A healthy super balance can be a key ingredient in being able to live the life we want in retirement. But for many people, retirement is a long way off, and it can be hard to know if your super is on track. If you’ve been asking yourself – how much super should I have at my age? – read on to find out.
How does your super compare?
The table below shows the average super balances for Australian men and women of different ages (excluding those with no super) so you can compare your balance to others your age.
|Age||Average balance - men||Average balance - women|
Source: Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, Superannuation account balances by age and gender 2015-16, October 2017, pg. 9.
Does your super stack up?
If your balance looks low, there could be a number of reasons why your super is lagging your peers, such as taking time out of the workforce to study, travel, raise children, care for older relatives, or being out of work, working part-time, or earning a lower wage than others your age.
As the figures show, these issues particularly affect women, as they have lower super balances than men across all age groups.
Will your super be enough to retire on?
Even if your balance is above others of your age, will it be enough for a comfortable retirement?
The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) says that “many people will still retire with inadequate superannuation savings to fund the lifestyle they want in retirement” and that “most people retiring in the next few years will rely partially or substantially on the Age Pension for some or all of their retirement as they have inadequate super savings”.1
The ASFA retirement standard estimates singles will need retirement savings of $545,000 for a comfortable retirement, while couples will need combined retirement savings of $640,000.2
Our super simulator can help you work out how much super you will have at retirement based on your current balance.
What to do if your super needs a boost
- Firstly, search for lost super. Money belonging to you might be sitting in an account you've forgotten about.
- Secondly, if you have super with multiple funds, think about consolidating it into one account and you could save on fees and charges that could be eating into your balance. However, you’ll need to check for exit or termination fees, and ensure that your insurance cover isn’t affected.
- And thirdly, you could consider changing how your super is invested, for example, by switching it into a more growth-focused investment option. But bear in mind that returns are not guaranteed, and that higher risk accompanies the opportunity for high returns. To change your investment option, contact your super fund.
Once you've got your super sorted with these quick wins, you can consider ways to boost your balance, including:
- Salary sacrificing: you can contribute extra cash into your super from your before-tax salary and it will only be taxed at 15%3, rather than at your usual marginal tax rate. However, make sure your total super contributions (including any your employer makes on your behalf) don’t exceed $25,000 per year. Speak to your payroll department to set up a salary sacrifice.
- Personal tax-deductible contributions: if your employer doesn’t offer salary sacrifice, you’re unemployed, self-employed or don’t want to salary sacrifice, you can make a personal tax-deductible contribution to your super, which is also taxed at 15%, and subject to the $25,000 per year limit.
- After-tax contributions (also known as non-concessional contributions): There’s a $100,000 limit per financial year on the amount of after-tax contributions you can make. If you are under age 65, you can also ‘bring forward’ the next two years’ worth of after-tax contributions, and make up to $300,000 contribution in a financial year.4
- Spouse contributions: If your partner is out of work, a stay-at-home parent, working part-time or earning less than $40,000, adding to their super could benefit you both financially.
- Government contributions: If you’re a low or middle-income earner, you may be eligible for contributions from the government or tax-offsets when you add after-tax money to your super.
Need more help?
For more help to ensure you're on track for a comfortable retirement, speak to your financial adviser. If you don't have an adviser, use our online tool to find one or contact us on 131 267.
1 Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, Superannuation account balances by age and gender 2015-16, October 2017, pg. 7.
2 Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, ASFA Retirement Standard, pg. 4.
3 Or 30% if you earn $250,000 a year or more.
4 Providing your total super balance at 30 June 2017 is less than $1.4 million.
Find your lost super
When you change jobs or move, your super fund can lose contact with you. Let us help you find your super, in a few simple steps.
We make super easy to understand with our online learning module.
Choosing the right super investment options at the right time could make a difference to how much money you have when you retire.