It’s the number one question members ask – how much money will I need when I retire? There’s a number of things to think about - and it’s different for everyone – but we’re here to support you to figure out how much super, and other retirement income, you should be aiming for. These handy tools and benchmarks can help you determine where you’re at, and what you’ll need to do to reach your goals in retirement so that you can thrive on your own terms. 

 

How much super will I need to retire?

The amount of super you need to support your retirement will depend on what kind of lifestyle you’re hoping to enjoy, and how much income you’ll be earning in addition to your super savings. Income from the Age Pension, part-time work, and other financial investments will affect the amount of super you need to retire comfortably.

 

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) provides yearly total income recommendations based on the type of retirement you’re aiming for. Depending on how much income you expect to receive from other sources, you can then estimate how much super you’ll need to reach the “comfortable” or “modest” benchmarks. 

 

The table below gives you an idea of how much retirement income you might need to enjoy a comfortable, or modest retirement, and compares these benchmarks against how much you can receive on the Age Pension

 

Comfortable lifestyle
Modest lifestyle
Maximum rate of Age Pension
Single
Comfortable lifestyle
Single

$50,004 a year 

Modest lifestyle
Single

$31,785 a year 

Maximum rate of Age Pension
Single

$28,514.20 a year 

Couple
Comfortable lifestyle
Couple

$70,482 a year 

Modest lifestyle
Couple

$45,808 a year 

Maximum rate of Age Pension
Couple

$21,494.20 (each) a year  

Annual budgets for households and living standards for those aged 65-84 (March quarter 2023)

 

Source: ASFA Retirement Standard

 

 

The amount of super you need will also depend on what you’re earning from full or part-time work, the Age Pension, and other investments.

 

To enjoy a comfortable retirement, AFSA suggests that single people will need $595,000 in super savings at age 67, and couples will need $690,000. But your own individual goal will depend on your other income streams and personal situation.

 

In addition to the total amount of super you have, the way you access it once you retire can also impact your retirement wealth. For example, your super earnings might be subject to more tax if you plan to withdraw lump sumscompared to setting up a super income stream like an account-based pension. Learn more about account-based pensions here.

What's the difference between a comfortable and modest retirement in Australia?

A comfortable retirement means you can look forward to a broad range of leisure and recreational activities, with a good standard of living. ASFA guidelines suggest you’ll be able to purchase things like private health insurance, a reasonable car, good clothes, and a range of electronic equipment. You’ll enjoy domestic, and occasionally international, holiday travel.

 

According to ASFA, you can expect a modest retirement to be better than living on the government Age Pension. However, you’ll only be able to enjoy a fairly basic lifestyle.

 

See the charts below to get a more detailed understanding of what sort of services and luxuries you might be able to enjoy, based on your retirement savings.  

 

Comfortable lifestyle
Modest lifestyle
Age Pension
Medical
Comfortable lifestyle
Medical

Upper-tier private health insurance. Specialist visits. 

Modest lifestyle
Medical

Basic private health insurance, with limited gap payments. 

Age Pension
Medical

No private health insurance. 

Technology
Comfortable lifestyle
Technology

Fast, reliable internet. Streaming services. 

Modest lifestyle
Technology

Basic mobile, computer data usage. 

Age Pension
Technology

Very basic internet and mobile capability. 

Transport
Comfortable lifestyle
Transport

Own a good car, with car insurance, and can afford maintenance costs. 

Modest lifestyle
Transport

Own a cheaper, older car. 

Age Pension
Transport

Limited budget to own and maintain a car. 

Lifestyle
Comfortable lifestyle
Lifestyle

Regular leisure activities, including clubs, gym, dance, and movies. 

Modest lifestyle
Lifestyle

Irregular leisure activities. 

Age Pension
Lifestyle

Very few leisure activities. Infrequent trips to the cinema.  

Home
Comfortable lifestyle
Home

20 years’ worth of repairs, updates, and maintenance to your home. 

Modest lifestyle
Home

Smaller budget for home maintenance. 

Age Pension
Home

Could be difficult to afford vital repairs. 

Haircuts
Comfortable lifestyle
Haircuts

Frequent, good quality haircuts. 

Modest lifestyle
Haircuts

Low-budget haircuts. 

Age Pension
Haircuts

Fewer haircuts, or cutting own hair.  

Home cooling and heating
Comfortable lifestyle
Home cooling and heating

Regular use of air conditioning. 

Modest lifestyle
Home cooling and heating

Might have to keep a close eye on heating and cooling costs. 

Age Pension
Home cooling and heating

Limited budget for heating and cooling. 

Eating out
Comfortable lifestyle
Eating out

Restaurant visits, take-away coffees, home-delivery. 

Modest lifestyle
Eating out

Less restaurant visits, take-away coffees, and home-delivery. 

Age Pension
Eating out

Infrequently dining out, and cheaper take-away.

Annual budgets for households and living standards for those aged 65-84 (March quarter 2023)

 

Source: ASFA Retirement Standard

Do I need a second income stream in retirement?

This will come down to your personal circumstances, and what kind of lifestyle you’re hoping to enjoy when you retire.   

 

Planning ahead is a great idea if you want to supplement your super with additional streams of income. For example, you could: 

If you’re not sure whether your current super savings can support your retirement goals, our retirement calculator can help you to understand where you stand. 

What government benefits could I receive?

When you retire, you might be eligible for government benefits like the Age Pension or a concession card. This will depend on your age, your residency status, and your financial situation.  

 

As of 1 July 2023, the maximum age pension is:

  • $ $1,096.70 per fortnight for singles ($28,514.20 a year)
  • $826.70 per fortnight for couples combined $21,494.20 a year)

If you’re eligible for the Age Pension, you may also be able to access additional government payments, such as: 

  • Carer allowance: If you provide daily care to an elderly person or someone with a disability, or a serious illness.
  • Rent assistance: To help cover your rent if you’re renting privately. 

If you’re receiving the Age Pension, the government will automatically send you a Pensioner Concession Card. Even if you’re not eligible for the Pensioner Concession Card, you might still be able to get a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, subject to being eligible. 

 

Either of these cards will allow you to access:

  • cheaper medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
  • bulk billing for doctor’s appointments
  • reduced out-of-hospital expenses through Medicare. 

Note that there may be additional concessions from state or territory governments, or from local councils and businesses. 


To learn more about the Age Pension and your retirement benefits, see our Age Pension guide

How can I set myself up for the retirement I want?

Your first step will be to create a clear vision for the retirement you want. Ask yourself: What type of lifestyle do you want to enjoy in retirement? Modest, comfortable, or would you like even more freedom? Use the table above to figure out what you’d like your retirement to look like.

 

Secondly, are you currently on track to achieve this goal? (You can use the retirement calculator below to help you understand).

 

If you’re not quite on track to reach your goal, you can start thinking about strategies to boost your retirement wealth. This might include topping up your current super savings, working part-time, or building up your other financial investments. 

 

If you’re unsure about the best way to set yourself up for a retirement which supports your personal goals, a financial adviser can help steer you in the right direction.   

Calculating how much super is needed for retirement

Our retirement calculator helps you estimate how much money you’ll need for the retirement lifestyle you want – and how much money you might have when you retire, based on your super savings and other assets. 

 

This calculator will also show you the impact of potential investments, fees, and voluntary contributions to your super and your retirement wealth.  

 

Consider the ASFA benchmarks for a modest and comfortable retirement, other income streams like part-time work or investments, and your own financial goals when determining how much super you’ll need when you retire. 

 

Retirement Calculator

Retirement Calculator

Find out how much money you’ll need for the lifestyle you want when you retire. 

How can I grow my super?

Topping up your super is a good way to boost your retirement wealth and may provide tax-concessions in the short-term. 

 

Currently, your employer must pay 11% of your ordinary-time earnings into your nominated super fund. These contributions are called Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions. However, there are a few ways you can contribute more of your own money towards your super. Learn more about super contributions here.  

 

As super compounds each year, even a small contribution can go a long way towards building up your retirement wealth.

 

You can also learn more about how to structure and plan your retirement here.

 

If you’re still not sure about the best way to set yourself up for retirement, consider speaking with a financial adviser. They’ll review your personal situation and help you find the solution which best suits your life-stage, financial goals, and risk tolerance. If you don’t have an adviser, you can use our find an adviser service to locate one near you. 

What’s next?

Grow your super

Grow your super

Learn how to boost your super savings, and how it can benefit you. 

 

Retirement Planning

Retirement Planning

Create a strategy for your wealth that helps you retire with financial freedom, security, and purpose.

Account-based pension

Account-based pension

Learn how they work, how you can start one, and the benefits of setting one up.

 

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Things you should know

Avanteos Investments Limited ABN 20 096 259 979, AFSL 245531 (AIL) is the trustee of the Colonial First State FirstChoice Superannuation Trust ABN 26 458 298 557 and issuer of FirstChoice range of super and pension products. Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468 (CFSIL) is the responsible entity and issuer of products made available under FirstChoice Investments and FirstChoice Wholesale Investments.Information on this webpage is provided by AIL and CFSIL. It may include general advice but does not consider your individual objectives, financial situation, needs or tax circumstances. You can find the target market determinations (TMD) for our financial products at www.cfs.com.au/tmd, which include a description of who a financial product might suit. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Financial Services Guide (FSG) carefully, assess whether the information is appropriate for you, and consider talking to a financial adviser before making an investment decision. You can get the PDS and FSG at www.cfs.com.au or by calling us on 13 13 36