Plans to retire? How do you compare to the rest of Australia?

When do you plan to retire? Australians are continuing to plan to retire at about the same age, but the age at which we actually retire is slowly increasing. 

Research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has found that Australians are planning to retire, on average, between their 65th and 66th birthdays.  

And the Age Pension is still the main source of income for older Australians, with 43 per cent of retirees relying on some form of Centrelink payment.

The figures covered the 2022-23 financial year. 

Planning retirement

The average of planned retirement age has been between 65 and 65.6 years for close to a decade. On average, men intend to retire slightly later than women, but this gap is closing. 

In 2022-23, there was around half a year difference between men and women, compared to a year difference a decade ago, and a two-year difference around 10 years before that.

While expectations around retirement age plans haven’t changed much, people are, on average, retiring later. 

“In 2022-23, people who had retired in the past 20 years said that they did so, on average, at 61.4 years,” said ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis.

“This average has risen from 58.5 years in 2014-15 and from 57.4 years in 2004-05.”

“In 2022-23, a Government pension or allowance was still the main source of personal income at retirement for 43 per cent of retirees. This was followed by Superannuation, an annuity or private pension at 27 per cent,” Mr Jarvis said. 

Working life

Workers in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector are intending to stay in the workforce for the longest at plan to retire at 68. At the other end of the scale, workers in the mining industry intend to retire the earliest at just over 63 years. 

And the Age Pension and Centrelink payments were still vital to a successful retirement. 

“In 2022-23, a government pension or allowance was still the main source of personal income at retirement for 43 per cent of retirees,” Mr Jarvis said.

“This was followed by superannuation, an annuity or private pension at 27 per cent.” 

For the 2022-23 reporting period, the most common factor influencing workers’ plans to retire was still financial security. The next factor was physical abilities, and the third most influential factor was hitting retirement age.   

The top three reasons why people actually retired in 2022-23 were they had reached retirement age (37 per cent), sickness, injury or disability (13 per cent) and retrenched, dismissed or had no work available (5 per cent).

Caring duties

Retired women were more likely to have left their last job to care for an ill, disabled or elderly person than men, although the difference was marginal at 4 per cent for women compared to 3 per cent for men. 

About 710,000 people intend to retire in the next five years, and 226,000 in the next two years. Of those who intended to retire, 38 per cent (1.7 million) did not know when they would actually retire. 

Fast facts and key statistics for the 2022-23 financial year. 

  • There were 4.2 million retirees. 
  • The average age at retirement (of all retirees) was 56.9 years. 
  • 130,000 people retired in 2022, with an average age of 64.8 years.
  • The average age people intend to retire is 65.4 years. 
  • Pension was the main source of income for most retirees. 
  • 54 per cent of retirees were women. 
  • The population of retired men increased more than women.   
  • On average, women retire sooner than men. However, women are retiring later than in previous years.

When do you plan to retire? What’s motivating your decision? Why not share your opinion in the comments section below?

Also read: Thinking of retiring? Check out our guide first

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
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