Understanding the Difference Between Preservation Age and Age Pension Age: When Can You Access Your Super?

Keywords: Preservation Age, Age Pension Age, Superannuation, Retirement, Accessing Super

Planning for retirement is crucial, and understanding when you can access your superannuation is an essential part of the process. This article delves into the key differences between Preservation Age and Age Pension Age, helping you determine when you can tap into your super savings.

Preservation Age: Minimum Age to Access Superannuation

The Preservation Age is the minimum age at which you can generally access your super. This age varies depending on your year of birth, as shown in the table below:

Birth Year Preservation Age
Before 1 July 1960 55
1 July 1960 to 30 June 1961 56
1 July 1961 to 30 June 1962 57
1 July 1962 to 30 June 1963 58
1 July 1963 to 30 June 1964 59
After 1 July 1964 60

Accessing Super Before Preservation Age:

In specific circumstances, you may be able to access your super before reaching your Preservation Age. These circumstances include:

  • Financial hardship: If you’re facing significant financial difficulties, you may be eligible to withdraw a portion of your super.
  • Compassionate grounds: You may be able to access your super for compassionate reasons, such as covering medical expenses or funeral costs.
  • Terminal medical condition: If you have a terminal illness, you may be able to access your super early.
  • Temporary resident leaving Australia: If you’re a temporary resident leaving the country permanently, you can withdraw your super.

Age Pension Age: Minimum Age to Access the Government Age Pension

The Age Pension Age is the minimum age at which you can become eligible for the Government Age Pension. As of 1 July 2023, the Age Pension Age is 67 years old.

Eligibility Requirements for the Government Age Pension:

To be eligible for the Government Age Pension, you must meet specific criteria, including:

  • Residency status: You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  • Income: Your income must be below a certain threshold.
  • Assets: Your assets must be below a certain threshold.

Planning Your Retirement:

Understanding your Preservation Age and Age Pension Age is crucial for planning your retirement. Consider consulting a qualified financial advisor for personalized guidance on managing your superannuation and planning for your future financial security.

Additional Resources:

Understanding the difference between Preservation Age and Age Pension Age is essential for making informed decisions about accessing your superannuation and planning for retirement. By leveraging the resources provided, you can gain valuable insights and make informed choices for your financial future.

Things you can do once you reach your Preservation Age

You don’t need to retire if you don’t want to. Your super can keep growing if you work and make money after you reach preservation age. When you turn 65, you’ll be able to access it automatically.

You may also choose to use an AustralianSupers TTR Income account to transition into retirement if you continue working after you reach your Preservation Age1. This might enable you to reduce the number of hours you work to either:

  • increase your superannuation either by using salary sacrifice2 to increase your super from your pre-tax income or
  • Work less and supplement your lower take-home pay with your super.

You might be able to use this account to work fewer hours while using your super to offset a decrease in income.

You will be able to begin withdrawing funds from your superannuation if you decide to retire after reaching your Preservation Age.

You can access your super in a few different ways after you’ve reached Preservation Age, retired, or turned 65:

  • You can take your super as a lump sum.
  • While your super stays invested, you can set up an account-based pension and take out a regular income.

If you maintain your high level of investment, you may be able to continue receiving investment returns when you retire.

AustralianSuper’s account based pension is called Choice Income. It keeps you invested throughout retirement and gives you flexible access to your super savings through lump sum withdrawals or regular income payments. You are free to decide on the frequency and amount of your payments, but you are required to take out a minimum each year3. Additionally, you have the option to take out extra cash at any time for unexpected expenses. Learn more about minimum payments.

Because Your Choice Income account is flexible, you can alter your investment and payment choices whenever you’d like.

Age Pension Age – minimum age to access the Government Age Pension

If you meet the eligibility requirements, your Age Pension Age is the age at which you can start receiving the Government Age Pension. This is also sometimes referred to as your ‘Qualifying Age’. The Age Pension Age will be 67 years old as of July 1, 2023.

The Age Pension Age is higher than the Preservation Age. This implies that you might still be a few years away from being qualified to receive the Government Aged Pension even if you’ve reached the age at which you can access your super.

Your eligibility for the Government Age Pension is also determined by other factors, such as:

  • residency status;
  • income; and
  • assets.

To determine your eligibility and determine the potential amount of your Government Age Pension, Service Australia (Centrelink) administers two tests. They are the Assets test and the Income test.

When Can I Access My Super Tax Free? [2023 Guide]


When can I access my super tax free?

When you turn 60, your pension payments (or any lump sum withdrawals) are usually tax free. All lump sums and pension payments are tax-free after age 60. If you’re under age 60, tax may be applicable.

How much can you withdraw from your super after 60?

There are absolutely no restrictions to accessing your Super Benefit when aged between 60 and 64 after you are retired. There are two ways you can access your Super; either as a lump-sum payment or as a pension.

Can I access my super if I retire at 55?

When you can access your super. You can access your super when you retire and reach your preservation age. Your preservation age is between 55 and 60 and is based on when you were born.

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