Australia retirement age
Many of us are counting down the years until we can retire - after all, one of the reasons we work so hard throughout our lives is to get to the stage of life where we can finally kick back and settle into a more relaxed routine once we’ve ditched the 9-5. If you’re like most Australians, you’ve probably wondered what age you can retire. Let’s take a look at what the retirement age is in Australia, and the factors that might affect the age you choose to retire.
5 minute read
- On average, Australians retire between the ages of 62 and 65.
- What age you retire is a personal choice, but there are restrictions around when you can access your super and the government age pension.
- You can access your super from age 55 to 60, depending on when you were born.
- You can access the government age pension from age 66 to 67, depending on when you were born.
What is the retirement age in Australia?
The truth is, there’s no rule that dictates what age you have to retire in Australia. It’s really up to you to decide when you’re ready to give up working for good.
We’re now living longer than ever before, which means we’ll likely spend more years in retirement than the generations before us. Of course, this also means many people are now spending longer in the workforce compared to previous generations.
Research suggests the median retirement age in Australia is between the ages of 62 and 65.1
Of course, there are many factors that will contribute to your decision about what age to retire. You’ll likely consider:
- Your health
- Your employment situation
- The demands of your job
- Your partner’s situation
- Your finances – both your super and other savings
For better or worse, your finances will play a huge role in determining what age you’re able to retire. As a part of this, when you can access your super savings and/or the government age pension may be important factors in your retirement decision.
When am I eligible for the age pension?
The age you are eligible to receive the age pension is determined by the year you were born, and has gradually been increasing from 65 years. The table below will help you determine when you can access the age pension based on your birth year. To qualify for the age pension, you’ll also need to pass the income and assets tests.
Centrelink runs two separate tests to determine if you are eligible to receive the age pension based on your financial position – the age pension income test and the age pension assets test. Essentially, if your income or assets are above a certain level, you may not be eligible for the age pension or the amount you do receive could be reduced.
You can find out more about the age pension eligibility criteria and whether you meet the income and assets test on the Services Australia website.
|When you were born||What age you can receive the age pension|
|1 Jan 1954 – 30 June 1955||66|
|1 Jul 1955 – 31 Dec 1956||66.5|
|On or after 1 Jan 1957||67|
Source: Services Australia, Age Pension: Who can get it? Nov 2019.
When can I access my super?
Although it’s your money, there are rules around when you can access your super savings. You can generally access your super once you:
- Reach preservation age and retire
- Finish work after age 60
- Reach preservation age and use the transition to retirement strategy
- Turn 65, regardless of whether you are still working or not
So essentially, you can’t access your funds until you reach a certain age, much like qualifying for the age pension. This age is known as your preservation age and is also determined by the year you were born. To find out your preservation age, use the table below.
|When you were born||Preservation age|
|Before 1 July, 1960||55|
|1 July 1960 – 30 June 1961||56|
|1 July 1961 – 30 June 1962||57|
|1 July 1962 – 30 June 1963||58|
|1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964||59|
|From 1 July 1964||60|
Source: ATO, When you can access your super, April 2021.
What factors will determine my retirement age?
When it comes to determining what age you’ll retire, the first step is to determine your ideal retirement lifestyle and how much that lifestyle might cost.
There are certain factors that will help determine how much your retirement lifestyle will cost and therefore what kind of retirement nest egg you might need. This in turn will influence what age you’ll be ready and able to retire. Consider:
- Your costs in retirement such as
- Paying off your mortgage
- Home renovations
- Medical costs
- Financially helping family and friends
- Your life expectancy
- Your sources of income in retirement
How do I know when I’m ready to retire?
Taking into consideration when you can access your super and the age pension, how much your retirement lifestyle will cost, and how long you expect to live in retirement, will all help you determine what age you retire. And that age will likely be different for everyone. What works for your friends or your neighbours won’t necessarily be the retirement age that works best for you.
The sooner you get clear on how you’re tracking towards retirement and where you stand, the sooner you can make moves to make sure you are on track to retire at the age you intend. That’s where we come in – at Sunsuper, we make it easy for you to take charge of your super with the right tools. Picture your retirement with our easy, online retirement planner and calculator. You can also read more information about getting ready to retire. As a Sunsuper member, you can also access expert financial advice about your Sunsuper account for no extra cost.
1 Treasury.gov.au, Retirement Income Review, Nov 2020
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