The average retirement age in Australia in 2017 is difficult to determine.

The reason it is difficult to determine is because the definition of retirement has evolved over the past decade or so.

How do you define the term retirement? There is actually a definition of retirement for superannuation condition of release purposes (found here), but the definition of retirement for determining the average retirement age in Australia has changed over recent years.

Is it when you cease work with no intention of returning? Is it when you are able to access your superannuation? Is it when you are eligible for the Centrelink Age Pension?

With the introduction of the superannuation transition to retirement rules in 2007, put in place by the Government to encourage people to work for longer, the definition of retirement and average retirement age in Australia has become somewhat skewed 10 years later in 2017.

The new changes to superannuation rules from 1 July 2017 may further affect the average retirement age in Australia.

There is no compulsory retirement age in Australian. Australian’s are able to work for as long as they like. Further, mandated employer contributions must now be made for employees over age 75, which wasn’t always the case.

Average Retirement Age Australia 2017: Super

Let’s first discuss the accessibility of superannuation as a form of retirement. Superannuation is important because it is generally the first in the chronological order of determining the average retirement age in Australia.

A person is able to first access their superannuation once they attain their superannuation preservation age. Your superannuation preservation age ranges from age 55 to age 60, depending on the year that you were born, as follows:

Date of Birth Preservation Age
Prior to 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
On or after 1 July 1964 60

The ways that you can access your superannuation will vary depending on your employment and intentions.

Once you reach age 60, the conditions that you need to meet to access your superannuation in full are less stringent. Also, much more of your super can be received tax free.

After age 65, all of your superannuation is accessible. Most of it will generally be able to be accessed tax free too.

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You can already see, the superannuation accessibility rules are broadly divided into three different age brackets, so it is difficult to determine the average retirement age.

We haven’t even discussed the Age Pension yet, or the statistical average retirement age in Australia in 2017.

Average Retirement Age Australia: Age Pension

Many people will access their superannuation in some form or another prior to being eligible for any Age Pension entitlements. The Age Pension age is increasing from 65 to 67 depending on your date of birth – yet another variable in determining the average retirement age in Australia.

Age Pension Age Australia

Date of Birth Eligible for Age Pension at age
Prior to 1 July 1952 65 years
1 July 1952 – 31 December 1953 65 years and 6 months
1 January 1954 – 30 June 1955 66 years
1 July 1955 – 31 December 1956 66 years and 6 months
From 1 January 1957 67 years

Average Retirement Age Australia: Statistics

The statistical average retirement age for Australians was surveyed in a comprehensive publication conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, titled ‘Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia, July 2014 to June 2015‘.

This is considered one of the most reliable sources of information in determining the average retirement age of Australians in 2017.

The report concluded the following average retirement ages:

Age Group Portion Retired
45-49 year olds 8%
55-59 year olds 18%
65-69 year olds 66%
70 years and over 86%

Average Retirement Age Australia: Men and Women

The same report found that the average retirement age from the labour force for people aged 45 years and over was 54.4 years.

This was made up of an average retirement age for women of 51.5 years of age and 58.2 years of age for men.

Average-Retirement-Age-Australia-2017

It was found that:

24% of men retired prior to reaching age 55;

50% had retired  between ages 55 and 64; and

26% had retired after attaining age 65

For women,

52% of women retired prior to reaching age 55

38% had retired  between ages 55 and 64; and

10% had retired after attaining age 65

The report is quite comprehensive in nature and includes the reason why people ceased their last job, their sources of income throughout retirement, plus a plethora of other information directly related to the average retirement age in Australia.

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Chris Strano

Chris Strano is a specialist independent superannuation author for SuperGuy.com.au - one of Australia's leading superannuation information resources.

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