How much super do you need to retire?

The amount you need to retire depends on your age, the type of lifestyle you want to live and whether or not you own your home.

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Are you thinking about retiring soon, but you're not sure if you've got enough money saved up? It's estimated that you'll need at least $535 a week for a modest retirement in Australia. But if you don't own your own home, or if you're planning on a more comfortable retirement, you'll need to budget even more than this.

In this guide, we'll outline how much money you'll need depending on the type of retirement you're planning. This should help you answer the question of whether or not you have enough to retire.

QSuper- Lifetime MySuper

QSuper Lifetime - Aspire 1

QSuper- Lifetime MySuper

The QSuper Lifetime option continually adjusts your investment mix in line with your age and super account balance.

  • One of Australia’s largest profit-for-members funds
  • No transaction or switching fees
  • Find and consolidate your super with QSuper’s online tool
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How much do you need saved in superannuation?

The amount of super you need varies depending on a number of factors, including:

  • The type of lifestyle you want to live (modest versus comfortable)
  • When you retire
  • How long you live
  • Your future medical costs

In other words, you’ll need to think about what needs you’ll have in retirement, what sort of lifestyle you’ll want to enjoy and how long you’re expecting to spend in retirement. However, it’s worth remembering that you’ll typically need less income in retirement than you did while working full time.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) has created the ASFA Retirement Standard. This outlines the annual predicted budget that Australians will need to enjoy either a modest or comfortable standard of living once they leave the workforce. This could be funded by your superannuation as well as income from other sources such as investments outside of super. The Standard for the 2019 June quarter is detailed in the table below.

Modest retirementComfortable retirement
Single (aged around 65)$27,814 per year ($534.88 per week)$43,601 per year ($838.48 per week)
Couple (aged around 65)$40,054 per year ($770.27 per week)$61,522 per year (1183.11 per week)

*Note: This Standard is updated regularly in line with the cost of living. The figures above are taken from the most recent Standard for the 2019 June quarter.

The above figures assume that you own your own home and therefore do not factor in rent costs. If you don't own your own home, you'll need to add annual rent costs to the above figures.

Modest versus comfortable retirement

According to ASFA, a modest lifestyle is better than the lifestyle you could fund with an Age Pension, but would mean that you could still only afford fairly basic activities. Here's a bit of a breakdown of what a modest retirement looks like compared to a comfortable retirement, according to AFSA.

Modest retirementComfortable retirement
Leisure activities
  • Can afford takeaway meals or cheap meals out occasionally
  • One to two short domestic holidays a year

 

  • Can afford to dine out at restaurants
  • Domestic and international travel

 

Utilities and services
  • You'll need to monitor your energy bills more closely
  • Average-speed Internet and a smaller data allowance
  • Basic private health insurance

 

  • Can afford to run air conditioning
  • Fast Internet and lots of data
  • Top-level private health insurance

 

Personal items
  • Can afford a small, budget car
  • Can't afford major home renovations, but can do minor improvements and repairs

 

  • Can afford a nice car
  • Can afford to do major home renovations
  • Can afford high quality appliances, good quality clothes and lots of household items

 

Do I have enough super to fund my retirement?

The ASFA Retirement Standard also estimates the lump sum needed in your superannuation to fund your desired lifestyle (either modest or comfortable). This depends on the age at which you retire, how long you live and the lifestyle you desire.

Let’s assume that you want to have enough retirement funds to last you until 90 years of age. The table below breaks down the lump sum required by singles and couples to live either a modest or comfortable lifestyle during retirement. These figures assume that singles and couples will also access the Age Pension, in addition to drawing down their full super balance.

Modest retirementComfortable retirement
Lump sum required for singles$70,000$545,000
Lump sum required for couples$70,000$640,000

*Note: The figures above are taken from the June 2019 quarter. The fact that the lump sum required to live a modest lifestyle is the same for both singles and couples is due to the rules around means-testing the pension.

How much super should I have at my age?

Now that you’ve got a rough idea of how much super you’ll need when you actually retire, how do you work out whether you’re on track to reach that goal? For example, how much super do you need at age 40 or 50 to be able to afford to retire whenever you want, be that at 65, 70 or any other age?

Take a look at the average super balances for Australians in your age bracket. Use the table below to get an idea of how you’re tracking relative to your peers.

Mean superannuation balance 2015-16

AgeBalance
15 to 19 years$485
20 to 24 years$5,501
25 to 29 years$21,372
30 to 34 years$38,386
35 to 39 years$56,715
40 to 44 years$80,899
45 to 49 years$114,616
50 to 54 years$135,290
55 to 59 years$180,689
60 to 64 years$214,897
65 to 69 years$207,105
70 to 74 years$76,049
80 to 84 years$42,912
85 years and over(estimated) $14,374

*Source: Survey of Income and Housing, Australia, 2015–16, Australian Bureau of Statistics.

It's never too early or late to switch super funds to one with lower fees and a long history of better performance.

Compare super funds

Name Product Past Performance - 1 Year Past Performance - 3 Years Past performance - 5 Years Calculated fees p.a. on $50,000 balance
QSuper Lifetime - Aspire 1
11.03%
9%
9.74%
$395
The Lifetime option is a MySuper product that adjusts your investment mix each 7-10 years as you get older.
QSuper is a member-owned super fund and is one of the largest super funds in Australia.
AustralianSuper - Pre-mixed, Balanced option
8.67%
10.72%
9.48%
$437.65
The Balanced option is a pre-mixed, MySuper fund that invests in a diversified range of asset classes.
AustralianSuper is an award-winning industry super fund and is the largest super fund in Australia.
Sunsuper Lifecycle Balanced
8.52%
10.48%
8.9%
$523
The Lifecycle Balanced option is a MySuper product that invests your super in a balanced fund until you’re near retirement.
Earn a Retirement Bonus of up to $4,800 when you open a new Income account. T&Cs apply.
Virgin Money Super - Lifestage Tracker
10.02%
N/A
N/A
$358
The Lifestage Tracker is a MySuper product that invests in a range of asset classes in line with your age.
Performance figures and fees are based on the LifestageTracker: Born 1969-1973. Earn Velocity Frequent Flyer Points for making contributions to your super (T&Cs apply).
HESTA - Core Pool
7.25%
9.58%
8.32%
$533.53
The Core Pool invests in a mix of asset classes and is an authorised MySuper product.
HESTA is an industry super fund open to all Australians and designed for employees in the health and community services sector.
Future Super Renewables Plus Growth
9.24%
N/A
N/A
$958.60
Future Super is Australia’s first 100% fossil fuel free super fund and is certified by the Responsible Investments Association Australia.
The Future Super Renewables Plus Growth option has a 20% asset allocation in renewable energy projects while excluding investments in live animal export, tobacco and gambling.
Australian Catholic Super Lifetime - Grow
6.03%
N/A
N/A
$588
The LifetimeOne investment option is a MySuper product that changes your investment mix as you get older.
A Catholic super fund open to all Australians and designed for people working in Catholic education, healthcare or aged care.
Superestate Balanced Essentials
New Fund
New Fund
New Fund
$291.50
The Balanced Essentials fund invests in a range of shares, residential property and other assets and has a medium level of risk.
Superestate focuses on investing your super in physical residential properties and charges some of the lowest annual fees in the market.
LGIAsuper MySuper Lifecycle - Under 75
7.27%
9.06%
7.79%
$598
The LGIA MySuper Lifecycle option aims for higher returns while you’re under 75.
LGIA is a medium-sized, member-owned super fund open to all Australians.
First State MySuper Life Cycle Growth
7.71%
10.09%
8.3%
$549.42
This MySuper product will invest your super in a pre-mixed Growth fund until you’re 60, then it’ll switch to Balanced.
First State Super is a not-for-profit super fund with more than 750,000 members around Australia.
BT Super for Life - MySuper Lifestage Fund
7.36%
9.72%
7.73%
$643
The MySuper Lifestage fund invests your super in a mix of asset classes depending on how old you are.
Westpac Group customers can manage their super alongside their day-to-day bank accounts.
Cbus Growth
6.99%
9.91%
9.03%
$559.11
The Growth fund is a pre-mixed investment portfolio and an approved MySuper product.
Cbus is a leading industry super fund for the building and construction industry, that’s open to all Australians.
BUSSQ MySuper Balanced Growth
4.88%
7.79%
8.03%
$682.65
The MySuper Balanced Growth option is a ready-made, diversified fund with a medium level of risk.
BUSSQ is an industry fund designed for the building and construction industry and open for all Australians.
Suncorp Lifestage Fund
6.6%
6.47%
7.08%
$581.80
The Lifestage Fund readjusts your investment mix every few years to reduce your level of risk as you get older.
A retail super fund that offers access to personalised financial planning and advice.
HostPlus Balanced
6.8%
10.8%
9.65%
$546.76
The Balanced fund invests your super in a range of assets and is designed for high long-term growth.
An industry super fund open to all Australians with a focus on the hospitality and retail sector.
MTAA My AutoSuper (Balanced)
7.66%
9.33%
9.03%
$469.76
The Balanced option is a MySuper product that invests in a range of asset classes aiming for medium to high long-term returns.
MTAA is a national super fund available to all Australians with a focus on the motor trades and automotive sector.
REST Super - Core Strategy
5.94%
8.57%
7.36%
$518.33
The Core Strategy is a diversified investment portfolio that balances risk and return, and is an authorised MySuper product.
REST is an industry super fund tailored towards the retail sector and open to all Australians with almost two million members.
UniSuper Balanced
9.88%
9.97%
9.35%
$371
The Balanced option is a MySuper product that invests in a mix of growth and defensive assets.
A flexible industry super fund for people who work in Australia’s higher education and research sector.

Compare up to 4 providers

The information in the table is based on data provided by Chant West Pty Ltd (AFSL 255320) which is itself supplied by third parties. While such information is believed to be accurate, Chant West does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in such information. Chant West’s Financial Services Guide is available at https://www.chantwest.com.au/financial-services-guide . Finder offers no guarantees or warranties about the data and we recommend that users make their own enquiries before relying on this information. Performance, fees and insurance data is based on each fund's default MySuper product. Where the performance, fees and insurance data for the MySuper fund vary according to the member's age, results for individuals between 40-49 years of age have been shown. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

*Past performance data is for the period ending June 2019.

How to make sure you have enough money to retire

Worried that you won’t have enough super to live the lifestyle you want in retirement? Keep the following tips in mind to help boost your retirement savings:

  • Search for lost super. Have you changed jobs, changed address or changed your name? By finding your lost super, you could provide a dramatic boost to your retirement funds.
  • Consolidate your super. If you have multiple superannuation accounts, consider consolidating them into one single account to save on fees. However, make sure you’re aware of any exit fees before you consolidate, and remember to check whether you will still have adequate insurance cover in place.
  • Consider your investments within your super. You may wish to think about how your super is invested. For example, if you want maximum possible capital growth, you may need to switch to a more aggressive investment portfolio to increase the chances of you reaching your financial goal.
  • Invest outside of super. You can't rely completely on superannuation to fund your retirement. It's important you invest outside of the superannuation environment, too. Read our guides on how to buy shares online and how to invest in ETFs to get started.
  • Salary sacrifice. If your employer offers salary sacrificing, you can contribute extra funds to your super and take advantage of the fact that they will be taxed at a reduced rate. It’s a great way to automate the process of boosting your super balance.
  • Make personal contributions. You may also want to consider making personal tax-deductible contributions (capped at $25,000 per year) to your super, as well as making after-tax contributions (capped at $100,000 per year).
  • The 67% rule. Another method sometimes suggested to calculate how much super you need is to assume that you need 67% (or two-thirds) of your yearly income in retirement. So if you were earning $100,000 a year, you’d need enough super to cover annual living expenses of $67,000. However, this method is only viable for people who earn an above-average income.

Retirement may seem like it’s still a long way off, but taking action now could be crucial to ensure that you have enough money tucked away. Now is the perfect time to review how much money you've got saved up, calculate how much you’ll need to enjoy a comfortable retirement, and then start thinking about how you can make those two figures meet.

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