Having an idea of what sort of lifestyle you would like in retirement is a good starting point when determining how much you need to retire.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia’s (ASFA) Retirement Standard has researched some benchmark annual budgets that might give you some idea of what you could need for a ‘comfortable’ or ‘modest’ retirement lifestyle.

Some of your expenses might be met by the Age Pension. However, the amount of savings needed to fund ASFA's definition of a 'modest' retirement is greater than the Age Pension.

ASFA defines a 'comfortable' retirement lifestyle as one where an older, healthy retiree can be involved in a broad range of leisure and recreational activities and have a good standard of living through the purchase of things such as household goods, private health insurance, a reasonable car, good clothes, a range of electronic equipment, and domestic and occasionally international holiday travel.

Making your own estimate

To personalise to your own circumstances you can estimate your costs per month for the following categories ASFA outlines:

  • Housing
  • Energy
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Household goods and services
  • Health
  • Transport
  • Leisure
  • Communications

You can then see whether you’re likely to reach this retirement income requirement by contributing to your super at your current rate by using our Retirement Calculator.

It’s important to keep in mind that your income and guaranteed super contributions may increase over this time period.

Giving your super a boost

It’s never too early or late to think about topping up your super. Putting in a little extra now can make a difference in the future.

Salary sacrificing might be an option (redirecting before-tax employment income directly to superannuation), while bringing all your super together into one fund can help to manage fees that you might be paying.

Check the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website for details about the latest contributions caps or speak to a financial planner to discuss strategies to help you work towards your financial goals.

Try our retirement calculator

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Things you should know

This article contains general advice only. It does not take account of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial planner before making any financial decision based on this information. This document has been prepared by Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited ABN 65 003 900 169, AFSL 231139, (Commonwealth Financial Planning) a wholly-owned, but non-guaranteed subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124. Commonwealth Financial Planners are representatives of Commonwealth Financial Planning. Information in this article is based on current regulatory requirements and laws. While care has been taken in the preparation of this document, no liability is accepted by Commonwealth Financial Planning, Commonwealth Financial Planning related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document. Commonwealth Financial Planning is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as a Registered Tax (Financial) Adviser. However your Financial Planner is not a Registered Tax Agent. Consequently, tax considerations are general in nature and do not include an assessment of your overall tax position. You should seek tax advice from a Registered Tax Agent.