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‘Outrageous Amount’: Research says $1.6m

The average Australian believes they need $1.6 million saved for a comfortable retirement, according to research from Colonial First State (CFS). Findings from ‘The CFS Rethinking Retirement Report 2024’ show the number jumps to $2 million for those who have never received financial advice. 

“It is an outrageous amount, and I was shocked,” Heart Financial Advisers Principal Adviser Stu Varidel, who is a Chartered Retirement Specialist. 

Stu Varidel suggested that it was confused with the transfer balance cap, the limit on the amount of superannuation that can be transferred to the retirement phase. “I can’t see any other reason, it’s such a big and arbitrary number,” he said. 

Stu noted that compared to the ASFA (Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia) retirement standard, which recommends a super balance of $690,000 for a comfortable retirement for couples, the CFS survey findings demonstrated a general lack of comprehension of how much is needed. 

“$1.6 million is an extraordinary sum and it reflects that non-advised consumers just don’t have a good understanding of what actually is needed to retire and how to navigate the retirement system,” he said. 

CFS findings reflect a genuine concern about the cost of living, longevity risk and the desire for intergenerational wealth transfer. The research found most Australians have concerns about retirement and are clearly afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. Respondents were asked about what question they were most afraid or embarrassed to ask with the most common response being “how much money do I need to retire”. 

The research found advised Australians are also more likely than unadvised Australians to be enjoying their retirement, with 77% of advised retirees stating they enjoyed retirement compared to only 22% who never received advice. 

Additionally, advised Australians are twice as likely as unadvised Australians to retire at a time of their choosing. 

“The research reinforces that everyone needs retirement advice and doing it alone is thwart with risk & stress” he said. 

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