Cost of living hitting retirees, says ASFA

Single retirees will need to save more for retirement, with housing-related costs causing further strains on budgets over the September quarter, according to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).

Figures from ASFA indicate single retirees have faced the greatest increase in costs over the quarter, with expenditure for a ‘modest’ retirement lifestyle increasing by 1.7 per cent on the previous quarter, to reach $23,032 a year.

Singles saving for a ‘comfortable’ retirement will now need to spend $41,830 a year and have a super balance of $430,000 after expenditure increased 1.5 per cent on the previous quarter.

“This quarter’s substantial increase in the cost of items such as electricity, petrol, council and water rates have the potential to hit retirees hard, as they often have less flexibility in their budgets to accommodate additional expenditure in areas where there is less discretionary choice,” ASFA chief executive Pauline Vamos said.

“Likewise, expenditure on health services and food often make up a large portion of retirees’ budgets, so it’s encouraging to see prices in this area have remained fairly stable this quarter,” she said.

Expenditure for couples seeking a ‘modest’ retirement increased by 1.5 per cent to $33,120 per year.

The budget needed for couples wanting a ‘comfortable’ retirement also increased by 1.4 per cent to $57,195 a year, requiring a joint superannuation balance of around $510,000.

The estimates were based on the assumption that neither one of the couple retires before qualifying for the age pension, and that both receive at least a part age pension during retirement.

Ms Vamos said the figures highlighted the importance of policy makers taking into account “the different spending patterns of retirees when looking at the impact of inflation on the cost of living for this group”.

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