Your money

Money and your retirement

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 concessions

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 use our calculator to work out when you would be entitled to the Age Pension and superannuation.

Super and pension age calculator

Age pension

Currently both men and women can receive the Age Pension from 65. About 70% of Australians rely on a part or full Age Pension.

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 service.

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.

Seniors cards

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 -  (02) 6282 3777

New South Wales -  13 77 88

Queensland -  13 74 68

Victoria -   1300 797 210

Tasmania -  1300 13 55 13

South Australia - 1800 819 961

Western Australia - (08) 6551 8800

Northern Territory -  1800 441 489

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).

Other concessions

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.

Government loans

While it can be difficult for pensioners to get a loan from a bank, the Department of Human Services offers some alternatives:

  • 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.

Money management


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.

Bank accounts

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.

To budget the money you have, use our budget planner.

Budget planner

Scams and bad-value investments

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 scams.

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 information.

Some organisations offer free and independent advice on retirement planning: see retirement income links.

Family pressures

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 financial abuse.

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 Aid.

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 adviser.

Related links

Last updated: 13 May 2016