Plan for Retirement

A little bit of planning can help you get the most out of your retirement.

Retirement starts with you

Whether your retirement is far away or just around the corner, start planning the retirement that's right for you today.

We all have different dreams and goals for retirement, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to planning for your future.

When planning for your retirement, there are many factors to consider, including your lifestyle, income, and general health and well-being.

The ASFA Retirement Standard estimates how much singles and couples will need to fund a comfortable or modest standard of living in retirement, compared to the Age Pension. These figures assume you own your home outright and are relatively healthy.

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How much do I need to retire?

According to the most recent ASFA Retirement Standard (2023), you’ll need the following amount to have a comfortable retirement if you retired at age 67:

Comfortable lifestyle for a couple: $690,000

Comfortable lifestyle for a single person: $595,000

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Is your house the key to your retirement?

Simplify and secure your future with a downsizer contribution.

Need some help?

How much will I need each year in retirement?

As you move through retirement, your needs will likely change. According to the ASFA Retirement Standard (December quarter 2023, national), here’s how much you may spend each year:

If you're aged 65-84 now
Modest lifestyle each year Comfortable lifestyle each year
Single $32,665.66 $51,278.30
Couple $46,994.28 $72,148.19
If you're aged 85 now
Modest lifestyle each year Comfortable lifestyle each year
Single $30,417.12 $48,074.77
Couple $43,523.83 $66,455.12
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Compare my spend

Investigate how much you’re likely to spend during your retirement.

Three older women sitting around a table overlooking a garden, smiling and drinking wine

Compare my spend

Investigate how much you’re likely to spend during your retirement.

Compare a modest and comfortable retirement lifestyle with the Age Pension.

The comparison table below from ASFA gives you an idea of the lifestyle differences between a comfortable and modest retirement and living on the Age Pension.

Comfortable Retirement Modest Retirement Age Pension
Home repairs, updates and maintenance to kitchen and bathroom appliances over 20 years. Limited budget for home repairs, household appliances. Struggle to pay for repairs, such as leaky roofs or major plumbing problem.
Regular professional haircuts. Budget haircuts. Less frequent haircuts or self-haircuts.
Confidence to use air conditioning in the home, afford all utilities. Need to keep a close watch on all utility costs and make sacrifices. Limited budget for home heating in winter.
Occasional restaurant meals, home-delivery meals, take-away coffee. Limited meals out at inexpensive restaurants, infrequent home-delivery or take-away. Only local club special meals or inexpensive take-away.
Fast reliable internet/telco subscription, computer/android mobile/streaming services. Basic mobile, modest internet data allowance. Very basic mobile and limited internet connectivity.
Replace worn-out clothing and footwear items, modest wardrobe updates. Limited budget to replace or update worn items. Very basic clothing and footwear budget.
Annual domestic trip to visit family, one overseas trip every seven years. Annual domestic trip or a few short breaks. Occasional short break or day trip in your own city.
Top level private health insurance, doctor/specialist visits, pharmacy/needs. Basic private health insurance, limited gap payments. No private health insurance.
Own a reasonable car, car insurance and maintenance/upkeep. Owning a cheaper older, more basic car. Limited budget to own, maintain or repair a car.
Regular leisure activities including club membership, cinema visits, exhibitions, dance/yoga classes. Infrequent leisure activities, occasional trip to the cinema. Rare trips to the cinema.

Are you on track for the retirement you want?

Try the MoneySmart Retirement Planner to work how much you’re likely to have at retirement and how long your super may last you.

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When can you access your super?

Different rules apply for different types of super.

Generally, you can access your super once you reach preservation age (or meet another condition of release) and retire.

Read more about preservation age and how you can access your super.

Once eligible, you can access your super as a regular income stream (a pension), a lump sum or a combination of both. It’s your choice.

Read more about our pension options.

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Access to your super with a transition to retirement strategy

Under the transition to retirement rules, you may be able to access your super while you’re still working. With our Transition Pension, you can use a transition to retirement strategy to boost your super savings, ease into retirement by working less or access some of your super early.

Types of super

While all the money in your super account is considered ‘super’, there are different kinds of super that make up your balance.

Preserved super

Most of your super will likely be ‘preserved super’. This is super that can only be accessed once you meet a condition of release and retire.

Restricted non-preserved super

You may be able to access this portion of your super before your preservation age if you meet certain conditions, such as leaving your employer.

Unrestricted non-preserved super

You don’t need to meet a condition of release and can withdraw this portion at any time.

Read more about preservation age and how you can access your super.

Need some help?

The Age Pension

There are a few sources of income you might access in your retirement. This includes a pension from your super savings, income from other savings or investments, and the government Age Pension.

To be eligible for the Age Pension, you need to meet a range of requirements, including:

  • reaching Age Pension age (this is different from the preservation age that applies to super)
  • not exceeding the upper limits of the income test and assets test
  • being an Australian resident, usually for at least 10 years.

Your super balance will be a consideration for your eligibility for the Age Pension and other government pension entitlements.

To find, estimate and compare the payments and services you may be eligible for, use the Centrelink Payment and Service Finder.

Retirement Essentials: Extra help for getting your Age Pension application sorted

Retirement Essentials is an organisation set up to help you apply for the Age Pension. Their licenced team of experts offer different levels of support including:

  • Free Age Pension eligibility calculator.
  • Centrelink application concierge service. This helps with filling in forms and applying for the Age Pension. The cost of this service will vary between $296 and $850 based on the complexity of the application1.
  • Seniors health card application support. The cost of this service will vary between $196 and $346 based on the complexity of the application1.

Visit the Retirement Essentials website for more information.

1If you use this service, you will make your payment directly to Retirement Essentials and not to Spirit Super. Retirement Essentials is a service provided by Retirement Essentials Pty Ltd. Retirement Essentials Pty Ltd is a separate and independent entity to Spirit Super and Spirit Super will not be responsible for the nature or quality of services provided by Retirement Essentials Pty Ltd.

Spirit Super has no involvement in the provision of the above services and is not responsible for the nature or quality of those services. Spirit Super does not recommend or endorse the above services or receive any financial benefit if you choose to use these services. Members who choose to use any of the above services do so at their own risk based on their own enquiries and on the terms and conditions, including as to your privacy, on which those services are provided by the third party to the member. Spirit Super respects your privacy and does not supply your personal details to these third-party service providers. Please contact Spirit Super on 1800 005 166 or write to GPO Box 1547, Hobart TAS 7001 if you have any questions or concerns.

Age Pension payment rates

The Age Pension has different payment rates for single people and couples. The amount you receive (if any) will depend on the outcome of your income test and assets test. See the current Age Pension payment rates.

Your Centrelink schedule

Your Centrelink Schedule is used by Centrelink to assess your income stream and calculate your Age Pension entitlements. To view and download your Centrelink Schedule, log in to Member Online.

Webinars and seminars

Join us online or in person as our Education Specialists break down Centrelink jargon and even touch on how to apply for a Centrelink pension.

Questions about the Age Pension?

If you have questions about the Age Pension, you can get in touch with a Centrelink Financial Information Service Officer.

Life in retirement

You’ve worked hard for your retirement; now it’s time to enjoy it. Retirement can bring the opportunity to shift your focus, find a new passion, or rediscover old dreams.

Your Spirit Super account

Our pension accounts are designed to be flexible to suit your retirement needs. You decide how often you receive pension payments and how much (subject to the minimum limits set by the government).

To make sure your account is set up for your needs, you should regularly review your:

  • account details, like your contact information
  • payment frequency and amount
  • beneficiaries
  • investment strategy
  • account balance.
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An older man and woman sitting on their couch shaking hands with a man in a suit

Estate Planning

Planning for your future doesn’t end with super. Take the opportunity to put in place and regularly review your:

  • will
  • powers of attorney
  • estate plan.

If your super outlives you, it's important to let us know where it should go so it can go on supporting your family even after you've gone. Read more about nominating your beneficiaries or download our Reversionary beneficiary nomination form.

Centrelink and government entitlements

Your entitlement for government benefits may change over time. You can apply for your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (if you’re eligible) and explore other Centrelink entitlements.

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Your lifestyle

Your mental and physical health play a big part in shaping your retirement.

Stay healthy and active

Eat for Health provides advice about the amount and kinds of foods we need to eat for health and wellbeing.

If you want to stay active, try the free 5km Parkrun events or join one of the Heart Foundation’s free walking groups.

Stay connected

For some of us, stopping work means a new daily routine and less contact with friends and work colleagues. Here are some ways you can stay connected in retirement:

  • Join a local community group.
  • Check out opportunities to volunteer.
  • Stay up to date with the digital world and get more tech-savvy with the Be Connected initiative.
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