How do we hatch more retirement nest eggs?

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  • With 66 per cent of Australians feeling unprepared for retirement, establishing clear, measurable and robust objectives for super from a consumer perspective is a must.
  • Only 15 per cent of Australians believe they are very well or fairly well prepared for retirement
  • Those who use finance professionals are over three times more likely to feel very well or fairly well prepared for retirement

MLC today called for Australia’s political leaders to redouble their efforts to establish clear, measurable and adequacy-based objectives for our superannuation system to help save retirement.

According to new research from NAB-owned wealth management provider MLC, only 15 per cent of Aussies feel confident about their retirement nest egg, with women and young people significantly more likely to feel unprepared for retirement.

Executive General Manager, Superannuation and Investment Platforms, Paul Carter, said that despite Australia having an incredibly strong superannuation and retirement system, too many Australians are feeling unprepared for retirement.

“We applaud the major political parties for their commitment to legislate the objectives of super,” Mr Carter said.

“However, those objectives must be clear, measurable and robust to ensure they target an adequate replacement income in retirement  to mitigate generational inequity and gaps in living standards as well as costly and destabilising interventions into the future.

“Superannuation has been the subject of political whims for too long.

“Over the past decade, too often the debate has focused on the year to year tax concessions in a system that has not fully matured. Too many have ignored dramatic and ongoing changes to workforce participation, earnings, increasing health costs that will be borne by individuals and other significant changes affecting salary and wage patterns and indeed ‘wealth’.

“The end result has been constant tinkering, or significant unanticipated change, which has left Australians feeling uncertain about their retirement.”

The research released today in the final part of a three-part whitepaper, Australia Today, found that regardless of age, gender or income bracket – knowledge is the only consistent variable that can help Aussies feel adequately prepared with their retirement savings.

The survey of over 2,000 people found that Australians who consult a financial planner or adviser are significantly more likely (35 per cent) to feel prepared for retirement – with only 27 per cent believing they’ll need the government pension, compared to 49 per cent of the rest of the population who don’t employ a financial professional.

“This research shows that regardless of how much you earn – you need to have a solid understanding of your finances in order to save for retirement,” Mr Carter said.

“As a nation, more needs to be done to help Australians equip themselves with the knowledge and information they need to progress on their paths to a self-funded retirement.

“By doing so, we not only improve our quality of life but also reduce the budgetary burden of an ageing population for future generations.”

The three-part Australia Today whitepaper was commissioned by MLC to explore the challenge of how to get more Australians to think about their retirement, and to better inform the debate around superannuation. The research provides a fresh look at Aussies’ attitudes and perceptions towards their financial security and standard of living, and how they expect to live in retirement.

Other findings from Part Three of the research include:

  • Millennials are feeling the pinch, with those aged 25-29 significantly more likely to feel unprepared (79 per cent)
  • More than half of those with investment properties or shares felt better prepared for retirement, compared to only 15% of those with none of these assets
  • Unsurprisingly, women were significantly more likely to feel unprepared (74 per cent compared to 57 per cent of men)
  • Of those currently retired, 57 per cent of women fear that they will outlive their retirement savings, compared to only 32 per cent of men
  • Australians are beginning to top up their retirement savings and even consolidate their super:
    • 29 per cent made additional contributions to their super funds in the last 12 months
    • 27 per cent consolidated their super in the last 12 months. Interestingly, consolidation was more common amongst younger people (35 per cent amongst those aged 25-29)
    • Despite increasing awareness about the importance of super, it’s still not at the top of the priority list for most Australians. If gifted $50,000, most participants would opt to spend the money on other things such as mortgage, savings or going on a holiday

MLC is advocating for the Objectives of Superannuation to be defined as:

The objective of super is to provide dignity and independence in retirement in the following ways:

  • Generating savings over a working life sufficient to provide an adequate replacement income of 65%-70% of pre-retirement income
  • Subject to a reasonable limit of up to about 70% of twice average weekly full time earnings for equity and sustainability of concessions
  • Provided within an efficient, open, competitive and strongly prudentially regulated system.

 

About the Australia Today whitepaper: MLC commissioned IPSOS to prepare a three-part whitepaper to explore the challenge of how to get more Australians to think about their retirement. Over 2,000 Australians participated in the research, which aims to provide a fresh look at attitudes and perceptions towards their financial security and standard of living in the future, and how they expect to live in retirement.

Part 1, 2 and 3 of the whitepaper are now available to download from www.mlc.com.au/australia-today.

 

About MLC

MLC is part of the National Australia Bank Group. NAB is committed to providing investment, superannuation, insurance and financial advice to our corporate, institutional and retail customers. The MLC Super Fund is the largest retail super fund in Australia. We have one of the largest financial planning networks in Australia, providing quality financial advice, insights and expertise through NAB Financial Planning, MLC Financial Planning, MLC Advice, Godfrey Pembroke, Garvan Financial Planning, Apogee Financial Planning and Meritum.

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