When can I retire?

With no definitive retirement age in Australia, the date you exit the workforce will probably come down to personal circumstances and whether you can afford it.

The age you retire in Australia isn’t set in stone. You can really retire whenever you want to, but health, financial commitments and your ability to fund the lifestyle you want will play a big part.

For this reason, you may want to consider the age you’ll be able to access your superannuation and age you can access the government’s Age Pension, which typically are not at the same time.  Or, if you’re nearing retirement age but aren’t quite ready to leave the workforce yet, you may wish to look at transitioning to retirement.

when can i retire

When can I access my super?

Generally, you can access your super when1:

  • You reach preservation age and you retire
  • You cease an employment arrangement after age 60
  • You reach preservation age and implement a transition to retirement strategy
  • You turn 65, whether you remain in the workforce or not.

What is my preservation age?

Your preservation age is the age at which you can start to access your super. It will be between 55 and 60 depending on when you were born.

Date of birth 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

When you reach preservation age, you have a few options.

If you decide to retire, you can either take your super as a lump sum or use your super to set up an account-based pension (or allocated pension). An account-based pension provides you with a regular income stream in retirement and you’re not limited to how much you can withdraw.

Alternatively, when you reach your preservation age, you can access a portion of your super under a transition to retirement strategy. This will allow you to access up to 10% of your super through periodic payments while continuing to work full time, part-time or casually.

What about the Age Pension?

Currently, to be eligible for the Age Pension you must be 65 or older2.

On 1 July 2017, the qualifying age increased to 65 and 6 months, and it will continue to increase by 6 months every two years until 1 July 2023 when it will the qualifying age will be 67. You can check out your Age Pension eligibility age below.

Date of birth Age Pension eligibility age
Before 1 July 1952 65
1 July 1952 ­ – 31 December 1953 65 & 6 months
1 January 1954 – ­ 30 June 1955 66
1 July 1955 ­ – 31 December 1956 66 & 6 months
From 1 January 1957 67

table disclaimer

One of the reasons for the increase in the Age Pension age is Australia’s ageing population. The government’s 2015 Intergenerational Report projects that in 2054-55 there will be more than double the number of people aged 65 or over in comparison to today, which will create much greater fiscal pressure.3

Meanwhile, it’s important to remember that what you do, and at what time you do it, could have tax implications and may impact social security entitlements. For that reason, it’s good to do your research and explore the alternatives with your adviser.  Make an appointment by calling 07 4646 4970, email us at info@fortressfs.com.au or book online.


Chris Black is an award-winning financial planner based in Toowoomba who specialises in superannuation, investing, business succession, cash flow management, retirement planning and personal insurances (including life insurance, income protection, total permanent disability and trauma insurance).

Complied by Emma Linton Doig, Practice Manager


Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557.

This article was first published by AMP Life Limited.
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