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Aussies running low on super cash

MANY cashpoor retirees have already run out of retirement savings and others fear they will not have enough money to live comfortably once they stop work.

Alarmingly new statistics revealed in the new National Seniors Australia report, Once bitten twice shy: GFC concerns linger for Australian seniors, found almost one third of Australians aged 80 and over admit they have already depleted all their savings.

And a quarter of those aged between 75 and 79 also said they too had no money left.

National Seniors Interim chief executive officer Professor John McCallum said Australians are under increasing cost of living pressures and as many live longer they are worried they won't have enough money to survive.

"They are under pressures to maintain a lifestyle during retirement that is at least satisfactory to the way they were living,'' he said.

"Most of all they are under pressure to have enough money there."

The report delved into the finances of 5400 Australians aged 50 and above and revealed many are nervous around what the future holds.

About 72 per cent fear another global financial crisis could strike and hit their savings hard.

And 59 per cent cannot cope the levels of losses experienced in the GFC a decade ago.

Investment management company Challenger's head of retirement income research Aaron Minney said as Australians live longer it means they are having to have more money saved to live comfortably once they stop work.

"The people who are younger and have super built up have a better chance of getting through (with enough money),'' he said.

"For retirees most weren't in super for long enough and they were starting right behind the eight ball."
Mr Minney urges people who have more time until to retirement to "save a bit more" if they are still working.

He said many Australians often enter retirement with debts in tow and consequently "use a lump sum of their super to pay off this debt".

In 2014 the median age life expectancy for Australian males was 78.5 years and for females 84.8 years.

The Association of Superannuation Fund of Australia's retirement standard found for couples to live a comfortable retirement - presuming they own their home outright and have good health - they need $640,000 at retirement.

Singles need $545,000.

Professor McCallum urges Australians to start planning their retirement as early as possible to "relieve a lot of stress" and avoid getting caught short once they stop work.

"People don't want to think about their later-life need for services such as health and aged care,'' he said.