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Make your personal contributions by 25 June 2024 to make sure they’re counted towards the 2023/24 financial year.

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Most people need around 70% of their take home pay to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement. Each person’s retirement plan is different. It will depend on when you want to retire, what you’re going to do in retirement and where you live. The good news is you could be eligible for the Government Age Pension or other government benefits.

Key points:
 

  • Your income in retirement shouldn’t be a guessing game. Knowing how much money you’ll need will help you plan towards your retirement goal. 
  • You need less money in retirement because you’re not paying tax on your income or making super contributions and are likely to have no mortgage and less debt. 
  • Comparing your balance to the average for your age is another good measure to see if you’re on track.

How much to save for your retirement

Maintain your current lifestyle in retirement

For most people, having around 70% of their current take-home pay, is the amount of money they need in retirement to keep the lifestyle they have now.1

To work out how much you might need, this is a good place to start. But keep in mind, how much you may need will change depending on your expenses and what you earn now.

Don’t worry if you’re on a lower income - the tax-free income you’ll get from your super could be supplemented by the Government Age Pension2.

Watch this video to understand how much you’ll need to maintain your lifestyle in retirement.

There’s no magic number for how much you’ll need in retirement- it’s different for everybody.

You are likely to need less money in retirement than you need now, though, because you’re not paying tax on your income or making super contributions- and you might have paid off your mortgage and other debt.

The money you’ll have at retirement is usually made up of a mix of your super, any other savings you have, and for more than 60% of Australians, the Government Age Pension, which can help bridge the gap between what you have and the income you need.

As a general rule, most people will need 70% of their take home pay to maintain their lifestyle in retirement.

And since we’re living longer, which is great, your super may need to last for 30 years or more after you retire.

It may seem daunting, but we can help you figure out how much super you’ll need.

Just visit aware.com.au/howmuch

 

Disclaimers

Find out more about Australians requiring 70% of their current salary to maintain their lifestyle at www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/income-support-payments-for-older-people. For more information about Australians using the government age pension visit www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/age-pension

This video contains general advice only. We have not taken into consideration any of your objectives, financial situation or needs or any information we hold about you when providing this general advice. Further this video does not contain, and should not be read as containing, any recommendations to you in relation to your product. Before taking any action, you should consider whether the general advice contained in this video is appropriate to you having regard to your circumstances and needs and seek appropriate professional advice if you think you need it. You should also read our Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) before making a decision about Aware Super. Issued by Aware Super Pty Ltd ABN 11 118 202 672, AFSL 293340, the trustee of Aware Super ABN 53 226 460 365.

1 Source - https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/income-support-payments-for-older-people
2 From age 60 and over, generally no tax is payable on withdrawals from your super in retirement. Under age 60, tax may apply on withdrawals.

Some reasons you don't need as much money in retirement

You'll be spending less

  • It’s likely you’ll have paid off your debts, including your mortgage, or the costs of raising a family.
  • Your expenses are likely to change when you’ve retired. Retirees who are seniors often get discounts, which can reduce day-to-day costs.
  • You’re no longer putting away money for retirement.
     

You could get more income

  • Like over 60% of Australians over the age of 65, you could get extra income from the Government Age Pension.3
  • Once you turn 60, the super you withdraw in retirement from your account-based pension or from additional withdrawals, is tax-free.
     

3 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, March 2021 – Age Pension figures https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/age-pension

Watch our on-demand webinar to learn more

Working out how much income you’ll need in retirement can be tricky. Learn more now, so you know what you need in retirement.

How much super do you need to retire? If you want to stop working one day it's an important question to ask. There's no magic number for how much you'll need in retirement. It's different for everybody. To help you figure out how much is enough, we'll look at the different types of income you might expect to receive in retirement and what your super could be worth as an annual income. We'll then look at how to build a retirement budget based on your current and future expenses. We'll also look at tax effective ways to receive your super as an income when you retire or even while you're still working, and how to save more if you can.

Okay, let's get started. When you retire, your income will come from a combination of super savings, personal savings, any other investments you have, and also, depending on your situation, the government age pension, how much comes from each will differ for everybody. Before you can figure out how much you'll need in retirement, you'll need to think about how long retirement could last.

Australians are living longer, which is great. In fact, if you're 65 now, there's a good chance you'll live to 95. So your super may need to last up to 30 years. So how much super will you need? The good news is you're likely to need less money in retirement than you need now, because once you retire, you won't be paying tax on your income or making super contributions and you might have paid off your mortgage and other debt. You'll even get seniors discounts, which can reduce day to day costs, such as public transport. That's why to keep your current lifestyle most people will need around 70% of their current take home pay in retirement.

While the super in your account may seem like a large sum. It's important to start thinking about what your super could be worth as an annual income.

To give you some idea. Let's look at Tina. Tina is 67 an Aware Super member and has $300,000 in super. If you think about that amount needing to last until age 95 as an annual income, it will be around $16,000 per year. It doesn't seem like much, but don't worry, it's not the end of the story. Because like 60% of Australians, Tina is also eligible to receive payments from the government aged pension. This could mean up to an additional $28,000 a year. Through her retirement, government aged pension payments will make up 64% of Tina's retirement income and her super will make up 36%.

Okay, so now that we've thought about retirement income, let's look at how you can budget for retirement. It's important to remember that your biggest living expenses when you're working are usually different once you're retired.

When you're working, your three biggest expenses are housing costs, such as rent or mortgage repayments and home improvements. The second biggest costs are grocery bills. The third is transport, which includes public transport and the costs of running a car. But when you're retired, your groceries are likely to be your biggest expense, followed by leisure activities such as travel, then housing and transport, and finally, health services.

A simple way to budget for retirement is by looking back at what you've spent in the past year. Start with your annual take home pay. Subtract anything you won't be spending in retirement, such as your mortgage or debt repayments. What's left is what you currently spend on your lifestyle and what you'll need as a retirement income if you want to maintain a similar lifestyle. As mentioned earlier, this is different for everyone, but for most people it's about 70% of your current income. Okay, so now you've got an idea of how much income you'll need to retire. But did you know you don't have to take all your super out

when you retire? In fact, doing so could reduce the overall income you have in retirement. Keeping your money in super and converting it into a steady income when you retire is easy. By simply opening a retirement income account. And because your money stays invested in the market all throughout your retirement, it can mean you retire with more. Before you can start receiving income from your super you need to reach what's known as your preservation age, shown in this chart. This is the age when the government allows you to access your super. You can also access your super if you're 60 or over and change employers or temporarily stop working. And from 65 onwards you can start withdrawing your super whether you're working or not. There are two ways to keep your money in super and convert it into a steady income, while you're still working or when you've retired. Once your account is set up, you'll receive payments directly into your nominated bank account. For both options, since your money stays invested, it keeps earning investment returns, which means you could have more income throughout your retirement. And there are tax benefits too. Let's look at the first option. If you've reached your preservation age and you're still working, you can open a transition to retirement account. This can be good if you'd like to work less but still want to maintain your current pay. A transition to a retirement account helps you ease into retirement by paying you an income from your super while you continue to work. So your super keeps growing as you start to wind down. And you could save on tax at the same time. The second option is to convert your super into income by opening a retirement income account with us. You can do this when you retire and meet your preservation age or once you've reached 65. A retirement income account lets you start withdrawing regular tax free income from your super, and because you're still invested, your super can keep growing. With this account, you can control how much and how often you receive payments and you can make changes whenever you need to. So now that we know more about income accounts, let's look at the benefits of staying invested. Because if you keep your money invested, it could mean you could have more income to enjoy in retirement.

In this example, you can see the difference between withdrawing super and investing your money in a bank account compared to leaving your money in super and receiving it as an income. Staying invested in super means you have over $5,000 more. Over time this can make a big difference to the amount you have to spend in retirement.

Growing your super is important. So now let's look at some simple things you can do to give your super a boost, so you can end up with even more for your retirement boost. We'll start with combining or consolidating a super. Super funds charge fees to take care of and help grow your money. And the more funds you have, the more you could pay in fees. Your super is your money. So if you want to keep more of it and grow it faster, it might be smart to combine all your super into one account. Another simple way to grow your super faster is through salary sacrifice if you can. With salary sacrifice, you simply ask your employer to pay some of your salary straight into super. You'll likely pay less tax on this money paid into super too. So in the long term, you could end up with more.

Even small amounts can make a difference. Let's look at an example. Susan is 35 earns $69,000 a year and plans to retire at 67. She currently has $62,000 in super. If she continues putting the minimum into super, her total super at retirement will be $446,000. However, if Susan puts an extra $10 a week into super with salary sacrifice, she'll retire with $20,000 more. And with $30 extra a week, she'll retire with $506,000. That's an extra $60,000 to enjoy in retirement tax free. By doing this, Susan will also reduce her taxable income so she'll pay less tax too.

Another option is to add more to your super using the money from your take home pay. Called after tax contributions, these extra savings may be eligible for a tax deduction by simply filling out a form with us called a Notice of Intent to Claim. And if you're on a lower

income, you could receive up to fifty cents from the government for every dollar up to $1,000 you put into your super from your after tax pay. That could mean as much as $500 extra in your super account next year in what's called a government co-contribution. Knowing how much super is enough and how much you'll need to retire can take some time to figure out. Everybody's needs in retirement will be different. But there's one thing we all have in common. The sooner we start planning, the better.

To make sure you're on the right track. Make an appointment with one of our experts for no extra cost. Visit aware.com.au/book

Still have questions?

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Where to next?

My Retirement Planner

Get an estimate of how much money you’ll need in retirement, plus a Retirement Confidence Score that shows how close you are to achieving your retirement goals. You’ll also get a step-by-step action plan to point you in the right direction. 

Speak to a financial planner

A financial planner can work through complex financial matters and help you create the right strategies to achieve your financial goals in retirement. They’ll explain any next steps, fees and charges before progressing.

Find out more about the Government Age Pension

You may be eligible for the Government Age Pension when you retire to help fund your life in retirement.