The money needed for a comfortable retirement
Did you know that many of us will spend more than a quarter of our life in retirement?
As a population, our life expectancy is now higher than it has ever been, meaning that retirement makes up a more significant proportion of our lives than previously thought. The average 65 year old is now expected to live until the age of 84 or possibly 87 if you are female. By the year 2050, this is predicted to rise to 91 years old for men and 93 years old for women.
Whether you dream of retiring and travelling the world, caravanning around Australia, pottering in the garden or improving your golf swing, the magic question remains the same for everyone: How much money will I need in retirement?
The ASFA Retirement Standard Study is designed to provide Australians with a tangible retirement savings target and provide a clear idea of what type of lifestyle this target will afford them. The study provides guidance as to how much the average healthy Australian (who owns their own home) may need, after tax, to live across different lifestyle categories, including Modest and Comfortable. The amounts are updated periodically in line with inflation.
The category defined as a Modest lifestyle, is where retirees will need an income of $23,662 pa for a single person or $34,051 pa for a couple. This income, whilst only marginally higher than the Age Pension, should give a retiree a slightly better lifestyle than if they were solely relying on social security, but would still only afford basic daily activities.
What does this lifestyle look like? Read John and Fiona: A Hypothetical Case Study
John and Fiona are a married couple living according to the Modest lifestyle. In transitioning to this lifestyle, they have moved from a larger home to a small duplex that is closer to public transport to save on fuel and home maintenance costs. The pair have a small car they share, however are conscious of keeping the maintenance costs low so they can afford to keep it. They eat out at inexpensive restaurants occasionally, and can afford to participate in moderately-priced leisure activities such as going to the movies or attending recreational classes every month or two. Aside from these activities, the couple can afford low-cost local getaways from time to time, however overseas travel is outside their budget. John and Fiona have basic Private Health insurance, facilitating access to some personal and health maintenance services, though not the full gamut of therapeutic services they enjoyed whilst working. They are able to afford reasonable quality groceries (avoiding more expensive gourmet indulgences), mid-range fashion and basic cosmetic services (e.g. haircuts). The couple also now buy beer and wine wholesale. John and Fiona occasionally need support from their friends and family, but manage most daily needs independently.
The next category – and by no means an extravagant one – is the Comfortable lifestyle. In this category single retirees will need around $42,861 pa, whilst couples will need $58,784 pa to fund their living costs. Living on this level of after-tax income will enable a healthy retiree to be involved in more recreational and leisure activities and a higher standard of living including some travel, better standard private health insurance and the ability to maintain or repair the home, car and appliances.
So what happens to John and Fiona when they are Comfortable?
In a Comfortable lifestyle, John and Fiona have kept their larger family car and regularly use it for a range of social activities with friends and family, including yoga and sometimes golf. They purchase good quality food and wine and regularly dine out at different restaurants on the weekends. They are able to holiday interstate once a year if no other major expenses arise – overseas travel is still generally out of their budget – although some years they save on the holidays and instead might renovate part of the family home. Importantly, John and Fiona have a good standard of Private Health insurance and regularly access health maintenance and therapeutic services, as well as enjoying trips to the salon or spa from time to time. John and Fiona are an independent couple and do not need to rely on their children or friends for financial assistance. It should be noted however that the Comfortable lifestyle still requires careful money management and budgeting to remain sustainable and both John and Fiona forego more expensive indulgences to ensure a good standard of living.
Lifestyle is a very personal thing.
What is modest lifestyle for one person may be extravagant to another. For those wanting a more comfortable life in retirement or that have particular lifestyle desires for older age, now may be the right time to start thinking about what that looks like and how you will get there.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics around 1.8 million people rely mainly on the Age Pension for their income in retirement. But if you’re someone who is hoping to live a more comfortable lifestyle in retirement, the extra income needed to afford this level of comfort will need to come from superannuation and non-superannuation savings and investments. This may mean that you need to consider contributing more to superannuation now or making some sacrifices to help you save more and build your retirement savings.
How much you need to accumulate in investment assets might also need to include an inheritance you wish to pass on to future generations if that is a priority for you personally. In addition, the amount of investment assets required for the income you will need will also be influenced by the investment return you expect to receive and whether you want to retain your capital or eat into your capital over time.
Such considerations can be discussed with one of the Adviser fp financial planning team. If you decide that it’s time to start planning for retirement please contact us (CLICK HERE).
Source: Innergi Knowledge Centre – Sep 2015 / ASFA Retirement Standard – Aug 2015