How much super do you need to retire?
13 September 2021
You may see retirement as a distant dream involving days at the beach and no alarm clocks. But no matter how many decades separate you and the big R, it’s important to start thinking about super early.
Sometimes we can focus more on our dreams than the steps it takes to achieve them. It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday, forgetting your retirement plans and thinking about more pressing concerns like paying bills and planning your next holiday. But try to make time for the future you. Saving for retirement is more marathon than sprint. You need to set yourself up from the start for success.
What is super?
Your super is an asset – and it could be a significant one at that. If you’re eligible, your employer puts 9.5% of your salary into your super fund account1. You can access your super once you reach age 65, or earlier in some circumstances.
Your super ‘nest egg’ grows with the ultimate aim of either paying you an income in your retirement years or possibly a lump sum on retirement. You may also have the option to contribute more to your super fund2, potentially reducing your tax while building yourself a brighter financial future. If you’re like most Australians, your super will likely be your main retirement investment. And contrary to popular belief, you may not need a million dollars to be able to ditch the working life for good.
Before deciding to make contributions yourself or asking your employer to contribute more (subject to your employer’s agreement), we recommend you seek advice from a financial adviser. Contribution caps apply.3 If you exceed a cap, the excess amount will be be taxed at a higher rate, so it’s important to consider how much you or your employer can contribute for you before you reach the relevant cap.
How much super is enough for me?
The amount of savings you require to fund your retirement is highly personal, not one-size-fits-all. It’s dependent on your individual lifestyle goals, home ownership status and the level of comfort you prefer.
Your lifestyle goals
According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), a 65-year-old home owner will need the following income each year4:
According to ASFA, a modest lifestyle includes living thrifty, whilst a comfortable lifestyle inludes a higher standard or more experiences. Some of the lifestyle differences could include5:
Modest lifestyle vs. comfortable lifestyle
Owning a cheaper, basic car vs. Owning a reasonable car
Limited upgrades to household items and appliances vs. Better household items and appliances with more frequent upgrades
Budget haircuts vs. Higher cost of hairdressing
Need to watch utility costs vs. Can run the air conditioning
One domestic holiday or a few short breaks vs. Domestic and occasional overseas travel
Infrequent leisure activities vs. A large range of leisure activities with increased frequency
Is your super on track?
To find out if you're on track for a comfortable retirement, visit ASFA’s Super Balance Detective and enter your year of birth.6 You’ll see an estimate of how much savings you should have right now based on the ASFA Comfortable Standard balance.7
Once you have worked out what type of retirement you would like and if your super is on track, check out ways to grow your super.
Need a super product? Check out Suncorp’s Super product8 options. Our transparent fees, extensive investment choice, comprehensive insurance options and easy-to-use online tools can help you build your financial future.
Your work status
Even though the official retirement age is generally regarded as 65, many people continue working long after they cease working full time. If you think the occasional freelance or consulting gig is for you, you’ll rely less on your super. Being able to supplement your super with another income stream – no matter how small – may ease the financial load and keep you busy in retirement.
The purchasing power of one dollar today may be different to its power in the future. To minimise the impact of inflation, it’s important to consider adding a little extra to your super estimate for retirement, to help ensure that you have an adequate income in retirement (especially if you start building your fund when you're young).
The balance you accumulate through additional contributions could also be useful for unexpected expenses. While you can never know what the future holds, a healthy super balance can help you be a little more confident.
Before making any decision to make additional contributions or choose a Suncorp super product, you should speak to a financial adviser to make sure it's right for you. Remember, contribution caps apply. Depending on how much you or your employer contributes annually, you may have to pay extra tax.
- Why you should consider making extra super contributions
- 2 simple ways to find your lost super
- Who will benefit from your super if you don't
Things you should know:
1. These are superannuation guarantee (SG) contributions, which are paid at a rate of 9.5% of an employee’s ordinary times earnings (OTE). For information about contributions and OTE, please refer to the ATO website: https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/
2. Subject to superannuation law restrictions. Depending on your age and work status, a superannuation fund may not be able to accept certain types of contributions for you,
3. For 2020/21, the contributions caps are $25,000 for concessional (before tax) contributions including employer contribitions and, generally, $100,000 for non concessional (after tax) contributions such as personal contributions. For more information, please refer to the ATO website: https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/
4. Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), September quarter 2020 figures. https://www.superannuation.asn.au/resources/retirement-standard
5. Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA)
6. Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA). https://www.superguru.com.au/calculators/super-detective. The reported figure you’ll see is for illustratve purposes and the approximate amount a person should have in superannuation now to reach the ASFA Comfortable Standard balance by age 67, assuming a future pre-tax wage income of around $65,000 per annum and other important assumptions, as shown on the Super Detective calculator. The reported figure should not be relied upon for making financial or product related decisions. The information is of a general nature only. The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia Limited (ASFA) ABN 29 002 786 290 does not accept any liability, either direct or indirect, arising from any person relying, either wholly or partially, upon any information provided by, resulting from, shown in, or omitted from, this calculator. Under no circumstances will ASFA be liable for any loss or damage caused by a user’s reliance on information obtained using this calculator.
7. AFSA’s Comfortable Standard balance—the lump sum ASFA feels is required for a comfortable retirement—is $545,000, in today’s dollars. The lump sum required for a comfortable retirement assumes that the retiree will draw down all their capital, and receive a part Age Pension. The lump sum figure you’ll see when you insert your date of birth is for illustratve purposes only and the approximate amount a person should have in superannuation now to reach the ASFA Comfortable Standard balance by age 67, assuming a future pre-tax wage income of around $65,000 per annum and other important assumptions. Refer to ASFA https://www.superguru.com.au/calculators/super-detective for more information.
8. If you take out a Suncorp super product, you will become a member of the Suncorp Master Trust.
Suncorp super products and this article are issued by Suncorp Portfolio Services Limited ABN 61 063 427 958, AFSL 237905, RSE Licence No L0002059 (SPSL) as trustee of the Suncorp Master Trust ABN 98 350 952 022, RSE Fund Registration No. R1056655. This is general information only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision whether to acquire or continue to hold a Suncorp super product, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you and read the relevant Suncorp super disclosure documents, including the product disclosure statement and product guide, for the product and speak to your financial adviser. The different entities of the Suncorp Group are not responsible for, or liable in respect of, products and services provided by other Suncorp Group entities. Suncorp super products are not bank deposits or other bank liabilities and are subject to investment risk including possible delays in repayment and loss of the interest and principal invested. Insurance cover offered through Suncorp super products is provided by insurers who are not part of the Suncorp Group.