In Australia, you can retire anytime you want. That’s because there’s no fixed retirement age and there are no specific laws dictating when you should stop working. So practically, going into retirement is easier said than done.
Based on the 2019 report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 3.9 million retirees and around 55% are over 55 years old.
But According to a recent research conducted by the Super Consumers Australia (SCA), the majority of Australians are planning to retire around the age of 67, which implies that people are planning to work longer.
Age rules affecting retirement decision
While most of us want to retire early, there are two age rules that influence most Australians in deciding when to stop working. Once you hit this age, you can access funds that can help you support your life in retirement:
- Age Pension Age – As the name suggests, this is the age when you can access the age pension but still subject for eligibility check such as residency and pass the assets test and income test.
- Preservation Age – the earliest age that you can access your super in normal circumstances.
These age rules are by default the dictating force in transitioning into a later life stage because the pension is the main source of income for most retirees.
Also, the age pension is means-tested, so the more assets in your name, the lower the amount you are eligible for the pension.
Women retire sooner than men
Around 55 per cent of retirees in 2019 were women, and figures from ABS reveals that the population of retired women increased more than men.
On average, women retire sooner than men, and considering the effects of the pandemic, more women might have been forced by circumstances to stop working.
Also, Industry Super Australia released a report stating that most Australian women have around a super balance of just $131,352 when they hit 60 years, while Australian men could reach $177,882.
Women in Super (WIS) and the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (ASIT) have also released a join statement showing that while women are trailing their male counterparts at all ages, the gap is widest between 50 and 54.
The gender gap is believed to have worsened because most women have decided to access their super fund early because of the pandemic.
What do you need for a comfortable retirement?
According to the Association of Super Funds Australia (ASFA), a comfortable retirement refers to the freedom gained by retirees to sustain a good standard of living.
This accounts to every day needs like food, transportation, home repairs, private insurance, clothes, and an array of pleasurable activities and eating out.
You are considered living a comfortable retirement if you are going on an annual domestic trip and going on a holiday abroad at least once every seven years.
Find out what you need here
Homeowners have more comfortable retirement
You are more likely to live a more comfortable retirement if you own your home, according to SCA.
The advocacy group recently commissioned a retirement standards report, which claims that Australians need realistic retirement targets.
People are often advised to save at least $1 Million to live a comfortable retirement, but SCA contends this target is “grossly inflated” and “misleading”.
Working on the figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the independent consumer organisation assessed how much retirees spend via its income review to look into the uncertainties of the nest egg.
The SCA report recommends “realistic targets” that can guide people what they need to save to maintain their chosen lifestyle in retirement.
Australian couples who are living in their own homes aged 67 will need a yearly retirement income of $369,000 to sustain a fortnightly expense of $2,115. Meanwhile, single homeowners of the same retirement age only need $259,000 to maintain a fortnightly expenditure of $1,423.
To retire at age 57, couple and single homeowners need at least $409,000 and $313,000 to sustain a fortnightly spend of $2,385 and $1,654, respectively.
But if you have noticed, these retirement savings targets are applicable to homeowners only, which make up 84 per cent of Australian retirees.
Those who are renting homes show high rates of income poverty and financial hardship. SCA citeks housing affordability as the root cause of the problem for renters in retirement.
According to estimates by Downsizing.com, more retirees are choosing to continue working to make ends meet. Numbers have increased four times within 10 years, growing from 218,000 in 2011 to 868,000 in 2021.
This translates to more than 5 million people aged 50 years and over will be active in the workforce by 2031.
How the retirement calculator works
Relying on age pension alone is not ideal because it is heavily regulated and may not be enough to sustain the lifestyle you want.
So you need to have multiple income streams such as rental income, businesses, investments, and superannuation fund.
Our retirement forecaster works like a calculator that is designed to provide you an estimate of how much super you have in your retirement and how long your super could last.
You can also see the effect that changing things such as your retirement age, income targets, super contribution amounts and investment options could have in the results.
Before using our online retirement calculator Australia, you must first work on how much income you want each year and when you would like to stop working.
The Retirement forecaster is a financial model and, as such, cannot accurately predict your end super balance or the effects of drawing an income from your retirement savings.
You should not make any financial decisions on the information contained herein without first consulting with your licensed financial adviser.