It’s never too late to start planning for retirement

Retiring for good might not be on your agenda just yet. But no matter your current life stage, and what your future plans are, it’s never too early to start thinking about how you'll fund your post-work years.

Since 1990, the average life expectancy for Australians at birth has gone from 80 to 85 for women and from 74 to 81 years for males.* We’re living longer, which is good news. But it does mean we need to plan our finances accordingly, as many of us will spend more than a quarter of our lives retired.

So, where to start? Here’s 5 ways to begin preparing for your life after work: 

1. Explore how much income you might need when you wind-down work 

Everyone will have different income needs and will lead a different lifestyle in retirement. So it can be tricky to know exactly how much money you might need to fund a lifestyle you may not have started living yet! For some people, no longer working means slowing down and enjoying more time with loved ones. For others, it could mean new hobbies or doing all the big-ticket things you haven’t had time for, such as travelling overseas or buying a caravan and heading off around Australia.

A good starting point to work out how much you might need is the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia’s (ASFA) Retirement Standard. The Retirement Standard shows the estimated annual budget most Australians need to pay for either a ‘modest’ or ‘comfortable’ standard of living in retirement.

Use our Retirement income calculator to see how you’re tracking and to provide an estimate of your future income in retirement. 

2. Boost your super with extra contributions while you’re still working 

For many of us, our super nest egg will be our main source of income after we stop working. It’s never too late to give your super account a boost with extra contributions (and maybe reduce your tax bill while you’re at it). There are several different types of contributions you might be eligible to make or receive – including personal non-concessional contributions, salary sacrificing through your employer, the government’s co-contribution for lower income earners, or the Low-income super tax offset (LISTO) payment. 

To find out all about your contribution options, head to Super contribution types

3. Explore your retirement choices

When it comes to finding the right income solution for when you finish paid work, as a CareSuper member you have choices that will keep your super working hard for you. 

The right product choice for you will depend on whether:

  • You’re planning to transition to retirement (TTR) by winding down your work hours slowly 
  • You’d like to roll your super over to a pension account for full control of your income and investments without the stress of managing your money on your own, or 
  • You’d prefer the option of a guaranteed income 

Explore your choices at Retirement

4. Create a post-work budget

Carefully managing your money is important no matter what stage of life you’re at. But when you’re no longer working, it becomes even more critical as your sources of income may be fixed — and life, as we know, never stops surprising us.

Creating a budget for your retirement years now will give you an idea of how much you’ll need per year to live your ideal lifestyle. The MoneySmart Budget Planner is a handy tool to help you work out where your money is going, and whether your income will cover your expenses.

Calculate your retirement income
Our Retirement Income Calculator can provide an estimate of your future income and help you understand the actions you can take today to achieve your desired lifestyle.

5. Seek financial advice for support  

When it comes to retirement planning, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. We offer members a range of advice choices so you can access the type of support you need, when you need it. From general advice about your super over the phone at no-extra cost to you,# to comprehensive advice that explores your whole financial situation, including any other assets you have outside super, your debts and financial goals,** we’re always here to help. You can find out more about our advice offering and book a call-back with a financial planner here.

Information correct as at 14 November 2023.

* Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2021, November). Life tables 2018 – 2020.
# Financial advice obtained over the phone, or through MemberOnline, is provided by Mercer Financial Advice (Australia) Pty Ltd (MFAAPL) ABN 76 153 168 293, Australian Financial Services Licence #411766.
** Advice is provided by one of our financial planners who are Authorised Representatives of Industry Funds Services Limited (IFS). IFS is responsible for any advice given to you by its Authorised Representatives. Industry Fund Services Limited ABN 54 007 016 195 AFSL 232514.