Superannuation balances: Top earners in the region

THE balance of superannuation accounts for many residents in the region are falling behind the state and national averages, new data shows.

The Superannuation Guarantee rate for all Australians employees is 9.5 per cent, with workers encouraged to top-up their accounts where possible.

A new report released by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) shows the super balance of many residents in the region are well below the state average of $133,643, and the national average of $132,646.

The region's top super balances were held by residents of Carcoar with an average of $161,847.

The town-by-town data shows the only other location to have an above NSW and Australian average super balance was Cootamundra with $136,628.

This was followed by: Lithgow ($132,005), Grenfell ($130,973), Bathurst ($127,724), Orange ($127,163) and Cudal ($125,290).

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While the lowest superannuation balances in the region are in Nyngan ($97,106), Lyndhurst ($95,581), Wellington ($91,592) and Brewarrina ($56,346).

ASFA chief executive officer Dr Martin Fahy said geographic factors strongly influenced super account balances.

"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. We see this in more affluent suburbs, in major cities, and in some 'sea change' or 'tree change' destinations," he said.

Dr Fahy said average superannuation balances also varied 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.

On average, self-employed people tend to have lower superannuation balances.

Dr Fahy said many rural or regional areas had a relatively high level of self-employed people, in agriculture and related industries.

How much superannuation do you need?

Couples aged around 65 years will need to spend $61,061 a year to achieve a comfortable retirement, while singles will spend $43,255, data from the ASFA's Retirement Standard March 2019 quarterly report shows.

While couples of the same age who want to live a modest retirement will need $39,848 with singles needing $27,646.

"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.

"It also allows for domestic holiday travel and occasional international holidays."

The Superannuation Guarantee is legislated to increase in coming years and will rise to 10 per cent in 2021/22 and by 2025/26 it will sit at 12 per cent.

"The legislated increase in Superannuation Guarantee to 12 per cent of salary will play an important role in helping more people achieve this [comfortable retirement]," Dr Fahy said.

He said super has a crucial role to play in helping people achieve the standard of living in retirement that they want and deserve.

"Its favourable tax treatment also makes it a very good way to save. Making extra contributions to your account, consolidating multiple accounts, and checking whether your account balance is on track using one of AFSA's calculators are a few simple measures that can help set you on track," Dr Fahy said.

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