New research finds majority of Australian retirees exhaust their super savings
New research has found that Australians are burning out their super savings, making a strong argument for the need to raise the super guarantee, according to ASFA.
A new research paper released by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) found that the bulk of Australians exhaust their superannuation in retirement and leave no superannuation when they pass away.
Using ATO and APRA data and previously unpublished Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey results, ASFA said its research found that the proportion of the population with superannuation drops sharply with increasing age.
“Eighty per cent of people aged 60 and over who died in the period 2014 to 2018 had no super at all in the period of up to four years before their death, and for those aged 80-plus, over 90 per cent had no super in the four-year period before their death,” the report said.
The research found that for the age 80-plus group, only 5 per cent had more than $110,000 in superannuation in the period of up to four years before their death, and in the case of those who died aged 60 to 69, less than half had any super at all.
Further, men are more likely to have superannuation than women. For those who died in the period 2014 to 2018, only 15 per cent of females aged 60-plus at death had any superannuation compared to around 25 per cent of men.
“We don’t have a systemic problem with retirees underspending or bequeathing their super — quite the opposite. The majority of Australian retirees run out of super well before the end of their lives,” ASFA CEO Dr Martin Fahy said.
“According to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australia has one of the highest life expectancies in the world at 80.9 years for males and 85 years for females in 2017–19.
“Sadly, this new data indicates that 90 per cent of Australian retirees aged over 80 had no superannuation in their final years. The situation is much worse for women. Eighty-five per cent of women who passed away, aged 60 and above, didn’t have any super left at all.
“The main challenge for the Australian superannuation system is to deliver higher superannuation balances at retirement. The solution for ensuring adequacy of retirement incomes is moving the superannuation guarantee to 12 per cent.”
Tony Zhang is a journalist at Accountants Daily, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the accounting sector.
Since joining the Momentum Media team in 2020, Tony has written for a range of its publications including Lawyers Weekly, Adviser Innovation, ifa and SMSF Adviser. He has been full-time on Accountants Daily since September 2021.