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When can I retire?

Superannuation  |  11/10/2020  |   8 min read

If you’ve spent the last 30 to 40 years in the workforce you’ve probably started daydreaming about retirement. Which means you probably have some questions. Like when exactly can I retire?

The good news is you can retire whenever you're ready. If you happen to win the lottery you can retire tomorrow. The real issue is superannuation, the age pension, and how you’re going to support yourself if you choose to retire early.

Most Australians can’t access their super until after they turn 60, at the earliest*. And if you’re eligible for the pension you may have to wait until you’re 67 before you can claim it.^

A financial planner can help you navigate the rules around retirement. But in the meantime, we can help provide an overview.
 

A roadmap for early retirement

If you’re considering an early retirement, you’re going to need a source of income. But that’s only one aspect of the bigger picture.

If you’re serious about an early retirement you need to have a plan in place. We’ve outlined the basic steps below. 

1. Have a source of income. As noted above, if you retire early you’re going to need a source of income. Your superannuation and any age pension benefits won’t be accessible until you met the age criteria. The same rules apply to self-managed super funds (SMSF). Which means you’ll be looking towards investments or other sources of income.

2. Create a financial plan. Having an income stream is all well and good, but if you don’t want to end up back in the job market you’ll need to manage your finances and ensure your earnings are enough to cover your expenses.

3. Look at ways to reduce costs. If you’re no longer working and earning a regular income, you’ll want to look at ways to reduce costs. That might mean downsizing, cutting unnecessary expenses, or simply keeping a closer eye on your spending.

4. Consider your mortgage. Mortgage repayments are the single largest expense for most households. Generally speaking, the less debt you have the more options you have when it comes to retirement. We’d strongly recommend speaking with a financial planner to understand your options.

5. Keep your super in mind. Just because you’re no longer working doesn’t mean you should ignore your super. It’s important to keep an eye on your investment strategy and make sure it aligns with your long-term goals.

6. Balance your risks. As 2020 has demonstrated all too well, there are certain things that are beyond our control. Black swan events like the coronavirus can come out of nowhere and have a significant impact on both daily life and the broader economy. Which is why it’s so important to balance your investments and your income sources, and ensure you have mix that works for you.

Our financial planners can help you with all the above. An initial appointment is available at no additional charge and is obligation free. You can learn more here.
 

Can I really retire tomorrow?

When people talk about retirement what they’re generally referring to is access to their super and / or age pension.

This varies according to your age and the year you were born. The tables below show when you qualify.  

When can I access my super?

You can access your super once you reach your preservation age and either;

  • Change jobs, or
  • Retire from the workforce

The table below shows the super preservation age.*
 

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

Source: Australian Taxation Office.
Note: Preservation age is not the same as pension age.

When can I access the age pension?

To qualify for the age pension, you need to meet the age conditions and Centrelink assets test. The age conditions are outlined below. Centrelink conditions can be found on the Australian Government website.

The table below shows the minimum age for age pension benefits.^
 

Your Birthdate

Minimum age pension age

1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955

66 years

1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956

66 years and 6 months

On or after 1 January 1957

67 Years

Source: Department of Social Services

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, or a long-term strategy to help you retire early. Either way, the first appointment is obligation free and available at no additional charge.
 

Speak to a financial planner about your retirement options. Learn more.

 

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 an indication 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.

Check your retirement income with the Equip calculator

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