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How long will my super last?

21 Jul 2022 5 min read

Super is your retirement savings — the more you save in super, the longer it should last throughout your retirement years. How long your super will last in retirement depends on many factors that will differ for everyone. Trying to estimate a timeframe is a good idea, so you can better prepare for the years ahead.

Things to consider

A key factor in estimating how long your super will last is, of course, how much super you’ll have when you retire. The more you have saved, the longer it should last you. But there are other factors you’ll need to consider. We’ve listed some things to think about below.

When will you retire?

The earlier you retire, the more you’ll need to stretch your money. If you decide to retire later in life, you’ll likely end up saving more and won’t have as many retirement years to fund. This also relates to your health and life expectancy — the longer you live, the more years you have to fund.

What are your expected living expenses and goals?

What expenses will you need to fund in retirement? Will you have debts to pay off? You’ll need to consider your day-to-day costs, as well as any bigger goals you have, like travelling or renovations.

It’s important to factor in unexpected costs too, like medical expenses that may arise as you get older. You can take our quiz to find out what sort of retirement might suit you, and how much you may need to fund it.

Will you have other retirement income?

Will you have other sources of retirement income aside from your super? You may have investments or savings outside of super. Many Australians will also be eligible for the government age pension. And others may decide to work more after retiring. Any other source of income should make your super last longer through retirement.

How will you access your super?

There’s more than one way to access your super in retirement. Many think that once they retire, super is just taken as a lump sum. While that’s certainly an option, it means you’re responsible for managing what can be hundreds of thousands of dollars, ensuring it lasts you as long as possible and resisting temptation to spend too much at once.

A superannuation income stream account (also known as an account-based pension account) is an option you might consider instead. These accounts keep your retirement investment earning returns in a tax-free environment. You’ll receive regular tax-free income payments,1 similar to how you get your salary, so the adjustment to retiring is often easier.

There’s flexibility around how much you receive and how often, and you can change things up as you go. And if you need a larger amount of money — to fund a holiday, for example — you can take out as much as you like, whenever you like.

How long will your super last in retirement?

As you can see, there are too many variables involved to come up with a definitive answer to this question. But, by considering all the questions above, you can calculate an estimate.

Our retirement calculator can estimate your superannuation savings at retirement, and how long it could last. You can change figures around (like employer contributions and voluntary contributions, other income and your desired retirement income) to map out different scenarios and get an idea of what might suit your financial situation.

If you’d like something more tailored, you can consider speaking with a financial planner. Financial planners can help you scope out different retirement scenarios, based on your personal objectives and circumstances.

If you’re just curious for now, we have more online material to help you work out how much you may need in retirement, depending on what kind of retirement you’d like.

Preparing your retirement savings

There are ways to make the most of super now, so you can make it last longer in retirement. Think about:

Frequently asked questions

How can I make my super last longer?

There are a few ways you can stretch your retirement income. Looking at your expected expenses and creating a retirement budget can help you visualise how far your super will stretch.

You can also supplement your income from super by applying for the government age pension (if eligible), using other savings or investments if available, or considering some work after retirement. Strategies like transitioning to retirement or downsizer contributions may also make your super last longer if they suit your circumstances. It’s a good idea to speak with a financial planner first and find out which options could work best for your situation.

How much super should I have by retirement?

This will depend on how much you need to cover living expenses and any other goals you may have. To see whether or not you’re on track for the retirement you’d like, you can use our retirement calculator. It estimates your super balance at retirement and how long it may last, depending on your personal situation.

To provide a general guide for how much you may need in retirement, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) publishes a retirement standard. According to this standard, a couple would need about $640,000 in super and a single person would need about $545,000 in super to fund a comfortable retirement.

There are various assumptions behind these figures, like the expectation that you’ll have a part age pension paid to you. You can find more details on the ASFA retirement standard and the age pension on our website.

1 Income payments are tax free for those aged 60 and over. If you’re under 60, tax generally applies.

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