The top 3 retirement income streams you need to know

Feb 15, 2023
With careful planning and management of retirement income streams, retirees can enjoy a comfortable and financially secure retirement for years to come. Source: Getty Images.

As people near retirement age, one of their primary concerns is how they will support themselves financially during their post-working years.

While some may have built up substantial savings, others may not have been able to do so. Fortunately, there are several income streams available to retirees that can help them maintain their desired standard of living.

These income streams can take many forms, including government benefits, personal savings, and employer-provided retirement plans, among others.

Top retirement income streams.
Source: Getty Images.

So what are the top income streams for retirement?

While there are numerous income streams that can benefit retirees to support their post-work lifestyle, Starts at 60 took a deep dive with Stockspot’s head of client care and advice Sarah King into the “three major income streams for retirees” which include superannuation, the age pension, and personal savings and investments.

  • Superannuation pension income stream – when you move your funds from your accumulation account over to a pension account. This is the most tax-effective income stream for retirees with the earnings usually being tax-free when you’re 60 or older.  You can do this when you retire and meet the preservation age, which is between 55 – 60 depending on when you were born. Superannuation is an important income stream for retirees because it can provide financial security, tax benefits, long-term growth, and mandatory contributions, all of which can help retirees maintain their standard of living and support themselves in retirement.


  • Government Age Pension: Income from the government to help support the basic living standards of older Australians. It is means tested, with an assets and income test applied to assess eligibility. Some retirees will be eligible for full age pension, or part pension whereas others won’t be eligible based on their assets and/or income exceeding the thresholds. The age pension provides financial security, support for low-income retirees, access to essential services, and social inclusion. It is a critical safety net for those who may not have had the opportunity to save for their retirement or who have experienced financial difficulties during their working years, and it helps ensure that all retirees have a basic level of income to support themselves in their later years


  • Personal savings and investments: Owning investments (like shares) or other savings accounts, or term deposits outside of super in your own name, joint names, or in a trust structure. This is an additional source of income that can be drawn down on to supplement your cost of living needs in retirement. While other income streams such as the age pension or superannuation can provide a reliable source of income, personal savings, and investments can give retirees more control over their financial future and help them achieve their retirement goals.
Retirement income sources.
Source: Getty Images.

Why is it important to be familiar with retirement income streams?

Properly managing retirement income streams, such as the three above, is essential to ensure a comfortable retirement, as well as to protect against financial risks such as inflation, longevity, healthcare costs, and other unexpected expenses.

By understanding your income sources, you can plan for retirement, maximize your income, manage financial risks, and make informed decisions about your financial future.

Adequate planning for retirement is of the utmost importance to ensure that the income sources you plan to rely on during retirement will adequately cover your expected living expenses each year.

With longevity risk becoming a common concern for many retirees, there is a growing concern about outliving one’s pensions, savings, or other investments.

Seeking advice before retiring can be extremely advantageous, as it can provide a sense of assurance that you will have sufficient funds to support your retirement and allow you to devise strategies that optimise the benefits of each income stream for the entirety of your retirement.

In addition to being familiar with your retirement income streams, King advises considering “your day-to-day living costs as well as annual holidays, or other potential expenses like a new car, aged care expenses or other health-related costs”

It’s also important to be aware that “changes in your assets and income may also lead to changes in your age pension entitlements.”

When it comes to investments outside of your superannuation, King suggests that retirees may want to ensure that they are still working in their favour.

“Are you getting the best savings rates, are you taking too much risk, are you diversified enough to ensure your funds will continue to grow but also be protected along the way,” King said.

Measures for a comfortable retirement.
Sources: Getty Images.

What additional measures can retirees adopt to ensure a comfortable retirement?

While such retirement income streams can go a long way to ensuring a comfortable retirement, there are a number of additional measures retirees can adopt to live the retirement of their dreams.

Other measures King suggests include:

  • Modifying expenses – cutting down on unnecessary expenses to preserve your funds
  • Review existing service providers – shop around to make sure you’re getting the best rates on utilities like gas, electricity, and internet/phone
  • Check eligibility for a seniors card which comes with a range of benefits
  • Investments – check that your investments are in low-fee products like Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and that your investment strategy aligns with your risk appetite and timeframe. A mix of investments like shares, bonds, and gold is the best way to achieve smoother more, consistent returns
  • Make sure you’re not taking unnecessary risks with your retirement capital – being well-diversified is very important. This applies to funds in your super pension and in your own name.


Understanding the various retirement income streams that are available is essential for ensuring financial security in retirement. By having a comprehensive understanding of your income sources and potential risks, you can make informed decisions about your retirement goals, maximize your income, and manage your financial risks effectively.

Seeking professional advice can also be highly beneficial, especially if you’re uncertain about your retirement income or need guidance on how to optimise your income streams for the duration of your retirement. With careful planning and management of retirement income streams, retirees can enjoy a comfortable and financially secure retirement for years to come.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.

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