On this page
- 1. When can I access my super?
- 2. Can I access my super at 65 and still work?
- 3. Can I still make contributions into my super if I retire at 65?
- 4. What are the options for withdrawing my super benefit?
- 5. What are the tax implications of retiring at 65?
- 6. What is the average super account balance for Australians at age 65?
- 7. What is my life expectancy at age 65?
- 8. Can I get the Age Pension if I retire at 65?
- 9. Can I get a health card if I retire at 65?
- 10. Can I get a state Seniors Card if I retire at 65?
- 11. Can I start a transition-to-retirement income stream at 65?
- 12. How much super do I need to retire at 65?
For many Aussies, blowing out the birthday candles when they hit age 65 means it’s retirement time or close to it.
If that’s your plan, it’s important to ensure you understand the rules on accessing your super, how big your nest egg needs to be, the tax you might pay and any financial assistance you may be eligible for.
To help you take the leap into life after work, SuperGuide has put together a list of common questions asked by people retiring at age 65.
1. When can I access my super?
Once you reach age 65 it’s easy to access your super benefits.
To access your retirement savings you must have reached your preservation age and met a condition of release, and at age 65 you’ve ticked off both those requirements.
In the super world, getting to age 65 is a condition of release and you can access your super even if you continue working.
Once you apply to access your super, you can generally choose to withdraw it as an income stream, lump sum or a combination of the two.
While it may be tempting to take the money and run, if you retire at 65 and withdraw your super you miss out on the future benefits of compound interest and the tax concessions available within the super system. This can have a significant impact on how much income you have in later years.
2. Can I access my super at 65 and still work?
You can access your super when you turn 65 regardless of whether you are still working or not as turning age 65 is a condition of release itself.
The super rules also allow you to leave your retirement savings in super until a later date if you want and to continue accumulating money in your super account.
3. Can I still make contributions into my super if I retire at 65?
Under the contribution rules applying from 1 July 2022, if you are:
- Aged under 75, you are free to make most types of contributions (such as non-concessional contributions, salary-sacrifice and downsizer contributions) into your super account without having to worry about being employed and meeting the requirements of a work test.
The only exception to this is personal tax-deductible super contributions. From 1 July 2022, once you reach age 67 you are required to be ‘gainfully employed’ for at least 40 hours in a period of 30 consecutive days during the financial year in which you wish to make your tax-deductible super contribution.
- Aged 75 and over, you can no longer contribute money into your super account. (The only exceptions are non-concessional contributions made in the 28 days following the month in which you turn 75, downsizer contributions, and mandated super contributions, such as Super Guarantee contributions your employer is required to make on your behalf.)
4. What are the options for withdrawing my super benefit?
When you withdraw your super savings at retirement, you can choose to take a lump sum, an income stream or a combination of both:
- Income stream (super pension or annuity) – If you decide to take an income stream, you will receive a series of regular payments from your super fund. These must be paid at least annually and must meet the minimum annual payment rules set by the government.
- Lump sum – This is a single payment to withdraw some or all of your super. Once you take a lump sum the money is no longer within the super system; if you invest it, any investment returns received on the money will no longer be taxed at super’s concessional tax rate of 15% (or 0% in retirement phase). Instead, your investment returns will be taxed at your marginal tax rate, which could be as high as 45% (plus the Medicare levy).
5. What are the tax implications of retiring at 65?
Super withdrawals after age 60 are generally free of any tax.
If you are aged 65 and decide to take a lump sum, all your lump sum benefits are tax free.
If you are aged 65 and decide to take a super pension, all your pension payments are taxfree UNLESS you are a member of a small number of defined benefit super funds, or you receive a defined benefit pension over a certain limit. In these two situations, you will pay some tax on your super pension, but this generally only affects public servants.
These two exceptions only affect people who choose to take a super pension AND are:
- Members of an untaxed super scheme (usually a public sector fund)
- Receiving a private or public defined benefit pension of more than $106,250 a year (2022–23).
6. What is the average super account balance for Australians at age 65?
According to ATO figures, in the 2020-21 financial (the latest available data), the median super account balance for males aged 65 to 69 was $213,986, while for females the median was lower at $201,233.
Note that this is the median account balance, which is slightly different to the average. The median is the middle account balance of an age group – 50% of the age group will have a higher balance and 50% will have a lower balance.
7. What is my life expectancy at age 65?
Life expectancy is a statistical measure estimating how long a typical person of a specific age and sex is likely to live. It’s based on your year of birth and gender, but does not consider your circumstances, such as your personal health, family history, diet or lifestyle.
This means it’s a population estimate of how long a typical person is likely to live, not a prediction of how long you will live.
The estimates below are the average life expectancy for an Australian male and female aged 65 based on national statistics, without taking into account any personal factors such as your health or family history.
Estimated life expectancy at age 65
|Expected remaining years of life
|19 years and 10 months
|84 years and 10 months
|22 years and 5 months
|87 years and 5 months
Source: 2015–17 Australian Life Tables, Australian Government Actuary. The Australian Life Tables are released every five years, with the next report with updated life expectancy figures to be released in 2024.
8. Can I get the Age Pension if I retire at 65?
To be eligible for the Age Pension, you must have reached the current Age Pension eligibility age, which from 1 July 2023 is 67 years.
9. Can I get a health card if I retire at 65?
If you retire at age 65, unfortunately you are ineligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC). This concession card gives you access to cheaper health care, medications and, potentially, government services.
To qualify, you must have reached your Age Pension eligibility age, which depends on your date of birth. This is currently 66 and six months but is being increased progressively to age 67 from 1 July 2023.
10. Can I get a state Seniors Card if I retire at 65?
Congratulations, if you retire at age 65 you may be eligible for a state Seniors Card in the state or territory where you live.
Briefly, the eligibility requirements in each state and territory in relation to your age are:
|Eligible age for Seniors Card
|Australian Capital Territory
|60 or over
|60 or over
|60 or over
|60 or over with government concession card
65 or over without government concession card
|60 or over
|60 or over
|60 or over
|64 or over
11. Can I start a transition-to-retirement income stream at 65?
Yes, but it is less attractive from age 65.
A transition-to-retirement income stream (TTR or TRIS) is a pension paid to you from the money you have saved in your super account while you are still working. In some circumstances it can be a good way to scale back your working hours and start enjoying your retirement without reducing your income.
If you’re aged 65 and over, there are no restrictions on the amount of super you can withdraw even if you’re still working, so rather than set up a TTR pension, most people choose to start a normal super pension or income stream.
12. How much super do I need to retire at 65?
When you retire at 65, you could be spending 20 years or more in retirement, so you’ll need to create a retirement income stream that lasts at least that long.
The amount of super you will need to fund your retirement lifestyle from age 65 depends on many factors, including:
- How many years you spend in retirement
- Whether you are a couple or single
- How much you plan to spend each year
- Whether you own your home
- What assets or income you have outside super
- How much your investments earn
- Whether you are eligible for the Age Pension
- How much super you want to leave your dependants.
Check out how much super you’ll need to retire.
To help you work out how much super you will need if you retire at 65, try ASIC’s MoneySmart retirement planner calculator tool. It allows you to estimate the super balance you would need to generate different annual income amounts for both singles and couples.
You can also check out our super to income reckoner, which has nearly 9,000 options you can use.