Nearly three out of five people who accessed their superannuation early plan to use the money to pay household bills, mortgage, rent and other debts.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Friday shows 57 per cent intended to spend it on bills while 36 per cent planned to add the money to their savings.
As part of the coronavirus response, Australians are able to access up to $10,000 from their superannuation this financial year and another $10,000 next financial year.
CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman says there’s been anecdotal evidence from retailers that younger Australians are using JobKeeper payments and superannuation withdrawals to buy footwear.
He says people should be cautious about withdrawing super, but he understands that people under financial stress who don’t qualify for JobKeeper have little choice.
“It’s not an ideal scenario,” he told AAP.
“I have some misgivings about the scheme. I understand the rationale behind it but also at the same time, there will be some consequences from younger Australians that have drawn on it down the track, if they’re not able to rebuild their superannuation balances due to this setback.”
People should ask themselves if withdrawing the money early is really necessary, he added.
Mr Felsman said the program should be changed next financial year so people who return to work can’t access it.
“If people are back at work and they’re earning an income, what we don’t want to do is see their nest egg over their lifetime denuded unnecessarily.”
More than $13 billion has been extracted from 1.62 million retirement savings accounts.
About a third of the people withdrawing money are under 30 years old.
The early access scheme was temporarily paused this month because of identity theft.