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$323,000 gap: How much super do Aussies really need to retire?

There’s a huge gap between the savings that Aussies think they need, and what they actually have.

One group of Aussies will need to double their superannuation savings if they want to achieve their idea of a comfortable retirement.

The average Aussie believes they need $641,223 in superannuation to fund their retirement when they stop working, a new survey by Finder has found.

This is slightly more than figures from the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), which says singles need a balance of $595,000 and couples $690,000 to fund a comfortable retirement.

Image of retirement savings jar and Australian money. Superannuation savings concept.
There is a $323,000 gap between the superannuation women have at retirement and what they think they need. (Source: Yahoo Finance/Getty)

Are you worried about not having enough money to retire? Share your story with tamika.seeto@yahooinc.com

But both figures are much less than what Aussies actually would have in their nest egg come retirement. The average male aged 60-64 has $402,838 in their super, according to data from the Australian Taxation Office.

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The average female of the same age has less super at $318,203 - often due to lower average salaries and time out of the workforce. That means they would need to more than double this to reach the $640,000 mark.

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Tips to boost your super balance

Finder personal finance expert Sarah Megginson told Yahoo Finance thousands of Aussies were facing a “huge deficit” when it came to their superannuation. And, with people living longer and the cost of living rising, Aussies will have to make their retirement savings stretch even further.

Megginson urged Aussies not to put super in the “too-hard basket” and offered these tips.

1. Consolidate your super funds

“Make sure you don’t have multiple super funds as this can lead to lots of fees, which all eat into your savings,” Megginson said.

“Take time to consolidate your superannuation into one fund, it’s a relatively straightforward process through your MyGov account.”

2. Top up your super balance

If you can afford it, you can boost your super balance by setting up a salary-sacrificing arrangement with your work, or by making one-off payments.

“[With salary sacrificing], the money you elect to send into your super is directed from your income before you pay tax on it. This means that the money will be taxed at the concessional super rate instead of your marginal tax rate, which could be up to 45 per cent,” Megginson said.

“This means you’ll get an instant ROI [return on investment] based on the tax savings, plus the benefit of compounding returns over time.”

3. Look at your investments

It’s also important to check you have the right investment option for you. It can be worth speaking to your super fund or a financial adviser to work this out.

“Typically, the greater the risk, the greater the potential return. Most Australians are in the default super option, which is generally a Balanced or Growth option. Take a look at the High Growth option and see if you're comfortable switching to this, instead,” Megginson said.

4. Compare super funds

Lastly, make sure your super fund stacks up. Check the fees, long-term returns and investment strategy, and get professional advice if you need.

“But paying too much in fees, or being in an underperforming fund can make a huge dent in your retirement fund,” Megginson said.

“Switching super funds is a lot easier than you think, and your new super fund actually does most of the work for you.”

Best super funds named

Finder has also announced the winners of its Superannuation Awards 2023, across a range of categories:

  • Best Low Fee Super Fund - Hostplus Indexed Balanced

  • Best Balanced Super Fund - Aware Super Balanced Socially Conscious

  • Best Conservative Super Fund - HESTA Conservative

  • Best Conservative Balanced Super Fund - AustralianSuper Conservative Balanced

  • Best High Growth Super Fund - UniSuper Sustainable High Growth

  • Best Single Asset Classes Super Fund - Australian Retirement Trust International Shares Index (unhedged)

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