The generation most worried they can't afford to retire


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Despite over 30 years of compulsory Superannuation Guarantee, two-thirds of Australians fear they won't have enough money to last through retirement.

A study commissioned by Findex and conducted by YouGov, investigating Australians' readiness for retirement and the impact of professional financial advice, revealed a concerning trend; as Australians approach retirement, their confidence in having adequate funds drops.

Over half of the Baby Boomers and 38% of Gen X participants reported a lack of confidence, compared to just 31% of Millennials.

cant afford to retire

Findex co-chief executive Matt Games says, "This paints the picture that most Aussies have adopted a 'kick it down the road' mentality to retirement. But when the time eventually comes, they're faced with the reality that their existing savings and superannuation balance are insufficient in this economic climate."

The ASFA Retirement Standard suggests that retirees need more than $500,000 in their super balance, far exceeding the average Australian super balance for early 60s retirees - $356,000 for men and $288,000 for women.

Adding to this bleak outlook, Findex's study also unearthed a widespread lack of financial literacy, with half of all Australians expressing doubt about their knowledge of the financial resources required for a comfortable retirement.

Meanwhile, while most (80%) of Australians believe that professional financial advice could benefit them, only 30% have sought it. Surprisingly, the research found that as participants got closer to retirement, they were less likely to consider financial advice.

Emphasising the importance of financial advice, Games says "the time to access advice is now", regardless of the nearness to retirement.

"Seeking professional financial advice should be viewed as good life hygiene like scheduling a dental check-up with a qualified dentist," he says.

"With the cost of living continuing to increase and Australians living longer, the reality for most people - particularly women - is not doing anything today will cost you.

"Most Aussies simply won't have the funds they need to live a comfortable retirement if they don't take a proactive approach to secure their financial future."

Despite this, there seems to be hurdles to seeking advice, with the perception of high costs being the main barrier.

Dispelling this misconception, Findex head of investment relations Mathew Swieconek says, "A financial adviser doesn't only provide guidance on investment strategies that align with your goals and risk tolerance.

"They provide behavioural coaching, asset allocation research and management and tax savvy planning - areas that DIY investors can often overlook and can add enormous value to wealth creation over time.

"Quantifying this, our projections demonstrate the value of advice where Aussies stand to gain 8% to 29% in benefits depending on the age they start."

This article first appeared on Financial Standard

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Andrew McKean is a journalist at Financial Standard. He covers superannuation, wealth management and financial advice. Prior to this he has worked freelance for not-for-profit organisations and corporate educators. Andrew has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and non-fiction writing from Macquarie University. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.
Sam H
May 25, 2023 1.48pm

I think most people don't plan for the future... or their plan is to rely upon Super (without contributing extra) and the Pension, and then hope for the best come retirement. I think that was evidenced during covid times when people didn't have savings to fall back on. I knew when I started working I needed to put extra away both in and out of Super to fund a nice retirement, and potentially an early retirement. Never earnt a fortune, maybe a bit above average now, but it wasn't always that way. And we still managed to pay off the house loan, travel and renovate/extend the family home.