Navigating Australia’s Retirement Landscape: A Deep Dive

Imagine a future where every Australian can raise a toast to financial security, unfazed by the ticking retirement clock.

That future is not just a distant dream, but a tangible goal within reach.

However, like any quest, retirement planning demands a roadmap, a keen understanding of the terrain, and a trusted guide. And that’s where PWF steps in.

Retirement planning is not just about understanding the numbers, but about reading between the lines. It’s about grasping the pulse of national trends, being aware of policy shifts, and making informed decisions.

Did you know, for instance, that while superannuation balances have been on the rise, there’s a stark difference in the retirement savings of men and women? Or that despite the commendable strides, a sizable fraction of our population still leans on the Age Pension for income in their twilight years?

In this deep dive, we unravel the intricacies of Australia’s retirement narrative. From the foundational pillars of superannuation to the latest findings from 
ASFA and ABS Census, we’ll chart the course of retirement trends. Along the way, we’ll confront the challenges, celebrate the successes, and most importantly, equip you with the insights to fortify your financial future.

If the thought of retirement has you hesitating between excitement and anxiety, this exploration is for you. Together, we’ll demystify the world of superannuation, shed light on gender disparities, and lay the foundation for a future brimming with financial security.

The Growth and Evolution of Superannuation

From its modest beginnings in the 1980s to its current stature as a cornerstone of Australian retirement, the superannuation system has undergone a transformative journey. Like the eucalyptus trees dotting the Australian landscape, the superannuation system has grown tall, offering shade and security to millions. 

A Trip Down Memory Lane: The 1980s and Beyond

In the 1980s, the idea of superannuation took root in Australia. Initially introduced under the industrial award-based system, it laid the foundation for what would become a robust mechanism for retirement savings. Over the years, this voluntary system has evolved into a compulsory one, with employers now mandated to contribute to their employees’ superannuation funds. 

Delving into the Age Pension Landscape: Is it Enough?

A close examination of the latest ABS Census data paints a detailed picture of those who rely on the Age Pension, offering insights into a significant segment of Australia’s retiree population. While the Age Pension serves as a testament to the government’s commitment to supporting retirees, a stark reality emerges from the data. The average annual income that beneficiaries draw from this scheme stands at a modest $20,800. 

When put next to the ASFA’s Comfortable Standard benchmark, which estimates the required annual sum for a single individual’s comfortable retirement at $50,000, the gap becomes alarmingly evident.  

Data Amount
Average Annual Income (ABS Census)
Single's Comfortable Retirement (ASFA)

This means that the Age Pension, despite its importance, only covers a mere 41.6% of the amount recommended for a comfortable lifestyle in retirement. 

This glaring discrepancy doesn’t just highlight the Age Pension’s role; it raises a red flag. It signals an urgent call for retirees and those approaching retirement to actively seek supplementary income streams. Depending solely on the Age Pension might not lead to financial hardships, but it’s far from ensuring a life of ease, comfort, and the little luxuries that make retirement truly golden. 

By the Numbers: The Reality of Superannuation Today

While the overarching numbers seem promising, a closer examination unveils alarming disparities:

  • 3.9 Million and Counting: The number of retirees swelled from 3.5 million in 2016-17 to 3.9 million in 2018-19. But is quantity overshadowing quality?

  • The Gender Chasm: June 2019 bore witness to a glaring imbalance. Males boasted an average superannuation balance of $162,280, while females trailed at $146,420. When one considers that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men of all ages have no superannuation account, the scale of the issue becomes evident.

  • The Uncomfortable Truth: For those aged 60-64 in June 2019, average male balances stood at $359,870, starkly overshadowing the female average of $289,180. When benchmarked against the ASFA’s Comfortable Retirement Standard’s target of $545,000, the shortfall is undeniable.
Metric Total Male Female
Number of Retirees (in millions)
Average Retirement Age
Proportion of Retirees (age 45 and over)

Table: Key Metrics from the 2018-19 ABS Report

The Retirement Savings Gap: More Than Just Numbers

In the vast spectrum of financial inequalities that plague our society, few are as stark, or as persistently overlooked, as the gender disparity in retirement savings. This isn’t just a gap; it’s a yawning chasm that threatens the financial futures of countless Australian women. 

Gender Proportion of Assets

Table: Proportion of Total Superannuation Assets by Gender (2018-19)

The 2018-19 ABS Report: A Snapshot of Today

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2018-19 report offers a deep dive into the current state of retirement in Australia. The data, while extensive, paints a nuanced picture. 

  • Rising Retiree Numbers: The number of retirees surged from 3.5 million in 2016-17 to 3.9 million in 2018-19. The demographic dynamics are shifting, and rapidly. 

  • Gender Dynamics: Of these, 55% were women.  

PWF's Approach to Securing Your Retirement

At a time when 3.9 million Australians find themselves in the retirement bracket, and gender disparities cast shadows over financial futures, PWF’s commitment shines bright.  

The insights gained from the ABS Census and ASFA figures offer a powerful tool for shaping your retirement strategy. However, translating these insights into a personalised plan requires expertise and guidance.  

This is where PWF’s senior investment strategist comes into play, particularly for Southeast Queensland residents seeking a secure and prosperous retirement. 

  • Tailored Approach: Every individual’s financial situation is unique. PWF’s senior investment strategist understands the intricacies of Southeast Queensland’s retirement landscape, including local cost-of-living considerations, property trends, and government benefits specific to the region. With this knowledge, they can craft a retirement plan that aligns with your aspirations and circumstances. 

  • Holistic Financial Planning: Retirement planning goes beyond numbers and figures. It involves aligning your financial goals with your lifestyle expectations. PWF’s approach encompasses not only wealth management but also factors like health care, leisure, and legacy planning. This holistic perspective ensures that every facet of your retirement is thoughtfully considered. 

  • Maximising Government Benefits: With the intricate web of government benefits available, navigating the system can be daunting. PWF’s senior investment strategist possesses a deep understanding of these benefits and can guide you in optimising your entitlements. This expertise can significantly impact your retirement income and quality of life. 

  • Investment Strategies: Growing and safeguarding your wealth during retirement requires careful investment planning. PWF’s senior investment strategist can devise a tailored investment strategy that accounts for your risk tolerance, income needs, and long-term financial goals. Their knowledge of local market trends can help you make informed investment decisions. 

  • Peace of Mind: The journey to retirement can be complex and uncertain. Partnering with PWF’s senior investment strategist provides you with a dedicated professional who will walk alongside you, offering guidance and reassurance. This peace of mind is invaluable as you transition into the next phase of life. 

Property Investment: Not Just a Strategy, But a Lifeline

While superannuation plays a pivotal role in retirement planning, property investment emerges as an equally compelling pillar.  

Here’s why: 

  • Tangible Assets: Unlike volatile market investments, property is a tangible asset. It’s not just a piece of land or brick and mortar; it’s a legacy, a tangible testament to one’s hard work and foresight. 

  • Steady Cashflow: Property investment, especially when chosen wisely, can ensure a steady stream of rental income. It’s not just about capital appreciation; it’s about creating a consistent cashflow channel, supplementing superannuation and other income sources. 

  • Hedging Against Inflation: With inflation often eroding the purchasing power of savings, property, historically, has been a reliable hedge. It’s not just about staying afloat; it’s about sailing ahead. 

In a market teeming with real estate and investment advisories, PWF’s ethos distinguishes it: 

  • Beyond Transactions: At PWF, the journey with clients isn’t about transactions; it’s about partnerships. While 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men of all ages have no superannuation account, PWF’s mission is to ensure every client not only has a robust retirement plan but a strategy tailored to their unique needs.


  • Educators at Heart: PWF believes in empowerment through knowledge. In a landscape where the average retirement age is 55.4 years, but many intend to retire at 65.5 years, clarity is crucial. PWF doesn’t just offer advice; it educates, ensuring clients understand and own their financial decisions. Check out our growing list of Property Investment eBooks


  • Client-Centric Advisory: Every client’s dream, aspiration, and financial goal shapes PWF’s advisory approach. It’s not a one-size-fits-all methodology; it’s a bespoke blueprint, meticulously crafted for each individual. 

The Future Awaits, But Are You Prepared?

The retirement landscape in Australia isn’t just evolving; it’s undergoing a seismic shift. Amidst this changing landscape, one truth stands tall and unyielding: Preparation today dictates prosperity tomorrow.  

As we’ve journeyed through Australia’s retirement trends, several hard-hitting truths have emerged, each echoing the urgency of the hour. 

Your retirement journey deserves more than generic advice and standard solutions. It deserves the PWF touch – a touch that blends expertise with empathy, strategy with support.

Take the First Step Towards Financial Confidence

The ABS Census and ASFA figures have illuminated the path to a secure retirement.

Now, it’s time to take action. By scheduling a consultation with PWF’s senior investment strategist, you’re taking a proactive step towards securing your financial future. Their expertise, tailored approach, and local insights ensure that your retirement plan is not just a set of numbers, but a comprehensive roadmap to the retirement you deserve. 

In Southeast Queensland, your retirement journey is uniquely influenced by the region’s dynamics. PWF’s senior investment strategist understands these intricacies and is committed to helping you navigate them with confidence. Don’t leave your retirement to chance. Book a consultation today and embark on a retirement journey that’s backed by expertise, personalised strategies, and a commitment to your financial well-being.  

Your prosperous retirement awaits with PWF by your side.