According to new Roy Morgan Research numbers, there is a spike in those intending on retiring within the next year. The current estimate is 415,000, compared to 2008 when the figure was 327,000 - a 27 per cent increase. This research is conducted annually, however the starkest comparison was from 2008 numbers after the global financial crisis stopped many retirees in their tracks, forcing them to work for longer.
The research also found gaps with retirement savings, which is likely to put pressure on government funds. The average 2016 'intended' retirement age is 61, with the average present gross wealth (excluding owner-occupied homes) is $306,000 - up from the 2008 average of $231,000.
Other findings of note include the role of superannuation in retirement lifestyles. Today, superannuation accounts for 64 per cent of gross wealth, compared to 52 per cent in 2008. The average level of debt in this group is $25,000, which results in an average net wealth of $281,000 - this is believed to be inadequate for a self-funded retirement. This means some reliance on government payments.
ASFA estimates suggest that an individual would need $545,000 and a couple $640,000 for a 'comfortable' retirement lifestyle.
Reverse mortgages and using the home to fund retirement
Owner-occupied housing is being discussed as a source of funds, since many - 83 per cent - in this group own their home outright or are very close to paying it off. These homes have an average value of $495,000 per person, which is higher than the amounts held in super.