What's new

Keep up-to-date with the latest improvements to all of our Retirement Income Simulator products

Retirement Income Simulator

Tax changes arising from Federal Budget 2020

The Federal Government brought forward tax threshold changes to apply retrospectively from 1 July 2020. We have now released this into the Simulator. The new rates don't affect the super calculations, just the after tax income from salary.

Tags: tax budget

Calculator update 1 July 2020

Today we released the updated Retirement Income Simulator for the 2020-21 financial year. There were no changes to the underlying calculations, just parameter updates as follows:

  • Co-contribution eligibility income threshold
  • SG maximum contributions base
  • Age pension means test and deeming thresholds
  • Underlying indexed values of contribution caps and transfer balance cap

Tags: update

Making the simulator more accessible

We have just updated the simulator so that it's more accessible! We've pored through the WCAG 2.1 guide and implemented the recommendations. Now you can navigate the entire app using the keyboard, and it should be more screen-reader friendly.

The charts are also accessible, thanks to the release of Highchart's accessibility module. We've upgraded to the latest version of highcharts and added a whole bunch of annotations to each chart. We really like the way highcharts adds descriptive text for the chart.

Let's say we have the following chart:

If this was an image, all the screenreader will be able to tell you is the alt text. However, this is highcharts, so the simulator will generate some nice HTML that makes it much easier to understand for a screen reader:

<div aria-hidden="false">
    <div>Combination chart with 3 data series.</div>
    <div>Your yearly after tax income will be $54,303 which lasts until age 67 when you retire. After retirement, your desired income of $45,000 is made up of your super drawdown and age pension. Your super will run out at age 85, which you have a 66% chance of living to. From there you will live on $22,000 per year.</div>
    <div>The chart has 1 X axis displaying your age. Range: 40 to 105.</div>
    <div>The chart has 1 Y axis displaying after-tax income. Range: 0 to 60000.</div>

If the user wants to know the actual breakdown, then the individual data points are also highlightable, using the keyboard, and a description has been added to each data point:

<rect x="448.5" y="68.5" width="20" height="644" 
      aria-label="Age 62 your take-home pay will be 54303 dollars"></rect>

You can go ahead and try it youself! Hit F12 on your browser and inspect the chart. The generated HTML is really nice :)

How was it done?

Making the site accessible turned out to be much more difficult than originally thought! The bulk of the work ended up being:

  • Enabling the highcharts accessibility module and adding helpful descriptions to the axis, data points and general descriptions
  • Fixing keyboard navigation. This meant making all important interactive elements focusable, so that you can tab through each item on the page
  • Adding context around controls. This meant adding aria-labelledby or aria-label to help with screen readers, or adding <for> for labels
  • Adding aria-hidden to controls that should be hidden to screen readers - and more importantly changing them to visible when they change dynamically
  • Adding validation aria attributes like aria-required and aria-invalid
  • Adding the role attribute to various controls where needed
  • Fixing tags - sometimes there was an unneccesary tag that could be removed or the wrong tag had been used, eg a <div> element that should be a <button>. Or a <span> element that should be an anchor <a> tag
  • Added the ability to use the enter key for activating focusable controls instead of just mouse click. Can also hit ESC when editing values to revert out of editing mode.
  • Added grouping of controls so that screen readers can explain better which controls are grouped together

The following resources really helped:

We'd love to hear from any people who are using screen readers or find the app difficult to use.

Tags: calculator simulator accessibility features

Two new RIS features

Two excellent new features in the Retirement Income Simulator are available now.

Custom investment strategy

custom strategy animated gif

It is now possible to model a combination of investment options in the Retirement Income Simulator, by using the new 'Custom strategy' feature. We recognise that many super fund members have their savings in a combination of products, and having to choose a single option to use the RIS was a limitation for these customers.

On the Assumptions panel you can now select 'Custom' and enter percentages against each investment option, ensuring they add to 100%. This will then show the expected return for the combination strategy in the option menu.

We have limited this feature to the pre-retirement phase for now, and you can't combine with a Lifecycle option.

Auto-allocate voluntary contributions

voluntary contributions animated gif

We have also changed the way voluntary contributions are set. Instead of setting both after-tax and salary sacrifice contributions on sliders, the user now sets the total voluntary contribution in after-tax dollars and the Simulator allocates between after-tax contributions and salary sacrifice contributions in a way that maximises the Government co-contribution and avoids breaching the concessional contribution cap. You can also select to manually allocate contributions as per previous functionality.

Tags: investment assumptions contributions

Deeming rate changes July 2019

Following further reductions in the RBA cash rate, the Government amended the income test deeming rates to better reflect what retirees might actually earn on deposits. The deeming rates are used to calculate notional income on investment assets (including super savings in retirement phase), which in turn counts against the income test threshold for the Age Pension. The new lower rate of 1% p.a. and upper rate of 3% p.a. have now been applied in the Simulator.

Tags: updates

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Posts by Quarter

2023 q3

Calculator update 1 July 2023

2022 q4

Superannuation calculator regulatory update goes live

2022 q3

Superannuation calculator regulations updated
Calculator update 1 July 2022

2021 q3

Calculator update 1 July 2021

2020 q4

Tax changes arising from Federal Budget 2020

2020 q3

Calculator update 1 July 2020

2020 q2

Making the simulator more accessible
Two new RIS features

2019 q3

Deeming rate changes July 2019
Calculator update July 2019

2019 q2

Inflation update
Home loan feature

2017 q3

New enhancement for the self-employed
Calculator update July 2017

2017 q1

Calculator Updates for March 2017

2016 q4

Calculator Updates for December 2016
Inflation update
Calculator updates for October 2016

2016 q3

Modelling inflation in the simulator
Calculator updates for July 2016

2016 q2

Federal Budget 2016
Calculator updates for April 2016

2016 q1

Career changes in the Retirement Income Simulator
Changes to online calculator regulations

2015 q4

Calculator updates for December 2015
Alternative input methods for the Retirement Income Simulator
Retirement Income Simulator improvements for the retirement phase

2015 q3

Age Pension and ASFA Retirement Standard changes
How much super do you need?
Calculator Updates for July 2015

2015 q2

Congratulations to Media Super
Infographics for simplified retirement planning
Retirement Income Simulator gets a responsive redesign