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How much super should I have in my 50s?

Find out how you’re travelling towards a comfortable retirement.
Published 30 May 2024   |   3 min read

It’s never too late to start thinking about your super or retirement. Taking time in your 50s to review your current situation can have a significant impact on your future situation, not to mention your piece of mind.  

Here’s a quick guide to get you thinking.  

How much super should I have in my 50s?

There’s no single answer to this question, because how much super you need will depend on the kind of retirement you want.

While coming up with a number is a simplistic way to approach a complex matter, it’s important because it aims to get people thinking about retirement and, if necessary, take steps to top up their super. 

ASFA outlines two living standards, ‘comfortable’ and ‘modest.’ It suggests a comfortable retirement requires around $690,000 in the bank for couples and $595,000 for singles. This amount is designed to cover essentials like council rates, insurance and regular doctors’ visits plus discretionary spending on occasional nights out and an annual trip. ASFA suggests $100,000 should be enough to fund a modest lifestyle in retirement.  

You can use tools like the Super Balance Detective to see if you’re on-track today – for instance the tool calculates a 50-year-old would need around $281,000 in their super account today to hit ASFA’s comfortable retirement standard. That figure increases to $361,000 by your mid-50s. 

While many people will need less super, some people will need more. 

Before making any changes, you should consider your personal tax circumstances or seek tax advice. Find out more from the ATO website


Couple checking super balance on a laptop


What if my super balance is lower?

Don’t panic if you've got less super than you'd like! There is still time to make progress towards your retirement goals. Implementing strategies now and staying disciplined with your savings can deliver results, even if you’re starting later than you’d hoped. 

Here are a few things you could consider doing now that may contribute to boosting your super: 

  1. Contribute more: Increasing your super contributions is one of the best ways to build your balance. Salary sacrificing allows you to divert a portion of your pre-tax income into your super fund through your employer. Check your eligibility and consider taking advantage of this opportunity. 
  2. Consider your investment option: Review your investment option to make sure it’s aligned to your risk tolerance and retirement goals. As you get closer to retirement, you may want to consider whether you’re exposed appropriately to risky assets to make sure you have the right balance of stability and growth. 
  3. Stay informed: The government may make changes to superannuation rules that could have a direct impact on your situation – it pays to stay informed to ensure you’re on top of everything and maximizing your retirement savings. Before you make big decisions, like prolonging your retirement or downsizing to contribute more to super, make sure you’re informed about the latest rules on the ATO website or consult a financial adviser.

What if my super balance is higher?

A higher super balance in your 50s could offer more flexibility and potentially open more options for retirement. However, it’s possible your current balance doesn’t make you any more comfortable about retirement because, at the end of the day, it’s just a number. Similarly, ASFA’s ‘comfortable’ living standard may not align with your vision of what retirement looks like. There are always ways to continue to grow your super or find your own personalized pathway to retirement. 

Here are a few things you could consider doing now that may contribute to boosting your super:

  1. Consider your options with a Transition to Retrirement (TTR) strategy: This can be a valuable tool for people who have reached the super preservation age. Salary sacrificing under a TTR strategy can potentially help to reduce your taxable income. It could also mean working fewer hours or following a passion project while maintaining the same income. 
  2. Check your investment option: As you get closer to retirement, it’s important to reconsider your investment strategy. Is your current investment mix aligned with your objectives, investment horizon and risk tolerance?
  3. Seek financial advice and consider estate planning: As you get closer to the income stage of your retirement journey, how you optimize your superannuation withdrawals and minimize your tax liabilities could benefit from the guidance of a financial adviser. This is particularly true if still deciding if a TTR strategy is right for you. Depending how comfortable you are about your super balance, you may want to start thinking about your legacy for the next generation. 


man in his 50s hiking at sunset and thinking about a fulfilling retirement


Whether you’re feeling confident or worried about your super balance and prospects for retirement in your 50s, the important thing to do is to be engage and consider all the options available to you. There are a lot of things you can do to better position yourself for the life you want in retirement. 

The information is of a general nature and is not intended to provide you with financial advice or take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances and read the Financial Services Guide (FSG), relevant product disclosure statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) available on our website. You may wish to seek financial advice from an authorised financial adviser before making an investment decision. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Interests in the Australian Ethical Retail Superannuation Fund (ABN 49 633 667 743, USI AET0100AU) are offered by Australian Ethical Investment Limited (ABN 47 003 188 930, AFSL 229949) and issued by the Trustee of the Fund, Australian Ethical Superannuation Pty Limited (ABN 43 079 259 733, RSE L0001441, ASFL 526 055). 

Superannuation is a means of saving for retirement, which is, in part, compulsory. The government has placed restrictions on when you can access your investments held in superannuation. The Government has set caps on the amount of money that you can add to your superannuation each year and over your lifetime on both a concessional and non-concessional tax basis. There will be tax consequences if you breach these caps. For more detail, speak with a financial adviser or registered tax agent or visit the ATO website. 


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