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How much super do I need to retire?

Find out if you'll have enough for a comfortable future

How much super do I need to retire?

Find out if you'll have enough for a comfortable future

How much super do I need?

How much super you'll need in retirement depends on the lifestyle you want. According to the government's MoneySmart website, if you own your home, the rule of thumb is that you'll need two-thirds (67%) of your current income each year to maintain the same standard of living.

Or you can use the Retirement Standard from the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), which estimates how much the average Australian would need to retire. This standard assumes that you retire at age 65, own your home (no mortgage), and are relatively healthy.

Age
Modest spending
($ per year)
Comfortable spending
($ per year)
67 years old
Single $29,632
Couple $42,621
Single $46,494
Couple $65,445
85 years old
Single $27,582
Couple $39,468
Single $43,638
Couple $60,528

Source: ASFA Retirement Standard, based on the March 2022 quarter, if you own your home (no mortgage) and are relatively healthy.

What it's like to retire in Australia

Age Pension

The Retirement Standard says if you're on the Age Pension with no super, this means a budget lifestyle.

No budget to repair home or car

May need government help with electricity bill

Specials at the RSL club or cheap takeaway meals

Modest retirement

A modest lifestyle in Australia is considered better than the Age Pension  and allows for basic activities.

Repairs for a basic car and home, no renovations

Basic private health insurance

One holiday in Australia per year

Comfortable retirement

A comfortable lifestyle in Australia allows you to be involved in a wide range of activities.

Decent car, and can renovate kitchen and bathroom

Can afford to run the air-con

Restaurant dining

How do I figure out how much super I need?

It depends on a range of factors, including:

  • How long you expect to live
  • Your financial situation
  • Where you live
  • Aged care
  • Your and your family's health.

The MoneySmart retirement planner calculator can give you a rough estimate of how much super you would need to retire at the age you want. And you can also check how much super you should have for your age to give you a rough guide about how you're tracking.

Housing

You may need more or less based on where you want to live in retirement, whether you've paid off a mortgage, and whether you plan to downsize.

Aged care facilities

One of the biggest costs is the deposit to buy into a nursing home or other aged care facility, or budgeting for at-home aged care services. See the government's MoneySmart website for how much that might cost.

Retiring early for disability

Unfortunately, 1 in 5 Australians (21%) retire because they have an illness, injury, or disability (ABS), and nearly 1 in 10 females (8%) retire to care for an ill, disabled, or elderly person. So having life insurance in your super can help protect your family's finances if something were to happen.

Other income and the Age Pension

You can get an estimate of how much Age Pension or other government benefits, you could get with Centrelink's Payment and Service Finder. You might also have other income from investments or casual work, or other savings.

Medical costs

Since health changes a lot during the years you're retired, it's worth preparing for any big health costs that might come up, such as a hip replacement or other surgery.

Life expectancy

If you retire at 60 and live to the average life expectancy of 85 for women or 81 for men in Australia (ABS), you'd need money for around 25 years. Try our QSuper Life Expectancy Calculator to check how long you might live.

What do I do if I don't have enough super to retire?

If you have a gap between your super balance and what you might need, there's so many ways you can grow your super before you retire.

Find any "lost" super that's been sent to the ATO, and combine all your super from multiple super funds into one super account.

Add extra money to your super if you can afford to.

Use a Transition to retirement (TTR) account to help you build your super balance in your last few working years.

Frequently asked questions

How much super you'll need to retire in your 50s depends on what type of lifestyle you want in retirement and the factors we've listed above, like your health and your other finances. And remember, you can't access your super at 50.

The ASFA Retirement Standard Explainer says a comfortable retirement lifestyle would need $640,000 in super for a couple, or $545,000 for a single person. So keep in mind that someone retiring at 50 who lives until 85 will need to have money for 35 years of retirement, and they'll need personal savings to live on until they're old enough to access their super.

How much super you'll need if you retire in your 60s depends mostly on what type of lifestyle you want in retirement and the factors we've listed above, such as your health, housing situation, and more. You can use the ASFA Retirement Standard numbers listed above as a guide of how much money you'll need per year during retirement.

It's worth remembering that you can't access the Age Pension at 60, so you'll want to have enough super or personal savings to last you until then.

Part of the ASFA Retirement Standard is their Detailed Retirement Expenditure Breakdowns, which shows how much couple and singles are likely to spend per week during retirement. They break it down for two age groups as follows:

Age
Modest lifestyle
Comfortable lifestyle
65-85
Single: $567.66/week
Couple: $816.49/week
Single: $890.68/week
Couple: $1,253.73/week
85+
Single: $528.39/week
Couple: $756.10/week
Single: $835.98/week
Couple: $1,159.55/week

Why does MoneySmart say you only need two-thirds of your current income? How does ASFA work out the dollar figures for their Retirement Standard?

The two-thirds rule is a broad guideline applied across the financial planning industry, and the government’s Retirement Income Review (RIR) in July 2020 said this is still a good way to plan your retirement. It assumes that someone who's retiring owns their home already and has most of the possessions they need. So having two-thirds of your normal income in retirement means you can maintain the standard of living you've been used to during your working years.

The ASFA Retirement Standard is a more complicated calculation, and you can check the line-by-line budgeting they've used to decide how much retirees can expect to spend in their Detailed Retirement Expenditure Breakdown and their Retirement Standard Explainer.

ASFA's (Spending patterns of older retirees report) found that as people age, they're often not able to keep doing the same types of travel and recreational activities, so they often pay a lot less for holidays, transport, and entertainment.

Retire with an award-winning pension

Our outstanding value pension fund offering has won the best of awards and ratings from Canstar, SuperRatings, Chant West, and more. Mix and match to find the best combination for you.

Transition to retirement income account

You are: At the age you can get your super but not yet retired.

You get: Regular payments from your super while still working.

Retirement income account

You are: Aged 65 or over, or you've reached the age you can get your super and permanently retired.

You get: Regular payments from your super when you retire.

QSuper Lifetime Pension

You are: Aged from 60 up to your 80th birthday and permanently retired.

You get: Tax-free payments for the rest of your life, and you can combine with an income account.

How's my super tracking?

Check where your super is tracking now compared to how much super you'll need in retirement. Log in to Member Online now to find out your super balance.