Qantas Super CSBA Retirement
Confidence Index

Read more
Retirement confidence index
December 2017
Retirement confidence index
April 2018

Half of 40-59 year olds believe they’ll be unable to afford a comfortable retirement

They’re at the centre of competing financial pressures – dependant children, getting into the housing market, ageing parents. It’s also a prime time to accumulate super.

What the numbers say for Australians aged 40-59


Can't rely on their super and other investments for their financial wellbeing in retirement.


Think current cost of living is a hurdle to adequately preparing for retirement.


Know how much they’ll need for a comfortable retirement.


Feel little to no confidence that they'll have enough money for a comfortable retirement. Only 6% have very high confidence.


Are actively involved in making decisions about their super and other investments to prepare for retirement.


Believe external factors (like global, economic, government, regulatory issues) make it hard to prepare for retirement.

"Industry leadership is vital to help build confidence. Government and businesses have an important role to play in encouraging good behaviours around money and retirement planning, and encouraging people to take an active interest in their future.”

Qantas Super CEO, Michael Clancy

Breaking it down

How confident are Australians overall that they’ll be able to retire comfortably?

UP 1%
Little to no
UP 2%
Higher levels of confidence

Index insights across adult Australians

54% agree that external factors (e.g., global, economic, government, regulatory) make it difficult to prepare for retirement. Most common external factors mentioned were consistent with previous sentiment (cost of living/inflation, general economy and global economy/uncertainty).

45% are actively involved in making decisions about their superannuation and other investments/ financial affairs to prepare for retirement. People who have other investments outside super and high income earners continue to be more involved in making such decisions.

37% know how much money would be needed for a comfortable retirement. Of respondents without other investments, more than half (53%) do not know how much money would be needed for a comfortable retirement (compared to 43% in November 2017).

35% can rely on superannuation and other investments for financial well-being in retirement. Consistent with previous results, this is notably higher for those with other investments above $20,000 (60%) and retirees (59%).

A bit of context

While the index has fallen slightly, the overall backdrop has been relatively positive. For example, the Aussie dollar remained constant against the US dollar, at US$ 0.77; the cash rate remained steady over the past year; and Australian GDP figures reveal the economy grew by 0.6% in Q3 2017 and 0.4% in Q4 2017, with annual growth of 2.4% at Q4 2017 (seasonally adjusted). Headline CPI increased by 0.4% in both Q4 2017 and Q1 2018, bringing the annual increase to 1.9% at Q1 2018.

However, there was quite a lot of noise about market volatility during the quarter, with many super funds reporting a negative impact on returns.

Looking forward, the issues raised through the Royal Commission into Misconduct in Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, as well as findings from the recent Productivity Commission report, are likely to further damage confidence.

About the survey

The Retirement Confidence Index (RCI) was determined from an online survey conducted by CSBA, on behalf of Qantas Super. The survey was conducted from 26 March to 9 April 2018, with 1,009 respondents participating.

Survey participants were selected from an online panel and had to meet the following requirements: be at least 18 years old, reside in Australia (either citizen or permanent resident) and have superannuation.

To establish sufficient representation of the Australian population, quotas for gender, age, state and residential status were established according to the latest ABS census (2016).

The sample of 1,009 yields a statistical precision of plus or minus 3 percentage points with 95% confidence the results would reflect the entire Australian adult population (aged 18 and above) if surveyed in its entirety.