I’m concerned I’m going to run out of money in retirement, what should I do?

Hello Kerry and thanks for your question.

The first step in addressing these concerns is to consider/set your key retirement goals. This can include financial goals such as your cost of living, lump sum expenditure on things like holidays or cars, and lifestyle goals which have financial implications (tree/sea change etc). You may need to complete a budget to achieve an accurate estimate of your cost of living in retirement. As part of this you should also consider what costs may change from your working to retirement life.

Once you have set your goals you can test the adequacy of your assets and retirement income in meeting them. Don’t forget that your retirement income may include a full or partial age pension entitlement, depending on your circumstances. Determining if your assets and income in retirement are adequate for meeting these goals may be quite a complex calculation.

Other key things that will impact this calculation are the age at which you want to retire, how you choose to invest your money and your life expectancy.

If you are uncertain about how to calculate this, UniSuper has calculator tools that may help you. You may also wish to speak to an adviser.

The results of the adequacy test can then guide you on what adjustments may be necessary. For example, if the results indicate a shortfall you may need more conservative financial goals, delay your expected retirement age or a combination of both. On the flip side if the results indicate a more than comfortable outcome you could increase your expectations in retirement.

Whatever the outcomes in the lead up to retirement, you should ensure your retirement strategy is as efficiently structured as possible to help you have the best chance of meeting your retirement goals. The sooner you start this process the bigger the difference you could make.

The information contained in these responses are not legal, taxation or accounting advice. It is intended to provide general information only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or personal needs. Prior to making any investment decisions, you should speak with a financial adviser to consider whether this information is appropriate for your needs, objectives and circumstances. You should also obtain a copy of the relevant product disclosure statement (PDS) prior to making a decision regarding any investment in any financial product. Whilst care has been taken in the preparation of this information, the accuracy or completeness of the information is not guaranteed. This case study was prepared and issued by UniSuper Management Pty Ltd ABN 91 006 961 799, AFSL No: 235907, which is also the administrator of, and wholly owned by, the UniSuper Superannuation fund (ABN 91 385 943 850). UniSuper Limited (ABN 54 006 027 121, AFSL 492806) is the trustee of the fund. UniSuper Advice is operated by UniSuper Management Pty Ltd, which is licensed to provide financial product advice to members.

Answered by Stephen Henshall


Beginning his career at a corporate superannuation fund in 1997, Stephen moved into a financial advice role as a paraplanner in 2004.

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