RELAXED RETIREES: An older couple do a spot of fishing at Moffat Beach. Photo: Brett Wortman
RELAXED RETIREES: An older couple do a spot of fishing at Moffat Beach. Photo: Brett Wortman

Coast retirees more comfortable than nation

COAST residents’ super account balances are tracking above state and national averages, according to new data released today.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia data shows that residents of the Fairfax electorate hold an average super account balance of $133,232, slightly higher than the state ($123,636) and national ($132,646) averages.

Those in Maroochydore have an average account balance of $124,170 — on par with the state average.

The highest average account balance in the Wide Bay electorate was held by residents of Noosaville at $246,252, followed by Noosa Heads at $238,113.

Commenting on the data, ASFA CEO Dr Martin Fahy said that geographic factors could strongly influence superannuation account balances, with balances in coastal or inner-city suburbs tending to be higher than for outer suburbs of cities.

“Superannuation account balances are tied to income, so areas with a higher proportion of high-income earners tend to have higher average superannuation account balances,” Dr Fahy said.

“We see this in more affluent suburbs, in major cities, and in some ‘sea change’ or ‘tree change’ destinations.”

Average superannuation balances also vary with industry and occupation.

If an area has an above average number of people working in public administration, education or health services, average balances are likely to be higher than if most people are working in retail or transport services.

The self-employed also tend to have lower superannuation balances on average.

In many rural or regional areas there can be a relatively high level of self-employed people, in agriculture and related industries.

According to the ASFA, couples aged around 65 need to spend $61,522 per year to achieve a comfortable retirement, while singles need to spend $43,601 per year.

“A comfortable retirement lifestyle enables an older, healthy retiree to be involved in a broad range of leisure and recreational activities and to have a good standard of living through the purchase of such things as household goods, private health insurance, a reasonable car, good clothes and a range of electronic equipment,” Dr Fahy said.

“The legislated increase in Superannuation Guarantee to 12 per cent of salary will play an important role in helping more people achieve this.

“However, if it doesn’t reach 12 per cent, many Australians, including those from the Sunshine Coast risk missing out on the retirement lifestyle they had imagined.”.

To stay on track, Dr Fahy recommended making extra contributions to accounts, consolidating multiple accounts, and checking an account balance using a superannuation calculator.