What age is too young to retire in Australia?

Even if you can retire early, should you?

Side view of a happy senior woman smiling while drawing as a recreational activity or therapy outdoors together with the group of retired women.

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Chances are if you offered most Australians who are working today the opportunity of a comfortable retirement beginning tomorrow, they would seize it with both hands. After all, most of us wouldn't work if we didn't have bills to pay… at least as much as we do.

Late last month, my Fool colleague Bronwyn went through the average age at which most Australians officially retire and enter their golden years. She found that the average age for the 130,000 people who retired in 2022 was 64.8 years. That broke down to 66.9 years for men and 63.2 years for women.

Interestingly, the most common reason that Australians chose to retire was reportedly "access to financial support". That came in ahead of "sickness, injury or disability" and "not being able to find employment".

So we know that a plurality of those Australians who decide to retire do so because they can afford to.

Once we reach the Age Pension eligibility age of 67, the possibility of at least a modest retirement becomes a reality for most Australians.

But what about those Australians who, through luck, hard work or a combination of the two, find themselves able to retire much earlier than that? Is there an age too young to retire?

Retirement: How early is too early?

This is obviously going to be a highly subjective question. Many of us love working, keeping busy and making a valuable contribution to society. Perhaps some of these people intend to keep working until they drop, not because they have to but because they want to.

There's nothing wrong with that.

But what about others who would retire tomorrow if they could? Well, I'm a firm believer in a quote often attributed to the late Queen Elizabeth II:

Work is the rent you pay for the room you occupy on Earth.

It's my belief that in order to achieve and maintain true happiness, we must pursue a valuable contribution to society.

What that contribution is can be whatever you make it through. It could be working for a company (perhaps your own) or in a government in order to bring more good into the world.

But it could also be raising children or grandchildren, looking after a loved one or working for a charity. It could be creating beautiful art or music, or else writing a book or poetry.

Life is too short to dedicate time to a job we don't like, and that doesn't bring fulfilment. So if you have the opportunity to retire, use it to bring happiness to yourself and those around you. If everyone adopted this attitude, I don't think there's an age that is too young to 'retire' in Australia.

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen 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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