What happens at retirement?

How much super will I need?

Most of us daydream about the day we finally finish work and retire. Whether you dream of cruising around the world, campervanning around Australia, or just pottering about in the garden and improving your golf skills, the magic question is: how much do you need to make your retirement dreams a reality?

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia’s Retirement Standard, to have a ‘comfortable’ retirement, single people will need $545,000 in retirement savings, and couples will need $640,000. You can use this guide to estimate how much money you’ll need to have a ‘comfortable’ or ‘modest’ retirement. See the box below for more information. The Standard is updated four times a year to take into consideration the rising price of items like food and utility bills, as well as changing lifestyle expectations and spending habits. The Standard includes the cost of things such as health, communication, clothing, travel and household goods.

  Comfortable lifestyle Modest lifestyle Age Pension
Single $44,818 a year $28,514 a year $21,222 a year *
Couple $63,352 a year $44,170 a year $31,995 a year *
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
Better quality and larger number of household items and appliances and higher cost hairdressing Limited number of household items and appliances and budget haircuts Less frequent hair cuts or getting a friend to cut your hair
Can run air conditioning Need to watch utility costs Less heating in winter
Restaurant dining, good range & quality of food Take out and occasional cheap restaurants Only club special meals or inexpensive takeaway
Fast internet connection, big data allowance and large talk and text allowance Limited talk and text, modest internet data allowance Very basic phone and internet package
Good clothes Reasonable clothes Basic clothes
Domestic and occasional overseas holidays One holiday in Australia or a few short breaks Even shorter breaks or day trips in your own city
Top level private health insurance Basic private health insurance, limited gap payments No private health insurance
Owning a reasonable car Owning a cheaper more basic car No car or, if you have a car, it will be a struggle to afford repairs
Take part in a range of regular leisure activities One leisure activity infrequently, some trips to the cinema or the like Only taking part in no cost or very low cost leisure activities. Rare trips to the cinema

Figures from June quarter 2021.

* Base rate before payment of supplements.

To find out how much money you’ll need to support the lifestyle you want in retirement, use the ASFA Retirement Tracker tool. For help saving more super, see the Grow your super section.

Many of us will spend more than a quarter of our life retired, as people are now living until an average age of 86 years (if you’re male) and 89 years (if you’re female). Life expectancy is expected to rise to 91 for males and 93 for females by 2050. So, you might need a lot more money for your retirement than you think. Super can help you enjoy your retired days by allowing you to maintain a good standard of living, which isn’t achievable by receiving just the Age Pension. For more information, see the Super and the Age Pension page.