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Retirement statistics 2023

27% of Australians are not sure if they have enough to retire.

Planning for retirement might lack the thrill of saving for a new car or a dream holiday, but it's key to a relaxed future. Just as you diligently save for big purchases, it's equally vital to nurture your super for retirement.

As of December 2023, Australians ideally need around $641,223 for a comfortable retirement, but there's a gap in actual savings.

As 2023 came to an end, refining your super strategy was crucial amid rising living costs and evolving retirement goals. Starting early, contributing wisely and choosing the right investments are all part of reaching that essential retirement target.

What do Australians think about retirement?

Aussies have a real mixed bag of feelings about retirement. Some are confident they've got it all sorted with their super, while others are crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.

Finder surveyed 1,000+ Australians and asked them questions regarding retirement and their superannuation. The answers might just surprise you.

Key statistics

  • $689,265 is needed for a comfortable retirement for Australian men, $585,911 is needed for a comfortable retirement for women in 2023.
  • 27% of Australians unsure if they have enough in their super for retirement.
  • 32% of women, 23% of men doubtful about retirement readiness.
  • 26–29% across generations unsure about super adequacy.

Do Australians have enough to retire with?

A lot of folks are asking themselves this. Some are pretty sure they'll scrape by, others are more upbeat about living comfortably. But there's definitely a chunk of people feeling a bit uneasy about whether their super's going to cut it.

27% of respondents are uncertain if they'll have enough superannuation for retirement. Nearly a quarter (23%) believe they won't have enough, either through superannuation or other investments.

22% think they'll manage but may need to cut back on spending, while 17% are confident they'll be comfortable financially in retirement.

A smaller segment (11%) anticipates relying on investments other than superannuation.

Retirement findings by age

Aussie men and women have different levels of confidence in their super. We're seeing some interesting numbers showing how each gender views their retirement readiness.

Men vs women: Do Australians think they have enough super to retire with?

Out of 1,063 Australians, 32% of women and 23% of men were unsure if they'd have enough superannuation for retirement.

27% of women and 18% of men doubted their superannuation and other investments would be enough, while 10% of women and 12% of men expected sufficient funds from other investments.

Australian men require an average of $689,265 for retirement, while the average requirement for women is $585,911.

Visible generational gaps when saving for retirement

Every generation faces unique challenges and opportunities when saving for retirement. We'll compare the super needs of baby boomers, gen X, millennials and gen Z, highlighting how retirement planning differs across ages.

Survey data show varied sentiments across generations regarding superannuation sufficiency.

  • Baby boomers to gen Z: 26–29% uncertain about super
  • Gen X: Highest doubt at 29%
  • Gen Z: 17% believe in sufficiency through other investments

How much super do you need for retirement?

On average, estimated super needs ranged from $545,548 for baby boomers to $751,813 for gen X, with an Australian average of $641,223.

Where do Australians keep their money outside of super?

Diversifying investments is key to financial security. We'll check out what kinds of investments Aussies are making outside their super – from real estate to stocks and bonds.

Investors prefer high interest savings accounts

  • High interest savings accounts. Preferred by 50.4% (low-risk options).
  • Stocks. Chosen by 25.4% (balance of risk).
  • Real estate. Selected by 19.3% (traditional investment).
  • Fixed deposits. Used by 16.6% (stable income options).
  • Cryptocurrencies. Invested in by 13.4% (digital assets).

What are the preferred avenues for Australians to allocate their funds outside of superannuation?

  • Baby boomers and gen X:
    • High-interest savings accounts: Baby boomers (57.2%), gen X (53.3%).
    • Preference for stability and lower risk.
    • Substantial investment in stocks and real estate, with baby boomers leading in real estate.
  • Gen Y and gen Z:
    • Strong inclination towards newer investments like cryptocurrencies.
    • Gen Z: 21.3% invested in cryptocurrencies.
    • Active in stocks and savings accounts, with a shift towards modern investment vehicles.

Calculating how much you need for retirement is the most difficult aspect of retirement planning

The most challenging aspects of retirement planning include figuring out how much to save (26%), understanding superannuation rules (21%) and determining age pension eligibility (12%).

Tax rules during retirement and choosing the right retirement income products also present difficulties.

Less concerning, but still notable, are estimating life expectancy, future healthcare costs, estate planning, aged care costs and health insurance, each with lower percentages of concern among respondents.

40% of Australians prefer to use a financial adviser for retirement advice

For retirement planning guidance, Australians primarily turn to financial advisers (40%) and resources provided by superannuation funds (38%). Friends and family also play a significant role (30%), along with accountants (23%).

Many seek information from personal finance websites, magazines and podcasts (20%). Government resources like Centrelink, the ATO website and the Australian government Financial Information Service are also consulted, along with ASIC's MoneySmart website and financial counselling services.

A smaller percentage refers to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) retirement income standards.

How much super do Australians need for retirement?

Financial milestones for pre-retirees: Setting savings goals at 55–59

If living alone, you'd need to save between $91,000 (for a low spending level of $36,000 per year) and $777,000 (for a high spending level of $59,000 per year) by age 65.

Couples need to save between $116,000 (low spending of $52,000 annually) and $1,037,000 (high spending of $87,000 annually).

Note: These figures are based on Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data about retirees' spending, adjusted for inflation.

Financial milestones for current retirees: Setting savings goals at 65–69

Individuals require savings ranging from $76,000 (for a low yearly spending of $31,000) to $795,000 (for high spending of $55,000 annually).

For couples, the required savings range from $95,000 (for low yearly spending of $44,000) to $1,055,000 (for high spending of $80,000 annually).

Note: These figures are also adjusted for inflation based on ABS data.

Setting a benchmark (ASFA Comfortable Standard)

The ASFA Comfortable Standard is a benchmark for retirement savings, providing guidelines on the superannuation balance required for a comfortable lifestyle. This standard varies depending on age and salary.

For instance, at age 22, with a $65,000 wage, the target balance is $8,000, escalating to $565,000 by age 66.

Balance requirements to attain the standard

This section provides financial benchmarks for Australians nearing or in retirement. It offers specific savings targets based on age and desired spending levels, using data adjusted for inflation.

Differences in superannuation savings between genders

The median superannuation balances for men and women at various ages show a gender gap in savings. By 65, men have an average of $215,000, while women have $191,000.

This gap is largely attributed to several factors including career breaks, part-time employment and wage discrepancies, which disproportionately impact women's earning and saving potential over time.

Let's talk about lifestyle in retirement

In planning for retirement, understanding different lifestyle standards is essential. According to ASFA:

  • Modest lifestyle: This standard covers basic needs. To maintain a modest lifestyle, a single person requires approximately $31,867 annually, while a couple needs around $45,946. A modest retirement accounts for essential expenses but offers limited financial flexibility for leisure activities.
  • Comfortable lifestyle: This standard allows for a broader range of leisure activities and a higher standard of living. It includes expenses like private health insurance, a reasonable car, quality household goods and holidays. For a comfortable retirement, singles need about $50,207 per year, while couples require around $70,806.

Remember, these are just benchmarks to help guide your planning.

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