QSuper became part of Australian Retirement Trust on 28 February 2022. The QSuper products that received these awards have kept the same key features post-merger.