What's the average age of retirement in Australia?

Australians are choosing to retire a bit later in life, according to new figures.

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The average age at retirement among Australia's existing 4.2 million retirees in FY23 was 56.9 years, according to new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

However, the average age at which most people intend to hang up their boots is 65.4 years.

If we dig a little deeper, we find that the average age at which people intend to retire differs between industries.

Let's find out more.

Average age of retirement in Australia

The ABS Retirement and Retirement Intentions report reveals that 130,000 people retired in 2022.

The average age of those 130,000 new retirees was 64.8 years. For men, the average age was higher at 66.9 years. For women, it was lower at 63.2 years. 

Women typically take up retirement sooner than men, however it seems they are doing so a bit later now.

In FY21, the average age of the entire female retiree community was 54 years. This had increased to 54.7 years by FY23.

Men are also retiring a bit later. The average age of all male retirees in FY21 was 59.3 years, and in FY23, it was 59.4 years.

Top 3 reasons for retirement

Over the next five years, 710,000 Australians intend to retire, and 226,000 intend to do so over the next two years.

Australians' motivations for retirement differ, and two of the three top reasons are beyond their control.

The most common reason for choosing retirement was access to financial support (31% of respondents).

This includes reaching retirement age, which is the age at which Australians are eligible to receive the age pension. Currently, it's 67 years old. Either that or becoming eligible to access their superannuation (i.e., reaching or being older than their preservation age).

Preservation ages vary depending on when a person was born. For those born after 30 June 1964, it's 60 years.

Currently, the age pension is the main income source for most Australians in retirement. Superannuation is the second most common main income source.

Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labour statistics said:

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.

The second most common reason for retirement was sickness, injury or disability (13% of respondents).

The third most common was being retrenched, dismissed or not being able to find employment (5%).

Other reasons included to care for an ill, disabled or elderly person (4% of women and 3% of men).

How does the average age of retirement vary across industries?

People working in agriculture, forestry and fishing have the highest intended age of retirement of 68.3 years. This is followed by those working in real estate at 67.1 years and manufacturing at 66.1 years.

At the other end of the scale, mining workers have the earliest intended age of retirement at 63.7 years.

Information media and telecommunications workers are next at 64 years, then financial and insurance services workers at 64.3 years.

Average superannuation balance at retirement

The average superannuation balance of Australians aged 65 to 69 years is $428,738, according to the Australian Taxation Office. The median balance is $207,540.

The average superannuation balance for men is $453,075 and the average for women is $403,038. The median for men is $213,986 and the median for women is $201,233.

According to the AFSA Retirement Standard, these amounts plus a part pension are more than enough to fund a modest retirement lifestyle for homeowners.

ASFA defines a modest lifestyle as having money for daily essentials, basic health cover, and occasional leisure activities.

To fund a modest lifestyle, both singles and couples need $100,000 in superannuation at age 67, plus a part-pension, to cover annual living expenses of $46,944 for couples and $32,666 for singles.

Motley Fool contributor Bronwyn Allen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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