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When can I retire?

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We all have our own views about when we’d like to retire. That means we all have different needs from our retirement planning.

We recently surveyed our members about their expected retirement age. Those who were a fair way from retirement expected to retire at the conventional age of 65.

But members nearing the end of their careers had a wider variety of aspirations.

Some aimed to retire at 60, eager to access their super and enjoy the fruits of their labour. Others preferred to wait until 67, when they might be eligible for the age pension.

We understand that many of our members want to retire with a combination of superannuation and the age pension to meet their income needs.

When can I access my Super?

Your superannuation is accessible once you turn 65 (even if you haven’t retired), though there are circumstances where you can access it sooner.

If you reach your preservation age and retire — or you're over 60 and change jobs or temporarily stop working — you may be eligible to access your super.

The preservation age differs depending on when you were born, ranging from 55 to 60.

Date of birth Preservation age
Before 1 July 1960 55
1 July 1960 to 30 June 1961 56
1 July 1961 to 30 June 1962 57
1 July 1962 to 30 June 1963 58
1 July 1963 to 30 June 1964 59
After 30 June 1964 60


When can I access the age pension?

To be eligible for the age pension, you need to meet certain criteria, including age, residency status, income and assets.


The qualifying age for the age pension is 67, depending on when you were born.

Residency status

Generally, Australian residents who have lived in Australia for at least 10 years — with at least five of those years consecutively — have met the residency requirements for the age pension.

Income test

The age pension income test assesses all income sources, including employment and investment income.

When it comes to investment income (such as bank accounts, shares, managed funds, and superannuation), the government looks at the income you're deemed to have earned on your assets, rather than the actual income your investments have generated.

The income threshold for the age pension is $204 per fortnight for singles and $360 per fortnight for couples.

If your income from all sources is below the threshold, you may be eligible for the full pension. But if your income is above the threshold, your age pension will generally be reduced by 50 cents for every dollar of income earned over the threshold by:

  • 50 cents for a single person
  • 25 cents for each member of the couple

Assets test

The age pension asset test is a means-tested assessment of your assets, including financial investments, real estate (other than your principal home and up to the first 2 hectares of land surrounding it), home contents and cars.

The asset thresholds for the full pension are shown in the following table for homeowners and non-homeowners.

If your asset value exceeds these thresholds, your age pension amount will reduce by $3 per fortnight for every $1,000 above the limit.

Your situation Homeowner Non-homeowner
Single $301,750


A couple, combined $451,500


A couple, separated due to illness, combined $451,500


A couple, one partner eligible, combined $451,500


Income and asset tests are both applied when determining your eligibility. Whichever results in the lowest payment will determine your age pension payment.

How do you know when you can retire?

The short answer is that it’s up to you, subject to health, wealth and circumstance.

One factor to consider is when you’ll be eligible to access various sources of retirement income such as your super savings and the age pension.

Many of our members say they plan to continue working because they enjoy what they do and are worried they would be bored without work.

Further information

For further information please speak to your financial adviser or call us on 1800 022 033 during business hours (Sydney time).

As a general starting point, you can use the Money Smart calculator to work out:

  • How long your account-based pension will last
  • How investment returns will affect your pension balance

Read more retirement articles here.

This information has been prepared by Perpetual Superannuation Limited (PSL) ABN 84 008 416 831, AFSL 225246, RSE L0003315 as trustee of the Perpetual’s Select Superannuation Fund (ABN 51 068 260 563) and Perpetual WealthFocus Superannuation Fund (ABN 41 772 007 500). It is general information only and is not intended to provide you with financial advice or take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Any tax information contained in this article is not tax advice (and should not be relied on as such) and is believed to be accurate at the time of compilation. You should consider, with a financial adviser, whether the information is suitable for your circumstances. To the extent permitted by law, no liability is accepted for any loss or damage as a result of any reliance on this information. The Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the relevant Fund, issued by PSL, should be considered before deciding whether to acquire or hold units in any of the options. The PDSs and Target Market Determinations can be obtained by calling 1800 022 033 or visiting our website www.perpetual.com.au. No company in the Perpetual Group (Perpetual Limited ABN 86 000 431 827 and its subsidiaries) guarantees the performance of any fund/option or the return of an investor’s capital.