I’m really sorry to be the one who has to break this to you, but the financial experts that be, aka The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), have told us how much we need to be saving in our superannuation a year if we want to have a ‘comfortable’ retirement, and I tell you what, it’s an intimidating number.
They say that to live ‘comfortably’ a single person retiring at 65 will need to have enough saved that they can spend $42,953 a year and a couple can spend $60,604, although these estimated budgets do go down slightly the closer you get to 85. Your bare minimum to live a ‘modest’ life goes down to $27,425 a year as a single person. But what does that even mean?
According to the ASFA, ‘modest’ is only being able to afford a very basic lifestyle. ‘Comfortable’ living entails a life that is still actually fun. Where a person can still afford to go do fun things and purchase the things they need, from private health insurance and a car to good clothes and the occasional cheeky vacay. So basically it’s really where you want to be at.
They also throw in that these budgets are based on the assumed facts that you’ll be owning your own home outright (mmmmhmmm) and that you have a good base level of health. If, like me, and most people, you don’t own your own home, better up that number to cover rent.
Personally, that still seems so far in the future it’s kind of hard to wrap my head around. But then I found a calculator from Australian Securities & Investments Commision (ASIC) that can tell you what amount you’re looking at, based on your current position. Riiiight here. Let me tell you, that reality came crashing down pretty damn hard. Am I going to tell you my personal finances? No. But I will tell you I do NOT own a house and I’m falling a teensy bit short of where I should be.
Also feel like you need to be a little more proactive with your Super savings? Good news, you have options!
If you’re currently only relying on your work paying the 9.5% of your income and you don’t think it’ll be enough, ASIC suggests you can make your own contributions. It’s really as easy as depositing money into your Super account the same way you would into a bank. There’s also salary sacrificing which is when your employer agrees to take a portion of your pre-tax salary and stick it in your Super, but that one depends on your employer.