Age Pension - eligibility and amount
Once you reach qualifying age for age pension - currently 66 – you may be eligible for a fortnightly Age Pension (subject to asset and income tests). As of 20 September 2017, this provides a maximum income of $894.40 a fortnight for singles, and $1,348.40 per fortnight for couples (combined) including supplements. Needs to be updated to As of 22 May 2019, this provides a maximum income of $926.20 a fortnight for singles, and $1,396.20 per fortnight for couples (combined) including supplements. You can find out more from the Department of Human Services.
Superannuation - when you can access it and how much to spend
You could start accessing some of your super as soon as you hit your preservation age. Obviously, the less you draw down now, the more funds you’ll have later on.
You’ll have to withdraw a minimum amount each year from your super pension account, depending on your age. For example, if you’re between preservation age and age 64, your annual payment as a percentage of your account balance must be 4%. Unless you have met a full condition of release, you may also be limited as to how much you can withdraw from your pension each year, and whether or not you can access lump sums.
Investments - do your research on what's possible
Ideally, soon-to-retire Australians have a diverse range of investments besides their super scheme and the family home. You can never do enough research. Have a look at ASIC’s Moneysmart website: their Financial Decisions at Retirement (PDF, 1.41MB) provides a summary of retirement, social security benefits, and super amongst other things. And NAB has a range of resources you might find helpful.
Down-sizing your home
While many Australians have wealth tied up in their family home and some down-size to buy a smaller home to release equity in their home, what you do depends on your own personal circumstances. There are many things to consider before you can do this, including tax implications, Centrelink entitlements and eligibility. It’s important to discuss this with a financial adviser to make sure this is the right strategy for you, before making a decision.