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Retiring early: Despite the Australian government wanting workers to retire at 67, many are instead taking early retirement in their 50s.

Australians are ignoring government pleas to work longer and instead are taking early retirement when they hit their 50s, new figures show.

The government wants workers to retire at 67, but the average retirement age is closer to 59 for men and 50 for women, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed on Monday.

Last financial year, the average age at retirement for people aged 45 and over was 53.8.

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The bureau's latest survey on “retirement and retirement intentions” in Australia suggests government plans to increase the retirement age to 67 may face some resistance.

It shows the average actual age of retirement is lower than the average intended age of retirement for all age groups.

But it also shows a significant number of people in the labour force aged 45 or over – almost one in five – are not planning to retire until they are at least 70.

"We found that, of the 2.3 million people who gave an age that they intended to retire, 17 per cent intended to retire at 70 years and older," ABS director of labour force Stephen Collett said.

About half of those surveyed (49 per cent) intended to retire between 65 and 69 years and 25 per cent intended to retire between 60 and 64 years, he said.

The report also found differences between those who were already retired and those intending to retire, when it came to expected sources of income.

"While almost half (46 per cent) of the people who had retired reported 'government pension or allowance' as their main source of income at retirement, less than one-third (27 per cent) of people aged 45 years and over who were intending to retire indicated that this would be their main expected source of income at retirement,” Mr Collett said.

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