With retirement on the horizon, it’s crunch time for Baby Boomers with the next decade your last chance to top up your super, writes Josh Alston.
Figures from The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia’s (ASFA) October 2017 report ‘Superannuation account balances by age and gender’ show how much super Baby Boomers have saved over their working lives.
Around 58 per cent of total superannuation assets are held by those aged between 50 and 69, according to ASFA. The average super balance for people aged 50 to 54 during 2015–16 was $135,290, ASFA found. For people aged 60 to 64 this figure increases to $214,897 and for 65-69-year-olds, it drops to $207,105 as people start drawing down their super.
When balances are compared by gender, it becomes clear that women are, on average, worse off than men. Around 45 per cent of women aged 65 to 69 reported having no super at all.
The superannuation guarantee – which is the compulsory amount your employer must pay towards your super – was introduced in 1992 at 3 per cent of your salary and increased to its current rate of 9.5 per cent in 2014–15. This means that some Baby Boomers started their careers with low or no levels of compulsory super.
The ASFA figures show that most people retiring within the next few years will rely either partly or substantially on the age pension for some or all of their retirement income.
The maximum weekly age pension payment for those eligible (including the maximum pension supplement and the energy supplement) is $453.80 for a single and $684.10 for a couple.
So, now is the time to make sure your super balance will be in the best shape possible when you retire.
How are your retirement savings tracking?
According to ASFA’s Retirement Standard, the super balances required for a comfortable retirement are:
- comfortable lifestyle for a single: $545,000
- comfortable lifestyle for a couple: $640,000.
These figures assume outright home ownership and relative good health. They also assume that the retiree draws down all their super capital as a lump sum, and receives a part age pension.
ASFA defines a comfortable retirement as one in which you can take domestic holidays and occasional overseas holidays, go to restaurants and enjoy a good range and quality of food, take part in a range of regular leisure activities, have top-level health insurance, own a car and replace your kitchen and bathroom over 20 years.
ASFA’s Retirement Tracker can tell you whether you’re on track for a comfortable or a modest retirement.
But based on the following projections, some Baby Boomers could have up to $350,000 less than recommended.
How to boost your super balance
1. Work out how much super you’ll have at retirement
There are several online calculators that can help you estimate your super balance on retirement, including MoneySmart’s retirement planner. ANZ Smart Choice Super members can log in to ANZ Internet Banking and use the ANZ Smart Choice Super calculator. Once you understand the gap between what you’ll currently have and what you’ll need to retire comfortably, you can put a plan in place. A financial planner can also help you work out how to bridge the gap.
2. Review your level of risk
Have you assessed the risk level of your super investments? Many people opt for the safer approaches, but depending on your appetite for risk and the general market conditions, you could look at the pros and cons of switching to a higher-risk and potentially higher-return super investment profile.
3. Invest as much as you can now
Making voluntary contributions to your super has tax advantages, so consider making extra contributions while you’ll still working. This can be via salary-sacrificing or one-off contributions from bonuses or a windfall. As you are likely at or reaching a stage when your children are moving out of home, you might find yourself with more available income to invest into your super.
4. Review your insurance
As we get older our insurance premiums start to become more expensive, so review your insurances inside and outside of super to ensure you have the right level of cover.
5. Consider downsizing
Since July 2018, couples can sell their family home and collectively deposit $600,000 into their super accounts. See the ATO website for more details.
To make a concessional (before-tax) contribution, speak to your employer about salary-sacrifice.
For non-concessional (after-tax) contributions or personal contributions (on which you intend to claim a tax deduction - you must notify the fund), ANZ Smart Choice Super customers can make a contribution via BPAY.
Biller Code – 169060
Reference Code – member number (this is a combination of your ANZ Smart Choice Super BSB and account number.)