How Much Super Should I Have? Average Superannuation Balance by Age Revealed

…And so the time has come where, for one reason or another, you’ve begun to pay attention to your super and are wondering where you stand in the grand scheme of retirement savings.

Are you lagging behind, or are you ahead of the curve? Well, let’s find out…

How Much Super Should I Have?

The amount of superannuation you should have is a culmination of the contributions made into your super account, fees deducted from your account and the investment earnings within your account.

Contributions made into your super account may consist of employer contributions, salary sacrifice contributions, or personal (deductible or non-deductible) contributions.

Investment earnings are allocated to your member balance, based on the income derived and the capital gains achieved from your superannuation investment portfolio.

Fees within your account may be payable to your superannuation provider for administration and compliance. You may also be paying other fees, such as fees to a financial planner for strategic and investment advice relating to your super.

How to Manage Your Super Without Paying a Financial Adviser

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Average Super Balance By Age

The chart below illustrates the average super balance by age for men and women. Comparing your balance against the average can give you an indication as to where your balance stands compared to your compatriots.

In reality, the amount of super you should have is much greater than the average super balances shown in the chart above and the table below. If you were to merely track along with the average Australian super balances, you would be a far-cry from enjoying a comfortable retirement.

How Much Super Should I Have At My Age?

The amount of super you should have at your age depends on the age you intend on retiring at and how much super you are relying on to meet your retirement income objectives.

While comparing your super balance against other people your age does provide you with some indication of how you are placed, such a comparison is irrelevant in helping you achieve your retirement goals.

You are an individual with specific and unique objectives and desires. There are a myriad of factors that determine how much super you should have at your current age, such as your salary, whether you are an employee or self-employed and whether you have a bias to building wealth either inside or outside of super; to name a few. This is why it’s important to not be overly concerned with how much super you should have at a given age.

But, if you insist on correlating how much super you should have at your age with the average superannuation balance by age, then the table below can be used as a guide.

AgeMaleFemale
15 to 19 years$382594
20 to 24 years$5,924$5,022
25 to 29 years$23,712$19,107
30 to 34 years$43,583$33,748
35 to 39 years$64,590$48,874
40 to 44 years$99,959$61,922
45 to 49 years$145,076$87,543
50 to 54 years$172,126$99,520
55 to 59 years$237,022$123,642
60 to 64 years$270,710$157,049
70 to 74 years$214,030$109,831
75 to 79 years $102,647$51,880
80 to 84 years$58,827$31,372
85 years and over$15,778$13,038

Source: ‘Superannuation account balances by age and gender’, AFSA Research and Resource Centre.

Related article:  At What Age Can I Access My Super?

How Much Super Should I Have at 30?

Who cares how much super you should have at 30? The average male 30-year old will have about $33,000 in super and the average female will have about $26,000. But if you’re 30-years old and worried about how much you should have in super, then you need to get a life. Please do not invite me to any of your parties (Party (noun); a social gathering of invited guests, typically involving eating, drinking and entertainment).

How Much Super Should I Have at 40?

By the time you’ve reached 40, you’ve probably questioned your choice of profession at least a dozen times, you may have even switched careers by now. But one thing is certain, you are still many years away from being able to access your super. So, stop thinking about retirement and start thinking about how to lead a more fulfilling life between now and then.

A 40-year old female in Australia will have around $55,000 in super and a 40-year old male will average $82,000 in super.

How Much Super Should I Have at 50?

Okay, so now is about the age where it’s time to start getting serious about your super. You’re probably at or around your peak career earnings, your kids have flown the coop and your savings capacity is at an all time high. It’s time to escalate your investments for your impending retirement.

The average super balance for 50-year old men is $158,000 and $93,531 for women. But realistically that means bugger all. What’s really important is that you have your own personal financial plan in place and you know exactly where you’re going and how you’re going to get there financially.

How Much Super Should I Have at 60?

If you’re 60, you’ve arrived! It’s time to push back that colonoscopy appointment and check-in with your super, because as soon as you blow out those 60 candles there are dozens of doorways that open for your super. Whether you’re working full-time, part-time or not at all, there will be at least one way you can begin using super to your advantage. Don’t delay, super strategies can be very beneficial between the ages of 60 and 65 and, believe me, you want to get onto it as soon as possible.

A female aged 60 in Australia will have an average super balance of $140,000 and a male age 60 will have around $254,000, but I know you can do better. That’s why you’re here, right? You want to learn the tips to boosting your super. Well, come on in!

Average Super Balance At Retirement

What is retirement? The retirement definition is evolving. Gone are the days of working with the same company for 35-years, then hanging up the boots and getting your gold watch. Retirement now involves reducing working hours, transitioning to retirement, accessing a bit of super here and there, doing some casual or consulting work on the side and then finally, eventually stopping work all together.

Because of these varied definitions of retirement, it is difficult to pinpoint an average super balance at retirement. But, if we agreed that, say, age 65 was a retirement age, then the average super balance at retirement is $270,000 for men and $157,000 for women.

Related article: Using Your Super to Pay Debt

How Much Super Should I Have To Retire?

The amount of super you should have to retire is determined by three factors:

  1. The income you require your super to provide you with in retirement;
  2. The number of years you need your super to provide you with a retirement income; and
  3. The level of risk you are willing to accept with your super investments.

Your first step is to use a retirement calculator to determine how much super you expect to have a retirement. You then want to calculate how much income that super balance can provide you with throughout retirement. This is your starting point.

From there, you should then see how working longer, retiring sooner, increasing/decreasing retirement income or increasing/decreasing investment risk affects your retirement income and the longevity of your balance.

Retirement research shows that a couple requires $640,000 (combined) in superannuation and a single person needs $545,000 to enjoy a comfortable retirement.

A comfortable retirement lifestyle is defined as an income of $62,828 p.a. for couples and $44,412 p.a. for singles (increasing with CPI), including expenses such as leisure activities, a good standard of living, private health insurance, a reasonable car and electronic equipment, as well as domestic and international travel.

Source: AFSA Research and Resource Centre, AFSA Retirement Standard 2018. 

Related article: How much super do I need to retire? 

How Much Super Should I Be Paid?

An employer is required to make superannuation guarantee (SG) payments to employees on at least a quarterly basis. The current SG rate is 10% of your pre-tax salary or wage. For example, if your annual wage is $80,000, you should receive employer contributions of $8,000 for that year.

Related article: Superannuation Employer Contributions

What Can I Do To Boost My Super?

There are a number of ways to boost your super. This can be done through additional super contributions, reviewing your superannuation investments or reducing your super fund fees.

Types of additional contributions include salary sacrifice contributions, personal concessional contributions and personal non-concessional contributions.

It’s important to seek advice to ensure you are making the right type of contributions to meet your needs and that you stay within the contribution limits.

Hi, I hope you enjoyed reading this article.

If you want my team and I to help with your retirement planning, click here.

If you prefer a DIY approach, then check out the SuperGuy HUB.

Thanks for stopping by - Chris

20 Comments

  1. Bonnie Honeywill

    I have not worked for 2yrs due to Major Relapse M.S. I have worked fulltime since I finished school.I am 55yrs and don’t know what my super will look like!!!

    Reply
  2. Tony Powell

    Hi Chris, I’m 60 in 2021, for one reason or another I only have 90k in super, I have a mortgage of 160k and earn 60k pa.

    I work in a not for profit organization, so salary package 16,900pa.

    I was thinking of setting up a the pension to go directly off my mortgage, then make eqivelant contributions back to super.

    Is this or similar strategy a way of increasing my super and paying extra off my mortgage.

    I intend to work until at least 70

    Reply
    • Chris Strano

      Hi Tony,
      There are many financially beneficial strategies available to you, especially once you reach age 60. Done correctly, a transition to retirement pension is one strategy that can allow you to salary sacrifice into super, while drawing a tax-free income from super (after 60), effectively reducing tax payable, but potentially receiving the same net income.
      Alternatively, either salary sacrificing only (no pension) OR starting a pension only (no salary sacrifice) could work better.
      The best strategy for you will depend on what you would like to achieve and when.
      Regards,
      Chris
      Related Articles
      How Does a Transition to Retirement Pension Work?

      Reply
  3. Dave johnston

    A bit of advice to readers of this article,don’t take any notice of this clowns advice.Start from a young age and salary sacrifice as much as you can.You can always vary the amount you salary sacrifice. You can increase it or stop it any time you like.Over time let compounding work for you.I’m 55 and I’ve got almost a million dollars in super and I’m just a blue collar worker.

    Reply
    • Chris Strano

      Dave, thank you for your comments and advice to readers of the article.

      A small disclaimer: while I do like to crack the odd joke and can juggle, I do not possess the full range of skills required to be a clown. I have also never engaged in the occupation of a clown (formally or informally) and I think it is an insult to clowns worldwide to suggest I would be capable of doing so. However, with a head like mine, a bit of make-up wouldn’t go astray.

      In relation to super, you are spot on! Regular savings from a young age invested and compounded tax-effectively within super can put you in an excellent position come retirement. You are living proof! This article doesn’t say you shouldn’t do this. The message I was trying to get across is to not be concerned about comparing your balance against the average when you are young, because everyone’s circumstances are different. In fact, the running theme through the whole article is that you shouldn’t be comparing yourself against the average at any age. The average will not give you a comfortable retirement. Also, some people who are many years from retirement would prefer to invest outside super, so they retain access to their investments if needed before retirement. Everyone has different goals, which is why we’re all so awesome.
      Regards,
      Chris
      Honk honk toot toot

      Reply
    • Garry Mogg

      Why are you calling Chris a CLOWN. He is Spot on and so are you. As far as I can see, you are both saying the same thing? Salary Sac as much, and as often as you can

      Reply
        • Ras

          Hey mate,
          But I feel investing in property is more profitable than super!

          Reply
          • Chris Strano

            Hi Ras, contrary to popular belief, superannuation is not actually an investment – it is simply a trust that offers tax concessions provided certain conditions are met. It is in fact possible to invest into property within a super fund.
            Related article
            What is Superannuation?
            What Can I Invest My Super In?

  4. Muli Lata

    Well done Chris its very sad to hear the individual says such comments because I wonder if his kids listen to him my point is to the individual please do your own super class if you’re that good.The super guy hub is designed for everyone where ever you are on your super right now either pick up your game or just cruise along if you’re on track but after watching 60 minutes and current affairs that’s why I’m so proud of your work(The Super Guy)you make everyone understand in plain English and very easy to understand,cheers

    Reply
    • Chris Strano

      Muli, thank you very much for your kind words and for taking the time to write this comment.
      I’m glad to hear you are getting value from your SuperGuy HUB membership.
      Much appreciated,
      Chris

      Reply
  5. Thisbe

    Sad to read Dave Johnston’s remark to Chris Strano. I have just started reading Chris’s article for a few months. They are very useful and valuable . Chris has done his best to make a complicated topic into a simple one for average person to understand. His strategies work. I can only show my utmost respect to Chris. Thank you so much. Keep on the good work. I enjoy it and learnt a lot.

    Reply
    • Chris Strano

      Thank you for your comments Thisbe. I am happy that you continue to get value from the content and I appreciate you taking the time to write this.
      Take care,
      Chris

      Reply
  6. David Shoff

    Hi Chris, I need your advice. I am 65 years old and own a house whose price is 140 k but I got only 60k super in total. Can you suggest to me what should I do to increase my super or any other advice through which I can pay this amount?

    Reply
    • Chris Strano

      Hi David,
      Are you still working? I’m not exactly sure of your question. Is the home valued at $140k or the home loan?
      If you are looking for personal advice, please feel free to make a complimentary 15-minute appointment with our financial planning firm, Toro Wealth, by making an appointment here.
      Chris

      Reply
  7. Simon Finniecome

    Hi Chris
    Great site.
    Just signed up. My wife and I are 59. We both work 100k per year. Salary sacrifice fully.
    Is there still an advantage for Transition to Retirement after 60 if we both plan to work to 64.
    If we start to Transition to Retirement does this limit the amount we can put in super till 64? (ie 1.7 mil cap)
    Thanks
    Finn

    Reply
    • Chris Strano

      Hey Finn,
      Thanks! And thanks for signing up!
      A TTR pension is designed to supplement work-related income when a persona reduces working hours. It is also used as a tax-effective strategy, whereby salary sacrifice contributions are made to super and then tax-free income is drawn from a TTR pension to replace it. This is typically beneficial for people over age 60 only, but can benefit people under 60 in some instances. If a person can maximise salary sacrifice contributions and still cover living expenses, then there is arguably no need for a TTR pension, because they have adequate income for their needs. However, using a TTR pension to commence a recontribution strategy can be very beneficial despite not needing the income; but waiting until closer to 60 would probably be best. Whether your super is in TTR pension, accumulation phase or an account based pension, does not change the assessment of your ability to make non-concessional contributions to super based on the $1.7M cap. All are treated equally. If you ever decide you would like personal advice, please feel free to get in touch with us at Toro Wealth.
      Regards,
      Chris

      Reply
  8. Coco

    Hi Chris,

    I am a clown. I have $1m in my retirement fund which I got through juggling a few things. My son says I should retire but he will have big boots to fill if he thinks he’s taking over from me.

    What do you mean by a ‘comfortable retirement’? Currently I live in a tent and, not to toot my own horn or anything, I have pulled myself up by my own suspenders. I don’t want to end up with custard on my face if I pull the pin.

    Reply
    • Chris Strano

      Haha.. love it! Thanks for the laugh Coco!

      Reply

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