September 2014 living standards

For a modest lifestyle (better than a Government pension but fairly simple living), the annual guidelines are now $23,489 for a single or $33,784 for a couple. For a more comfortable lifestyle, the estimates are $42,597 for a single and $58,326 for a couple. This equates to about $510,000 in super for a comfortable lifestyle as a couple or $430,000 for a single.

These overall benchmarked costs of retirement have increased about two per cent over the year to the September 2014 quarter. This increase may not seem dramatic, but when you are reliant on a pension and retirement savings, you may have little room to move, and increased expenses can have quite an impact.

Beneath these headline figures are larger increases across the year, such as 4.7% for health and 3.5% for food and beverages, and small decreases for other expenses such as energy and clothing.

So how much do you need?

If you take the relevant annual figure and multiply it by the number of years* you expect to be in retirement, you will get a rough idea of how much super you need to have when you retire.

The full break down of these estimates is available on the ASFA website, along with a simple calculator to show how much you may need according to your marital status and which state you live in.

What does this mean for you?

It may mean you need more super than you thought – consolidating other accounts into one, making personal contributions and salary sacrificing are ways to increase super. This could be a good reason to contact our Member Advice Consultants for some personal advice, too.


* You can use the Australian Bureau of Statistics life tables for an idea of your life expectancy.

Phone 1300 128 751 (Local call)