1. Releases 2011

Media Release: 19 September 2011

Average super balances boosted despite volatile economy

The average superannuation balance of Australians has continued to grow dramatically over the last few years despite recent economic conditions, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Figures from the ABS Survey of Income and Housing, compiled for the Association of Superannuation of Funds of Australia (ASFA), show the average account balance in 2009-10 was $71,645 for men and $40,475 for women, well up on the balances of $56,400 for men and $23,900 for women in 2003-04.

For those at retirement, average superannuation payouts in 2009-10 were approximately $198,000 for men and $112,600 for women, while in 2005-06 they were only $136,000 for men and $63,000 for women.

ASFA chief executive officer, Pauline Vamos, said the growth flowed from continued contributions and positive investment earnings over the period despite the impact of the GFC.

“And these average balances can be expected to continue to grow for many years as the compulsory superannuation system matures and women, with more paid labour force experience than their mothers and grandmothers, move through the system,” she said.

“Given ongoing contributions and investment returns, average retirement payments in June 2011 are likely to have reached $250,000 for men and $145,000 for women.”

While these sums would fund a modest lifestyle, they are unlikely to be enough to fund a comfortable lifestyle in retirement. For a comfortable lifestyle, assuming part receipt of the Age Pension, the lump sum figures required at retirement are around $430,000 for a single and $510,000 for a couple.

“It is clear from these figures that most recent retirees will still need to rely substantially on the Age Pension in their retirement,” said Ms Vamos.

“Even more worryingly, around 31.6 per cent of males and 38.5 per cent of women reported having no superannuation at all.”

While men continue to have a higher incidence of superannuation, holding around 63 per cent of total account balances in 2009-10 compared to 37 per cent for women, there has been a significant improvement in the estimated share of women, which in 1994 was just 23 per cent.

Although improvements in the average superannuation balances of women were recorded across a range of age groups, the most significant increases recorded were for older women.

The ASFA Retirement Standard Calculator allows people to find out how much they would need to spend in retirement for the lifestyle they desire, depending on their domestic arrangements and which state or territory they live in.

For further information please contact:
Pauline Vamos, Chief Executive Officer, 0433 169 342
Rebecca Glenn, GM Marketing and Communications, (02) 8079 0825 or 0416 170 439
Megan McDougall, Communications and Media Co-ordinator, (02) 8079 0849

About ASFA – the voice of super
The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia is the peak policy, research and advocacy body for Australia's superannuation and retirement industry. It is a not-for-profit, non-party political and non-sector aligned association representing fund members, corporate, industry, retail and public-sector funds, as well as service providers to the superannuation sector.