I am looking to retire this year, how much would I need in Super to comfortably survive without a pension? Should I leave retiring to post COVID 19?
Sally, in Sydney, NSW
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Hi Sally and thanks for the question.
A comfortable retirement (without the aged pension) has different meanings and different income needs for people. To get an understanding of what a comfortable retirement might look like for you, the Association of Superannuation Fund of Australia (ASFA) provides a guide on how much income is needed for a comfortable retirement. See the link to their website here.
A comfortable lifestyle in retirement will mean you will need an income of $43,687pa if you are single, or $61,909pa if you are a couple. Comfortable means being involved in a broad range of leisure and recreational activities and to have a good standard of living through the purchase of such things as; household goods, private health insurance, a reasonable car, good clothes, a range of electronic equipment, and domestic and occasionally international holiday travel.
Therefore, assuming you are single and desire a comfortable lifestyle, and do not wish to use the age pension, you will need at least $873,740 in your super at retirement. You will be able to draw an income of 5% from your super, which is $43,687pa. Remember, all income you draw from your superannuation savings, in retirement, is tax-free.
If the above scenario is not you, then you should consider mixing your retirement income with the aged pension. There is a Pension qualifying age plus an assets and income test to be aware of, plus there are different tests if you are a homeowner or non-homeowner. If you qualify, you will then need to be below the thresholds for the income and assets test. The maximum pension, assuming again you are a single person, who qualifies under the assets and income test is $24,551.80pa. As you can see, there is a lot to think about and it is quite a complex area. The main thing to keep in mind is income, how much do you need and how can we maximise all sources of income to achieve your desired income need in retirement?
To answer the last part of your question, Should I leave retiring to post COVID 19? This is a personal choice, if you can live comfortably now in retirement, there is no need to hold off. However, the more time you work and hold off retirement, the more contributions and earnings will accumulate in your superannuation, thus providing you with more capital when you eventually retire. If you still enjoy working, and get a lot of satisfaction from your profession, then maybe consider delaying retirement until such time when you have had enough. Retirement can be a daunting time, but good planning and the right advice can help provide peace of mind and dignity in retirement.
Thanks for the questions Sally and good luck with your plans.
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