A Department of Human Services report, for the 2013-14 financial year, shows a growing number of Australians are digging into their superannuation early.

The number of Aussies accessing their superannuation on compassionate grounds rose by 7 per cent to 19,300.

The average amount released to applicants worked out to be $12,870 per person. The sums relinquished were used to meet mortgage repayments, pay for funeral or burial expenses, palliative and medical care and transport for hospitalisation.

Brendan O’Farrell. Image: www.new.com.au

Brendan O’Farrell. Image: www.new.com.au

But financial experts warn of easy access to super. Brendan O’Farrell, CEO of Intrust Super, believed superfunds should only be used as a last resort.

“I don’t think it should be taken lightly,” he said to news.com reporters.

“It should be the last thing people tap into, but if worst comes to worst and banks are going to foreclose mortgages and cause family stress I think it should be allowed under those circumstances.”

Mr O’Farrell went on to say he’d seen applications for access to superannuation funds increase by 25 per cent in the last year, mostly to pay out home loans.

But of course this is what the head of a superannuation fund would say.

Let no one forget, the money sitting in the superannuation fund is owned by the policy holder, not the fund manager. And recent reports have found that fund managers are making a lot more out of those funds than are the policy holders.

Having access to their own funds should be the right of every policy holder. The tariffs on withdrawals should be enough to dissuade all but the most needy from removing money.

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