How much super do I need to retire at 60?

TAMIKA SEETO
Finance Journalist · 11 March 2021
If you are thinking about your retirement, one big question you might be asking yourself is whether you have enough super.

The answer to this question will really depend on your own unique circumstances. Factors like whether you own a home, how much you have in savings and the type of lifestyle you want to live will all come into play. It’s important to keep this in mind before we dive into the numbers.

Here’s how much super you’ll need to retire at 60

Singles will need $545,000 in superannuation to fund a “comfortable” retirement, while couples will need a combined $640,000, according to the peak policy and research body for superannuation, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA). However, these figures assume you are 66 or older so you can receive a part Age Pension and use up all of your savings. They also assume you own your home outright and are relatively healthy.

If you are planning to retire at 60 (and therefore will not have immediate access to the age pension) you may need to plan for how you will fund your lifestyle before any government support you become eligible for kicks in. For example, it may be helpful to understand how much it would cost to maintain certain living standards each year. To give you an idea, according to ASFA, an average annual budget for people aged around 65 is $44,244 for singles and $62,562 for couples enjoying a comfortable retirement. Those leading a modest retirement on average require $28,179 for a single and $40,739 for a couple per year.

A “comfortable” retirement is one where you are involved in a broad range of leisure and recreational activities, you can purchase things like a reasonable car, household goods, private health insurance and can go on domestic and occasional international holidays, ASFA says. This is compared to a “modest” retirement, which would only allow you to afford fairly basic activities.

Super to retire at 60
Source: Karolina Grabowska/Shutterstock.com

Remember that these are just guidelines and how much you actually need will vary according to your personal circumstances, particularly if you plan to retire at 60 when limited government support may be available. Moneysmart recommends factoring in any large costs you’re likely to incur, such as paying off your mortgage or medical costs, as well as the lifestyle you want in retirement. It’s also a good idea to factor in other sources of income, such as any savings and investments, and to consider your eligibility for the Age Pension. Your family situation may also come into the equation – for example, if you intend to help your kids with a home deposit down the track, could this impact your decision on when to retire?

How much super does the average Australian retire with?

Australians between 60 and 64 years old are retiring with a median super balance of $154,453 for males and $122,848 for females, a recent ASFA report found. This shows there is a significant gap between what people are retiring with and what ASFA projects they need to fund a comfortable retirement.

The report also found that many people retiring in the near future will rely partially or substantially on the Age Pension for their retirement income, because they will not have enough super savings.

When can I access my super?

You can access your super when you retire and reach your ‘preservation age’, unless you meet a wider condition of release outlined by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Your ‘preservation age’ will be between 55 and 60 years old, depending on the year you were born.

If you have reached your preservation age but have not permanently retired, you may still be able to access your super through a transition to retirement income stream. This is where you receive regular payments (an income stream) from your super provider while you keep working. At 60, you may also be eligible to access your super on the basis of meeting another condition of release, such as resigning from one job, and keeping another, if you hold more than two roles.

You can also access your super when you turn 65 years old, even if you have not yet retired. Additionally, there are some circumstances in which you may be able to withdraw your super early.

If you are planning your retirement, it may be a good idea to seek personal advice from a financial adviser.

Cover image source: Flamingo Images/Shutterstock.com

This article was reviewed by our Sub Editor Jacqueline Belesky and Finance & Lifestyle Editor Shay Waraker before it was published as part of our fact-checking process.

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