Super is your savings for retirement, so do you know how much you should be aiming for? The answer will be different for everyone — there are various factors you need to consider in working out how much you'll need for retirement.

Things to consider

There's no single magic number you should save in super. Your ideal amount will depend on your personal goals and circumstances, including life expectancy. The longer you live, the more retirement savings you’ll need.

Depending on your circumstances, you may also be eligible for the government age pension.

Importantly, you need to think about the kind of life you want in retirement:

  • Do you want to travel? Where to? How often?
  • Are you planning to renovate?
  • Would you like to be able to eat out?

Even the smallest things, like getting regular haircuts, can make a difference to your budget. Take our quiz to get an idea of the kind of retirement that may suit you.

What could your retirement look like?

A retirement guide: modest vs comfortable

To provide a guide for the income you may need in retirement, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) publishes a retirement standard. It benchmarks the annual budget needed to fund either a comfortable or modest standard of living in retirement — both budgets assume that you own your home outright and are relatively healthy.

What is a modest retirement?

A ‘modest’ retirement lifestyle is considered better than the age pension, but still only allows for the basics. This budget doesn't allow for any overseas holidays or home improvements.

What is a comfortable retirement?

A ‘comfortable’ retirement lifestyle means you can be involved in a broad range of leisure and recreational activities and have money to spend on household goods, private health insurance, a reasonable car, clothes, electronic equipment, and domestic and occasionally overseas holidays.

How much will I need?

The tables below show approximately how much you'll need to save for retirement depending on the lifestyle you're aiming for.

Super balances needed for a comfortable retirement

The lump sums required for a comfortable retirement assume that you will draw down all your capital, and receive a part age pension.

Category Savings required at retirement
Comfortable lifestyle for a couple $640,000
Comfortable lifestyle for a single person $545,000

All figures in today's dollars using 2.75% average weekly earnings (AWE) as a deflator and an assumed investment earning rate of 6 per cent.

Super balances needed for a modest retirement

The lump sums needed for a modest lifestyle are relatively low due to the fact that the base rate of the age pension (plus various pension supplements) is enough to meet much of the expenditure required at this budget level.

Category Savings required at retirement
Modest lifestyle for a couple $70,000
Modest lifestyle for a single person $70,000

All figures in today's dollars using 2.75% AWE as a deflator and an assumed investment earning rate of 6 per cent. The fact that the same savings are required for both couple and singles reflects the impact of receiving the age pension.

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ASFA retirement standard

The ASFA retirement standard has been developed to outline the annual budget needed to fund a comfortable standard of living in your post-work years. It provides benchmarks for both a comfortable and modest standard of living, for both singles and couples, and is updated quarterly to reflect changes to the consumer price index (CPI).

A modest retirement lifestyle is considered better than the age pension, but still only allows for the basics.

A comfortable retirement lifestyle enables an older, healthy retiree to be involved in a broad range of leisure and recreational activities and to have a good standard of living through the purchase of such things as; household goods, private health insurance, a reasonable car, good clothes, a range of electronic equipment, and domestic and occasionally international holiday travel.

 

 Age pension1 (homeowner) maximum basic rateASFA retirement standard2
Modest
lifestyle
Comfortable
lifestyle
Single$944.30 p.f.
($24,552 p.a.)
$1,076 p.f.
($27,987 p.a.)
$1,689 p.f.
($43,901 p.a.)
Couple3$1,423.60 p.f.
($37,014 p.a.)
$1,555 p.f.
($40,440 p.a.)
$2,388 p.f.
($62,083 p.a.)

1. Source: Services Australia www.servicesaustralia.gov.au as at 20 March 2020 includes Pension Supplement and Clean Energy supplement.
2. Source: ASFA retirement standard (September 2020 quarter). It assumes the retiree owns their own home.
3. This is the combined total for a couple.

Start salary sacrificing

Topping up your superannuation with your pre-tax salary will boost your balance and potentially save you on tax. Find out how easy it is to set up with our online form.

Get advice for every stage of your life

NGS Super members have access to qualified and non-commission based financial planners, including over-the-phone limited advice* about your account, at no additional cost.

Learn with NGS MoneyCoach

Retirement basics

The decision to retire permanently largely depends on whether you have the financial resources available to see you through the rest of your life.

Learn more

Funding retirement

You know where your income is coming from today but do you know where it will come from in retirement?

Learn more

Income streams

We are spending longer periods of time in retirement and circumstances can change over time. This makes planning for your retirement more difficult.

Learn more

* Limited financial advice covers one or two issues in isolation on topics such as investment selection and contribution levels. It does not take into account the member’s entire financial situation.

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