What is the legal retirement age in Australia?

It always surprises me when people ask what the legal retirement age is in Australia.

The fact is, there is no legal retirement age. You can basically retire whenever you want.

However, there are three important factors to consider…

1.When can you access your super?

To get your hands on that money you’ve got socked away in superannuation, you have to meet what’s called a ‘condition of release’.

The two most common conditions of release are:

  • Reaching age 65 (regardless of your work status), or
  • If you are under 65, you have to have at least reached your preservation age AND retired from work. “Retired” in this context generally means you intend to never return to gainful employment for more than 10 hours per week.

You preservation age can be worked out from the table below.

Date of birth Preservation age
On or before 3o June 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
1 July 1964 and later 60

There are also other less common ‘conditions of release’ such as death, disability, severe financial hardship, compassionate grounds and more. If you want more information on these we suggest you head over to the ATO’s website (https://www.ato.gov.au/Super/Self-managed-super-funds/Paying-benefits/Conditions-of-release/).

2. When do you reach age pension age?

Many people choose to retire when they become eligible for the age pension because this is what helps them afford retirement.

You can’t apply for an age pension until you have reached age pension age which you can work out from the table below.

Date of birth Qualification age
Female Male
On or before 31 December 1948 Already qualified Already qualified
1 January 1949 to 30 June 1952 65 65
1 July 1952 to 31 December 1953 65.5 65.5
1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955 66 66
1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956 66.5 66.5
1 January 1957 or later 67 67

You also need to meet the financial requirements to get an age pension but more on that later.

3. Can you actually afford to retire?

The real question is not when are you allowed to retire (which is anytime), it’s when can you afford to retire?

The answer to that question is very different from person to person so the best thing to do if you’re not sure is to get some advice from an expert.

We’ve also written another article dedicated just to this titled “How much do you REALLY need to retire”.

Whatever you circumstances, it’s important you give your retirement planning the time it deserves.

In my experience, people who have a plan (no matter how small or simple that plan may be) almost always end up better off than if they had NO plan. 

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.

About Invest for Living

At Invest for Living our aim is to help people make better financial decisions and ultimately live a happier life. We aren't controlled by any big institutions so our goal is not to try and sell you a product. Instead we pride ourselves on providing financial advice that makes sense and is easy to understand. It's not always the sexiest approach but in our 30 plus years of experience, financial strategies that have stood the test of time always work out best.
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