Majority of Australians fear they don’t have enough for retirement  


Matt Games

Despite the compulsory superannuation guarantee being over 30 years old in Australia, a worrying majority of Australians (2 in 3) fear they will not have sufficient financial resources to retire, reveals new research from Findex Group Limited (“Findex”).   

The research from YouGov commissioned by Findex, one of Australasia’s largest privately-owned providers of integrated financial advisory and accounting services, explored Australians’ preparedness for retirement and how professional financial advice factors into this. The survey of over 1,000 participants focused on those in the early planning stages of retirement to those in the process of retiring[1] across metro and regional areas.    

The older, the more unprepared 

Set against uncertain economic environments and frequent interest rate hikes, Findex’s findings showed the closer Aussies were to retirement, the less confident they were about having the funds required. The majority (52%) of Baby Boomers and 38% of Gen X noted they were ‘not confident’ of having the money needed to retire compared to 31% of Millennials.  

“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,” says Findex Co-CEO Matt Games. 

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia Retirement Standard[2] a retiree today needs upwards of AUD$500,000 in their super balance. This sits well above the national average of AUD$356,000 and $288,000 respectively for men and women in their early 60s.   

Pairing with this, Findex’s research also revealed one in two Australians don’t believe they have a good understanding of the financial resources needed for a comfortable retirement. Gender disparity was additionally apparent in financial literacy where women were more likely to report their financial understanding as ‘poor’ (27%) compared to their male counterparts (15%). 

Never too late for professional advice 

In terms of seeking professional advice to prepare for retirement, while 80% believe professional financial advice could benefit them in retirement only 30% had sought advice, with women (24%) less likely than men (37%) to have received professional advice. Furthermore, the closer respondents were to retirement age, the less likely they were to consider professional advice (‘unlikely to get professional advice’: 49% Baby Boomers, 34% Gen X, 22% Millennials).  

“The time to access advice is now – especially when many are currently struggling to manage their finances. What our financial modelling shows** is it’s never too late for someone to benefit from advice even if you’re less than ten years away from retirement and this holds true for people at most income levels,” says Games. 

“Seeking professional financial advice should be viewed as good life hygiene like scheduling a dental check-up with a qualified dentist. And 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 actually 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.”  

But what is stopping Aussies from getting advice? 

The main misconception uncovered in the research centred around the common perception that the cost of financial advice was too expensive and outweighed the potential returns. Of the barriers stopping Aussies from getting advice, 34% cited the cost of advice, 32% don’t feel they earn enough to make it worthwhile and 19% said procrastination.  

“It’s very common for us in the industry to hear that cost for advice is the issue. But at Findex, we want to dispel this,” says Findex Head of Investment Relations Matthew Swieconek. 

“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.”  

While there is clear appetite and need for advice, to help Aussies unlock their full financial potential Findex is addressing the concerns around cost and value head on through offering tailored

pricing structures, transparency and consistently demonstrating value – all of which is underpinned by acting in the best interest of the client. 

Modelling projections:

For a Baby Boomer:  

A 57-year-old earning 150,000 per annum with a 58-year-old partner who earns the same. He/she has a super balance of $286,000 and the partner, a super balance of $210,000 (taken from the BT average super for a 55-59-year-old). If the client begins receiving financial advice today, Findex’s financial modelling shows that the client could stand to increase his/her combined net assets by 8% or just under $148,000 with financial advice by the time he/she reaches 65 years of age – and that’s in under ten years.    

For a Gen X: 

A 49-year-old male, part of a couple, and has a super balance of $215,000. Between now and the age of 65, he could potentially grow his net assets by 13% or just shy of $240,000 with financial advice.    

For a Millennial:  

o   Aged 35 with an income of $100,000 per annum and has a super balance of $50,000. Findex’s financial modelling illustrates that if you receive financial advice from the age of 35 you may reach age 65 with approximately 29% more in net financial assets ($664,000) than had you not sought any financial advice.   

Additional research findings

  • Younger Australians 35 to 44 years are more likely than their older counterparts 55 to 65 years to believe they have a very good understanding of what financial resources they would need for a comfortable retirement (20% compared to 14%)
  • Those who have sought professional financial advice to help plan for retirement are almost three times as likely to say they have a good understanding of what financial resources they will need to retire (32% compared to 12%)
  • The most commonly identified benefits from obtaining professional financial advice, include making the most of their superannuation (44%), learning about the options that are available to use in retirement (40%), understanding how much is needed to retire (39%)
  • Among Aussies who have not sought professional financial advice for retirement, a third say they are likely to consider doing so in the future while a similar proportion (34%) say they are unlikely to do so
  • Concerningly, Aussies who have not sought professional financial advice and who rate their own understanding of what resources are needed for a comfortable retirement as poor are much less likely than their counterparts who rate their understanding as good to say they are likely to consider doing so in future (23% compared to 46%) 


[1] Survey focussed on over 1,000 respondents aged between 35 to 65 years 

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