What is the retirement age in Australia?

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Wally David

I’m a proud husband and father and I advise people on money for a living. I've been doing this money thing for over a decade and have a keen passion for educating people on their options by simplifying information into everyday language and cutting to the chase.

There is actually no hard and fast retirement age in Australia. For most people, the point at which they call it a day and retire from the workforce is generally determined by a couple of factors:

  • The age that you can access your superannuation
  • Your qualifying age for the Age Pension from Centrelink

What is the retirement age in Australia?

Let’s start with some of the factors to consider:


In most cases, you must reach your ‘preservation age’ to get your hands on your super. The following table provides your preservation age based on your date of birth.

Date of BirthPreservation 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

Once you reach ‘preservation age’ and have retired, you can access your super.

For example:

Jacqui is 56 and was born on 13 January 1958. She has just retired from the workforce and doesn’t intend to work again. She can withdraw from her superannuation, subject to any tax considerations.

If you have reached ‘preservation age’ and are still working, then you may only have limited access to your funds. By limited I mean you may be able to access your super in the form of an income stream, rather than a lump sum payment. The technical name for this is a ‘Transition to Retirement‘ pension where you can receive regular payments from your super while you continue working. You can access up to 10% of your super account balance each financial year.

For example:

Jack has reached ‘preservation age’ and has a super balance of $300,000 at 1 July. He can start a Transition to Retirement pension and receive up to $30,000 in pension payments for that financial year.

Once you have reached 65 you have the green light to access your superannuation without any restrictions. You can take it as a lump sum if you want to pay off something big like your mortgage or you can take it as a regular payment or pension.

Age Pension

Men and women currently aged 65 are eligible for the Age Pension. However the qualifying age is about to change in future years.

The Government announced in 2009 that the Age Pension age will start increasing from 2017 to reach 67 years of age by 2023.

Five years on in the 2014 Federal Budget, plans were announced to further increase the Age Pension age to 70 years of age from 2035.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: This latest measure to raise the qualifying age to 70  is subject to the passage of legislation.

The lift in pension age will occur in a staggered approach rather than in one swift increase.

Use the following table to work out your qualifying age.

Date of birth between Eligible at age
1 July 1952 to 31 Dec 195365.5
1 Jan 1954 to 30 June 195566
1 July 1955 to 31 Dec 195666.5
From 1 January 1957 onwards67

This change is bound to impact the potential retirement age of Australians going forward. For most, the Age Pension remains a key part of any retirement plan, even when you have superannuation and other investments. Regardless if you are only entitled to a few dollars in Age Pension, you still qualify for the extra benefits such as discounts on prescriptions, council rates and some other household bills. Around 77 per cent of Australians over the age of 65 receive some income support from the government.

For those wishing to retire early, it will mean relying on superannuation and other savings between retiring from the workforce and reaching age pension age.

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  • Due to the high volume of requests, it is not always possible to publish and respond to all comments received.
  • We do not provide personalised financial or taxation advice on this forum. All responses are of a general nature and should be treated only as a guide. You should always obtain appropriate professional advice that is relevant to your particular circumstances.
  • Whilst we endeavour to ensure that the information on this website is correct, we do not warrant its completeness or accuracy. You should always verify any information with the relevant organisation, such as Centrelink, the Australian Tax Office or any other regulatory body.


  1. says

    This is very informative.I am age 61,do any of these rules apply to my retirement as I am not in best of health.?

    • Wally David says

      Hi Gunther,

      If you are 61 and have retired from the workforce, you should be able to access your super. In terms of Age Pension, you can look up your qualifying age in the table above based on your date of birth.

      I hope this helps.

      – Wally

      • Li Li says

        Hi Wally,

        You are offering a great site with practical Q & A. I hope to seek for your advise. We lived and worked in Sydney between July 2001 to July 2006 and was contributing to Superannuation. We moved away from AU after that and I discontinued the superannuation while my husband continues to contribute. So, can we still have the access to the super fund when we reach the age if we don’t live in AU anymore? Does it still make sense to continue the super contribution even if we don’t have the plan to live in Australia at the retirement age? Can we get the super fund out now? I am only 41 and my husband is 46. Thanks!

        • Wally David says

          Thank you for your question and kind words, Li Li.

          Please refer to a Q & A at SuperGuide on accessing your super when departing Australia.

          I hope this provides some clarity on your issue.

          – Wally

  2. says

    Hi Wally,
    I am 59 still Working and my wife is 50.She has returned to Employment on a Casual basis after not being in the Workforce for 25 years.
    I would like to Retire at 66 but would like to know what affect/restrictions
    it will have on my Pension if she stops working or would be better to continue to work.
    Regards Rod

    • Wally David says

      Thank you for your question, Rod.

      Any employment income your wife earns will be assessed against the income test of your Age Pension. How much this will affect your pension will depend upon how much she earns and, what other assets and sources of income you have. It’s really hard to judge so far out, as the rules and limits are likely to change in that period. You can make that call closer to the time based on your prevailing set of circumstances.

      – Wally

    • Wally David says

      Hi John,

      Thanks so much for the positive feedback. I’m glad you find the site so helpful.

      – Wally

    • Wally David says

      Hi Peter,

      Great to hear you find the information helpful. Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback.

      – Wally

  3. Cruise says

    Hi David, great and useful information above. Wanna ask my aunt is 68 already and still work in farm industry. Someday she gotta work until midnight everyweeks and I dont think this is a good work habit. Does it illegal for an old woman to work over 50 hours a week? On the othe hand,as her contract mentioned she can get pay every two weeks, however, she never get the salary on time. Sometimes I heard she need to wait over a month. It is rediculious that happened in Australia. How can I help her? Thanks and cheers.

  4. noah says

    Hi David,
    I am 57. Would I be able to retire early as an Australian citizen ? I am planning to leave Australia permanently and will move to Europe.

    Yours sincerely,
    Noah P.

    • Wally David says

      Thank you for your question, Noah.

      I’m not entirely sure what you mean by your question. In terms of the Age Pension, people can live overseas and still be paid the pension.

      According to the Department of Human Services website to be eligible for Age Pension you must satisfy residence requirements. You must be:

      – an Australian resident on the day you lodge your claim,
      – be physically present in Australia on the day you lodge your claim, and
      – need to have been an Australian resident for a continuous period of at least 10 years

      I hope this helps.

      – Wally

  5. Karen says

    What legal avenues can you take to access the super that has been taken out of your pay, but the company you have been working for has a. Folded b. Failed to send it through to the super fund

    When the taxation department was notified, they washed their hands of the matter..

    • Wally David says

      Thank you for your question, Karen.

      The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is the body responsible for collecting any unpaid super and enforcing penalties for late or non-payments. I’m surprised to hear of the response you received.

      There is a Employee Superannuation Guarantee (SG) calculator tool that allows you to calculate what you may be owed. There is also the option to lodge an electronic notification to the ATO to assist resolving the issue.

      I hope this helps.


  6. Annette says

    Can I retire at 60, collect my super, pay off my mortgage and then re- enter the workforce as a casual or part time worker?

    If so, is there a certain amount of time I have to be ‘retired’ before I re-enter the workforce?

    • Wally David says

      Thank you for your question, Annette.

      Once you reach age 60 and you cease gainful employment with an employer, you can access your super. There is no prescribed time period that you must remain out of the workforce. If you’re aged 60 or over, any withdrawals from a taxed super fund are completely tax-free. If you have an untaxed fund such as a government super fund, different rates may apply.

      You should get some professional advice beforehand.

      I hope this helps.

      – Wally

  7. Neil says

    I was born 15/03/1961 and didnt contribute to super until it was compulsive,how much money should I be putting away each week through salery sacrifies on top of the $100 work puts in. Also what is the cut off year for a full pension, been born in 1961 do I quailify.

    • Wally David says

      Thank you for your question, Neil.

      There is no one-size-fits-all amount that you should be contributing on top of your employer’s contributions. You really need to work out how much you will need in retirement, and work backwards to calculate the regular amount you need to save now to reach that goal. Everyone is different based on their circumstances and lifestyle. A good financial adviser can assist with this task.

      In terms of cut-off for the pension, this figure will change many times over in the future with the regular indexation of the limits, plus any change in the eligibility rules. It would be better to check the asset limits closer to your qualifying age, to get a better understanding.

      – Wally

  8. Christine Hales says

    am 62 yrs old what can i expect to receive if i decide to leave to work force and do nothing but live
    am old and tired,not in the best of health.own my own house and some land up country.

    • Wally David says

      Thank you for your question, Christine.

      In terms of government support, the two main payments available for those under pension age is the Disability Support Pension and Newstart Allowance. The Disability Support Pension is extremely difficult to satisfy the medical requirements, and I’m told about 60% of new applications are declined. Newstart Allowance has activity test requirements that mean you have to be actively seeking work to be eligible. Though if you’re 55+, the activity-test requirements are more flexible.

      For more information on Newstart Allowance, please see the Department of Human Services website.

      I hope this helps.

      – Wally

  9. Lee says

    I am currently 57 I work overseas as an expat and have so since 2008 which was the last time I put a tax return in Australia.

    I currently have $1,350,000 in Super and will add about the same over the next year as a lump sum.

    My question is I wish only to draw down on the interest and leave the rest to my family when I decide to depart this world.

    Do I have any tax issues with doing this I intend to stay as a retired expat.

    • Wally David says

      Thank you for your question, Lee.

      As discussed above, you would need to reach your preservation age and retire, to be eligible to access the ‘preserved’ component of your super. Alternatively, there are some other conditions of release you can meet to gain access to super. You can read more about these at the Australian Tax Office website.

      The tax issue is tricky. In Australia, the rules are fairly clear cut, particularly once someone reaches age 60 i.e. If you’re aged 60 or over, any withdrawals from a taxed super fund are completely tax-free. However if you are living permanently abroad, tax may be payable in the country of residence.

      You should seek specialist tax advice to clarify the issue.

      – Wally

  10. Wayne says

    Hi Wally my wife will retire in 3 months and is 56 can she receive all he super to pay off the morgage

    great website

  11. Kerry says


    I am a 51 year old Aboriginal woman, our life expectancy is 10 – 15 less than that of non-Aboriginal people, its a pity that I might not be around to collect my Super or benefit from it. Is there anything that can be done so that there is equity for Aboriginal people?