How much superannuation do I need?
According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), here is how much you would be able to spend per week during retirement:
Here is the superannuation balance you would need to fund that level of spending:
These figures come from the March 2017 edition of the ASFA Retirement Standard.
The reason people on modest lifestyles need so much less money is because they qualify for a far bigger age pension.
Here is how ASFA defines retirement lifestyles:
|Holidays||One annual holiday in Australia||One or two short breaks in Australia near where you live||Shorter breaks or day trips in your own city|
|Eating out||Regularly eat out at restaurants. Good range and quality of food||Infrequently eat out at restaurants. Cheaper and less food||Only club special meals or inexpensive takeaway|
|Car||Owning a reasonable car||Owning an older, less reliable car||No car – or, if you do, a struggle to afford the upkeep|
|Alcohol||Bottled wine||Casked wine||Homebrew beer or no alcohol|
|Clothing||Good clothes||Reasonable clothes||Basic clothes|
|Hair||Regular haircuts at a good hairdresser||Regular haircuts at a basic salon||Less frequent haircuts or getting a friend to do it|
|Leisure||A range of regular leisure activities||One paid leisure activity, infrequently||Free or low-cost leisure activities|
|Electronics||A range of electronic equipment||Not much scope to run an air conditioner||Less heating in winter|
|Maintenance||Replace kitchen and bathroom over 20 years||No budget for home improvements. Can do repairs, but can’t replace kitchen or bathroom||No budget to fix home problems like a leaky roof|
|Insurance||Private health insurance||Private health insurance||No private health insurance|
You can withdraw your superannuation when you meet the ‘conditions of release’. The conditions of release say you can claim your super when you reach:
- Age 65
- Your ‘preservation age’ and retire
- Your preservation age and begin a ‘transition to retirement’ while still working
The preservation age – which is different to the pension age – is based on date of birth. Here are the six different categories:
|Date of birth||Preservation age|
|Before 1 July 1960||55|
|1 July 1960 – 30 June 1961||56|
|1 July 1961 – 30 June 1962||57|
|1 July 1962 – 30 June 1963||58|
|1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964||59|
|From 1 July 1964||60|
A transition to retirement allows you to continue working while accessing up to 10 per cent of the money in your superannuation account at the start of each financial year.
There are also seven special circumstances under which you can claim your superannuation:
- Compassionate grounds
- Severe financial hardship
- Temporary incapacity
- Permanent incapacity
- Superannuation inheritance
- Superannuation balance under $200
- Temporary resident departing Australia
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) regulates ordinary superannuation accounts. Self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) are regulated by the Australian Taxation Office.
Superannuation is taxed. It is generally taxed at 15 per cent. However, if you earn less than $37,000, you will be automatically reimbursed up to $500 of the tax you paid. Also, if your income plus concessional superannuation contributions exceed $250,000, you will also be charged Division 293 tax. This is an extra 15 per cent tax on your concessional contributions or the amount above $250,000 – whichever is lesser.
If your employment is terminated, superannuation will not be paid on unused annual leave.
Australia’s modern superannuation system – in which employers make compulsory contributions to their employees – started in 1992. However, before that, there were various restricted superannuation schemes applying to certain employees in certain industries. The very first superannuation scheme was introduced in the 19th century.
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