100 not out: Looking forward to a long retirement


It's no secret that, on average, we're living longer. Since the 1980s, the number of centenarians to receive a telegram from the Queen has more than doubled. And Statistics New Zealand's projections indicate the population aged 90 years and over is also likely to more than double between 2010 and 2030.

So how long will you live? And how much will you need to save to fund your retirement?

Let's do some rough 'back of the envelope' calculations.

The first question is how long will you live? Let's say you plan to retire at age 65. According to Statistics New Zealand a man aged 65 can expect to live another 17.95 years, on average, while a woman of the same age can expect to live another 20.62 years. You can get an indication of your life expectancy by taking the 'How long will I live?' quiz here.

The second question is how much will you need to live on? A rough rule of thumb often used in retirement planning is that you will need to be able to replace 70% of your pre-retirement income to continue a similar lifestyle in retirement.

Here's the maths:

Annual pre-retirement income (before tax)Annual income in retirement (after tax) 1Lump sum required 2

Life expectancy:
18 years

Life expectancy: 20 years

Sobering isn't it? Maybe it's time for a spot of retirement planning. As they say, forewarned is forearmed. The Retirement Commissioner's website – sorted.org.nz – has a range of tools you can use to calculate how much you might need to save and to estimate whether your current savings are on track. The longer you have until you retire, the more likely you will be able to adjust your savings strategy if you need to.

1 Based on 70% of pre-retirement income. These calculations do not include an allowance for any entitlement to New Zealand Superannuation.

2 Assumptions: 4% gross return less tax at 17.5%. 3% inflation. No adjustment for mortality.

This information has been prepared by PSS for general information only. The information does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, you should not act on this information if you have not considered the appropriateness of this information to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs. You should consult a financial adviser before making any investment decision.


This website is provided by Mercer (N.Z) Limited on behalf of the trustee of the Police Superannuation Scheme (PSS). The trustee pays a fee for the provision of this service, however this fee is not conditional on you using this service or acting on the information or advice provided through this service.

PSS Trustees Limited is the issuer of the Police Superannuation Scheme (PSS). A copy of the PSS product disclosure statement is available under Documents and forms and at companiesoffice.govt.nz/disclose.