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How much money do I need to retire?

When I retire, will I have enough money to enjoy the retirement lifestyle I envision? It's a question many of us will need to ponder at one point.


It’s a question most of us will need to ponder at some stage in our lives.

When I retire, will I have enough money built up in superannuation and other savings to enjoy the sort of retirement lifestyle I want to have?

Working out how much superannuation you’ll have by the time you reach your intended retirement age is fairly easy.

There are lots of online retirement calculators that will do that for you once you enter in some basic personal information.

But these calculators have obvious limitations. They can’t accurately predict how much of your superannuation money you’re going to spend when you do retire, or how much income your accumulated savings will deliver.

New retirement savings research

That’s where some research released this month by Super Consumers Australia (SCA) attempts to provide some estimates.

It’s calculated a range of superannuation savings targets based on what individuals or couples expect they’ll need to spend once they do retire.

The assumptions assume you own your home outright by the time you retire, or don’t pay rent, and that you also receive a portion of the government Age Pension to supplement your superannuation savings income.

calculations are broken down into three retirement spending bands (low, medium, and high).

For example, it calculates that an individual wanting (or needing) to spend $44,000 per year will need $301,000 in savings by the time they reach age 65.

research is a general guide, and it requires individuals or couples to work out how much they’d like to spend in addition to any entitlement they have to receive the Age Pension.

Not everyone can qualify for the Age Pension. Whether you do or don’t depends on how much money and investments you have (outside of your home) and whether you earn additional income.

To find out more, you can check both the “assets test” and the “income test” on the federal government’s Services Australia website.

Currently, eligible individuals can receive up to $987.60 per fortnight ($25,678 per year) in Age Pension payments.

Couples can receive up to $744.40 each per fortnight ($38,709 per year).

Savings targets for pre-retirees, aged 55-59


Comparing with other data

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia’s Retirement Standard approaches retirement savings from a different angle, based on how much it estimates you’ll need to generate in income annually to live your preferred retirement lifestyle

It benchmarks quarterly the minimum annual cost of a comfortable or modest standard of living in retirement for singles and couples.

As at the end of the March 2022 quarter, it calculated that based on the cost of living a single person needed $46,494 a year to live a comfortable retirement and a couple needed $65,445.

To live a modest retirement, a single needed $29,632 a year and a couple $42,621.

The above figures don’t differentiate between whether the money you need per year comes from your superannuation savings, other investments, the Age Pension, or a combination.

At ASFA’s top level, to achieve a comfortable standard of living ($46,494 per year), a single person eligible for the full Age Pension ($25,678 per year) would need be able to generate around $20,000 per year from other investments.

Likewise, a couple eligible for the full $38,709 in Age Pension would need to generate around $27,000 per year from other investments to achieve a comfortable living standard based on $65,445 per year.

How you can do that ultimately comes down to your overall investment strategy, especially after you retire.

Keep in mind that any income earned on money you hold in superannuation, once it’s converted into an account-based pension, will be tax-free in retirement.

Staying financially active

Taking an active role in your investments, to ensure you have the best chance of protecting and growing your capital, is just as important in retirement as it is before you stop working.

For many retirees, low-risk assets such as cash and government-backed bonds are often seen as the safest ways of protecting capital over the long term.

Yet, depending on your broad retirement goals and tolerance for risk, putting all your eggs into one or two asset classes will most likely expose you to investment hazards over the long term.

That’s because asset classes perform differently from year to year. What you may see as a safe investment strategy today could easily become the opposite over time.

Investing across a range of asset classes during pension drawdown phase, including more volatile growth assets such as shares and listed property, will help smooth out poor returns from other asset classes from year to year.

While there’s no guarantee your retirement savings will last until you die, a diversified investment strategy will inevitably deliver steadier, tax-effective long-term returns.




Tony Kaye

Louise Laing

Louise founded Salus Private Wealth to offer high quality personal advice to clients who want to work closely with an adviser for the long term. Her philosophy that understanding each individual and their motivations and needs is key to an enduring and successful financial planning relationship is at the heart of the business.

She first engaged the services of a financial adviser herself when she was in her early 20s (long before becoming one) and believes the non-judgemental support and education about her position and options provided at this early stage has allowed her to make confident decisions in different aspects of life since then.

This confidence and positivity in making choices, financial or not, is what she wants to give to her clients.

Superannuation & Retirement

Superannuation is one of the largest and longest duration investments most people in Australia have, making it a critical part of long-term planning even if retirement feels like a distant objective. For those in the lead into retirement, we design strategies so you have peace of mind that when you start to draw on your retirement savings, you have liquidity and stability to support that.

Legislation and rules are changed regularly, so advice can help you take advantage of opportunities to build for the future. We are authorised to provide advice on and to SMSFs.

Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 8044 3057 or email us at


Protecting your wealth, lifestyle and family is high on the priority list for many clients and this is an area of advice need that can change very quickly. Ensuring you have the cover you need can give peace of mind that what’s important is taken care of in the event of illness, injury and death, but we also make sure over time you are not paying for cover you no longer need.

Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 8044 3057 or email us at

Estate Planning

While talking about death doesn’t seem like a particularly appealing prospect, it’s a topic we see as a vital part of financial planning. Importantly, it’s a topic for every adult, regardless of their stage in life. Without a proper estate plan assets may not be passed where you’d like them to go, family conflict can ensue, and in the event you lose capacity there may not be an authority in place for the person you would choose to make those decisions for you to do so. While it can be an uncomfortable subject, we are experienced in facilitating these conversations as part of our advice process.

Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 8044 3057 or email us at

Strategic Debt & Cashflow

Managing debt efficiently can have a material impact on your financial wellbeing and lifestyle. Having a solid plan to understand where your money goes and manage cashflow and debt can eliminate stress and set you on a positive path toward achieving your goals.

Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 8044 3057 or email us at


Once we have a clear understanding of what we are aiming for and how you feel about taking on investment risk, we can help direct your funds into appropriate investments to meet your goals. This includes recommending the investment structure, consideration of tax implications, asset types, and putting together a suitable blend for you. You will have transparency of and access to view your investments, providing security.

Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 8044 3057 or email us at

Aged Care

Aged care needs can arise suddenly. The complexity of managing this can be a significant challenge at a time when your focus should be on the person requiring care. We can assess the alternative funding options to ensure you make an informed choice in the best interests of the person requiring care.

Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 8044 3057 or email us at

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The Trustee for Laing Weaver Family Trust T/A Salus Private Wealth (Corporate Authorised Representative No. 1305571) and all our advisers are Authorised Representatives of Sambe Investments Pty Ltd T/A Finchley & Kent, Australian Financial Services Licence No. 478766, ABN 67 078 995 856, and has its registered office at Three International Towers, Level 24, Tower 3, 300 Barangaroo Avenue.

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Disclaimer: The information contained within the website is of a general nature only. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the material, The Trustee for Laing Weaver Family Trust T/A Salus Private Wealth and Sambe Investments Pty Ltd T/A Finchley & Kent will not bear responsibility or liability for any action taken by any person, persons or organisation on the purported basis of information contained herein. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, no person, persons or organisation should invest monies or take action on reliance of the material contained herein but instead should satisfy themselves independently of the appropriateness of such action.