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Retirement for Expats in Australia

Author: Jason Zhou
Submitted: July 2013

Retiring to Australia

You may want to retire to Australia as it has a high standard of healthcare services, long life expectancy, high quality of life and a good climate. However, bear in mind that you will need a visa to settle in Australia permanently. Among other routes, one specific visa is designed for foreigners to retire in Australia. It is called the Investor Retirement Visa. According to the Australia Department of Immigration and Citizenship website, this visa is for “People from overseas who are 55 years or older, have no dependants (other than a partner who can be any age), are self supported, and are able to make a significant long term financial investment in Australia.”

To qualify for this visa, you need to have assets of at least A$750,000. You should have an accessible minimum net income of A$65,000, including pension income. The income requirement is A$50,000 if you plan to live in regional Australia. Moreover, the visa is not a permanent visa as it only lasts for four years. You will be able to renew it every four years as long as you can still meet the visa requirements.

You should have an adequate health insurance package to cover your healthcare expenses in the period of your stay in Australia. For more information about the Investor Retirement Visa, you can visit https://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/retirement/405/.

 

Retirement in Australia

For people who are working in Australia there is no compulsory retirement age, although there is a mandatory retirement age of 70 for federal judges. Most people retire between 55 and 70 years of age. The reason is people of that age can get access to several retirement-related benefits. For example, after 55, you gain preserved superannuation on retirement. However, you may need to wait until you are 60 to access to preserved superannuation if you were born after 30 June 1960.

A superannuation fund is essentially a trust structure created for the purposes of providing retirement benefits to its members. Contributions made to superannuation can be tax deducted. For the 2013/14 tax year, a contribution cap of A$25,000 applies for deductible contributions in respect of individuals aged under 59. Individuals aged 59 or over on 30 June 2013 are subject to a contribution cap of A$35,000. To qualify for concessional tax treatment, a superannuation fund must comply with detailed prudential regulations. For more information about superannuation, please visit https://australia.gov.au/topics/economy-money-and-tax/superannuation.

The age requirements for pensions are different from the retirement age. The state pension in Australia is the Age Pension. The qualifying age for this depends on when you were born. The current age is 65, but this will be increased to 67 between 1 July 2017 and 1 July 2023. Furthermore, age is not the only requirement. You also need to pass the income test and the assets test to get such pension. That means your income and the value of your assets will affect the amount of your Age Pension payment. For more information about Age Pension, please visit https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/age-pension.

 

Planning your Retirement

Financial planning is the most important thing in your retirement plan. Most people would like to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living. Many may find their savings are not as sufficient as they think and may not last as long as they expect. It is therefore recommended to have a detailed financial plan for retirement as early as possible.  For more information about retirement planning, you can visit: https://australia.gov.au/topics/employment-and-workplace/retirement.

 

 

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