What does a comfortable retirement actually look like?

What is meant by a ‘comfortable retirement’?

When planning for retirement, one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself is: how much will you need in order to live comfortably? 

There’s no quick answer because we all have different ideas of what is meant by ‘comfortable’. Perhaps it’s being able to go out for a meal once a week, or to go on holiday once a year. Lifestyle is a personal thing - what one person considers extravagant could be considered modest by another.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) has developed the ‘retirement standard’, which outlines the annual amount needed to fund a comfortable and modest standard of living in retirement. This benchmark is updated quarterly to reflect inflation. 

ASFA defines ‘modest’ and ‘comfortable’ lifestyles as: 

The modest retirement standard budgets for a retirement lifestyle that is slightly above the Age Pension and allows retirees to afford basic health insurance and infrequent exercise, leisure and social activities with family and friends.

The comfortable retirement standard allows retirees to maintain a good standard of living in retirement. It accounts for daily essentials, such as groceries, transport and home repairs, as well as private health insurance, a range of exercise and leisure activities and the occasional restaurant meal. It enables retirees to remain connected to family and friends – through technology and in person with an annual domestic trip and an international trip once every seven years.

Both budgets assume that the retirees own their own home outright and are relatively healthy.

So what does a comfortable retirement actually look like?

Comfortable vs modest

The important thing to know is how much you’ll need and whether you’re on track to achieving your ‘retirement standard’.

How much money is actually required to achieve a comfortable retirement lifestyle?

According to ASFA’s most recent research, that a couple aged between 65 and 85 years of age looking to achieve a comfortable retirement need around $63,799 a year, while those seeking a ‘modest’ retirement lifestyle need around $41,446 a year. 

How much is required

Remember that these are indicative amounts, and you may need more (or less) than this amount to live comfortably in retirement.

Taking steps towards a comfortable retirement 

The first step is to use our Retirement Income calculator to see how much money you’re likely to end up with at retirement (hint: log in to Member Online to have your balance automatically input into the calculator). You can also see how making additional contributions can help your financial position at retirement.

Now that you know how much you’ll have, think about whether that amount will provide you with the lifestyle you’d like to maintain in retirement. 

The best thing you can do is get some financial advice. Our financial planners can help you work out whether you’ll have enough for a comfortable retirement, as well as give you strategies to help your money last so that your retirement is a worry-free one. 

Meet with a financial planner to get advice on:

  • transition to retirement strategies
  • investing your pension
  • budgeting in retirement
  • tax minimisation strategies
  • Age Pension and other social security entitlements

Call Member Services on 1800 757 607 to make an appointment with one of our planners.


The information on this page has been issued by Maritime Financial Services Pty Limited (MFS). It contains general information that doesn’t take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. It’s important to consider how appropriate this general information is in relation to your situation before making an investment decision. We recommend that you seek financial advice before making any decisions regarding your super or investments. The information on this page is current at the time of publishing.