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How Much Super Is Enough?

Evaluate how much super you may need in retirement to live well, and estimate how much you will end up with.

If you are wondering when you will need to start planning for your future, no matter what your life stage may be, the answer is right now.

Estimate how much super you’ll have

Calculate your super
Calculate how much super you might have at retirement.

You don’t need to go digging too far to find out how much super you currently have. Figuring out how much you will need for the future, however, is a different story. You can use a retirement calculator to give you an estimate of your super balance at your desired retirement age, as well as your potential annual retirement income. Talking to a financial advisor will give you insight into the amount of money you may have in retirement, as well as how fees, contributions and investment options will influence the balance. Whatever your age, super is a vital aspect of your financial health. However, there is no one-size-fits-all retirement figure to reach. An advisor can walk you through a few scenarios, based on your individual situation, lifestyle, and objectives for the future.

How Much Super Do You Need In Retirement?

Superannuation nest egg

Working out exactly how much superannuation you will need in retirement will depend on the lifestyle you are seeking in the future, as well as any big costs in retirement that may affect this amount. Big costs might include paying off your mortgage, renovations, renting, travelling, or even medical costs as you age. It is common these days to expect to live well into your eighties. Working from this scenario, if you retire at 65, you will need to fund your living expenses for 20 years or longer.

What Lifestyle Are You Aiming For?


Take some time to think about your future. How will you spend your money when you are retired? If you are a homeowner, a good standard to go by is to set aside two-thirds, or 67% of the income you are earning before retirement, to keep the same lifestyle throughout your retirement. There are also different strategies, like a Transition to Retirement (TTR), that may help you to supplement your income by permitting you to access some of your super once you’ve reached your preservation age. Speak to an advisor to see if this strategy may be suitable for your situation.

There are conflicting ideas about how much income is necessary to last throughout retirement, while some estimate $250,000, others say $640,000, some even say up to $2 million. The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) provides an industry retirement standard. This estimates how much money you’ll need, depending on your lifestyle. For example, based on this standard, if you are a single person that is expecting a comfortable lifestyle in retirement, you will require $44,412 per year, or $850 per week. For a couple that figure would change to $62,828 per year or $1203 per week. The lump sum required at retirement to support this would be $545,000 for a single, or $640,000 for a couple. With a partial Age Pension to supplement this, you could be assured a relatively comfortable lifestyle.

The Age Pension helps to cover the basic requirements for a modest lifestyle in retirement. For a single person expecting to retire on a modest lifestyle such as this, the AFSA evaluates that $28,254 per year, or $541 per week is necessary. For a couple that figure changes to $40,829 per year, or $782 per week. The lump sum estimated for a modest lifestyle for a single or couple is $70,000.


  Modest Lifestyle Comfortable Lifestyle
  Single Couple Single Couple
Lump Sum $70,000 $70,000 $545,000 $640,000
Total per year $28,254 $40,829 $44,412 $62,828
Total per week $541 $782 $850 $1203


However, these figures assume you own your home outright and are relatively healthy. They also make assumptions about the type of lifestyle that you deem comfortable For example, a modest lifestyle is considered better than the age pension, but still only able to afford fairly basic activities. A comfortable lifestyle assumes you purchases a “reasonable” car, and only occasionally participate in domestic or international travel. This might not sound like your ideal retirement. Neither of these might sound like an appealing option if you dream of a retirement where you buy the BMW (insert your dream car) you always wanted and escape the winter with a holiday every year. If that type of retirement is what you see in your future, then a larger retirement nest egg is required. It is therefore important to discuss your retirement goals with a financial adviser, who can then help advise you on what you need to do to achieve them.

Grow Your Super

Woman tending to her garden

Once you appreciate the importance of making your superannuation grow, you can look at several methods of contributing to your retirement income. Consider the following:

  • Making additional contributions
  • Switching your investment options within your super
  • Rolling over your super into the one account, in order to avoid unnecessary fees
  • Investing outside of your super
  • Assets such as your home, which make a big difference especially if you decide to downsize upon retirement.


It is important to check your super at least once a year to note the balance and ensure the personal details are correct. Check your employer’s contributions and regular fees, as well as your insurance and investment options inside of your super. If there is something that does not look quite right, or even make sense to you, call your fund, and get some answers.

There is no need to feel anxious or defeated if your super isn’t as impressive as you might like. Speaking to a financial planner that specialises in superannuation and retirement planning will provide you with insight and a tailored strategy to build up your super. Having your super looked after and regularly reviewed by a professional will allow you to take it easy, aware that your retirement strategy is well underway. Elliot Watson Financial Planning can help you achieve more with your super, so that when the time comes, you can experience the freedom to live out retirement in your own individual way. For expert financial advice from an award winning team get in contact with Elliot Watson Financial Planning 02 4038 1623.


The information within, including tax, does not consider your personal circumstances and is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account any of your individual objectives, financial solutions or needs. Before acting on this information you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statements and seek personal advice from a qualified financial adviser. The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author; they are not reflective or indicative of licensee’s position and are not to be attributed to the licensee. They cannot be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the author. Elliot Watson Financial Planning Pty Ltd and its advisers are Authorised Representatives of RI Advice Group Pty Ltd, ABN 23 001 774 125 AFSL 238429.

Jose Hernandez

Jose Hernandez*

Jose Hernandez is a financial adviser. He believes that financial planning is the strong foundation on which Australians can build their future. Get in contact with Jose to discuss your financial goals 02 40381623.

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