How much super should I have?

Money and Life
(Financial Planning Association of Australia)

It’s all very well having retirement savings as a financial goal, but just how much should you plan to have in your super balance now, and when you retire? Find out more about coming up with a super balance target, for your age group, and for the retirement lifestyle you have in mind.

Above or below average?

Assuming you’ve been in the workforce for a few months, years or even decades, your retirement savings will be growing nicely thanks to the Super Guarantee. This is the compulsory contribution to super your employer must pay on your behalf. You can keep tabs on just how much you have by checking your latest super statement, logging on to your MyGov account, or your super fund’s online portal.

Once you’ve checked up on your super savings, how can you tell if it’s enough to see you living comfortably in retirement, whether that’s in 5 or 25 years’ time? To get an idea of how your super savings compare with others your age, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) has published average super balances held by different age groups, including figures for men and women. So if you’re currently aged 40-44, your peers have an average balance of just over $80,000. That average rises to a peak of almost $215,000 in the years approaching retirement (60-64).

How much is enough?

Putting a figure on how much you’ll need saved to cover your costs in retirement is a tricky task. There are so many unknowns for each of us, including when we’re going to retire, how long we’ll live once we do and what we’ll be spending our time doing. This is why many people seek advice from a Certified Financial Planner® professional to get financially ready for retirement. They can ask the right questions and help you run the numbers to give you a clear picture of your retirement goals and plan for the income you’ll need to achieve them.

To get a more general idea of what you can expect to spend in retirement, the ASFA publish retirement standard figures each quarter. As a well-researched estimate of what singles and couples will need to pay their bills for a modest or comfortable retirement lifestyle, these figures offer a rough idea of living costs. The Milliman Retirement Expectations and Spending Profiles (ESP) report is also published quarterly. Based on data gathered from 300,000+ Australian retirees, their reports put spending in retirement under the microscope to help people plan better for their financial needs in retirement. According to data and