Is one million dollars enough to retire?

How to work out how much you'll need to enjoy life after work

One million dollars sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t go as far as it used to. Say for instance inflation was 2.86% for the next 30 years. This means that $1 million today would only be worth about $420,000 in 2045. While that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily need more than one million dollars to retire, it’s worth considering what you’ll need in years to come.

Consider today and tomorrow

When considering how much you’ll need, a good place to start is with the lifestyle you have today. Consider how you live, what you like doing and the costs. Then think about how you’re likely to want to live and spend your time once you wind down from working―and make a comparison.

It’s true, that your expenses can end up being less in retirement, but it’s likely you’ll aim to enjoy a lifestyle that’s at least as good as today’s. Once you have an idea of what you want, you can start planning ahead.

How much do I need?

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), as of March 2015, estimates a couple retiring today needs a lump sum of $510,000 for a comfortable retirement and singles retiring today need $430,000*, when also relying on a partial government pension.

*All figures in today’s dollars using 3.75% Average Weekly Earnings as a deflator and an assumed investment earning rate of 7%.

The graphic to the right outlines ASFA’s estimates, as of March 2015, for annual living costs (rather than a lump sum figure) based on 20 years in retirement starting today, from age 65 to 85. 

How much you'll need for your own retirement is very personal and depends on what sort of lifestyle you'd like to enjoy.

So the question you need to ask is: what number will work for me? Use our What’s my number? calculator as a starting point to finding the right answer for you, no matter what age you are. 

How much do you need to live the lifestyle you want in retirement?

Calculate now

Boost your super

Once you’ve identified an amount to aim for, there are three key strategies you can use to build your super balance.

  1. Do some salary sacrifice calculations so you can understand the difference putting away pre-tax dollars into super can make.
  2. Consider a transition to retirement strategy if you have reached preservation age and want to boost your super without necessarily reducing your income. 
  3. Work out how your home fits in with your retirement plans. Maybe you’ve thought about whether downsizing could free up money to add to your retirement savings. Our home and retirement planner can help you work out how your home can fit in with your plans. 

What to do next

The common element to every stage of planning for retirement is change. Things don’t stand still―you’re changing, legislation changes, and investment markets are changing too.

That’s why it’s important to regularly re-evaluate your goals, the amount you need and your plans for making retirement something to look forward to.

Find a financial adviser to help you:

  • identify opportunities to increase your retirement income
  • minimise your retirement expenses
  • make the right choices at every stage.

Because every decision you make along the way will ultimately affect the amount you end up with and the lifestyle you live.

Want to keep up to date with the latest news?

Sign up now

Recommended articles

Important information

Show more

© AMP Life Limited. This provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.