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Setting Your Superannuation Goals: How and Where to Start

January 20, 2023 | Superannuation

What is Super and Why is It Important? 

Super refers to the retirement income system in Australia that is financed through mandatory contributions from a person’s employer, additional voluntary contributions from the employee, and government funds in some cases. It is short for ‘superannuation’, a word which means ‘beyond retirement’. 

Super is compulsory for the Australian workforce. Employers are required by law to regularly pay 10.5% of their employee’s wages to their chosen superannuation fund – these are called superannuation guarantee contributions. SGC rates are set to rise again to 11% on 1 July 2023. Employees can also contribute up to $27,500 from before-tax dollars or $110,000 from after-tax dollars per year to their super. 

Having a super account has a number of advantages: 

First, it can provide you with a valuable retirement income stream, which can supplement other sources of income such as the age pension.  

Second, super can be used to help you save for other goals such as a first home deposit or a comfortable retirement 

Third, superannuation accounts offer tax benefits, which can help to boost your savings.  

Finally, most superannuation funds offer a range of investment options, which can provide you with the opportunity to grow your savings over time. 

How Much Super Should I Have By My Age?  

You may be wondering how much super you need to save up for, especially as you approach retirement age. The answer depends on a number of factors, including your age, your lifestyle, and your retirement goals. You can use an online calculator to work out the exact amount based on these factors.  

If you’re in your 20s or 30s, you may think you do not need to worry too much about having super just yet. However, it’s never too early to start saving for your future! 

If you’re in your 40s or 50s, it is wise to start thinking harder about how much you’ll need to have saved in order to comfortably retire. A good rule of thumb is to allow for two-thirds (67%) of your annual pre-retirement income to maintain the same standard of living in retirement. 

Based on figures by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) released in March 2022, the average super balances of Australians across different age groups and genders are as follows1

 25-29 Years Old 30-34 Years Old 40-44 Years Old 45-49 Years Old 50-54 Years Old 55-59 Years Old 60-64 Years Old 
Average$23,474 $46,708 $106,900 $143,908$185,960 $247,968 $324,525 
Male$25,173 $51,175$121,119 $165,587 $214,795 $286,283 $359,870 
Female$21,774 $42,240 $92,680 $122,228 $157,124 $209,653 $289,179 

Of course, the amount you’ll need to have saved will also depend on your retirement goals. If you want to travel or pursue hobbies in retirement, you’ll need to have more savings than if you’re content to stay at home and live a modest lifestyle. No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to start saving for retirement. 

Get Started in Setting Your Super Goals

Figure out what you want to achieve. 

There’s no time like the present to start setting your superannuation goals. Whether you’re planning to retire early or just want to make sure you have enough to live comfortably in retirement, setting some clear goals can help you stay on track. 

The first step is to figure out what you want to achieve. For example: 

  • Do you want to retire as soon as possible? 
  • Do you want to make sure you have enough to cover your costs in retirement? 
  • Do you want to relocate once you retire? 

Once you know what you want to achieve, you can start setting some realistic goals. 

Think about how much money you’ll need to have saved to achieve your desired lifestyle in retirement. If you’re not sure, there are plenty of online calculators that can help you estimate how much you’ll need. Once you have a target figure in mind, start setting some regular savings goals. 

If you’re already saving for retirement, take a look at how your current savings are performing. Are you on track to reach your goals, or do you need to make some changes?  

If you’re not on track, consider increasing your contributions, looking for ways to boost your investment returns or moving to a more competitive super fund. 

 By taking some time to set your super goals, you can ensure you’re well on your way to a comfortable retirement. 

Visualise Your Desired Retirement Lifestyle 

When it comes to retirement, people imagine their perfect lifestyle differently. For some, it may be travelling in their caravan and seeing new places. For others, it may be spending more time with family and friends. For others still, it may be simply having more time to pursue hobbies and interests. 

No matter what your desired retirement lifestyle looks like, it’s important to start planning and saving for it now. The earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to let your money grow and compound, and the more likely you are to achieve your retirement goals. 

So take some time to visualise your ideal retirement lifestyle.  

  • What does it look like?  
  • What activities do you want to be able to do?  
  • What kind of lifestyle do you want to be able to afford?  

Once you have a clear picture in your mind, you can start working towards making it a reality. 

Check Your Super Position  

 The end of the financial year and calendar year are good times to check your superannuation position. This will help you keep on track to meet your retirement goals. 

These are a few important things to check: 

How much money do you have in your super account?  

This will give you an idea of how much you need to contribute to reach your desired retirement income. 

How are your investments performing?  

It helps to understand how your money is growing and whether you are on track to reach your goals. 

What fees and charges are you paying?  

This will ensure that you are not paying too much in fees and that your money is working hard for you. 

What insurance cover do you have?  

Check whether you have enough coverage in case of illness or injury. 

Looking into your super position regularly helps give you peace of mind that you are securing your finances when you reach retirement. 

Identify the Gaps and Strategise an Action Plan  

If you’re like most people, you probably have some gaps in your superannuation position. Maybe you’ve been self-employed for a while and haven’t been able to make regular contributions, or maybe you’ve had a few jobs and haven’t been able to keep track of your various super accounts. Whatever the reason, it’s important to identify the gaps in your superannuation position and strategise an action plan to close them. 

The first step is to figure out how much you need to contribute to reach your desired retirement savings goal. This will give you a target to work towards.  

To have a better understanding of where you are now and your goals at retirement, you can do the following:  

Use a superannuation calculator.  

This will help you to see how much super you’ll have when you retire and how much you need to contribute each year to reach your targets. 

Speak to a financial adviser.  

A financial adviser will be able to help you understand your current situation and make recommendations on how to improve your superannuation position. 

Once you know how much you need to contribute, you can start looking at ways to close the gaps in your superannuation position, such as: 

Making catch-up contributions.  

If you’ve been self-employed or have had a break in employment, making additional contributions to your super account may help you to get back on track. 

Consolidating your super accounts.  

If you’ve had a few jobs, you may have multiple superannuation accounts. This can make it confusing and difficult to track your contributions. By consolidating your accounts, you can make it easier to manage your super and keep watch on your progress towards your goal. 

Investing your super in different ways. 

There are many ways to invest your superannuation, including in shares, property, bonds, and other investments. It’s important to choose an investment strategy that is appropriate for your age, risk tolerance, and financial goals. 

Whatever action you take, it is important to make sure that you are consistent with your contributions and that you review your situation regularly to ensure that you are always on track. 

Conduct a Super Review 

Conducting a superannuation review can be a daunting task. But it’s important to do one at least once per year to ensure your retirement savings are on track, for several reasons.  

A super review will help you: 

  • Identify any changes or developments that may require your attention. 
  • Assess whether you are getting the benefits that you expected from your superannuation savings. 
  • Make any necessary changes to your superannuation arrangements. 
  • Identify any opportunities to reduce your overall superannuation costs. 
  • Address whether there have been any legislative or regulatory changes that might impact your strategy. 

There are a few key things to keep in mind when conducting a review: 

First, take a close look at your investment mix and make sure it’s still appropriate for your goals and risk tolerance. You may need to make some adjustments if your circumstances have changed. 

Next, check the performance of your super fund investments. Are they meeting your expectations? If not, you may want to consider a different investment mix or superannuation fund. 

Finally, review your contribution level and make sure you’re still on track to reach your retirement savings goals. If you need to, make adjustments to ensure you’re on track. 

Superannuation Review: Why Does It Matter?  

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think about your superannuation very often. But it’s important to conduct a regular review of your superannuation to make sure you’re still on track to provide yourself with the retirement income you want.  

So don’t put it off – review your super today

With a healthy super balance, you can achieve your retirement goals – whatever they may be, and live your best life. 

Are you looking for specialist superannuation advice from a professional financial adviser? Coastal Advice Group is here to help you achieve your dreams and goals. We have offices located in Newcastle, the Central CoastSydneyPort Macquarie, and Byron BayCall us or book online to secure your first appointment with us today and get started! 

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