When you can retire

Choosing when to retire is a personal decision. It might just feel like the right time, or perhaps you’re encouraged by your family and friends. It could be a health scare, being unhappy at work or perhaps your kids have left home.

Whatever your reason, you’ll need to be able to look after yourself financially when you decide to stop working. When you’re deciding on the right time to retire, consider these two dates:

  • Your Commonwealth preservation age
  • The age at which you can access the Age Pension

We’ll explore these dates in more detail below.

Commonwealth preservation age
Date of birth Commonwealth preservation age

Born before 1 July 1960


1 July 1960 - 30 June 1961


1 July 1961 - 30 June 1962


1 July 1962 - 30 June 1963


1 July 1963 - 30 June 1964


After 30 June 1964


Your Commonwealth preservation age

Preservation means that your money is kept in super until your 'Commonwealth preservation age' which is a legal requirement. Until this age, you can’t access your super except in very specific circumstances.

Your preservation age will be between 55 and 60 depending on when you were born. Look at the table above to work out your preservation age.

There are some other conditions that apply before you can get your super money:

  • You reach your Commonwealth preservation age and permanently retire
  • You reach your Commonwealth preservation age and start a transition to retirement strategy, where you continue to work and access some of your super
  • You reach age 60 and cease your current employment arrangement
  • You reach age 65

If you’re a Gold State Super member, you can access your super once you turn 55and you retire from the WA public sector.

You can only access your super before your Commonwealth preservation age if you qualify for special circumstances, such as severe financial hardship or on compassionate grounds.

Commonwealth Age Pension

To be eligible for the Age Pension, you need to be 65 years or older, regardless of whether you're male or female. On 1 July 2017, the qualifying age increased to 65 years and six months. This qualifying age will increase by six months every two years, to 67 years by 1 July 2023.

Age requirements for the Age Pension
If you were born between You qualify for Age Pension at age

1 July 1952 to 31 December 1953

65 years and six months

1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955

66 years

1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956

66 years and six months

From 1 January 1957

67 years

If you retire before you reach your Age Pension age, you would need to live off the income you get from your super.

Learn more about the Commonwealth Age Pension

Accessing your super before you reach Commonwealth preservation age

You might be able to get your super before you reach preservation age if:

  • You become totally and permanently disabled
  • Your super account holds less than $200 and you no longer work for the employer who contributed to the fund for you
  • You receive approval from us to release your super on financial hardship or compassionate grounds
  • You are diagnosed with a terminal illness by registered medical practitioners or in the event of your death (in which case your super is paid to your estate)

If you would like to know if you’re eligible to access your super early, please call us on 13 43 72.

When you’re ready to take your super money out

Find out what your options are when you’re ready to take your super money, including how your benefit will be taxed.

Find out ways you can take your super out

1 If you access your benefit before you reach your Commonwealth preservation age you may need to pay a higher rate of tax. The Commonwealth preservation age is higher than the age at which you can access your Gold State Super benefit. Please contact your Member Services Centre and review our Tax and super brochure for more information.

More information

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Page last updated 18 March 2021