A majority of Australians have unrealistic expectations about their retirement income, with Gen Y the most optimistic, according to a new State Street Global Advisors survey.
State Street Global Advisors has released the Australian Retirement Vision Survey, which is based on a survey of 1,200 super funds and SMSF investors by industry consultant Rice Warner.
The survey found that six out of 10 Australians expect their current standard of living to remain the same after they retire.
Respondents in the Gen Y cohort were particularly optimistic about their retirement incomes, with 27 per cent expecting to retire with a higher standard of living than their current lifestyle.
However, the survey indicated that Australians tend to become more realistic as they approach retirement.
"Only 12 per cent of Gen X and 6.2 per cent of baby boomers believe their standard of living will improve when they finish working," said the report.
"Similarly, pre-retirees are most likely to anticipate a fall in their living standards when they retire — with 32.7 per cent of Gen X investors and 24.4 per cent of baby boomers saying they believe their standard of living will be worse, rather than better."
The income expectations of respondents were also somewhat inflated, with the median income investors would be required to maintain their desired income sitting at $982 a week.
This is more than double the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia's (ASFA's) retirement standard for a modest lifestyle ($443 a week) – and it is also higher than ASFA's 'comfortable' lifestyle ($767 a week).
"That suggests that many investors may risk being unnecessarily discouraged by high-income expectations, and would benefit from professional advice in setting more realistic retirement income targets," said the report.
The report also found that the major concern for Australians are the potential for further changes to superannuation rules – not superannuation performance.
"Two in five investors named changes to super legislation as their single greatest concern about their retirement savings," found the report.
The report also found that only 18 per cent of Australians plan to withdraw their super to pay down debts.
"[This dispels] the myth that people tend to spend their lump sum before relying on the age pension," said the report.
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