Money and your
Your retirement income needs to see you all the way to the end
of your life. The first step in your retirement planning starts
here: read our tips and find out what government benefits might
apply to you.
Government benefits and
While there is no official retirement age in Australia, normally
you must be at least 55 years old to access your super, and
different government benefits apply from different ages.
The laws about benefits change regularly, so make sure you keep
Work out when you would be entitled to the Age Pension and
and pension age calculator
Currently both men and women can receive the Age Pension
from 65. About 70% of Australians rely on a part or full Age
Visit the Department of Human Services' Older Australians webpage to find
out if you are eligible for payments for your retirement or call 13
23 00. Also read our page on social security.
If you receive a Centrelink payment, you might be interested in
Centrepay, a free direct bill paying
Pensioners are also entitled to a Pensioner Concession Card,
which allows you to access cheaper utility and medical bills,
including discounts on eligible prescriptions, and discounts
on public transport in some states.
Pension aged and caring for someone?
In addition to the Age Pension, you may be eligible for a carer's allowance.
Pension aged and still working?
You may be eligible for other Centrelink benefits:
- If you were eligible to claim the Age Pension before 20
September 2009, a lump sum bonus through the Pension Bonus Scheme.
- Further flexibility in calculating your pension through a Work Bonus.
Generally if you are over 60 and work less than 20 hours per
week, you can get a government seniors card, which offers discounts
to a range of commercial businesses and some public services. Each
state has their own eligibility rules so your state may be
different. Here are the contacts for seniors cards
in each state:
ACT - actseniorscard.org.au
(02) 6282 3777
New South Wales - seniorscard.nsw.gov.au
13 77 88
Queensland - qld.gov.au 13 74
Victoria - seniorsonline.vic.gov.au
1300 797 210
- dpac.tas.gov.au 1300 13 55
South Australia - sa.gov.au 1800 819
Western Australia - communities.wa.gov.au (08)
Northern Territory - dcm.nt.gov.au 1800 441
Pension aged and a veteran?
A number of pensions and benefits may apply to you. For example,
the service pension is paid to veterans five years earlier than the
Age Pension. Some benefits are income and assets tested. To find
out call the Department of Veterans'
Affairs on 133 254 (regional callers: 1800 555 254).
If you have reached pension age but don't meet all the criteria
for the pension, you could still qualify for the Commonwealth Seniors
Health Card. This offers reduced prescription medicine
prices and concessions on public transport.
While it can be difficult for pensioners to get a loan from a
bank, the Department of Human Services offers some
- Pension Loans Scheme - If you are
not on the full pension due to your income or assets (but not
both), you can use your real estate as security for a loan. This
scheme is for people who receive part pension or no pension who
need money to live on.
- Advance Payment - You can receive
your social security payment in advance if you need some help to
cover immediate expenses.
Older retired couples currently have to pay income tax when
their joint income reaches about $75,000.
Take advantage of tax offsets designed for senior Australians.
They are based on age, income and eligibility for government
pensions, and allow you to earn more income. Find out more about
the Australian Tax Office: Senior Australians tax
offsets on 13 28 61.
Saving your money is a good way to grow your retirement income.
There are some basic low-cost bank accounts specifically designed
for pensioners and seniors. Check with your bank for more
information. You can also contact the Australian Bankers'
Association on 02 8298 0417.
Work out what you can afford to spend each month.
Scams and bad-value
Defrauding of older Australians
ACCC data shows that older Australians lost more than $21
million to scams in 2015, with investment schemes among the most
common types of scams affecting people aged over 55. Beware of
becoming the victim of a scam: find out how to avoid investment
Always seek professional financial advice if you're not sure
what to do. Read our invest smarter webpage.
The ACCC's Scamwatch website also has advice for seniors about ways you can protect
yourself from some common scams.
Early access to super
Beware of offers to access your super early. It is illegal to
access your super before age 55 (at the earliest) except in very
special circumstances: see superannuation scams for more
Some organisations offer free and independent
advice on retirement planning: see retirement income links.
While it can be helpful to get the opinions of your family and
friends on financial matters, you need to think carefully about
giving away any power over your investments.
Sometimes older people find themselves being pressured by family
or friends to hand over control of their money or property. This is
If this is happening to you or someone you know, contact National Legal Aid and see Aged Rights Advocacy
Service. You can also download the publication "Helping your
family financially?" from NSW Legal
Learn as much as you can about your financial
situation while you're in your 50s to make the most of your
retirement money. You might find it useful to visit a financial
Last updated: 24 Jan 2017