"How much super is really enough for retirement?"...This can be a hot topic, but it's not 'one-size-fits-all'...It's about having enough to meet your particular needs when you retire, and the income required to help your savings go the distance.

Understanding your individual circumstances, goals and desired lifestyle may help you determine how you'll need, or want, to spend your money when you start living off your super. 

Here are a few methods and resources that might help you start thinking about what sort of number is right for you:

  • Two-thirds of salary principle: Aiming for enough super to provide you with an annual retirement income equal to about 60-70% of your current gross salary, or what you think your salary might be near retirement, is often considered what you may need to continue a similar standard of living.
  • Set your budget: If you’ve got a good idea of what your expenses may be like in retirement, that gives you an indication of what sort of annual income you’ll need.
  • Take a tip from the experts: If you don’t really know what your expenses will be like in retirement, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) researches a budget for singles and couples to base their retirement living costs on. The ASFA Retirement Standard includes a budget for a ‘comfortable’ retirement, which allows for private health insurance, a reasonable car, a regular domestic holiday and the occasional overseas trip, in addition to general living expenses. The ‘modest’ retirement is defined as having more than the Age Pension but still only being able to afford fairly basic activities.

Once you know what level of annual income you’re likely to need in retirement, the next step is seeing if your current super position is on track to get you there.

How much will you have when you retire?

You can use some simple tools and calculators as a starting point to get an estimate or indication of how much retirement income your super might provide for you at retirement, based on where it’s at now. Here are a few calculators you might want to try:

Calculators are a useful way to look at different scenarios, tweak some settings and learn what may and may not work for you, but they won’t provide you with an exact answer based on your personal circumstances. It's always a good idea to consider seeking professional advice before finalising any decision that might have an effect on your financial future.

Want to aim for a different outcome?

One of the most important things to remember is that, even if your ‘will need’ and ‘will have’ figures aren’t quite matching up at the moment, there are always options to try to influence and improve your outcomes...

  • Top up your super with extra contributions on top of what your employer pays.
  • Change the age at which you retire – meaning your super is potentially accumulating for longer.
  • Adjust the level of income you might need in retirement.

Changing the dial on one or more of these factors is likely to have a flow-on effect on the others, which means that even if you can’t or don’t want to change one of them, changing another might still get you to a similar outcome.



To keep the same contribution rate... you may be able to continue working for longer and/or adjust your expectations for the annual income that may be available to you in retirement.

To keep the same retirement age...you may be able to adjust your expectations for the annual income available to you in retirement and/or top up your super with extra contributions.

To keep the same desired retirement income...you may be able to top up your super with extra contributions and/or remain working for longer in order to accumulate more super to meet your income goal.

Other useful resources

    Retirement planner

    Try this handy calculator to work out your likely income when you retire, and how contributions, investments, fees and age can affect this. (Source: MoneySmart)

    ASFA SuperGuru retirement tracker

    This calculator incorporates ASFA's benchmark 'retirement standard' to help you find out how much you will need to support your lifestyle in retirement. (Source: Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia)