AUSTRALIA - Voluntary superannuation contributions surged in the first half of 2007, boosted by the option to contribute up to AUS$1m (US$892,000) in non-concessional super before 30 June.
However, more than half of the total increase in voluntary contributions came from just 3% of employees.
The index found around two-thirds of workers, or 7.1 million Australians, were on track to achieve an adequate lifestyle in retirement, an increase of 83,000 since the previous index. However, 3.4 million Australians were still falling behind.
The index also showed that Australians on average would retire with total superannuation and other assets of $572,934, excluding the value of the family home. This would provide an annual average retirement income of $42,219 from a combination of superannuation, other investments and the aged pension.
Older workers had taken advantage of the opportunity to transfer assets into super, resulting in higher projected super benefits and lower asset levels outside the super system among workers aged 50 and over. Of those still falling behind around half, or 1.7 million Australians, were under the age of 40.
Craig Meller, financial services managing director at AMP, said the increase in contributions came from those who had contributed the most to super in the past.
He said: "Employees on higher incomes and those close to retirement were the most likely to make voluntary contributions.
"That is why we support any on-going policy efforts to help broaden the retirement savings culture and ensure more Australians are adequately prepared for life after work."
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