How much super do I need to retire?

How much super do you need to retire

It can be hard to know where to begin when planning your retirement. One of the most common questions people have is ‘how much money do I need to retire?’. Knowing the type of lifestyle you want to lead when you’re older will help you plan your retirement more effectively, and allow you to take action early to ensure you have everything you need when you’re ready to stop working.

What type of retirement lifestyle are you aiming for?

The amount of savings you’ll need in retirement depends on the type of lifestyle you want to maintain in your later years. Where you live, the types of activities you want to do, and your overall expenses all factor into your retirement planning calculations, so it’s important to have a sense of your lifestyle goals.

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia’s Retirement Standard, there are two different levels of retirement lifestyle: modest, and comfortable.1

A modest retirement lifestyle

A modest retirement lifestyle estimates that you will be able to afford basic activities and services. This includes:

  • Home repairs (but not renovations)
  • Cheaper personal goods and services such as haircuts
  • Some cheaper restaurants or occasional takeaway meals
  • Basic health insurance
  • One holiday within Australia.

The approximate annual cost of a modest retirement lifestyle is:

  • $40,739 for couples1
  • $28,179 for singles1

A comfortable retirement lifestyle

A comfortable retirement lifestyle allows for a higher standard of living and access to a broader range of services and experiences. This includes:

  • Home repairs and some renovations
  • Higher quality household and personal goods
  • More frequent restaurant dining
  • Top level health insurance
  • Occasional overseas travel.

The approximate annual cost of comfortable retirement lifestyle is:

  • $62,562 for couples1
  • $44,224 for singles1

The Age Pension

The Age Pension is an income support payment designed to help older adults achieve a sufficient standard of living once they retire. The Age Pension is administered through Centrelink and is available to Australian residents who meet certain income, asset, and residency requirements.

The Age Pension is designed to meet your basic needs in old age, but does not allow much room for additional expenditure. Living on the Age Pension, you’ll need to maintain a relatively frugal lifestyle, and be restrictive with your spending on home utilities and leisure activities, such as cinema tickets, sports, or day trips.

The maximum Age Pension payments available through Centrelink are:

  • $33.732.40 for couples2
  • $22,375.60 for singles2

However, the pension rate you receive will depend on your individual circumstances, such as your relationship status and whether you earn income or hold assets outside Australia.

Learn more about the Age Pension

Planning for your retirement

When thinking about your retirement, it can be hard to know where to start. Media Super offers a range of information, tools, and resources to help you understand your retirement position and make retirement planning easier.

Retirement resources

Our Retirement Resources page includes a range of fact sheets, Product Disclosure Statements, and forms to help you get started with your retirement planning.

Some of our popular resources include:

View our retirement resources

Retirement advice and information

There are a number of retirement income options available depending on your personal finances, and having a solid understanding of your options in advance can help you plan your retirement more effectively. Our ‘Retirement’ section is designed to help you understand key concepts and regulations around retirement so you can make the most of your super.

Learn more about retirement

Boost your retirement savings while you’re still working

Planning for your retirement can seem like a daunting task, especially when you’re young. But regardless of your age, there are a few things you can do to boost your super balance and put you in a better position for retirement.

Make additional contributions

Making additional contributions is a great way to boost your super throughout your working life. You may not be able to make additional contributions to your super every month, but even small contributions made when you have some spare income can make a big difference to your retirement savings.

There are two types of additional contributions:

  • Before-tax (concessional) contributions – contributions made from your salary (usually by your employer and known as salary sacrifice) before tax is deducted
  • After-tax (non-concessional) contributions – contributions made from your take-home pay after tax has already been deducted

It is important to note that these two contribution types are taxed differently, and depending on your personal situation, one may be more suitable for you than the other.

Learn more about making additional contributions

Change your investment options

The way your super is invested can have a significant impact on the amount of retirement savings you accumulate throughout your working life. When choosing an investment option, there are a number of factors to take into account.


When you’re younger, you may like to take advantage of growth options that can afford to have a longer investment timeframe and can usually afford to take more risk. However, as you get closer to retirement, you may prefer to invest conservatively and reduce the volatility of your super investments.

Your retirement goals

Depending on the retirement income you want, you may want to consider a higher growth investment option. To achieve higher returns, you must be willing to accept a certain level of risk, which may not make these options right for you.

Your risk profile

Some people are more risk averse than others, and the amount of risk you’re willing to tolerate will likely influence your decisions about your super investment options.

Everyone’s investment needs are different, and your investment preferences will likely change throughout your life. To find out which investment option is right for your needs, take our ‘What type of investor are you?’ questionnaire by logging into your online account , or call our Helpline and speak to one of our Helpline Advisors.

Learn more about choosing the right investment option for your needs


If you’re a savvy investor, you may want to take more control of how your super is invested through our Direct Investment option, which allows you to pick specific ASX300 shares, term deposits, or Exchange Traded Funds (EFTs) to invest in. On the other hand, if you’d prefer to have Media Super manage your investments for you, then our pre-mixed or single asset class investment options may be more suitable for you.

Consolidate your super

If you’ve worked multiple jobs or been a freelancer, chances are you have super in more than one fund. Each super account has fees attached to it, so if you have super in more than one place, you may be paying fees for multiple accounts unnecessarily. Over time, these fees can erode your super balance and have a negative impact on your retirement savings. In addition, your super account earns interest on the entirety of your balance—so if your super is split across multiple accounts and you’re paying extra fees, you may be missing out on earning greater interest.

Consolidating your super3 into a single account means you can stop paying multiple sets of fees, and benefit from the accumulated interest earned on your total super balance over time. You can consolidate your super easily online through the ‘Find my super’ tool .

Learn more about consolidating your super

Speak to a Helpline Advisor

Everyone’s financial position is different, and seeking more personalised advice can be a great way to discover the retirement planning strategies most suited to your lifestyle and financial situation. Media Super’s Helpline Advisors can provide limited advice on a number of topics related to retirement planning and help you understand your options.

Call our Helpline on 1800 640 886 to get started.

Whether you’re approaching retirement age, or still in the early stages of your career, there are a number of steps you can take now to set you up well for retirement.

Media Super offers a range of information and resources to support you in your retirement planning. Learn more about planning your retirement , or get in touch for more information and advice about your retirement options.

1 See The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia’s Retirement Standard for current rates and more information

2 Effective 3 July 2020. Payment rates are adjusted on 20 March and September each year.

3 Before making a decision to combine your superannuation, you should consider any costs, change to insurance cover or loss of benefits that may apply and, if necessary, consult a qualified financial adviser.