Robert Merton, who was awarded the Nobel prize for economics in 1997, has recommended that the Australian superannuation system needs to rethink the way that it communicates with people about their retirement savings. Merton, who has spent the last decade studying retirement savings systems, believes that the Australian system is too focused on lump sum amounts, and should be regarded to make investors think about their future income streams.
“We are teaching people to look at the wrong number,” Mr Merton said in an interview. “What is a good retirement is measured by the standard of living you want in retirement, and standard of living is not defined by a pot of money but a stream of income. A good amount for retirement would be to sustain the standard of living you have become used to enjoying in the later part of your working life. That is an income goal; it’s not a wealth goal.
Merton also claims that the Australian super system needs to improve services in the pension phase of retirement savings.He claims that too many products that are classified as low-risk investments actually have highly volatile income streams, and retirees are given insufficient information from superannuation funds in regards to deciding when and how to withdraw their super.