Many people choose to retire when they become eligible for the age pension because this is what helps them to actually afford retirement.
The two main criteria to accessing the age pension is that you need to have reached your age pension age and you also need to pass the financial tests involved.
What is the Age Pension Age?
Your age pension age depends on when you were born and can be worked out from the table below.
|Date of birth
|On or before 31 December 1948
|1 January 1949 to 30 June 1952
|1 July 1952 to 31 December 1953
|1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955
|1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956
|1 January 1957 or later
What are the financial requirements?
The second requirement is that you have to pass the financial tests in place. There are two financial tests…
- The “assets test”, and
- The “income test”.
What these financial tests basically do, is reduce your pension (or even cut it off completely) if you breach certain financial limits.
At the time of writing this (Jan 2017), the Maximum age pension is about $23,000 p.a for singles and $35,000 p.a. for couples.
In order to get the maximum age pension under the assets test you can have “assessable assets” (not including your home) up to:
- $250,000 for a single homeowner
- $450,000 for a single non-homeowner
- $375,000 for a couple homeowner
- $575,000 for a couple non-homeowner
Under the assets test, the pension is then reduced by $78 per annum for every $1,000 over these limits.
In order to get the maximum pension under the income test, you have to have assessable income under the following limits:
- $164 per fortnight for a single
- $292 per fortnight for a couple
Under the income test, the pension is then reduced by 50 cents for every dollar above these limits.
The rules that dictate what assets and income are actually assessable (and how they are assessed) can get quite complicated and beyond the scope of this article. So if you’re not sure, it’s definitely worth getting some professional advice that’s specific to you.
If you don’t qualify for a full pension, there are potentially strategies you can use to legitimately maximise your pension and we’ve actually written an article discussing three potential strategies here.
Seeing as you were interested in this article about retirement planning, would you like our help to maximise your retirement income? Click here to learn more about our free initial consultations.
Important note: this advice may not be suitable to you because it contains general advice which does not take into consideration any of your personal circumstances. All strategies and information provided here are general advice only. Please arrange an appointment to seek personal financial and taxation advice prior to acting on this information.