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How much do you need to retire? The real amount you need to save for revealed

Alex Ritchie avatar
Alex Ritchie
- 4 min read
How much do you need to retire? The real amount you need to save for revealed

Could you retire with only $70,000 in your nest egg? The amount you may need in your super balance could be much lower than you think, according to new research from Super Consumers Australia.

For working Australians, we’re frequently advised that saving a balance anywhere below $500,000 is not enough to live a modest lifestyle, let alone a comfortable one.

However, it may be more affordable than you think if you already are a homeowner – who make up 84% of retirees. Super Consumers Australia (SCA) have analysed data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to discover how much people realistically spend in retirement to create new savings targets for 2022.

This research from SCA shows that single homeowners aged around 67 may only need a retirement income of $259,000 to qualify for an average fortnightly spend of $1,423.

And for single homeowners aged 67 who are comfortable with a lower spend of $1,077 a fortnight, the SCA has indicated you may only need to retire with a balance of $70,000.

For couples that own their own home and are aged around 67 looking to retire, a retirement nest egg of $369,000 may be all you need to save to afford an average fortnightly spend of $2,115.

For single homeowners aged around 57 and looking to retire at 65, you may need to consider a retirement income of $313,000 for an average fortnightly spend of $1,654.

And for home-owning couples aged around 57 looking to retire at 65, you may need to save $409,000 for an average fortnightly spend of $2,385.

What you may need to save for retirement - SCA

SCA Table amount needed to save in super for retirement

Source: SuperConsumers.com.au

Super Consumers Director, Xavier O’Halloran, says: “You may have seen media reports that say you need one million dollars for a comfortable retirement. Our targets show this figure is misleading.”

“We heard repeatedly in the research that people had grossly inflated ideas of what they needed to retire,” he said

“People chasing inappropriate targets can end up with a much lower standard of living if they over save or don’t spend down as much as they can afford in retirement,” said Mr O’Halloran.

How much do I need to retire comfortably?

It’s worth keeping in mind that there is no set-in-stone answer to how much you may need to retire comfortably, or even modestly.

Your spending habits and income required will depend on a range of factors, including your lifestyle, whether you own or rent your home, whether you qualify for the Age Pension or other government benefits, and more.

This new research from the SCA is a timely reminder to not let your super balance sit in the dark until you’re nearing retirement. This is why creating a budget and planning for your future can save a lot of stress in your final years of working.

In an interview with The New Daily, Nicola Beswick, senior financial adviser at FMD, recommends that retirees ask themselves three key questions when calculating their retirement savings.

  1. “How much money do you need for day-to-day expenses?
  2. What activities do you want to do during retirement (such as travel) and how much do you need to set aside to fulfil those plans?
  3. How much money (if any) do you want to leave to family members?”

Ms Beswick also advises retirees to consider saving three separate “buckets” of money. The first being for everyday spending, the second for emergencies and the third as your main retirement superannuation nest egg.

If you’re unsure whether your super balance is on track for your predicted budget or lifestyle goals, it may be worth speaking to a financial adviser.

Many super funds may offer a fee-for-service financial advice sector, with all Industry Super Funds generally providing customers with financial advisers on a commission-free basis (some fees may still be involved).

You may also want to do your own research by searching for a licensed financial adviser near you. ASIC’s MoneySmart website offers a financial advisers registry to assist you in this process.

Disclaimer

This article is over two years old, last updated on March 4, 2022. While RateCity makes best efforts to update every important article regularly, the information in this piece may not be as relevant as it once was. Alternatively, please consider checking recent superannuation articles.

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Mark Bristow before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.