What should you do when you reach preservation age?

Preservation age is the first retirement milestone but what does it mean?

Reaching preservation age

When planning your retirement, the first important landmark you will reach is your preservation age – but what does this actually mean?

What is preservation age?
Your preservation age will fall between 55 and 60, dependent upon your year of birth. Thankfully, it’s not complicated to work out, as the table below shows:

Date of birth

Preservation age

Before 1 July 1960


1 July 1960 – 30 June 1961


1 July 1961 – 30 June 1962


1 July 1962 – 30 June 1963


1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964


From 1 July 1964



Of course, it’s not just reaching preservation age that enables you to access your superannuation – you also need to be retired or have commenced a transition to retirement (TTR) income stream.

Once I reach preservation age, what should I do?
When you reach your preservation age, you basically have three options:

  • do nothing and carry on working
  • start a TTR strategy, or
  • retire completely.

Of course, which option you choose will depend on your individual circumstances, such as health, financial position, and career and retirement goals. Whatever you decide to do, it’s important you discuss with those closest to you, as well as consulting an independent financial advisor to ensure your retirement goals are on track.

Briefly, here’s an outline of what each option means:

Do nothing and carry on working
OK, fairly self-explanatory but if work is important to you, for financial, social or career reasons, then giving it up just because you can access your super probably makes very little sense. If you’re healthy and enjoy what you do, then by all means carry on. However, you may wish to consider making additional contributions to your superannuation if you can afford to.

Start a TTR strategy
Transition to retirement, as the name suggests, is a means by which you can cut back on the hours you’re working, get used to potentially having a lower income and to road test retirement. A TTR strategy also enables you to convert a portion of your superannuation balance into regular income payments, while you divert your salary from your job into your super savings. In addition, TTR offers possible tax benefits and the ability to contribute more to your superannuation, which may be of financial benefit. 

Retire completely
This is a big step, but if your health dictates or your finances allow, then no longer being in the workforce may seem appealing. Before you make the leap, why not try YourLifeChoices Are you ready to retire quiz? And remember, retiring completely means you will probably have to live entirely off your savings, or the income they generate through investment, so seeking the correct financial advice is definitely recommended.



    To make a comment, please register or login
    25th May 2017
    NO incentive to continue working after age 65. Bring back the Pensioner Bonus Scheme, and that would really make it worthwhile to remain in the workforce. On one hand, the govt wants people to work longer. On the other hand, they want to kick them out for younger people to get a job. And the Govt makes it increasingly harder for older people to survive on the pension.
    25th May 2017
    Agree, sunnyOz, both major parties are clueless.
    The simple solution would be to pay everyone who has worked & paid taxes here for say 20 years full Age Pension on reaching pension age, and tax all income above that. Then, it is one's own choice when you want to stop working with no effect on the pension.
    Also, widespread Age Discrimination seems to be completely ignored with no action, just talk now & then about it.
    25th May 2017
    The simple answer is Debbie: use less preservative!
    Sorry....it's almost Friday.
    A. N. Onymous
    25th May 2017
    I had a similar reaction to the title of this article, Mick.

    What should you do when you reach preservation age?

    I thought, "I guess I should choose my method of preservation. Would I prefer to be pickled, dried, salted, canned, frozen, or ?"
    25th May 2017
    A hard choice. Is that snap frozen?
    I'm not sure I want to be revived though. Once is bad enough.
    25th May 2017
    mickey, once was a waste of time, please don't repeat!
    25th May 2017
    Come out from under the rock again heemsjerk? Go back to where you came from.
    26th May 2017
    Interesting that Australia has assets test before eligible for old aged pension is paid whereas many other countries give old aged pension to everyone ! Not saying thats necessarily right way to go. Means Australia as result; should be the best one off regarding the balancing the budget etc. Scott Morrison should look at other areas to save money
    10th Jun 2017
    As long as you enjoy work keep on doing it.

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