Retirement calculators are letting us down

Wealth no guarantee of a 'comfortable' retirement


Wealth no guarantee of a 'comfortable' retirement

29 Oct, 2020

A new report about spending in retirement has found that being wealthy was not necessarily a guarantee of living a comfortable lifestyle.

The joint research by National Seniors Australia and Challenger also found that not everyone on the Age Pension felt they were ‘constrained’ in their lifestyle spending.

“Being wealthy certainly means people can spend more on their lifestyle, but our research shows that personal priorities and preferences are critical in defining retirement comfort,” said National Seniors CEO, Professor John McCallum.

The report investigated seven lifestyle categories to assess comfort in spending, such as: eating out, holidays, energy bills, quality products, home renovations, household items and appliances, phone and internet connection and quality clothes.

Five key findings from the report

  • Those with the highest level of savings and investments did not feel ‘comfortable’ across all lifestyle markers.
  • Similarly, not everyone on the Age Pension (as their main income source) identified as being ‘constrained’ in lifestyle spending.
  • Objective measures of wealth, based on savings, investments and estimated home value, were strongly associated with lifestyle spending decisions.
  • The more someone worried about outliving their savings, the less comfortable they felt in their spending. This association was not accounted for by level of objective wealth alone.
  • Age, gender and partnership status influenced the spending patterns that defined level of retirement comfort, but these associations were not consistent across the spending categories.