Privacy Notice: We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. You can find out more and opt out by clicking here.


Retirement income explained

Superannuation  |  19/04/2021  |   5 min read

Building up a healthy superannuation balance is important, but how you access and invest your money in retirement will also determine how long it lasts.

Transferring your super balance into an Account Based Pension is the easiest and most common way to start your retirement. This allows you to draw down an income from your savings while the balance continues to earn investment income in a tax-free environment.

Keep reading to learn more about your options, and how you can structure your retirement income.

When can I access my super?

Before you start planning your retirement, you’ll need to know when you can access your super.

While a person can (technically) retire whenever they want, you won’t be able to touch your super until you meet your ‘preservation’ age. This will vary from person to person, as it’s based on your age and the year you were born. For anyone born on or after 1 July 1964, the preservation age is 60.

Once you reach your preservation age you’ll need to either change jobs or retire from the workforce to access your money.  Otherwise, you will have to wait until age 65.

What can I do with my super?

There are three basic options when it comes to your super at retirement, you can:

Transfer the money into an Account Based Pension. This allows you to draw a regular income from your super while it’s invested in a tax-free environment with your super fund,

Withdraw the funds. Alternatively, you can withdraw the money from your super account and deposit it elsewhere, e.g., a bank account. This option may have significant implications, and we would strongly recommend consulting a financial planner before making a decision, 

A combination of the above. If you choose to go with option two or three you can use the money you withdraw as you see fit. That might mean paying down a mortgage or investing the money elsewhere.

Drawing a regular income in retirement

An Account Based Pension is a great way to invest your money in retirement, because there’s no tax payable on either the income you draw down or on the investment earnings in your pension account.

Just like a regular super account, you can choose which investment option you’d like to place your money in. This includes lower risk options such as Cash or Fixed Interest alongside more balanced or growth driven options. But you’re able to adjust this as you see fit.

Once that’s done you just need to decide how much of your super you’d like to access annually. This is known as the draw down rate.  

And remember, you will always have the ability to draw out extra money if you need it – new car, holiday, home renovations.  

Not sure where to start? One of our financial planners can help you set this up.

Alternatively, we also offer a low-cost MyPension Product where things like draw down rates, investments, and annual rebalancing is handled automatically.

How super and the pension work together

A healthy super balance is a great way to start retirement. But most Australians draw on a range of income sources in their retirement. This can include  dividends from shares, rental income from investment properties, and in most cases, the Age Pension.

Depending on your financial position, you may qualify for a full or part Age Pension. This allows you to combine your super draw down payments with the Age Pension to create a more substantial income stream.

According to ASFA (Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia), a couple needs approximately $640,000 in retirement savings for a comfortable lifestyle. For a single person that number is $545,000. Those figures translate to an estimated annual income of $62,000 and $44,000 respectively, based on a number of assumptions, and your eligibility to a part Age Pension.

Even if your super balance falls short of those amounts, placing your super in an Account Based Pension and combining it with the Age Pension is a good way to support your retirement income.

Speak to us

Whether you’re ready to retire or just thinking about it, a financial planner can help you better understand your options. That may mean a gradual transition to retirement, a long-term strategy to help you retire early, or the best way to maintain your income in retirement.  

Speak to us today, the first appointment is obligation free and available at no additional charge.

Find out more about our financial planning services. 


This information is provided for general information only. It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and should therefore not be taken as personal advice. You should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it and, if necessary, you should seek professional financial advice. Togethr Trustees Pty Ltd ABN 64 006 964 049, AFSL 246383 ("Togethr") is the trustee of the Equipsuper Superannuation Fund ABN 33 813 823 017 ("Equip" or "The Fund"). Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Togethr Financial Planning Pty Ltd (“TFP”) (ABN 84 124 491 078, AFSL 455010), trading as Equip Financial Planning, is licensed to provide financial planning services to retail and wholesale clients. TFP is owned by Togethr Holdings Pty Ltd (ABN 11 604 515 791). You can obtain the TFP Financial Services Guide and/or Privacy Statement by contacting our Helpline on 1800 682 626. This is general information only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and therefore should not be taken as personal advice.

Low fees and a history of strong returns. Compare us.

Get in touch

Do you need additional assistance?

Fill in your details, and Equip’s Member Services team will call you back.

Thank you. An Equip representative will be in touch shortly.