Lifestage super investing

We’re all unique. So why should your super be any different? Our default Lifestage investment approach is designed to ensure your super can adapt as you move through different stages of your life – to help target higher returns when you’re younger, and reduce your risk as you get closer to retirement.

Lifestage investing – designed to adapt to different stages of your life

Your super helps you save for the lifestyle you want in retirement and is invested during your working life to help it grow. You can either leave the investing to us or choose your own investment mix.

The BT Lifestage investment option is designed for MySuper members in BT Super, BT Super for Life and those who prefer their investment strategy to be managed on their behalf.

The Lifestage investment option applies an age-appropriate exposure to risk, which is determined by the decade our members were born, from the 1940s through to the 2000s. This approach aims to maximise investment returns when you’re younger, and over time, gradually reduces your exposure to riskier assets as you approach retirement to help protect your account balance should negative market events occur.

You simply leave the investing to us. We automatically adjust the mix of your super invested across growth and defensive assets throughout your working life so you can focus on saving for retirement – rather than how to invest.

One-size-fits-all super doesn’t always work – how our approach is different

Around 80% of people have their super invested in a default investment option1, meaning they’ve not actively chosen an investment for themselves.

Many default funds, including MySuper products, have a single, one-size-fits-all, ‘balanced’ or ‘growth’ investment option that has around 60-80% invested in growth assets, like property and shares, which are generally riskier.

This “one-size-fits-all” approach doesn’t take into account a member’s age, meaning that a 58-year-old approaching retirement is exposed to the same risk, and same returns, as an 18-year-old who has just started their first job.

They also be may be exposed to the same potential losses in times of volatility, without as much time to make up their losses.

We know that our members are at different stages in their working life and have different appetites for investment risk. So, in 2007 we launched Australia’s first lifestage investing, disrupting the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to super.


Different investment risk and returns for different stages of life

In the Lifestage investment option, the mix of investments spread from mostly growth assets (generally riskier, such as shares and property), to more defensive assets (generally less risky, such as cash and fixed interest), as they move through their working lives, as shown in the graph below.

As a result, the returns our older members receive might differ to those that someone younger might receive, as they’d be exposed to different levels of investment risk, depending on which decade they were born, and how many years they have left until their anticipated retirement.

Born in the 2000s, 1990s, 1980s or 1970s?

Members born in these decades could have up to 40 years left until retirement, meaning they have more time to withstand the ups and downs of the market, and as such benefit from potentially higher returns. As a result, the amount of growth assets their super is invested in with the Lifestage investment option is currently sitting around 86%, with the remaining invested in defensive assets.

Born in the 1960s?

Members born in this decade are generally closer to the back half of their working life. The investment in growth assets for this group is around 59% which means the allocation to more defensive assets (generally less risky, like cash and fixed interest) has been increased.

Born in the 1950s?

Members born in the 1950s are generally close to transitioning to retirement or are currently retiring. The Lifestage investment option aims to help protect their retirement savings against market volatility, so the allocation to defensive assets is around 63%, and around 37% focused on growth.

Born in the 1940s?

Members born in the 1940s have around 70% of their super invested in defensive assets, and around 30% in growth. This helps their investment keep pace with inflation, protect their savings, and provide an income in retirement when required.

Lifestage investment option - strategic asset allocation (%). These pie charts illustrate the text above.
The mix of investments spread from mostly growth assets to more defensive assets as they move through their working lives

See the full allocation of growth and defensive assets in the Lifestage investment option.

Next: BT super performance delivers strong one-year returns for MySuper members



1 Is it time to change your super investment option? SuperGuide, 1 January 2020, accessed 27 May 2021.

Choose to invest your super in a range of investment options, offering you flexibility and choice with your super investment mix.


Super is likely to be your second largest asset, after your home, which means there’s no better time to review your superannuation strategies than the end of financial year.

Taking the time to lay some foundations for retirement can help you enjoy a rewarding lifestyle once you hang up your work boots. And the time to start is now.

This information is current as at 9 June 2021. Certain other fees such as Contribution fees of Withdrawal fees (if any) are not taken into account.

BT Funds Management Limited ABN 63 002 916 458, AFSL Number 233724, RSE Licence No. L0001090 (BTFM). BTFM, is the trustee and issuer of interests in BT Super, BT Super for Life for Life and BT Super for Life Westpac Group Plan which are part of the Retirement Wrap ABN 39 827 542 991. 

A Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) is available for BT Super, BT Super for Life and BT Super for Life Westpac Group Plan and can be obtained by calling 132 135 or visiting You should obtain and consider the PDS before deciding whether to acquire, continue to hold or dispose of interests in BT Super for Life, BT Super for Life for Life and BT Super for Life Westpac Group Plan.
BTFM is a subsidiary of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL & Australian Credit Licence 233714 (Westpac). An investment in BTFM is not an investment in, deposit with or any other liability of Westpac, any Division of Westpac or any other company in the Westpac Group. It is subject to investment risk, including possible delays in repayment of withdrawal proceeds and loss of income and principal invested. Westpac and its related entities do not stand behind or otherwise guarantee the capital value or investment performance of BT Super, BT Super for Life and BT Super for Life Westpac Group Plan.

© BT - Part of Westpac Banking Corporation