RETIREES are increasingly accessing their superannuation through income streams rather than withdrawing lump sums, according to new analysis released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
ABS Labour and Income Branch program manager Bjorn Jarvis said almost 1.2 million people were receiving an income stream from their superannuation in 2013-14, at an average of $502 per week.
"Of that 1.2 million, about three-quarters were aged 65 years or over and one-quarter were between 55 and 64 (876,000 and 307,000, respectively)," Mr Jarvis said.
"This means just over one in four people aged 65 years and over (excluding those in nursing homes and retirement villages) were receiving a superannuation income stream in 2013-14, up from one in five in 2003-04."
Mr Jarvis said that in 2013-14, 420,000 people reported they had withdrawn a lump sum from their superannuation in the previous two years. Half were for amounts less than $25,000.
"Three-quarters of people used the lump sum to invest in their home, make other investments, buy or pay off a vehicle, or to pay off outstanding debts," he said.
"For the other one quarter, the most commonly cited reasons were for holidays, followed by general living and medical expenses."
The number of people with some superannuation and the average value of their accounts have both grown in the 10 years to 2013-14.
In 2003-04, around two-thirds (64 per cent) of people aged 15 and over had superannuation. By 2013-14, this had risen to 71 per cent, with about 85 per cent of people aged 25-54 having superannuation.
For people with superannuation, the average value of their accounts increased in real terms from $68,000 to $110,000.