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It's no secret that keeping up with inflation is essential for most retirees. In this case study, we explore how staying in super once you stop working can help you generate income, manage risks, and give you the financial stability and confidence you need during retirement.

Where will you get income from in retirement?

While you’re working, your income usually comes from one place - your salary from your employer. But when you retire, your income could come from different sources:

  1. SASS defined benefit pension (if you’re eligible)1
  2. Your super savings
  3. The Government Age Pension
  4. Your personal savings
  5. Other investments outside of your super, and
  6. Any salary you receive if you choose to work in retirement
     

1 Some SASS members have a defined benefit pension option as a feature of their account. These members have the option to take part of their benefit as a lifetime pension.

Before you exit SASS, it's important to check if you have a defined benefit pension option as a feature of your account. If you have this feature of your SASS account, it’s worth considering this an option first.

Let’s see how Alex benefits by keeping her SASS benefit invested in super with an account-based pension once she retires.

  • Meet Alex. She’s 63 years old and has a final SASS benefit of $500,000. She has $25,000 in cash savings, $10,000 in shares and her current salary is $100k.
  • She’s about to retire and has worked out she needs an after-tax income of $55,000 per year adjusted for inflation to meet her living expenses.
  • Alex is deciding whether to start an account-based pension or take a lump sum and invest it outside super.
  • Alex talks to an Aware Super financial planner, and they discuss her different options.


Key challenges Alex faces

Modelling shows that currently Alex’s retirement savings will run out before her life expectancy. Even though she will have access to the Government Age Pension in later years it won’t be enough to meet her expenses. Alex won’t be eligible for the Age Pension until she is 67 so she will be relying on her SASS benefit to generate the majority of her income which will significantly eat into her capital.

The way forward

After talking to an Aware Super financial planner Alex decides on the following:

  • To delay her retirement for 2 years until age 65. She plans to keep working and salary sacrifice additional savings into a super fund up to the annual limit. SASS members do not have the ability to salary sacrifice into SASS above the 9% contribution cap, so Alex opens an account with Aware Super.
  • Alex decides to start an account-based pension with Aware Super once she retires. We call it a retirement income stream account. From age 60 Alex’s income payments are 100% tax-free and all investment earnings are 100% tax-free.
  • By making these changes Alex can be confident she can meet her expenses up to age 90 as shown in the chart below.

Assumptions:

  • Retirement balances are rounded to the nearest $1,000 and are stated in today's dollars, deflated using CPI at 2.5% p.a.
  • Retirement incomes are rounded to the nearest $100 and are stated in today's dollars, deflated using CPI at 2.5% p.a.
  • Based on a member aged 63 at the start of FY23 and planning to retire at age 65.
  • Starting balance is $500,000, with an additional $25,000 in cash and $10,000 in shares.
  • The member’s salary is $100,000.
  • Their employer only contributes SG at the legislated rate (growing from 10.5% in FY23 to 12% in FY26).
  • The member contributes up to their concessional contribution cap while working aged 63 and 64.
  • Based on 2022/23 income tax rates.
  • Based on March 2023 Aged Pension rates.
  • Investment returns are assumed to be 5.75% p.a. for the superannuation balance, 9.1% p.a. for shares, and 3% for cash.
  • CPI is assumed to be 2.5% p.a.
  • No admin fees and insurance premium are modelled.
  • Contributions and earnings tax are assumed to be 15%.
  • This example is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to provide a forecast or guarantee on outcome. It is a broad illustration of the steps a member could take, but the actions appropriate for an individual will vary depending on their personal circumstances. The case study is based on current regulatory requirements and laws, including tax rates, which may be subject to change. Investment return assumptions are for illustrative purposes only and for simplicity assume a constant rate for each investment option each year throughout the investment period. Actual returns year on year may be negative and may vary materially. If investment returns/inflation are higher/lower, final balances will differ.
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What the chart shows

The left axis is the money Alex will need to live on in retirement. The axis across the bottom shows the years we project Alex will be in retirement.

The coloured columns in the chart represent where the money will come from as follows:

  • Light pink is Alex’s salary
  • Pink is the balance of Alex’s Retirement Income Stream account
  • Dark pink is investment income
  • Magenta is the Age Pension payments
  • Dark purple is the capital drawdown from Alex’s retirement income stream.


The blue line is Alex’s projected annual spending. The blue trends upwards during Alex’s retirement to adjust for her cost of living.
We can see the coloured bars to meet the blue line throughout Alex’s life expectancy – this is what we want to see as it means Alex will be able to fund her expenses throughout her retirement.

Move into retirement with confidence

Like all big financial decisions, choosing what to do with your super makes sense when you can think about it in the context of your lifestyle and plans for retirement. If you need help deciding what to do with your SASS benefit, an Aware Super financial planner can review your personal circumstances, talk you through each option and ultimately help you make a more informed decision.

Attend a webinar

Join our experienced superannuation experts as they break down superannuation and finances into easy-to-understand topics through live webinars.

Book an appointment

At Aware Super, we are experienced in your State Super scheme and know the ins and outs of planning for a successful retirement. 

To help you make better decisions for your retirement, book today for a no cost, obligation free appointment with an Aware Super financial planner.


The information contained in this article is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. No warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of this information is given and no responsibility is accepted by Aware Super Pty Ltd or its employees for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the information provided.

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