Retirement age holding steady at 65, but many working longer


When do Australians plan to retire these days? According to recent data, the average person aged 45 and over is still aiming retirement between their 65th and 66th birthdays.

This average intended retirement age hasn’t budged much over the last decade or so. But in reality, many are staying in the workforce longer than previous generations.

“On average, men intend to retire slightly later than women, but this gap is closing. In 2022-23, there was around half a year difference between men and women, compared to a year difference a decade ago, and a two year difference around 10 years before that,” says Australian Bureau of Statistics head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis.

In 2022-23, those who had retired within the past 20 years did so at an average age of 61.4. That’s up from 58.5 years just eight years earlier in 2014-15.

There are a few factors driving this trend of later retirement. For one, we’re generally living and staying healthy longer. Leaving the workforce in your late 50s or early 60s may no longer make sense for many.

Related: Why retirement age matters to our quality of life outcomes

Finances also play a big role, with superannuation and the Age Pension often not being enough for some retirees to live comfortably. Over a third (36%) cited financial security as a key reason for their retirement timing.

The industry you work in seems to influence retirement patterns too. Those in agriculture and real estate had some of the highest intended retirement ages at around 68. Mining workers were among the earliest prospective retirees at 63.7 years old on average.

So while 65 may still be the classic retirement age in many people’s minds, it’s becoming more common to keep punching the clock a few years beyond that, whether by choice or necessity.

The shift to later retirement has some upsides though. More women in particular are building their own superannuation and relying less on partners’ incomes. In 2022-23, only 31% said their main source of funds was their spouse, down from 44% in 2012-13.

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