The ‘Right’ Level for the Superannuation Guarantee: A Straightforward Issue by No Means
31 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2020
Date Written: January 11, 2020
We deploy a stochastic life-cycle model to examine how differing levels of the superannuation guarantee (SG) impact on the welfare of individual Australians under existing superannuation, tax and pension eligibility rules. Our main focus is the effect of various assumptions on the optimal SG, emphasizing the role of income and the retirement objectives of the individual. The analysis supports estimating the gains and losses from changing the SG for various individuals, and associated impacts on net government revenue. We find the optimal SG to vary substantially with income and objectives. While our baseline analysis indicates a SG of below the current level of 9.5%, higher estimates emerge if access to the Age Pension is excluded, and if the SG is used as a mechanism to self-insure against living to a very old age, being forced into early retirement, or incurring lower investment returns. We conclude that the case for raising the SG above 9.5% depends on the underlying assumptions, with the policy objectives that the SG is intended to achieve being critical.
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