Millennials and Superannuation: A Secure Retirement Starts Now

Young people may have their eyes firmly fixed on the future, but just how far into the future? We examine the growing trend in millennials saving for superannuation.

Millennials are often labelled as a lazy, entitled generation who lack a work ethic and a financial sense. While these opinions make for effective clickbait, they have been proven false many times over. If you solely examine how millennials are currently handling their superannuation, it becomes clear that they are in fact proactive, ambitious and financially savvy.

The age range for millennials differs slightly from source to source but the consensus is that those born between 1985 and 2000 fit the bill. Between September 2007 and September 2017, the millennial generation more than doubled their share of superannuation fund balances according to research conducted by Roy Morgan. The market research company found that the increase from 6.4% in 2007 to 14.6% in 2017 represented a $226 billion boost in superannuation funds held by millennials.

The reasons behind this $226 million boost

There are multiple contributing factors to this impressive increase. Millennials are enjoying higher levels of superannuation guarantee rates than previous generations – the current rate is 9.5% and is scheduled to rise to 12% by 2025. Millennials are also the most educated generation. More 18 to 33-year-old have completed a bachelor’s degree than their Baby Boomer and Gen X counterparts. This increase in education is bound to have contributed to their desire to begin saving for retirement. Technological advancements have also made it easy for millennials to get on the superannuation bandwagon. There are now mobile phone apps that let you to view your superannuation balance and apps that allow you to ‘set-and-forget’, allowing the user to make consistent self-contributions.

Whereas older generations tended to stick to one career ladder their entire working lives, millennials will typically work multiple jobs at once for a period of their lives, and will change careers at least once. The combination of these numerous income streams and the desire to save money for a house deposit or travel partially accounts for the emergence of the financially savvy millennial.

Why start saving early?

While old age and retirement may not be at the forefront of every millennials mind, monitoring and contributing to your superannuation is best done early. For one thing we are living longer than ever before, thanks to modern medicine. The average life expectancy for Australians is now between 80 – 84 years. Consequently, we need to start saving earlier to offset our increasing life span.

The Association of Super Fund of Australia (ASFA) defines ‘a comfortable lifestyle’ as one where an older retiree can be involved in a broad range of recreational and leisure activities and can enjoy a good standard of living through the purchase of items, such as private health insurance, electronic goods and the ability to travel both domestically and internationally. To live a comfortable lifestyle in retirement, an Australian couple requires superannuation savings at retirement of at least $640,000, in conjunction with a PART Aged Pension, and a single person requires superannuation savings at retirement of at least $545,000, in conjunction with a PART Aged Pension. Relying on your superannuation guarantee (SG) contributions alone may not be enough to ensure a comfortable lifestyle, even when SG contributions rise to 12% in 2025.

The consequences of leaving it too late

Treating your superannuation as an issue to be dealt with only as you approach retirement can be disastrous – because by this point it is often too late. Those who are approaching retirement age without sufficient funds to live on are often forced to delay their retirement even further or accept that they will have to give up aspects of the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to.

If a crisis occurs due to a relationship breakdown or a sudden loss of employment and you have insufficient superannuation savings, and do not own your own home – even the certainty of a roof over your head could be at risk.

Additionally, research shows that Australian women are retiring with only half as much superannuation to their name as Australian men – which is something millennials also need to be aware of when considering their future. Today’s 20-25 year old woman has 20.4% less superannuation than her male counterparts. Statistics like these show that millennial women have all the more reason to begin saving early.

In direct contradiction to the simplistic millennial myths we encounter, young people are actively taking charge of their superannuation. If they start saving for their retirement from an early age, then their retirement will revolve around comfort and relaxation, not scrimping and saving. This is one youth driven trend that Australia can definitely get behind.

Nationwide Super looks after the superannuation needs of retirees and people who work in and run small businesses right around Australia. They’re a multi-industry superannuation fund that has been serving the Australian community since 1987, offering competitive products and highly personalised service. As a member-based business, their focus is not on generating profits for shareholders – but to return benefits to members for their retirement.

NSF Nominees Pty Limited ABN 29 053 228 667 AFSL 253129 Trustee of Nationwide Superannuation Fund (Nationwide Super) ABN 15 201 768 813

The information in this article is of a general nature only.  It does not take into account your financial objectives, situation or needs.  You should consider whether it is appropriate to your individual circumstances.  Before you make any investment decisions, we suggest you obtain and read the relevant Nationwide Super Product Disclosure Statement, available at, and/or seek licenced financial advice.

As at the time of compilation, the information in this article is correct, and any estimates, opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made. Subsequent events may mean that the information becomes out-of-date and so, to the maximum extent permitted by law, we disclaim all liability and responsibility for any direct or indirect loss or damage which may be suffered by any recipient through relying on anything contained in or omitted from this article.

Business First is a peer-to-peer magazine: written by CEOs and other high level executives, with interviews with some of the country’s best leaders.

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