Will you be comfortable with comfortable?

Many Australians want a comfortable retirement. It’s important to understand how much you will need to save to achieve this.

According to the Australian Superannuation Fund Association’s (ASFA’s) Retirement Standard1, to enjoy a comfortable retirement, singles need $595,000 in savings at retirement (aged 67) to generate a yearly income of $50,004. Similarly, couples need $690,000 at retirement to generate $70,482 a year. These figures assume retirees own their own home and don’t need to pay rent or make mortgage payments.

Everything starts with lifestyle

BT’s Technical & Strategy Consultant Tim Howard says ASFA’s lump sum figure is a great start. But how much money you need to retire is ultimately about your lifestyle expectations, your annual income and your age.

"A comfortable retirement means different things to different people," Tim says. " To some it might mean regular travel, to others prioritising time with family is their definition of a comfortable retirement."

A comfortable lifestyle means different things to different people. Use our calculator to work out what lifestyle you want in retirement


Reap the benefits of compound interest

No matter how much you need to save to retire the way you want to, the earlier you start contributing to your super fund the better.

"The power of compounding returns can help you increase your retirement savings, as can spending less than you earn and consciously saving the difference,” says Tim. "Compounding involves adding any earnings from your investment back to it, essentially investing more, allowing you to generate greater returns over time."

Already 50 and not feeling "comfortable?"

Here are four steps you can take at any age to build your retirement savings.

  • Educate yourself about choices you can make with your super and potential strategies you can use to build your nest egg. Use BT’s Retirement lifestyle calculator to see the potential impact making additional contributions could have on your super balance over time. A transition-to-retirement strategy2 could also help you contribute extra money into the tax-effective super environment.
  • Look at your current lifestyle and see if you could make changes so you contribute more of your disposable income into your super fund.
  • Talk to a financial adviser. Consider whether you need a one-off piece of advice or an ongoing relationship with the adviser, depending on your situation.
  • Think about how your assets outside super can also help fund your retirement.

Get moving

Tim says there’s an opportunity for more Australians to consider how to fund their retirement.

“Think about when you want to stop work and the lifestyle you want to live to help determine how much you need. This may be challenging at first, but having a plan and breaking things down into simple, achievable steps may help you achieve your retirement goals down the track.”

Thinking about retirement, but not sure where to start? Get tips and information in our Planning for Retirement guide, to help you get started today.


Next: How much do I need in retirement?


1 ASFA Retirement Standard, accessed 07/06/2023, https://www.superannuation.asn.au/media/media-releases/2023/media-release-21-march-2023 (no longer online)
2 The Australian Taxation Office, accessed 15/6/2023, https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Jobs-and-employment-types/Working-as-an-employee/Leaving-the-workforce/Transition-to-retirement/

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Things you should know

This information is current as at 1 July 2023.

This article has been written by Tim Howard, Technical & Strategy Consultant, BT. BT is a part of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 14 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 233714 (Westpac). This information does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to these factors before acting on it. This information provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such. This article may contain material provided by third parties derived from sources believed to be accurate at its issue date. While such material is published with necessary permission, no company in the Westpac Group accepts any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of, or endorses any such material. To the maximum extent permitted by law, we intend by this notice to exclude liability for this third party material. Any tax considerations outlined in this publication are general statements, based on an interpretation of the current tax law, and do not constitute tax advice.  The tax implications of super investments can impact individual situations differently and you should seek specific tax advice from a registered tax agent or registered tax (financial) adviser. Superannuation is a means of saving for retirement, which is, in part, compulsory. The government has placed restrictions on when you can access your investment held in superannuation. The Government has set caps on the amount of money that you can add to superannuation each year on both a concessional and non-concessional tax basis.  There will be tax consequences if you breach these caps.  For more detail, speak with a financial adviser or visit the ATO website.