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Prepare to retire

Your retirement planning checklist

Page reading time: 5 minutes

Preparing to retire is emotional and practical. Making a retirement plan can help you manage your finances, and cope better as your life and priorities change.

Make a retirement plan

Your retirement plan can be simple or detailed. Include:

Think about when you want to retire

There's no set age you need to be to retire. It will depend on your health, work options, finances and personal situation.

Are you retiring in ten years, two to five years, or next year? If you have a partner, when will they retire? Knowing how much time you have helps you make a retirement plan.

Talk about your retirement priorities with a partner, colleague or friend. If you need professional advice to plan for retirement, see financial advice.

Consider your lifestyle and priorities

Set your priorities

Think about what your lifestyle will look and feel like. What are the things that matter most?


Keep working, reduce hours or retrain

Continuing to earn an income, even part-time, can help your retirement savings last longer. If you want to keep working, options include:

Plan where you will live

If you own your home:

If you're renting:

Work out your income and living costs

How much money you'll need for living costs in retirement depends on your lifestyle priorities and what you can afford.

For most people, your retirement income will be a combination of superannuation and the Age Pension. If you don't have much super, you may be more reliant on the pension. If you do have super, think about how and when to withdraw it. You may also have some savings or investments.

Work out your living costs


As a rule of thumb, try allowing for two thirds of your current living costs. This is a useful guide, that assumes reduced costs for work and that you've paid off your mortgage.

Your spending may be higher when you first retire. For example, if you plan to travel or update your home. You may also need to allow more for health care as you get older.

Get your super income

You can get your super when you retire and reach your 'preservation age'. That is between 55 and 60, depending on when you were born. Or when you reach 65, even if you're still working.

When you are eligible to withdraw your super, your main options are:

You could also consider a transition to retirement strategy. You can use some of, and keep contributing to, your super while working.

Contact your super fund to discuss your options.

Claim government benefits

From age 67 (or earlier, if born before 1957), you may be eligible for government benefits such as:

For questions about government benefits, call Centrelink's older Australians line on 132 300. Ask to speak to a Financial Information Service (FIS) officer (for free). The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm.

Add in savings and investments

If you have money in savings, this could top up your retirement income.

If you have investments like shares or investment property, think about whether to keep or sell. Check the costs, tax impact and whether it will affect your government benefits.

Plan for the future

Grow your income

If you can, consider contributing more to your super. Use the super contributions optimiser to see how to get the biggest boost.

Save for an emergency

Save an emergency fund to give yourself a safety net for unexpected bills like repairs or medical costs.

Pay off debt

If you have a mortgage or other debts, consider how best to pay them off. For tips on how to do this, see get debt under control.

Make an estate plan

Decide what you want done with your assets when you die. Check you have an up-to-date will and powers of attorney, and a nominated beneficiary for your super.

Get help if you need it