Latest News

16 December 2013

The Unexpected Cost of Retirement

How much do you need for your retirement? Let's have a look

Live your dream retirement

We all have a vision of our perfect retirement. But whether it's travelling around
the country in a luxurious motor home, playing golf every day or spending more
time with the grandkids, how do you accumulate enough to pay for your golden

Howmuch do I need to live my lifestyle?

Lifestyle is a personal choice. The big question is: How much do you need to save while
you're working to pay your preferred retirement lifestyle?

A good place to start is to calculate how much you need to meet basic living costs. You could use your current expenses as a guide, but keep in mind that these may be quite different during retirement.

What about the age pension?

The age pension is designed as a safety net for those who can't self-fund their
retirement. The payment for a single person represents less than 30% of average
male weekly earnings. A person receiving the base maximum single-rate age
pension will receive $827.10 each fortnight, or $21,504.60 annually, while a
couple entitled to the full rate will receive a combined amount of $1,246.80
each fortnight, or $32,416.80 annually.

This may be enough to cover basic essential expenses, but most retirees want a
better standard of living and are more active in retirement than previous generations. For these people, the age pension won't be enough. Take this for example:

Living a modest lifestyle

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (AFSA) Retirement Standard
provides an insight into the cost of different lifestyle options. First prepared in 2004, it benchmarks on a quarterly basis the annual budget Australians need to fund either a comfortable or a modest standard of living in retirement.

The Standard defines a modest retirement lifestyle as "better than the age pension,
but still only able to afford fairly basic activities". The September 2013 ASFA figures suggest that a single person would need $22,654 a year to achieve this, while couples would need a combined income of $32,656.

Upgrading to a comfortable lifestyle

The Standard defines a comfortable retirement as one that enables "…an older,
healthy retiree to be involved in a broad range of leisure and recreational
activities and to have a good standard of living through the purchase of such
things as: household goods, private health insurance, a reasonable car, good
clothes, a range of electronic equipment, and domestic and occasionally international
holiday travel".

The June 2013 ASFA figures suggest that a single person would need $41,197 a year
to have a comfortable lifestyle, while couples would need a combined amount of

Obviously these figures are just a guide, and the actual amount needed to fund your
preferred retirement lifestyle will depend on the
choices you make about the things you want to do. Your financial adviser can
help you more accurately determine the amount needed for your retirement based
on your goals, needs and preferences.

How uch is enough?

Looking at the figures above, it's clearly apparent that if you want more than a basic
lifestyle in retirement, you'll need more than the age pension to live on. Your
superannuation and non-superannuation savings will need to supplement the
difference, and in some cases, fully fund your retirement.

The ASIC MoneySmart Retirement Planner calculator, available at, is a useful tool.

The figures generated suggest that to achieve a modest retirement, as defined by
the ASFA Retirement Standard, a single person should save about $420,000, and a
couple should save about $605,000. To achieve a comfortable retirement, a
single person should have about $765,000 and a couple should have about

These are generic calculations based on a 5% return on investments. Your financial
adviser can provide more detailed calculations for your specific situation.

What's the best way to save?

Superannuation is the most tax-effective way to save for retirement. You
can build your super through employer contributions (including salary sacrifice), your own
contributions, spouse contributions and government co-contributions.

There are certain restrictions on superannuation contributions and withdrawals, so you may need to supplement your superannuation with other investments such as
managed funds, term deposits or property.


In conclusion

Regardless of how much you need, it's important to start planning early to ensure you have enough to retire on. We can work with you to develop strategies that suit your
individual circumstances and help you to look forward to enjoying your retirement dream.


Assumption for calculation: value is based on today's dollars and retiring at age 65. It does not take into account the Age Pension.

Age pension figures quoted include supplements.



  • Value
  • Change
  • Open
  • Range
  • 6005.30
  • +28.90
  • 5976.40
  • 5976.40 - 6019.30
Wed, 01 Nov 2017 23:42:12
  • U.S. dollars
  • Japanese yen
  • Euros
  • British pounds
  • 0.9484
  • 93.1722173
  • 0.690384476
  • 0.593613298
Mon, 04 Nov 2013 12:58:28
  • Value
  • Change
  • Open
  • Range
  • 5938.10
  • +29.10
  • 5909.00
  • 5909.00 - 5952.40
Wed, 01 Nov 2017 23:42:12

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Unac West End Group Pty Ltd
The Atrium, Suite 16, 123A Colin Street West Perth 6005


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The Unexpected Cost of Retirement

How much do you need for your retirement? Let's have a look 16 December 2013