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November 7, 2023

Best Retirement Income Streams in Australia: CDs, Superannuation, Pensions, and Annuities

Best Retirement Income Streams in Australia
Katya Richardson

Written by Katya Richardson

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Navigating retirement can be tricky, but it’s essential for Australians to plan for a comfortable future. Some popular choices for retirement money in Australia include super funds, account pensions, and annuities. Super funds help workers save over time, account pensions let retirees decide how much to take out, and annuities give steady income for a fixed time or even for life.

When deciding, think about how much money you’ll need, any tax issues, how long your money should last, whether you can change the amounts you take out, what happens to the money when you pass away, and how your choices might affect things like the Age Pension. By understanding these things, retirees can make the most of their savings and enjoy a relaxed retirement.

In this article, we will discuss which one is the best income stream for your retirement plan.

Best 4 Retirement Income Streams in Australia

Certificates of Deposits (CD)

A certificate of deposit (CD) are savings product from banks that offers interest on a lump sum for a fixed period of time. CDs are different from normal savings accounts that we usually use because the money cannot be used for the entirety of their term or risk penalty fees or lost interest.

CDs are useful in many scenarios. If you’ve got some savings you don’t plan on spending soon, but might need in a few years – maybe for a special trip, a new house, car, or boat – they’re a solid choice. Investing in the share market can be a bit dicey for such short-term goals because of the potential for losses. While term deposits offer certain perks, they come with their own set of limitations too. Here are the pros and cons of CDs:


  • Higher rates usually than savings or money market accounts
  • A guaranteed, predictable rate of return is less risky than volatile stocks and bonds
  • Federally insured if opened with an FDIC bank or NCUA credit union
  • Can help you avoid spending temptations since withdrawing funds early triggers a penalty


  • Penalties for withdrawing funds early
  • Typically earns less than stocks and bonds over time
  • Fixed-rate could cost you if interest rates rise during the term
  • Inflation can eat away at the value of money locked in at a fixed rate

Before you sign on the dotted line, understand the restrictions and rewards of your future investment.

Learn How Certificate of Deposits Work

Superannuation Income Streams

Superannuation income streams, also known as account-based pensions or retirement phase income streams, are a frequent source of income in retirement. Because of their flexibility and because all investment gains are tax-free, these are frequently regarded as the best retirement income streams.

Once you have retired and are entitled to access your superannuation, you can begin an account-based pension by converting your accumulated savings into an income stream. An account-based pension is a flexible retirement income stream, as it allows you to receive as much income as you need to meet your needs, subject to a minimum annual pension amount.

The downside of an account-based pension is that it is not guaranteed to provide you with an income for the remainder of your life. The longevity of an account-based pension is determined by your level of pension drawdowns and the investment earnings within the account. No further pension payments are received once the account balance reaches $0.

Here are some examples of superannuation income streams that offer various options for retirees. Allocated Pensions let retirees determine their withdrawal rate within set limits. Transition to Retirement Pensions (TTR) cater to those nearing retirement, enabling them to tap into their super while still working. Lifetime Pensions assure consistent income throughout retirement, while Fixed-term Pensions offer returns for a specified duration. Grasping these options helps navigate retirement decisions for a stable future.

For those considering a more hands-on approach to managing their retirement funds, learning about what a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) can invest in might provide the flexibility and control you desire.

Account-Based Pensions

An account-based pension is a type of retirement income that allows you to get a regular income stream from your super. The fundamental attractiveness of account-based pensions is its flexibility, as well as the tax advantages – no tax is payable on investment earnings. With an account-based pension, you can generally choose from a variety of investments and draw income depending on minimal pension needs.

Account-based pensions let you get regular payments from your super savings when you retire. You choose how often you’re paid, from every two weeks to once a year, and how your super is invested. Your invested money still earns returns. Once you reach a certain age, between 55 and 60, you can access this pension. However, there’s a yearly “minimum drawdown rate” you must withdraw, based on your age. Check below for more details.

Minimum amount of money to withdraw

AgeAnnual payment as % of account balance 2023-24 income year

Comparing account-based pensions requires considering various factors to ensure you’re choosing the best fit for your retirement needs. Here are some tips to guide you:

  • Seek out low fees.
  • Prioritise funds with a diverse array of investment choices.
  • Look for consistent long-term results, though remember past results don’t predict future performance.
  • Value flexibility in income payment methods.
    If you’re still employed, consider transition-to-retirement (TTR) options.
  • Online access is beneficial for easy pension account management.
  • Helpful features might include educational resources, complimentary financial guidance, easy account setup, and more.

Remember, your super fund can guide you through these choices, ensuring you’re set for your retirement phase as outlined in the Retirement Income Covenant.

Adjusting your lifestyle to retire early can be both rewarding and financially feasible. Find out why taking this step might be beneficial in our 10 reasons to retire early.


The term “annuity” refers to an insurance contract produced and distributed by financial institutions with the goal of paying out invested funds in the future in the form of a fixed income stream. Annuities are purchased or invested in by investors who receive monthly or lump-sum payments.

The holding institution issues a future stream of payments for a set amount of time or for the rest of the annuitant’s life. Annuities are mostly used for retirement planning, and they assist individuals in mitigating the danger of outliving their resources.

Travel Tips for senior citizens

When considering an annuity, it’s essential to choose one that aligns with your financial goals and retirement needs. Here are some tips to guide you in making an informed decision:

Key ConsiderationDescription / Tips
Goal IdentificationDetermine if you’re seeking regular income, growth for your superannuation, or a mix of both.
Type of Annuity

– Fixed Term Annuities: Guaranteed income for a set period.

– Lifetime Annuities: Guaranteed income for life.

Indexation OptionsChoose annuities that offer indexed payments to protect against inflation.
Reversionary or Joint AnnuitiesAnnuities that continue payments to a partner or other beneficiary after your passing.
Flexible FeaturesSome annuities allow features like withdrawal benefits for lump sum access in specific conditions.
Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)Thoroughly review the PDS for product details, risks, and fees.
Fees and CostsUnderstand any associated fees, including potential management costs.
Provider’s ReputationPurchase from reputable providers regulated by APRA.
DiversificationEnsure a mix of assets and income streams in your retirement strategy.


Wrapping things up, planning for retirement in Australia presents a range of options to consider. From superannuation income streams and account-based pensions to annuities, there’s plenty to sift through. But as you explore, keep an eye on key factors like fees, investment flexibility, past performance, and ease of access.

Remember, you’ve worked hard and deserve a retirement that reflects that effort. By being informed and weighing these important factors, you can secure a future that’s both comfortable and financially sound. Ready to make those crucial decisions for your golden years? Let’s dive in and set the stage for a fulfilling retirement!

Now that you have your finances sorted, read our tips to enjoy life after retirement to find inspiration on how to spend your well-earned rest.

The information presented on this website is general information only. It should not be taken as constituting professional advice from the website owner – Hiddup PTY LTD (Hiddup). Any information regarding past performance and returns contained on this website should not be construed or interpreted as a prediction or opinion as to future performance and returns. Hiddup is not a financial adviser. All views and observations expressed by Hiddup on this website are for information purposes only, are general in nature and should not be treated as investment or financial advice of any kind.