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. My passion is educating people on their options by simplifying information into everyday language. I'm an authorised representative (318432) of Wealth Managers Pty Ltd, AFSL No. 232701.

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, generally comes down to a couple of factors:

  • The age that you can access your super
  • Your qualifying age for the Age Pension

What is the retirement age in Australia?

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

Superannuation

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 196055
1 July 1960 - 30 June 196156
1 July 1961 - 30 June 196257
1 July 1962 - 30 June 196358
1 July 1963 - 30 June 196459
From 1 July 196460

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 super 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 to apply 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. This latest measure to raise the qualifying age to 70  is still 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 betweenEligible 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

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

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