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Retirees not living on Super alone

New retirement spending guidelines are being touted as a useful tool for advisers to help their clients work out how much they needed to save for their retirements.

Monday, November 9th 2015, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

Massey University has released an updated version of its guidelines, which show what retirees spend for a very basic "no frills" lifestyle in retirement, and what it costs to have a more comfortable "choices" lifestyle.

No frills represents the second quintile of spending of current retirees, and choices is the fourth quintile.

One-person households in the metropolitan centres spend just under $490 a week for the relatively frugal no-frills life. People spend $754 in the main centres and $783 in provincial parts of New Zealand for more options.

“Given the current New Zealand Superannuation payment for a single person living alone is just $374.53 per week, it quickly becomes apparent that retirees need additional income to survive,” says Claire Matthews, the report’s author. “That’s even the case when spending is limited to the essentials, the shortfall quickly widens if you want a more comfortable lifestyle."

Matthews said: “When the guidelines talk about a ‘choices’ lifestyle, it’s not about being extravagant. It just means not having to watch every cent and being able to enjoy some treats from time to time – things like going out for a meal, not buying the cheapest cuts of meat, doing some travel, or going to the movies or theatre.”

She said she hoped the guidelines would help advisers have the conversation with clients.

Advisers’ clients were usually more on track to achieve their goals, she said, but it was useful to know what retirees were actually spending, rather than trying to guess what might be required.

To achieve the “no frills” lifestyle, people would need a lump sum of about $114,000 on top of NZ Super. The more comfortable “choices” lifestyle would require a lump sum of almost $400,000.

Matthews said only two-person metropolitan households can achieve a no frills retirement with the standard rate of New Zealand Superannuation, which is $576.20 per week for a couple.

Metropolitan two-person households were spending $523 a week for a no-frills life and $1092 with choices, the research showed.

Workplace Savings NZ executive director Bruce Kerr says he hopes the Retirement Expenditure Guidelines will assist people to “cut through that much-asked and somewhat scary question: ‘How much retirement savings is enough?’”

Tags: retirement

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