What is the retirement age in Australia?

Finance Journalist · 16 April 2021
There is no set retirement age for most people in Australia. For many of us, the decision of when to retire comes down to financial security.

In fact, there’s even a financial movement called FIRE — short for Financial Independence, Retire Early — that’s dedicated to amassing enough money to retire at an early age.

For most Australians, though, retirement comes later in life. There are two important ages that typically come into play. These are when you are eligible to apply for the Age Pension and when you can access your super.

When are you eligible for the Age Pension?

The Age Pension is the main source of income for many retirees. To apply for the Age Pension, you must be the qualifying age or older. This is currently 66 years old, however it will increase to 67 by mid-2023.

Your birthdate Your Age Pension age
1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955 66 years
1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956 66.5 years
On or after 1 January 1957 67 years

Source: Services Australia

To be eligible for the Age Pension, you’ll also need to meet the income and assets tests and usually be an Australian resident who has lived in Australia for at least 10 years.

When can you access your superannuation?

Many Australians also retire buy using super as a source of income. You can access your super when you retire and reach your preservation age, which is between 55 and 60 years old depending on when you were born.

Your date of birth Your 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
After 1 July 1964 60

Source: Australian Taxation Office

If you’ve reached your preservation age but haven’t permanently retired yet, you may still be able to access some of your super through a transition to retirement income stream. Alternatively, you can access it once you reach age 65, even if you’re still working.

It’s also possible to access your super before you reach your preservation age in some limited circumstances. However, strict rules apply.

What is the average retirement age in Australia?

The average retirement age has been increasing over the past two decades. Australians are currently retiring when they are between 62 and 65 years old on average, the Federal Government’s 2020 Retirement Income Review found, with women tending to retire around one to three years earlier than men. This is generally close to the time when people become eligible to apply for the Age Pension.

It’s expected that the average retirement age in Australia will continue to rise, due to increases to the Age Pension age as well as factors like improved health and higher levels of education, the Review noted. However, the economic effects of COVID-19 may have mixed effects on when people decide to retire.

If you are starting to plan for your retirement, you may want to get help from a financial adviser.

Cover image source: Halfpoint/Shutterstock.com

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This content was reviewed by Sub Editor Tom Letts and Finance and Lifestyle Editor Shay Waraker as part of our fact-checking process.

Tamika covers personal finance for Canstar, specialising in banking and general insurance. She joined the team after completing a Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at QUT. She has previously written for a range of news, music and arts publications.

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