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What Is the Best Way to Fund My Retirement Income?

January 17, 2024

Retirement planning can be complex, but with the right approach, it transforms into an exciting journey towards a well-lived life. Whether retirement is just around the corner or decades away, starting early is the key to crafting the retirement you’ve always dreamed of. This guide will provide you with clear, practical information on how to fund your retirement in Australia.

Remember, a well-planned retirement strategy tailored to your personal circumstances can make all the difference.

Superannuation: Your Primary Retirement Savings Vehicle

Superannuation, often simply referred to as ‘super’, is an essential component of retirement planning in Australia. It’s a scheme designed to help Australians save for their retirement throughout their working life, offering various benefits and options.

  • Calculation Method: Superannuation contributions are calculated by multiplying an employee’s Ordinary Time Earnings (OTE) by the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) rate.
  • OTE and SG Rate: OTE includes salary and wages paid before tax. The standard SG contribution rate is currently 11%.
  • Example Calculation: For instance, if your annual wage is $80,000, your quarterly earnings would be around $20,000. Therefore, your employer would contribute $2,200 per quarter into your super.
  • Growth Over Time: Your super grows over the years, thanks to these contributions and investment returns.
  • Preservation Age: You can start accessing your super between the ages of 55 and 60, depending on when you were born.
  • Retirement Age: Most Australians can expect to live into their eighties. If you retire at 65, you might need income for 20 years or more.

Estimating Your Retirement Needs

  • Lifestyle Goals: Consider the lifestyle you want in retirement and the associated costs, such as travel, home renovations, or medical expenses.
  • Income Requirements: It’s suggested that you might need two-thirds (67%) of your pre-retirement income to maintain a similar lifestyle post-retirement.

Boosting Your Super

  • Consolidating Accounts: Reduce fees and simplify your super by consolidating multiple accounts.
  • Extra Contributions: Consider making additional contributions to increase your retirement savings.
  • Investment Options: Explore different investment strategies within your super to maximise growth potential.

Regular Review and Management

  • Annual Checks: Regularly review your super, ensuring your personal details and tax file number are up-to-date.
  • Understanding Fund Details: Be aware of your employer’s contributions, account fees, and insurance options within your super fund.

Government Age Pension: A Helpful Financial Cushion

The Australian Government Age Pension provides a foundation for retirement income, helping to cover living expenses and offering various benefits and concessions. It is designed to offer a financial cushion and support for healthcare costs, making retirement more comfortable and secure for eligible Australians. Understanding and accessing these benefits can significantly enhance your retirement lifestyle and income in retirement.

  • Age Requirement: To qualify for the Age Pension, you must be 67 years or older, depending on your birth year.
  • Residency: You must be an Australian resident and have lived in Australia for at least 10 years.
  • Income and Asset Tests: These tests determine your eligibility and the pension amount. Your income can include employment, pensions, annuities, and investments. Your assets can include properties, vehicles, and business assets, but your family home is generally not counted.

The maximum Age Pension for singles is $1,002.50 per fortnight (about $26,065 a year), and for couples, it’s $1,511.40 per fortnight (approximately $39,296.40 a year). These rates are subject to change and do not include any supplements. You can find out more information about supplements and who is entitled by visiting Services Australia.

  • Pensioner Concession Card: This card offers discounts on utilities, medical bills, and public transport in some states for those aged 55 or over and receiving the Age Pension or other Centrelink payments??.
  • Seniors Cards: Available for individuals aged 60 or over who work less than 20 hours per week, offering discounts on public transport and some goods and services??.
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card: For those of Age Pension age, meeting an income test, and not receiving Centrelink payments, this card provides cheaper prescriptions and medical appointments??.
  • Government Loans: Eligible Age Pension recipients can access the Home Equity Access Scheme for loans using real estate as security, and Advance Payments for part of the pension payment in advance for immediate expenses??.
  • Health Care Benefits: Benefits include the Medicare Safety Net, PBS Safety Net for medicines, free vaccinations, cancer screenings, and more, helping to reduce healthcare costs??.
  • Tax Offsets: Additional tax offsets may be available depending on age, income, and eligibility for government pensions

Account-Based Pension: A Flexible Retirement Income Solution

Account-based pensions provide a flexible and tax-effective means to fund your retirement income using your superannuation savings. An account-based pension (or allocated pension) is a regular income stream created from your super funds when you retire?. You can access this pension between ages 55 and 60, depending on your birth year.

  • Flexibility: You choose how much to transfer to the pension phase, the size and frequency of your payments, and how your super is invested??.
  • Payment Frequency: Options include weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or annual payments (depending on the provider), continuing until your account balance is depleted or you opt to take the remainder as a lump sum.
  • Pension Longevity: The duration of your account-based pension depends on the amount transferred, your withdrawal rate, investment earnings, and fees?.

Your account-based pension is considered in the income and asset tests for Age Pension eligibility, potentially affecting your entitlements?.


  • Flexibility in Payments: Tailor your pension payments to suit your needs within set limits.
  • Tax Benefits: No tax on pension payments from age 60. For ages 55 to 59, the taxable part is taxed at your marginal rate, less a 15% offset.
  • Investment Earnings: These are tax-free and added to your account.
  • Estate Planning: Remaining funds can be passed to your beneficiary upon death??.


  • Age Pension Eligibility: May impact your Age Pension due to income and asset tests.
  • Market Risks: Investment earnings can fluctuate.
  • Longevity Risk: No guarantee that your super balance will last throughout retirement

A nominated ‘reversionary beneficiary’ can continue receiving your pension payments, or a spouse/dependent can choose between a pension or lump sum. Non-dependents are limited to a lump sum option.

pension benefits

Annuities: A Stable Retirement Income Option

An annuity, also known as a lifetime or fixed-term pension, is a product that gives you a guaranteed income for a number of years or for the rest of your life?. You can buy an annuity using your super or savings, from a super fund or life insurance company.

  • Guaranteed Income: Receive regular income regardless of market performance.
  • Tax Benefits: Annuities bought with super money are tax-free from age 60.
  • Protection from Inflation: Indexed annuities safeguard against rising living costs.
  • Estate Planning: You can nominate a beneficiary to receive income after your death

Customising Your Annuity

  • Payment Duration: Choose whether you want payments for a fixed number of years, your life expectancy, or for life.
  • Income Control: Decide the payment amount and whether it increases by a fixed percentage or with inflation.
  • Payment Frequency: Options include monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly payments?

Annuities and the Age Pension

An annuity is part of the income and assets tests for the Age Pension. It’s crucial to understand how this affects your entitlement?. Lifetime annuities are typically treated more favourably for age pension income and asset test purposes and could result in you receiving additional age pension compared to a similar amount in an account-based pension.

Annuity vs Account-Based Pension

Annuities provide more stability as they are not affected by share market performance, unlike account-based pensions which offer potential for growth but come with higher risk?.

Bonds: A Steady Income Stream for Retirement

Bonds are considered “defensive assets,” providing lower but more stable returns. They’re ideal for generating a predictable flow of income in retirement years.

  • Regular Income: Bonds provide regular income via coupon payments, making them a suitable choice for funding retirement, especially when compared to more volatile investments like stocks??.
  • Risk and Return Balance: While offering slightly lower returns than ‘blue chip’ company shares, bonds are valued for their stability and lower risk profile??. There is still some risks with bonds and they can experience capital loss, although it is less likely.
  • Predictability: The predictability of bonds, especially fixed-rate bonds, offers peace of mind. You can calculate the revenue they will bring over time, providing a sense of financial security?.
one million to retire

Types of Bonds and Their Benefits

  • Fixed-Rate Bonds: Offer certainty, especially in declining interest rate environments. You know the amount and timing of your periodic payments, which are determined at the time the bond is issued??.
  • Floating-Rate Bonds: Provide a fluctuating rate of return, which is beneficial when interest rates are rising. The return is a margin added to an underlying interest rate, like the cash rate??.
  • Inflation-Linked Bonds: Protect against rising prices, with the coupon linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), safeguarding against inflation?.

How to Fund Retirement: Making the Right Choice

Retirement planning is a journey that leads to the fulfilment of your life’s work and aspirations. Whether retirement is a few years away or a couple of decades, starting early is key to realising the retirement of your dreams.

Your Path to a Dream Retirement

At Aurora Wealth, we are dedicated to guiding you towards a retirement with financial stability and fulfilment. Our approach to financial planning is not just about numbers; it’s about understanding your unique goals and helping you achieve them.

We specialise in retirement planning, offering expert advice on superannuation, life insurance, and estate planning. We dive deep into your goals and aspirations, crafting financial plans that evolve with your life’s changes. At Aurora Wealth, we aim to create your dream retirement, ensuring your financial plan aligns with your desired lifestyle?.

Ready to take the first step towards a comfortable retirement? Contact Aurora Wealth for personalised and expert financial planning. Based in Narre Warren and servicing Australia-wide, the team is equipped to meet your needs through face-to-face meetings or online platforms. We are committed to helping you navigate life’s changes and ensuring your financial plan evolves with you.

Call Aurora Wealth at 0456 757 140 or email contact@aurorawealth.com.au to begin crafting your retirement plan today.

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Micheal is a financial expert with over a decade of experience in the field. Growing up in countryside Victoria, and later moving to Melbourne to pursue higher education, Micheal has since then been working in the financial industry for over 13 years with much of his career spent as a financial advisor. He holds the prestigious Certified Financial Planner designation and is a registered member of the Financial Planning Association of Australia. Micheal is also a dedicated family man and proud father of 3 amazing children. When he isn’t working or spending time with his family, he enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.

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