Australia’s retirement income system is ranked one of best in the world for being adequate, equitable and broadly sustainable. As the Superannuation Guarantee matures, retirees are generally able to maintain a standard of living similar to their working lives with the Age Pension acting as a safety net for those with lower means.
The retirement income system is complex. An independent review of the system commissioned by the Government in 2019 found that “Complexity, misconceptions and low financial literacy have resulted in people not adequately planning for their retirement or making the most of their assets when in retirement.”
The retirement income covenant was legislated to commence from 1 July 2022 and requires superannuation trustees to design and implement a retirement income strategy that will optimise members’ retirement income to ensure they enjoy the best standard of living possible given their means.
Implementing the covenant requires awareness by trustees of how retirees generate income and the priority they give to preserving assets. National Seniors Australia and Challenger addressed some of these topics in a module of their annual National Seniors Social Survey conducted in February 2022.