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Australian Financial Independence Calculator

Australian Financial Independence Calculator

There are countless sites/articles/forums about financial independence (FI) on the world wide web. I’ve often come across really clever, well developed calculators that offer a really good visualisation on how long you have to go before you reach FI. But the longer I searched for the best calculator the longer I realised that they were all geared towards other countries.


One of the main reasons I created this site was to offer my fellow countrymen quality information that was tailored for an Australian audience.


The biggest issue I had with every single one of these FIRE calculators out there was they didn’t factor in our Super system. The US system, which is the main system upon which I found almost all of the calculators accounted for, has a fundamentally different way their citizens can withdraw from their retirement accounts.


To put it simply, in the US you only need one portfolio to be at a certain amount before you are considered FI. But because you can’t access your Super before your preservation age (99% of the time) you end up with two. Your Super portfolio and a portfolio outside of it.


So what’s one to do? Do I just keep plugging away at my personal portfolio until I reach my FI number? That seems like a waste since Super has such a big tax advantage. You’re not likely to beat the 15% tax breaks on your Super.


But I don’t want to put money into Super because I want to retire young! And I won’t be able to touch the money until my preservation age (60 for me).


Decisions decisions decisions!



Introducing The Australian Financial Independence Calculator



Australian Financial Independence Calculator_2Australian Financial Independence Calculator

The above are two screen shots from the calculator showing the basic settings and the graph that it generates.


You will notice there are two lines in the graph. The Pre Super number is what you will be living off until you can access your Super. The Super number is obviously what’s in your Super.


In a nutshell, the most optimal way to reach FIRE here in Australia is to:


  1. Step 1. Have enough money to survive until your preservation age (when you can access Super). No matter how much you have in your Super, you won’t be able to retire early and pursue your other goals in life if you don’t have money coming in to live off. Step 1 is not meant to last you forever though. It’s only meant to last you until when you hit your preservation age and can then access your Super. You will notice in the above graph that your Pre Super number goes up and up and up…and then slowly tapers off past $0. This is by design. You want your Pre Super number to be at $0 when you access your Super.

  3. Step 2. Have enough in Super to cover all your living expenses forever! You will notice that the red line (Super) has a number of dips.

Australian Financial Independence Calculator_3

  1. The green part of the line indicates how much Super you currently have at the start. This will move slowly up (depending on how much Super you have) over the years as your super grows from compounding interest until you hit the pink arrow.

  3. The pink arrow indicates the time you have reached your Pre Super number. When you have reached your Pre Super number you theoretically should be able to live entirely off that number until preservation age (assuming all conditions stay the same). This means that 100% of your after tax income will be going into your Super account until you reach your Super Number.

  5. Your Super number is not actually your FI number. Your FI number will be reach in your Super account at the very start of your preservation year. But no sooner than that, because that is the most efficient and fastest way to reach FIRE. The calculator works out how many years it’s going to take you to reach your Pre Super number and then does some cool math and works out that you need a certain amount in your Super for it to grow into your FI number the year you can access it.

Pretty cool huh!



Video Of The Calculator In Action


Work In Progress 


The calculator has some flaws. It’s a work in progress. If you find a flaw please let me know and I’ll try to fix it.

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Enter your email address and not only will I send you the calculator. I will send you updated revisions of it ever time I fix a bug or the laws in Australia change.


Australian FIRE Calculator
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43 Responses to Australian Financial Independence Calculator

  1. Nice one Firebug. I’d be keen to give your calculator a try. There’s a really great retirement calculator from an US blogger I have been using. It’ll be interesting to compare the two and see the difference the Oz based super numbers make.

    • Yep it is interesting. The US calculators are great but because they can access their retirement accounts early it’s not quite the same.

    • Forgot to mention, you should be including the Governments Old Age Pension as well (unless I somehow missed that?). Even if it may or may not be there in the future or may or may not be the current amount, it’s something that some people can currently rely on so it will be a factor in their FIRE plans.

  2. Hit me with it. I work with financial spreadsheets for a lot of my job so keen to dig in and help develop this. Just a thought but it might be better served as a google doc?

  3. I’m a bit confused with the explanation of the arrows (and the video isn’t working, I was hoping to get a bit more out of that). To me it reads as if…

    1/ You work, have normal contributions to super (red), and save up until you reach an amount that could cover your living expenses (blue).
    2/ You continue to work, now putting that blue money into your red super. “This means that 100% of your after tax income will be going into your Super account until you reach your Super Number.”
    3/ You retire at 60, preservation age. “Your Super number is not actually your FI number. Your FI number will be reach in your Super account at the very start of your preservation year.”

    I know I’m missing something, but I can’t figure out what.

  4. Hi,

    Thanks for your efforts on this. It is a great idea.

    I have noticed a bug. WIthout even changing any values it shows an error on the Step One Tab.

    2026 10 $65,000 Err:502 Err:502 Err:502

    Also, again without changing any values, why does the super line on the graph not show any increase until 2024? Assuming that at least some of the income is derived from employment, wouldn’t there be a compulsory super contribution?

    • Hi,

      I’m fixing Super and a few other things. I will release an updated version later.

      What are you using to open the file? Google Docs? Excel?

      I’m using Excel 2010 and I’m not getting any errors.

      Try Google Docs if it’s not working.

  5. I’ve been wanting to see someone put out a calculator for us Aussies for ages, nice work. Looking forward to playing with it.

    I’m also keen to see more functionality around super guarantee and salary sacrifice etc in future versions.

    Now I just need to figure out how to model the next 2 years of paying off the house prior to investing full bore in ETFs!

    Thanks for this mate. Nice video, cool to put a voice to the blog 🙂

  6. This is awesome, thanks for putting it together! Yay for an Aussie calculator 🙂

    – Easy fix, could you resize the comment boxes, currently in excel 2013 the comment boxes cannot display the whole comment.
    – Compulsory Super contributions from the employer during step 1 have not been accounted for.
    – Interest earned on Super contributions during step 1 has not been calculated.

    Keep up the great work. Yell out if you need a hand, I’m happy to try to help.

  7. Hi Firebug,
    I have been looking for an Aussie base Calculator for some time thanks for your work. I noticed a few thing with the calculator.

    1. Super doesn’t increase year to year should be at least the 9.5% employer contribution , plus any salary sacrifice.
    2. After you start saving super it uses the total post tax number rather than, How much post tax money can you save each year.

    Would be happy to test out the next version of the Calculator. let me know.

    • Hi Chris,

      1. Yep Super need fixing.
      2. This is by design. Once you have reached your Pre Super number you can dump 100% of your after tax income towards Super. This is because your Pre Super number will allow you to completely live off it until preservation age hence no need for any income to be spent anywhere else other than your Super.

      The next version will be out soon!

    • Hey Nick.

      I checked and I seen that your email was sent. All good now mate? How long was the delay btw? The email didn’t show up in your spam did it?


      • Hey mate

        Looks like the work firewall blocked it. Sent it to a personal email and now its all good. Came through almost straight away.


  8. Thanks for this!

    I’ve been trying to create my own because the US ones did not fit.

    This will save heaps of time.

    Keep up hard work!

    • No worries mate. I’m close to releasing the updated version b/c there are a few bugs in the current one. So keep an eye out for the email.

      Cheers 🙂

    • Hi LadyFIRE,

      Awesome work!

      I want to build my excel version into a web app one day. You have done a great job.

      PS I have released a newer version of the calculator in case you haven’t seen it yet. It cleans up a lot of formatting for the excel version.


  9. Great calculator!
    A couple of things to consider:
    1. It would be great to be able to input salary sacrifice amounts and also marginal tax rates for two people.
    2. When you reach your pre-super number you dont want to necessarily put in all your income into super. You would need to take into account the concessional contribution cap, the non-concessional contribution cap and that once your super balance reaches 1.6m (indexed), you cant
    put in any more non-concessional contributions (from 1 July 2017).
    3. It would be good to have an assumption of your income being indexed at x amount eg. 2%pa.

    • Good suggestions. The calculator is not perfect and you’re right with the non-concessional contributions cap. I might add more to it eventually but the original purpose of it was to have people understand that early retirement is a two phased approach in Australia.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

  10. great work firebug
    i plugged my numbers into your calculator and it has told me i have already reached FI , i am still in the salt mine but it did make me smile to know i can go when i have had enough.
    one thing about you millennials you guys are so generous with your knowledge i am really impressed i am a gen X and seriously grateful.
    letting go of the treadmill is often actually difficult to do even when you have more than you need would be great to get a podcast with someone who has some deprogramming strategies.
    mad fientist has touched on it with his podcast with the happy philosopher but i find at 45 its an abyss i still not up to jumping into.

    great work

    • Hi Josh,

      You make a great point. I will try to get someone on the podcast to chat about this in the future.


  11. Hey Firebug,
    Thanks for making the Calculator freely available – much appreciated.
    Any chance you could do a version for couples?
    And while I’m asking… 🙂 is it possible to add a way to pause both savings and super contributions for a period if you are out of the workforce (studying, kids, etc.)

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