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When can I retire?

The short answer is whenever you like, but the more important consideration is when you can access your super.

Legally Australians can retire at any age. You may decide to first reduce your working hours or simply stop working altogether. However, what’s critical to know is when you can access your super in order to be able to support yourself and your family during retirement.

When can I access my super?

Generally speaking, you can access your super in full when you have reached your ‘preservation age’ and have permanently retired from the ADF.

However, your defined employer benefit can be paid as a pension on or after age 55, provided you have transitioned from the ADF—it is not subject to normal retiring conditions and it is not dependent on you reaching your preservation age.

Legally Australians can retire at any age. You may decide to first reduce your working hours or simply stop working altogether. However, what’s critical to know is when you can access your super in order to be able to support yourself and your family during retirement.

Legally Australians can retire at any age. You may decide to first reduce your working hours or simply stop working altogether. However, what’s critical to know is when you can access your super in order to be able to support yourself and your family during retirement.

 

There are two terms you are likely to come across when thinking about when you retire.

Preservation age

Generally speaking, this is the earliest age that you can access your super under normal circumstances. It is calculated based on your year of birth. Your preservation age is not the same as your pension age.

More information (ATO)

Age pension age

This is the age when you can access Australia’s Age Pension, provided that you meet certain eligibility criteria. It is calculated based on your date of birth.

Full list of conditions (Services Australia)
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When can I access my super?

Generally, it’s only possible to access your super after you’ve reached your preservation age and retired from gainful employment OR met some other condition of release. Preservation age is between the age of 55–60, depending on when you were born. Look at the table below to find out when you will reach preservation age.

Jump to conditions of release

The options for accessing your super are different for preserved and contributing members.

Contributing members

There are various options for accessing your super, such as:

  1. Preserve benefit (up to age 65)
  2. Full pension (after age 55 and retired, or redundancy)
  3. Part pension/part lump sum (after age 55, or redundancy. If you are under your preservation age, then the lump sum that can be taken as cash is restricted to the SIS upper limit)
  4. Lump sum only (this can be accessed as cash or rollover depending on whether or not you have reached your preservation age)
  5. Part lump sum/balance preserved
  6. Transfer to an eligible scheme

For a full list of restrictions and eligibility criteria that apply, see withdrawing your super.

Preserved members

There are various options for accessing your super, such as:

  1. Full pension (this option is available provided you did not access part of your benefit when you ceased contributing or during your preservation period)
  2. Part pension/part lump sum (this option is available provided you did not access part of your benefit when you ceased contributing or during your preservation period)
  3. Full lump sum

For a full list of restrictions and eligibility criteria that apply, see preserving your super.

Preservation age

Once you have reached preservation age you may be able to access some of your super, but not all of it. Only once you have met a condition of release can you access all of your super.

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

Conditions of release

To access all of your super

You can start accessing some of your super while you’re still working, once you’ve reached your ‘preservation age’, in the form of an income stream. However, in order to withdraw your super as a cash lump sum, you need to also meet a condition of release.

Conditions of release that allow you to receive a lump sum (you can access your total super balance or a partial amount) from your super include:

Visit the ATO Your different payout options

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You can access a portion of your super in the form of an income stream while still working.

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Transition to retirement (TTR) pension

To access some of your super

If you’ve reached your preservation age and are under 65, but you’re not quite ready to permanently retire and haven’t met a condition of release, you can still access a portion of your super through a transition to retirement (TTR) pension.

A TTR is an account-based pension that provides regular payments from your super. However, with a TTR it’s only possible to withdraw between 2–10% of your super savings every financial year.

Accessing a TTR could:

  • allow you to reduce your working hours, or pay more into your super as before-tax (salary sacrifice) contributions, and top up the pay you miss out on with regular payments from your income stream account
  • help you reduce tax if you’re under 60—and the income stream payments are tax free if you’re 60 or older
  • allow you to keep your super balance invested while you access some of your super savings.

For more information about the transition to retirement strategy, visit the Australian Government’s website MoneySmart.

If you’re considering whether or not this strategy is the right approach for you, we recommend you read the Product Disclosure Statement or speak to a financial adviser1.

1CSC’s authorised financial planners provide a financial advice service that can assist you in reaching your financial goals. It is ‘fee for service’ advice, which means you receive a fixed quote upfront. There are no obligations, commissions or hidden fees. To arrange an initial appointment please call 1300 277 777 during business hours.

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Transition to retirement

Find out about CSCri, our account-based pension.

About CSCri
Making the moves that count

Helping you plan your financial future

At CSC, we believe great financial planning is a mix of real listening, decades of experience and making it simple to get the advice you need, how you need it.

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Deciding to Retire

Why do people retire?

Deciding when to retire is a personal decision, but there are five common factors that generally influence the retirement decision for most people. It’s good to keep these on your radar, as they can often trigger a decision to retire earlier than expected.

Health

You may have a health scare or issue that means you can no longer do your job. You may also decide to retire to care for a loved one.

Work

The demands of work can become more tiring as you get older, or you may be unable to find work as a result of redundancy or the end of a work contract.

Friends and family

Retirement may be appealing if your friends or family are enjoying retirement.

Financial independence

You may reach pension age, receive a financial windfall, or find that you have more financial resources after children leave home.

The right time

It may simply feel like ‘the right time’.

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As you plan for your retirement, we're here to guide you through it.

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