The 5 most common superannuation questions people ask when planning for their retirement
Talking to people every day about retirement and superannuation and all that fun stuff, one of the most common pieces of advice I give is that your super fund is the foundation for a successful retirement.
But depending on your version of success, sometimes, relying only on your super isn’t an option. So, what does your super balance look like, what does your retirement look like, and are they a match?
No matter your retirement aspirations – sitting on a beach sipping cocktails or hitting the best golf course every Sunday – you’re going to need some money to make it come true.
But exactly how much money? And how can you be sure you won’t have to worry about your finances ever again?
While there is no magic number that will suit everyone’s retirement, a small amount of planning can take some of the guesswork out of your exciting future ahead.
Here’s 5 common questions about super and preparing for retirement answered so you can feel confident about your future:
1. How much super will I need?
Let’s start with the big one! According to moneysmart.gov.au, the amount of super you need depends on two things:
- Your big costs in retirement (mortgage, travel, renovating and medical costs)
- The lifestyle you want1
The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) estimates the real dollar number you will need based on your desired lifestyle. 2
$27,987 per year
$43,901 per year
$40,440 a year
$62,083 per year
You may be asking yourself “Where does my lifestyle sit?”
A modest lifestyle is considered better than solely living on the Age Pension, but you will likely only be able to afford basic activities.
A comfortable lifestyle allows for a better standard of living for retirees. You will more likely be able to afford things that bring you security and happiness such as a reliable car and regular holidays.
2. How does my super balance compare?
Many Australians want to know how their super balance shapes up compared to others their age to make sure they’re not falling behind. The following table shows the average super balances for employed Australian men and women. 3
It’s important to recognise that the amounts in this table do not tell you how much super you should have but can be used as a guide to see where you stack up and whether you may need to catch up a little!
Men – Average Super Balance
Women – Average Super Balance
Source: Association of Superannuation Funds Australia, Experience to date with the early release of superannuation, June 2020.
3. How can I grow my super?
While super is at the centre of most retirement plans, increased contributions can help grow your balance to ensure you are financially secure for retirement. Here are some ways you can build your super balance:
- Make extra payments into your super: small amounts can make a big difference and you can potentially reduce the amount of tax you have to pay.
- Salary sacrifice: you can ask your employer to pay part of your pre-tax pay into your super account. There is a limit to how much salary you can choose to contribute but you will generally pay less tax on these contributions.
- After-tax super contributions: you can also choose to move some of your after-tax pay into your super account which is not taxed as you have already payed the tax this pay.
4. Should I change my super for higher growth?
Most people realise that different super funds will give you different benefits, but it can be tricky to know which one is best for you.
AMP outline four main types of investment options available1:
- Growth options aim for higher returns over the long-term, however losses can also be notable when markets aren’t performing. They typically invest around 85% in shares or property.
- Balanced options don’t tend to perform as well as growth options over the long term, but the loss is also less when there are market downturns. They typically invest around 70% in shares or property, with the rest in fixed interest and cash.
- Conservative options generally aim to reduce the risk of market volatility and therefore may generate lower returns. They typically invest around 30% in shares and property, with the rest in fixed interest and cash.
- Cash options aim to generate stable returns to safeguard the money you’ve accumulated. They typically invest 100% in deposits with Australian deposit-taking institutions, such as banks, building societies and credit unions.
What’s important is understanding which option is best for you based on your age, income and retirement goals. An experienced financial advisor can help you pick the best super investment option to maximise your super and secure your dream retirement.
5. How can I know how much super I will have in retirement?
You can check exactly how much super you have right now to help your retirement plan. But you can also estimate how much super you will have when you retire using ASIC’s Money Smart Retirement Calculator.
This calculator can help determine how your retirement income will be affected by different super fees, investment opportunities and personal contributions to make sure you are prepared for the future as best as you can be.
If you haven’t already started planning for your retirement, today is the day!
Whether you’re looking to retire in 3 years or 30, today is the day to start your plan.
Planning for your retirement is complex and everybody’s plan is entirely unique. Seeking advice from a financial adviser can help you determine a more accurate amount you will need for retirement, as well as understand how you can maximise your super fund to secure the number you need.
At CCFPG, we are here to support you and help you plan for your ideal retirement whether that means spending more time spoiling your grandchildren or heading on that 6 week around-the-world holiday you’ve always dreamed of!
If you want to feel confident about your retirement, book a complimentary initial appointment with one of our Retirement Specialists. We have offices located in Central Coast – Erina (CCFPG), Newcastle – The Junction (NFPG) and Sydney CBD (SWA).
4 AMP, Super investment options – what’s right for you? https://www.amp.com.au/superannuation/managing-super/super-investment-options
5 Retirement Income Review, July 2020, https://treasury.gov.au/publication/p2020-100554
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author; they are not reflective or indicative of RI Advice Group’s position and are not to be attributed to RI Advice Group. They cannot be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the author. This information (including taxation) is general in nature and does not consider your individual circumstances or needs. Do not act until you seek professional advice. Newcastle Financial Planning Group, Central Coast Financial Planning Group, Sydney Wealth Advisers, Coastal Advice Port Macquarie and Coastal Advice Ballina Byron are subsidiaries of Coastal Advice Group which is a Corporate Authorised Representative of RI Advice Group Pty Ltd, ABN 23 001 774 125 AFSL 238429.