Money Your Super Cutting down on drinking can boost your super balance
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Cutting down on drinking can boost your super balance

AAP
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It’s a sobering thought that skipping just one glass of wine per week could add almost $50,000 to your retirement fund balance over the long term.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) has calculated that if the cost of a glass of wine (an average of $10) was channelled back into a superannuation savings account as a regular, after-tax monthly contribution over a 35-year period, this would add an extra $48,033 to your retirement cash pile.

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Abstaining from two glasses of wine, or the equivalent of $20 in spending per week, and directing that amount to your super contributions would add close to $100,000.

Giving up three glasses per week, or the equivalent of putting $30 per week into your super account, would swell the average super balance by more than $144,000, according to ASFA.

The association’s calculations tie into separate research from the peak organisation showing that most Australians are still a long way from being able to retire in comfort.

ASFA
The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia has some good advice. Photo: ASFA

While average superannuation balances have risen for both men and women, based on data compiled for ASFA by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, most individuals are well short of having enough funds to last them through retirement.

The ABS data shows average balances in 2013-2014 for all persons aged 15 and over were $98,535 for men and $54,916 for women. This was an approximate 20 per cent increase from two years’ prior (2011-2012), where average balances were $82,615 and $44,866 for men and women respectively.

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A happy retirement doesn’t come cheaply, with a single person needing a minimum of $545,000.

Average superannuation balances at the time of retirement also rose, to $292,500 for men and $138,150 for women in 2013-2014 from $197,000 and $105,000 respectively in 2011-2012.

“It is great to see that average superannuation account balances are rising, but there is still a way to go to ensure that the majority of Australians can retire in comfort,” ASFA chief executive officer Pauline Vamos said.

“According to the ASFA Retirement Standard, a single person will need a minimum of $545,000 in superannuation at retirement to live a comfortable lifestyle. This is assuming that they will draw down all of their capital over the duration of retirement, and that they will receive a part Age Pension.

“Even with reliance on the Age Pension, a retiree with a balance of less than this may struggle to maintain the lifestyle in retirement that they are accustomed to. People today are living longer and often retiring with more debt than generations before.”

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