• Eight in ten Australians want the flexibility to access their super in retirement if and when they need it. 
  • Two in three Australians do not retire at a time of their choosing.
  • Less than a third of Australians plan to stop working completely past retirement age.
  • Advised Australians have considerably greater certainty over when they retire and are more likely to enjoy their retirement. 


Monday 22 April 2024 New research from Colonial First State (CFS) has found that attitudes towards retirement continue to shift, with flexibility and choice a key objective for most Australians.


Based on a national survey of 2,247 Australians, including 430 retirees, the Rethinking Retirement report found that 83% of Australians want flexible access to their money in retirement if and when they need it.


The report found that seven in ten retirees say they are currently able to enjoy a comfortable retirement with the amount of money they have saved. However, when asked what a comfortable retirement looked like to them, there was a wide variety of responses.


CFS Superannuation CEO Kelly Power said the findings emphasise that everyone has a different picture of how they want their retirement to be.


“Whether your retirement plans include travelling the world, staying close to home or pursuing a passion project, it is clear that retirement is personal and choice and flexibility are key,” Ms Power said.


“It is also clear that attitudes towards retirement are shifting. Most Australians plan to continue working into their later years. Less than a third plan to stop working completely once they reach the retirement age,” she said.


The most popular work preferences beyond retirement age are reduced working hours, followed by a desire to continue working the same hours and pursuing a passion project with less pay and fewer hours.


However, the research found that only one in three retirees retired at a time of their choosing. The remaining two-thirds retired due to health, redundancy and other factors beyond their control.


In contrast, the report found that advised Australians are twice as likely as unadvised Australians to retire at a time of their choosing.


“The way people think about retirement is changing. The traditional idea of retirement as a point in time or a specific date when we stop working is becoming less prevalent,” Ms Power said.


“With flexible access to super and flexible employment to play a larger role in people’s retirement plans, the need for financial advice becomes even more important,” she said.


“Those looking to work beyond the age of 67 need to consider the tax implications and how their choices could impact their eligibility for the Age Pension. Planning early and seeking advice will put you in a better position to retire with confidence.”


The report also found that advised Australians are more likely to be enjoying their retirement, with over three-quarters of advised retirees (77%) saying they are currently enjoying retirement compared to just half of those who have never received advice (52%).


CFS encourages anyone open to financial advice to visit the CFS Find an adviser site and take the first step to accessing a financial adviser to help identify and achieve their financial goals.

Media enquiries

James Mitchell 

Senior Manager External Communications, Colonial First State

+61 413 619 034

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About Colonial First State

This media release is issued by Superannuation and Investments HoldCo Pty Limited ABN 64 644 660 882 (Colonial First State or CFS). The CFS group includes Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468 (CFSIL) and Avanteos Investments Limited ABN 20 096 259 979, AFSL 245531 (AIL). CFS is majority owned by an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (KKR), with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL 234945 (CBA) holding a significant minority interest. This information is current as at 1 August 2023 and may be subject to change.