Creating a strategy for your retirement wealth can help you retire with financial freedom, security, and purpose. A strategic retirement plan which grows your wealth and diversifies your income streams can help guide you towards a comfortable retirement suited to your personal goals. Learn about different investment strategies, understand your current position with our retirement calculator, and learn ways to save money with tax benefits.  

What is the retirement age in Australia?  

 

The age you retire in Australia is completely up to you, and can be driven by many factors.   

 

But the age you retire from work might not be the same age that you’re eligible for the Age Pension, or other retirement benefits.   

 

The age at which you can receive the government Age Pension depends on your year of birth. See the chart below.   

Date of birth Age Pension eligibility age
From 1 January 1957 67
1 July 1955 - 31 December 1956 66.5
1 January 1954 - 30 June 1955 66
1 July 1952 - 31 December 1953 65.5
Before 1 July 1952 65

Tip: The age you can access your super and the age you'll be eligible for te Age Pension won't necessarily be the same. Generally, you can access your super savings first.

 

Currently, the qualifying age for the Age Pension age is 67 years if you were born on, or after, January 1 1957.   

 

 

Check your Age Pension eligibility

 

The Retirement Essentials free Age Pension Eligibility Calculator can help you work out if you’re eligible for the Age Pension (or the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card), and how much you could receive.   

 

Retirement Essentials are experts in helping people apply for and retain the Age Pension. We’ve teamed up with them to help ease the process for you. You can start by using their free Age Pension Eligibility Calculator.

 

As a CFS member, you can also receive a 10% discount on selected Retirement Essentials services. These include lodging and managing your Age Pension or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card application. 

What is a comfortable retirement income in Australia?

 

The amount of retirement income you need to live comfortably will depend on what kind of lifestyle you’re hoping to enjoy, and how much income you’ll be earning in addition to your super savings.  

 

While defining a comfortable retirement will be personal to you, the Association of Australian Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) lays out clear benchmarks for the super savings you’ll likely need for retirement, and how this total amount can impact your lifestyle.   

Status
Comfortable lifestyle 
Modest lifestyle
Age Pension
Status

Single

Comfortable lifestyle 

$50,004 

Modest lifestyle

$31,785 

Age Pension

$27, 664 

Status

Couple

Comfortable lifestyle 

$70,482

Modest lifestyle

$45,808 

Age Pension

$20, 852 (each) 

Annual budgets for households and living standards for those aged 65-84 (March quarter 2023) 

Source: ASFA Retirement Standard, March quarter 2023. 

 

A comfortable retirement means you can look forward to a broad range of leisure and recreational activities, with a good standard of living. ASFA guidelines suggest you’ll be able to purchase things like private health insurance, a reasonable car, good clothes, and a range of electronic devices. You should be able to enjoy domestic, and occasionally international holiday travel.  

Retirement calculator  

 

Our retirement calculator helps you estimate how much money you’ll need for the retirement lifestyle you want – and how much money you might have when you retire, based on your super savings and other assets. 

 

This calculator will also show you the impact of potential investments, fees, and voluntary contributions to your super and your retirement wealth.  

 

Using the benchmarks for enjoying a ’comfortable’ or ’modest’ retirement, you’ll be able to pinpoint where you currently stand in relation to your retirement goals. This will provide insight on what you might want your investment portfolio to look like, and the financial roadmap needed to get there.  

Retirement Calculator

Retirement Calculator

Find out how much money you’ll need for the lifestyle you want when you retire.

Types of retirement incomes

 

Some of the ways to grow or diversify retirement income include: 

The Age Pension is a regular fortnightly payment from the Australian Government. Eligibility is determined by your age, residency status, and financial situation.  Learn more here.

Super is a way of saving for retirement. Employers are required to contribute to super throughout your time in the workforce, but super typically can’t be accessed until later in life.  Super savings can be boosted with voluntary contributions or salary sacrifice. 

An account-based pension is a regular income stream from your super savings when you retire. They’re quite flexible and tax-effective, allowing you to structure the payments as they suit you. Learn more here.   

If you’re approaching retirement and want to reduce the hours you work without stopping completely, a transition to retirement (TTR) income stream might suit you. Once you’ve reached preservation age, you can set up a TTR income stream using your super savings while you’re still working. Learn more here

Dividend stocks are shares that pay regular dividends to shareholders. Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are low-cost, managed funds that can be bought or sold on an exchange – for example, the ASX.

Living off a property’s rental income is an appealing idea, but it’s often an expensive, longer-term investment.   

For real estate investors, rental income will continue while holding onto the property. The potential long-term capital growth is a drawcard for many investors.

Popular retirement income choices include different types of super-income streams (like the ones mentioned above), index funds, term deposit interest, share dividends, and unit trust or managed funds.

Do you pay tax on your retirement income? Are there any tax benefits?

 

Pension payments, like the ones you would receive with an account-based pension or transition to retirement (TTR) income stream, are tax-free after age 60. Any withdrawals from your super account are also tax-free after 60.   

 

You should consider the tax you pay on both the payments you receive, and your investment earnings.

 

Investment earnings in your super account are generally taxed at 15%, but once you retire and open an account-based pension, the earnings are tax free. Learn more here.

 

If you have reached Age Pension age, you might also be eligible for the seniors and pensioners tax offset (SAPTO), which can allow you to earn more income but reduce the tax you pay.  

 

In some cases, SAPTO may reduce your tax to zero, and you may not have to lodge a tax return.  

 

However, you’ll need to meet certain conditions:  

  • Your eligibility for an Australian Government pension or allowance. Learn more here
  • Your and your spouse's income. 

 

For detailed information about SAPTO, visit the Australian Tax Office website.  

All other forms of retirement income, including your employment income and other investments, will be assessed for tax purposes. 

Should you diversify your retirement income? 

  

Often, diversification can be a great strategy to reduce risk. By spreading your investment across multiple assets, you’ll reduce your risk exposure to each one. This way if one part of your portfolio underperforms, you may still lean on the other investments.  

 

You should also consider rebalancing your investments as your goals and risk tolerance change over time.  

In addition to diversifying your income, starting to invest earlier in life is a good way to build your retirement wealth. This makes the most of investment streams like super which compound over time. 

 

The key is to strike the right balance between growth and risk and choose an investment (or investments) to match. You also need to consider any potential tax impact.  

Retirement planning checklist for Australians  

  1. Evaluate your current situation 

    Use our retirement calculator to learn how much money you might have access to when you retire.  

     

    Consider all your retirement income streams, including your super, employment, and other investments.  

     

    Also consider whether you have any outstanding debts, or multiple super accounts. Multiple super accounts will cost you more in fees and affect your retirement savings, so you should consider consolidating your accounts. You can consolidate your super accounts into a CFS account here.

  2. Decide what kind of retirement you want 

    Do you want a modest retirement, a comfortable retirement, or do you want to enjoy even more freedom? 

    You can use the ASFA guidelines to give you an idea of what lifestyle you can aim towards with your savings.  

     

    Once you have a clear idea of your retirement goals, you can determine how much you need to earn to get you there.  

  3. Make a plan 

    If you’re not on track to meet your goals, there are several things you can do to boost your retirement wealth. For example, topping up your super savings. This can be an effective way to get you closer to your goals.  

     

    Making voluntary contributions to your super, or setting up salary sacrifice, are two ways to build up your super savings.   

     

    Working part-time is another option. But if you’re eligible for the Age Pension, you’ll need to consider how much you’d like to earn working part-time.  

     

    If you own property, or have other investments like shares, you need to consider whether to keep or sell them.  

     

    You’ll also need to think about the tax impact of these decisions, and how it might affect your eligibility for other benefits.  

  4. Set up income streams 

    Even if you’ve accumulated a large amount of super over the years, you need to think about the most cost-effective way to access it.  

     

    Setting up an income stream, for example through an account-based pension, can be more tax-effective than simply withdrawing lump sums and provides a reliable, ongoing payment structure.  

     

    You’ll also want to understand what government benefits you might be able to get – for example the Age Pension, or other pensioner concessions. Learn more about the Age Pension here.  

  5. Organise your insurance cover 

    When you originally opened your super account, insurance might’ve been added automatically. It could also have been arranged outside of your super.  

       

    Typically, this could be Death cover; or Death & Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) cover. There’s Income Protection, known as Salary Continuance Insurance (SCI) cover.  

       

    It’s important to review your level of insurance as your circumstances change. For example, you might get married or divorced. Keeping your insurance updated could make a big difference to you and your loved ones.  

  6. Nominate beneficiaries 

    To ensure your money goes to your loved ones in the event of your death, you can nominate someone to receive your super.   

       

    However, there are various conditions which apply, as well as tax implications. To learn more and make an informed decision, see our article on Nominating Beneficiaries.  

  7. Action Your Plan 

    Do you need to consolidate your super accounts? Set up an income stream for your super savings? Pay off existing debts? Update your insurance cover?  

      

    Once your goal is clear, and your plan is in place, you need to action it.  

Are you ready for retirement?  

 

Making the most of your retirement wealth, so you can enjoy a retirement lifestyle suited to your personal goals, can be tricky.  

  

If you have questions about your retirement plan, you can call us on 13 13 36.   

 

You can also consider speaking with a financial adviser. They’ll review your personal situation and help you find the solution which best suits your life-stage, financial goals, and risk tolerance. If you don’t have an adviser, you can use our find an adviser service to locate one near you. 

What’s next?

Find an adviser

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Retirement Calculator

Retirement Calculator

Quickly and easily estimate how much super you may have in retirement and how much you may need.

Account-based pensions

Account-based pensions

Learn how they work, how you can start one, and the benefits of setting one up.

 

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Information on this webpage is provided by Avanteos Investments Limited ABN 20 096 259 979, AFSL 245531 and Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468. It may include general advice but does not consider your individual objectives, financial situation, needs or tax circumstances.  You can find the target market determinations (TMD) for our financial products at www.cfs.com.au/tmd, which include a description of who a financial product might suit. You should read the Financial Services Guide (FSG) available online for information about our services.

 

Tax considerations are general and based on present tax laws and may be subject to change. You should seek independent, professional tax advice before making any decision based on this information.

 

AIL and CFSIL are not registered tax (financial) advisers under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 and you should seek tax advice from a registered tax agent or a registered tax (financial) adviser if you intend to rely on this information to satisfy the liabilities or obligations or claim entitlements that arise under a tax law.