How much super should I be aiming to have at my age?

Whether you’re 24 or 64, knowing how your super balance stacks up against others your age and what you should be aiming to have at your age, can help you determine if you’re on track towards being able to fund a ‘comfortable retirement’^.

How much super do I need for a ‘comfortable retirement’?

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia Limited (ASFA) Retirement Standard, for those wanting a ‘comfortable retirement,’ the average super balance at retirement should be around $640,000 for couples and around $545,000 for singles.1

These figures presume you own your own home with no mortgage, and cover daily essentials, as well as spend on things like home improvements, dining out, exercise and leisure activities, and occasional holidays, among other things. You may also want to consider what your life during retirement will be like, e.g., will you be in good health, how long might you live, and do you think you’ll need to pay for aged care?

When assessing your desired balance for retirement, a good idea is to think about what you want to spend money on. A ‘modest retirement’ lifestyle for example, is considered better than the Age Pension, but still only enough to be able to afford basic activities.

Tip: Try our handy Retirement Lifestyle calculator to see how spending money on different things can affect the cost of your lifestyle in retirement.

How much super do I currently have?

You can see today’s super balance when you sign in to your super account. You can then compare it against the current average balance for your age group as well as ASFA’s suggested average balance for your age, which you can find below.

(Remember different assets generally deliver different returns, so it’s a good idea to check in regularly with the diversification of your super investments and your own risk appetite.)

Sign in to your super account via the BT Super portal, or by logging into your St.George, Bank of Melbourne or Bank SA online banking.

What’s the average super balance by age, and is it enough to track towards a ‘comfortable retirement’?

Research tells us there’s a gap between how much people have in their super now, and how much they need to fund their post-working years.

So, what are the current average balances for different age groups?

The table below shows the average super balances of Australians across different age groups and genders. We sourced these figures from the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) from their paper released March 2022, and then calculated the overall averages for each age group.


Average super balance by age2

 

Age

Male

Female

Calculated average

25 – 29

$25,173

$21,774

$23,474

30 – 34

$51,175

$42,240

$46,708

35 – 39

$83,723

$66,611

$75,167

40 – 44

$121,119

$92,680

$106,900

45 – 49

$165,587

$122,228

$143,908

50 – 54

$214,795

$157,124

$185,960

55 – 59

$286,283

$209,653

$247,968

60 – 64

$359,870

$289,179

$324,525


(Australian females on average have less in their super than males, given super is closely linked to paid work, and women currently earn around 14% less than men3.)

Are these average balances enough to be tracking towards a ‘comfortable retirement’?

How much is ‘enough’, is different for every individual. The table below suggests that on average, there’s a potential shortfall in today’s super balances to be on track for a ‘comfortable retirement’ and shows where your super balance should be at your age today.

These recommended super balances have been calculated (April 2022) using ASFA’s Super Guru Super Balance Detective Calculator, averaged across different age groups.


ASFA’s view on what ‘should’ your average super balance be today

 

Age

Today’s super average balance2

Recommended super balance today for ‘comfortable retirement’4

Gap

25 – 29

$23,474

$31,200

-$7,727

30 – 34

$46,708

$68,800

-$22,093

35 – 39

$75,167

$112,200

-$37,033

40 – 44

$106,900

$163,800

-$56,901

45 – 49

$143,908

$219,200

-$75,293

50 – 54

$185,960

$285,600

-$99,641

55 – 59

$247,968

$362,000

-$114,032

60 – 64

$324,525

$449,200

-$124,676


Example: For those in the 40 – 44 age group, the balance shortfall is estimated at around $57,000. And for those in their early sixties, the balance shortfall is estimated at over $124,000.

How do I take action if there’s a gap?

If you’re looking at your super balance and the averages above, and think your balance could do with a boost, here’s some things you could consider doing:

Get the basics of your super sorted

By ensuring your super account is set up correctly can help get you on the right track for growing your super balance. Some simple things include recording your Tax File Number (TFN) so you don’t pay any unnecessary tax, and keeping your personal details updated so your super fund can contact you with any important information.

Pay yourself back

If you were approved to access your super early as a part of the COVID-19 early access program, it’s a good idea to try and pay those funds back to yourself if you’re in a financial position to do so. You could talk to your employer about a salary sacrifice arrangement, or make some voluntary contributions yourself over time. 

You can use MoneySmart’s Superannuation calculator to see how regular contributions over time could add up over the years and potentially help boost your super balance.

Start contributing as early as you can and as regularly as you can

Your super earnings follow the same principle as compounding, and generally, the earlier you can put money in, for example with salary sacrifice, and the more regular your contributions, the better chance your super has to grow.

Read more about how compounding works with superannuation, including different case studies for your age group.

Consolidate your super accounts

More than 6 million Australians have more than one super account5. If you’re one of these people, it’s worth thinking about consolidating them into one account. The money you may save in multiple fees could stay invested and really help grow your overall super balance.

Learn more about super consolidation.

Add more to your super if you can

By adding more money to your account each year – above the 10.5% (as at 1 July 2022) you normally receive from your employer – you’ll give your super the opportunity to grow faster and bigger.

We offer a range of strategies in our boost your super guide. Try just one or embrace them all to boost your super savings over time. 

Check in with your investment options over time

Investing your super at every age of your life is important. However, it’s worth checking in with your investment strategy, as the same one may not be appropriate for every life stage.

You can read more about investing through different life stages – what you need to know.

^ The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia's (ASFA) estimates how much money you may need for your retirement for either a ‘comfortable’ or ‘modest’ retirement. The estimated figures are based on your lifestyle, including multiple activities and other expenses like insurance, and spend on things like cars, holidays and household items. For more information and detail, please read the ASFA Retirement Standard. Another way you could estimate what you may need in retirement is based on the Retirement Income Review – Final Report, which was released by The Australian Government’s Treasury Department on 20 November 2020. This report refers to a general retirement income target of around two-thirds (65 – 75%) of your pre-retirement income for each year of your retirement instead of using the ASFA Retirement Standard. You should consider which retirement target is appropriate for your circumstances.

References

1. “ASFA Retirement Standard.” The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia Limited (ASFA). All figures in today’s dollars using 2.75% AWE as a deflator and an assumed investment earning rate of 6 per cent.
2. “Experience to date with the early release of superannuation.” The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).
3. “Australia’s Gender Pay Gap Statistics February 2022.” The Australian Government, Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
4. “Super Balance Detective.” The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).
5. “Super data: multiple accounts, lost and unclaimed super.” The Australian Government, Australian Taxation Office. 

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Things you should know

The information is prepared by BT Funds Management Limited ABN 63 002 916 458 (BTFM) the trustee of BT Super for Life, BT Super for Life Westpac Group Plan and BT Super part of the superannuation fund Retirement Wrap ABN 39 827 542 991.

This information has been prepared as general advice only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to see if these products are right for you by visiting bt.com.au. Past performance is not a reliable indication of future performance. All examples are illustrative only. Your portfolio value and performance will depend on the investment options you have selected and the time over which they are invested.

BTFM is a member of the Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 (Westpac) group of companies. An investment in these products 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. Westpac and its related entities do not stand behind or otherwise guarantee the capital value or investment performance of the products or any related assets of the products.