Superannuation: Exactly how much super you need to retire revealed in new research

Extensive new research has revealed exactly how much Australians need to save for a comfortable retirement.

The targets, set by retirement advocacy group Super Consumers Australia, are designed to help Australians determine how much they need to save and what income those savings will generate in retirement.

The research, published this week, shows how much more difficult it is for single Australians to save for a secure retirement, compared to the income and saving power of couples.

To maintain a “high” standard of living in retirement, Super Consumers Australia estimated that a single person would need $745,000 in savings.

Meanwhile, couples can match the same standard of living by splitting savings of $1,003,000.

The figures also include how much people need to save for low, medium and high levels of spending in retirement.

They are based on early retirees ages 55-59 who own their home with no remaining mortgage payments.

A single retiree who spends $2,115 every fortnight is considered a “high” spender and will need $745,000 in the bank.

That’s more than eight times more than the $88,000 required for a single “low” spender, who aspires to live on $1,308 every fortnight.

Meanwhile, “high” spending couples need a little over $1 million in the bank to confidently spend $3,115 every two weeks.

The “low” end for couples is $1,846 every two weeks for a total savings of $111,000.

It was assumed that all groups in the investigation also received the age pension.

Super Consumers Australia director Xavier O’Halloran said the figures give Australians a “strong rule of thumb” about what they need to maintain their standard of living in retirement.

“Among the biggest financial questions facing Australians planning for retirement is how much they need to save and what income those savings will provide them in retirement,” he said. “These new retirement goals are designed to help people answer these questions.”

The Super Consumers Australia consultation involved consumers, academics, regulators, industry experts and superannuation funds.

“Our goal is to improve consumer and industry understanding of people’s retirement needs through industry-wide adoption of the goals and the underlying assumptions and research,” he said.

“These savings goals are based on what people spend in retirement with a built-in safety margin to provide confidence that people’s savings can withstand the kind of market volatility we’re currently experiencing.

“Having credible goals, based on actual spending, means people can spend with confidence and still enjoy their retirement.”

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