Age Pension: will the eligibility age rise?

Will the Age Pension age change in the Federal Budget 2016/17?

increasing retirement age

In the third of a series of articles focusing on possible changes to retirement income policy in the Federal Budget 2016/17, this week we look at pension age. There are three numbers that are important in the debate about Age Pension age: 65, 67 and 70.

These represent the current Age Pension age, the legislated increase and the Federal Government’s preferred policy delivered in Budget 2015, but still to be legislated.

The current rule
So what will happen in this year’s budget? It’s a subject on which the Turnbull Government has been very quiet – but it is worth remembering that the legislation from the Federal Budget 2015/16 to move the qualifying age for the Age Pension to 70 by 2030. From 1 July 2017, the current age of 65 will gradually increase to 67 by 2023, as a result of legislation passed by the Gillard government in 2009.

Suggested changes
All is quiet on the Western front! The Turnbull Government has not highlighted pension age; one assumes because the legislation to raise it to 70 is still on the table. The Labor Party supports the current age of 67.

Opinion
There goes retirement! Just when you though 45 years of hard work and paying taxes meant you qualified for a part Age Pension and a little bit of ‘you’ time and boom! Age Pension age is increasing from 65 to 67 and 70 appears well and truly on the horizon. As we have already suggested, a move from 67 to 70 will be fine for those workers who depend on their knowledge rather than their physical fitness to do their daily work. Those who are employed in physical labour may be caught out by their ability to continue to lug heavy equipment, make beds, lift patients – even lift a hairdryer after 50 years of this repetitive action.

For such workers, 67 is probably quite old enough, while those who work on computers might feel comfortable and capable to continue into their 80s. So what is fair? We asked our members in our most recent Insights survey in January this year, what they felt was the most appropriate age at which to receive an Age Pension – and 65 was the clear preference with 63 per cent confirming this was the appropriate age at which to receive this retirement income support.

Whilst supporting the clear preference of our members, for now, we do believe that there is need to increase the Age Pension age in line with longevity as happens in Denmark. This can be a gradual measure and can be introduced AFTER some other much needed reforms are achieved. And what would these be? Such reforms would call for more age friendly work places, for a concerted effort to reduce the 483 days that those over 55 currently spend out of work (compared with 284 for younger workers) and for a more robust age discrimination mediation process so those older Australians who can’t get work don’t simply give up – they get up and fight, with the support of the Australian government.

RELATED ARTICLES

    What do you think? Should the entitlement age for the Age Pension be raised from 67 in 2023 to 70 by 2030? What is your experience of the right to a pension?





    COMMENTS

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    oceanblue30
    24th Mar 2016
    11:01am
    Should be 60 we all deserve a break after years of work paying taxes and raising the next generation
    iamnotold
    24th Mar 2016
    11:58am
    Most over 60's started work at 15 (some even younger) so yes, pension age should be 60.
    PlanB
    24th Mar 2016
    11:59am
    Yes iamnotold, I was one of those
    LENYJAC
    24th Mar 2016
    12:52pm
    Whatever the age,these bloody politicians should be made to abide by there own rules ,,,not just for us honest folk....
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    7:23am
    Yes, iamnotold, the age of starting work and the type of work done should be taken into account in determining retirement age.

    Also, the level of opportunity enjoyed in earlier life should be a factor in determining pension entitlements. Those who struggled with little education or training due to being orphaned, abused in institutions, children of injured war veterans whose families struggled financially, children from poverty-stricken families, etc. and who struggled in their work life as a result, should be afforded special consideration if they are unable to continue working after age 55 - not just thrown on the unemployment scrap heap!
    Jannie
    31st Mar 2016
    10:17am
    The pollies should have the same rules applied to them, not drain the system.
    LiveItUp
    24th Mar 2016
    11:05am
    You can retire at any age. I have no problem with entitlement age for the age pension being 67 or 70. Let's face it the age pension should only be given to those who need it not to those who are entitled to it.
    Anonymous
    24th Mar 2016
    11:25am
    We can retire at any age IF we are PRIVILEGED and earn enough to be able to afford to Bonny. Your elitism and contempt for the real LIFTERS of this nation is showing, and it's disgusting!
    LiveItUp
    24th Mar 2016
    11:36am
    Nothing elite or privileged about me other than I have learnt to live within my means. I am one of the real lifters in that I support myself and family without the need to put my hand out for welfare. If that is disgusting then what do we call those who think welfare is a right not a privilege?
    marls
    24th Mar 2016
    5:08pm
    Rainy spot on some ppl are very cold and heartless and have never lived in the real world
    Aussiefrog
    24th Mar 2016
    6:25pm
    This comment doesn't make any sense at all!
    How can you give to to those who need it if they are not entitled?
    Example: Luigi is 65 and worked since he was 18 as a concretor, he's worn out by all those years of hard labour.
    But the legislation changed from 65 to 67!
    So Luigi NEED to retire but he's not ENTITLED!
    But maybe Bonny thinks that Luigi is not a real lifter!
    Anonymous
    24th Mar 2016
    10:44pm
    Bonny thinks the only people entitled to eat in old age are those who were privileged enough to save to be self-funded. Totally elitist!
    Farside
    27th Mar 2016
    2:00pm
    I'm with Bonny. Social security is a safety net not an entitlement. If you don't need it then leave some for those that do. It is not elitist to see those who have means to be independent should be treated differently to those who do not. If you have to retire and have no means to provide for yourself then you are entitled to receive social security, simple really. If you want to retire and are without means but not yet eligible to access social security then you have to work or take unemployment benefit. Many seem to mistake the difference between LIFTERS and LEANERS.
    Anonymous
    27th Mar 2016
    11:07pm
    The problem, Brian, is the assessment of need. X, with a few hundred thousand in the bank and a $100,000 home unit doesn't quality as ''needy'', but Y with a $2.5 million house and $100,000 in the bank does. Z, who gave all his kids houses before he turned 60 in return for them pledging to buy him whatever he needs and pay a lot of his bills in old age is '''needy''.

    A, who earned $180,000 a year and blew the lot on luxury living is needy, but B who earned the basic wage but worked two or three jobs and saved like crazy isn't.

    C, who earns $70,000 a year is ''needy'', but D, who is sick and disabled and was awarded $700,000 compensation after a devastating accident - money intended to pay for disability aids and medicines and special care - isn't, and can sacrifice the disability aids and medicines and special care and live on his compo instead.

    There is no logic or fairness in the system at all. Social security is NOT by any means a ''safety net'' for those who need it. It's an ''entitlement'' for those dishonest, savvy, or irresponsible enough to place themselves in a situation where they qualify.

    (That is not to say that there aren't many on pensions who are genuinely needy, and personally I would happily sacrifice to give them more. But they are NOT the majority of aged pensioners. Not even close. The vast majority COULD and SHOULD have saved enough to be self-sufficient, or nearly self-sufficient if they had chosen to be honest and responsible.)
    Goldleaf
    24th Mar 2016
    11:11am
    Most people are not aware that they have been paying for their pension all their working lives, it is NOT a welfare safety net. Prior to the 1960s every pay cheque had your social security payment written on it. Then it was consumed into general revenue, but you were still paying it, NO ONE got that money back in their pay. So, yes, you are entitled to it and as far as increasing the retirement age, that is purely to save money which all governments have raided and wasted. Retirement should be considered a right and if it isn't then why do so many rich people retire early?
    LiveItUp
    24th Mar 2016
    11:16am
    Don't agree. All you do is pay taxes and then the government spends your taxes. There is not pot of money sitting anywhere for your pension.
    Patriot
    24th Mar 2016
    11:20am
    Goldleaf
    You are so correct.
    Additional to the above, the deductions did not reduce either.
    This confirms that payment towards the OAP was still being deducted.
    Deductions of this component also did not stop when "Compulsory Super" was introduced.

    The only conclusion is that Govt. is "Double Dipping" and just squandering these funds.

    All they seem to do is squeal that "There is NOT enough money to pay us".
    They forget to tell us that they have squandered it!!!
    Anonymous
    24th Mar 2016
    11:30am
    You are WRONG, Bonny. Goldleaf and Patriot are absolutely correct. And this generation of retirees IS ENTITLED to the pension they paid for and were always promised. That a corrupt government stole money and misappropriated it doesn't reduce entitlement of the rightful owners, and only the greedy and self-serving would assert that one group of Australians should bear nearly all the burden resulting from years of gross economic mismanagement.

    Retirees have already suffered more than any other group through falling investment returns. It is just plain THEFT, motivated by VILE AND DISGUSTING GREED, to suggest that they should suffer more while multi-nationals exploit the tax system and the rich get huge concessions to build retirement funds they DO NOT NEED.

    This generation of retirees was told ''pay for your pension through a tax levy and you will receive your reward in due course''. We ARE ENTITLED to expect that promise to be fulfilled.
    LiveItUp
    24th Mar 2016
    11:39am
    Gee I must have missed an awful lot because I am of the same generation and I was always told that there would not be a pension by the time I retired so I needed to be able to fund my own retirement.
    particolor
    24th Mar 2016
    12:01pm
    They saw you coming ! :-) That's 1 Pension they saved ! :-)
    We Payed All Our Lives and bought up the Next Generation that are Paying ! We are ENTITLED Bonny !
    As someone said up there it was factored into the Taxes, and we payed it all our working lives ! Not 6 years talking Garbage in Parliament and walking away with a Sack full of Cash for Life :-(
    LiveItUp
    24th Mar 2016
    12:14pm
    But your are not entitled to a pension your only receive a pension if you can jump through all the hoops to get one. Just because you paid taxes all your life it doesn't make you entitled. May people have paid taxes all their life and still do but are not entitled to a pension.

    Good they saw me coming but I guess I now don't have to worry about organising my affairs to get a pension and then worrying about every move the government makes in case I lose it. Instead I can think what a good job the government is doing so that only those who need the pension actually get it.
    Rodent
    24th Mar 2016
    12:31pm
    Hi Goldleaf interested in your comment today at 11.11am
    I started work in Jan 1959 and received a fortnightly cash payment of six pounds, ten shillings, and eleven pence per fortnight. PMG department. Prior to commencing in the PMG in late 1958 I was responsible for actually putting the cash, and the payslips into the envelopes of other employees.

    My pay slip at that time had no reference of any kind to money (social security payment) being allocated towards any future Pension. Can you support your statement with evidence of any kind. I think still I have a payslip from then? will go and have a look

    Just interested
    genimi
    24th Mar 2016
    10:23pm
    Bonny you have missed an important feature of the welfare system. Yes, as Australian citizens or long term residents, we are entitled to utilise welfare payments should we prove eligible. Eligibility is determined by many factors, age, residence, disability criteria, income, assets, and the list goes on depending on which payment you are looking at. What they want to change is the age criteria of eligibility, not entitlement.
    Shep
    24th Mar 2016
    11:24am
    As sure as the sun comes up, Australian governments will make it harder to be eligible to get a pension. All the governments of the day only think about themselves and their current term.
    Not one and no one in the government has a sustainable plan for the future for our aged population. Super was a good idea in the beginning but that has been chopped and diced several times and on each occasion lost some of its credibility and value.
    My own case is I have been out of work for almost 2 years and approaching 63 years of age and have applied for over 300 positions in this time and when lucky enough to get an interview (3 interviews out of 300 applications) do the math about my chances of getting a job as I can't even get a job at Bunnings as a casual. I have Diplomas coming out my rear end and 45 years working experience. So wake up governments unless you can convince employers to take on those older persons who want to work until they are 70 you have no chance of me or many others voting for YOU!
    Pollyanna
    24th Mar 2016
    3:00pm
    You are so right Shep.

    24th Mar 2016
    11:24am
    What is the point of forcing older Australians whose bodies may be worn out by hard physical labour to try to keep working, or resort to unemployment or disability benefits, while there are not enough jobs for younger Australians? It makes no sense to me!

    I think we need to review our approach to retirement. Firstly, we need to consider - seriously - whether we have a major funding problem and to what extent it is realistically likely to increase. Many authorities declare that we spend very little on the aged in Australia, relative to GDP and international averages, and there are unlikely to be substantial increases because compulsory superannuation is going to increasingly provide at least partial support for retirees.

    Secondly - and perhaps more importantly - I think we need to consider what kind of society we really want to live in. Do we want a society in which work and earning is the be-all and end-all of everything, and those who can't earn are dismissed as ''leaners'' and condemned to hardship? Do we want to live in a society where our old and sick are shunned and their needs dismissed as ''unaffordable'' and therefore, unimportant? Do we want to live in a society where those who work and save are forced to surrender the benefits they earned so younger Australians can live at a standard most of today's retirees couldn't even dream of, and instead of benefiting from an eventual inheritance, can enjoy high net incomes today while their parents and grandparents are deprived of fair reward for decades of effort?

    Thirdly, we need to start recognizing that one size doesn't fit all. There are people who can keep working at older ages. In the main, they are likely to be people who EARN MORE. So by raising the retirement age, we risk entrenching poverty and condemning those who struggled most through life to a miserable old age. It's easy to cop out and say ''they should have done better''. But that is a selfish and self-serving cop-out. Some, undoubtedly, could have and should have. A great many suffered hardship and encountered challenges that are beyond the comprehension of the privileged.

    Finally, we need to acknowledge that change needs to be sensibly managed with consideration for the valid planning and fair expectations of older Australians - and their contribution to society. Today's retirees generally didn't have the benefit of superannuation. They contributed to the cost of their retirement through a tax system. Yes, the money is gone. It was spent on roads and schools and health and pensions for our parents and grandparents, etc. (In fact, it was stolen by the Fraser Government!) But that doesn't change the fact that it was paid in a fair and reasonable expectation - based on Government promises. Is it fair that a small section of society should now be exclusively targeted to suffer the consequences of Government waste and mismanagement? Is it fair that the targeted sector should be the same sector that has already suffered most from economic downturn (losing returns on investments) and that it is the sector least able to find ways to combat the disadvantage imposed?

    This Government has conceded to the selfish demands of a greedy, self-serving sector of society whose suggested response to challenges is overly simplistic, patently unfair, economically short-sighted (and destructive in the long term), and socially unacceptable. It's time for a change of attitude. The current generation of retirees IS ENTITLED to the pension we paid for and were repeatedly advised we could reasonably expect. Changes should be grandfathered. And the next generation of retirees should be entitled to expect compassionate consideration of their earning capacity and the stress of their job on their physical and mental health. We need to consider realistically and respectfully the capacity of people to sustain the capacity to earn in their later years.

    STOP talking about cutting tax. If we can't afford to deal fairly, justly and compassionately with our elderly, we can't afford to even consider tax cuts. What we need to do is to restructure the system so that those who can afford to pay, do pay. We need to change the message to focus on building a healthy society, with family and community as priorities, and with work and earning having far less focus. We need to condemn materialism and greed, and refocus our idea of capitalism to put society and employees ahead of profit. We need to focus on ethics and integrity and human decency over and above bottom lines.

    We need to recognize the changing structure of employment - that technology is reducing the demand for work. It isn't feasible to dump the entire burden of that reduction on those least able to tolerate it. We need to look at more job-sharing and reduction of work hours and years, paid for by those who profit from technological change.

    The National Party candidate for our region has declared he is running on a platform or reducing the aged pension. I don't know to what extent he represents LNP thinking generally, but we have cause, given their past record, to be very worried about their exceedingly selfish, self-serving and unfair attitude to older Australians, and it's time to stand up to the sector that want to destroy everything we have worked for decades and deny us the comfort in old age that we earned and ARE ENTITLED TO in a decent, caring society that remains relatively affluent (despite challenges) and that has the proven capacity to support its retirees adequately and to treat the sick and disabled and just plain worn-out with respect and compassion.
    LiveItUp
    24th Mar 2016
    11:52am
    People are so much better off today then I was growing up but seem to whinge a lot more.
    particolor
    24th Mar 2016
    12:06pm
    Yes I've noticed You do ! :-)
    marls
    24th Mar 2016
    5:16pm
    Bonny in the 50s and 60' most women did not work the retirement age was a lot less but we had plenty of money to pay their pension and health wise a lot healthier cancer was unheard of along with a lot of other diseases we now gave
    musicveg
    24th Mar 2016
    10:33pm
    Very well said Rainey, when are you running for a seat in government, I will vote for you!

    The greed of multinational companies is what is ruining this world,when they don't pay taxes we are missing out on billions that could be spent looking after our health system and caring for older people who worked hard to get the country prosperous, and what do they get back, the threat of more work and more struggle. More older people in the workforce the less jobs for the young who are already struggling to get a start in life, and turn to drugs out of frustration.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    8:02am
    Yes, Bonny. I'm a lot better off than I was growing up - thankfully. But I will whinge about unfairness and bad governance and poor economic management that is depriving me of fair reward for decades of hard work, sacrifice and struggle while the privileged party on obscene rates of pay on which they pay almost no tax. And I'll whinge about the old and sick living in poverty unnecessarily in an affluent nation, while the privileged display disgusting elitism and contempt and a complete lack of humanity. And I'll whinge about idiots destroying incentive and reward and forcing people to employ the same STUPID asset-sell-off strategies that the government has used to grind this nation into debt, knowing full well that forcing such behaviour is guaranteed to drive us to third-world status.

    We need to pay off debt - by producing and saving and sensible management, NOT by grinding the underprivileged into poverty and stripping workers and savers of all rewards for effort.
    Big Kev
    24th Mar 2016
    11:25am
    I know of people in physical jobs like builders miners and mechanics who are knackered by 55.

    We entered the workforce with a guarantee that pension age was 65. We should have that guarantee met and the age could be increased for those coming later who weren't given that guarantee.

    As it is my superannuation excludes me from the pension and I earn $80 per fortnight too much to receive a health benefits card. Because my wife and I bother have chronic health conditions that means we pay $8000 a year plus extra in healthcosts alone because we earn $2000 too much a year. Great deal

    Perhaps what is needed is a tapering mechanism related to health status rather than a simple age or dollar cutoff.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2016
    10:19am
    I agree, Big Kev, with the proviso that psychological health and type of work also be considered. The intelligent but poor person who started work at 15 and spent 5 decades scrubbing toilets or holding stop/go signs might be in okay physical health at 65, but they may be psychologically devastated by the sheer boredom of work and the intense frustration of never being able to realise their true potential. For some, retirement is their first opportunity for any kind of personal fulfilment.
    thommo
    24th Mar 2016
    11:39am
    Yourlifechoices should be jumping up and down about the proposed retirement age of 70. Stand up and support older Australians and put heaps of pressure on politicians to go no further than 67 (even that is too old).
    Yourlifeschoices did nothing when Abbott and Morrison changed the assets test in the 2015 budget (after promising on their dead mother's graves there would be no such changes). Not even a whimper.
    Gutless.
    KSS
    24th Mar 2016
    1:16pm
    And what exactly did YOU do Thommo?
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    8:16am
    I wrote to every single senator explaining the detrimental impact of punishing people for saving, and the gross unfairness of pensions for people earning $70,000+ pa or living in multi-million-dollar houses or gifting to their kids (conditionally!) before age 60 while honest battlers are punished with the loss of 260% of their investment earnings on modest savings that inflation will likely erode to about $80,000 value over 30 years in retirement (IF they don't have to drain half it to live without a pension!)

    Only one Senator responded, and he couldn't get the math. I had to explain it to him four times, and then he was gobsmacked and said he'd have to change his position, and caution other Senators to consider what I'd said. As we all know, they didn't! Probably also too dumb to figure out the math!
    PlanB
    24th Mar 2016
    11:50am
    Need to be able to retire at 60 and have a few good years enjoying life --
    LiveItUp
    24th Mar 2016
    11:53am
    Retire at 60 spend your savings so you get full pension at 70. Sounds like a good plan to me.

    I know many people who retired at 55 and are doing just that so they get the pension when they reach pension age.
    PlanB
    24th Mar 2016
    11:58am
    I would never spend savings just for the hell of it Bonny, never have and never will
    Stretch
    24th Mar 2016
    12:34pm
    Bonny, try living on the OAP for years. A person would have to be a bit stupid to deplete their super so they could access a full pension. The amount is hardly an incentive or path to a better retirement. Once on it, there's no going back unless you win the lottery.
    KSS
    24th Mar 2016
    1:19pm
    PlanB there is absolutely nothing stopping anyone from retiring at 60, 40 or any other age and having years left 'enjoying life'.
    Anonymous
    24th Mar 2016
    10:49pm
    Yes there is, KSS. Money! Most of us can't afford to retire at 65, let alone earlier!
    Charlie
    24th Mar 2016
    12:10pm
    The trouble with this, is the super is tied to the retirement date. One can escape this condition and draw super after 55 if they certify they no longer intend to work full time.

    I had to make use of this condition and draw my super 55-60yo but this was because of medical conditions that prevented me from working full time anymore.

    As a non smoker, and non drinker from age 32, I expected to last much longer in the work
    force but I didn't , so I don't think we can be too cocky about the next generation and the one after that, lasting longer in the workforce. Already the effects of poor diet and obesity are starting to impact on health and physical performance.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    8:19am
    Yep, Charlie! Anyone who thinks the next generation will maintain adequate health to work longer is a fool. Look at them! Obesity and laziness will ensure that half the population is disabled before age 50.
    ex PS
    27th Mar 2016
    7:32pm
    At 55 I was offered Voluntary Early Retiremnet, I took into consideration all of the relevant Super concessions and what was required in order to maintain a modest lifestyle and took the offer.
    I fully intended to live off my own capital and it would have lasted me out. I could have taken a holiday for a couple of years if I chose and then signed on for the dole knowing quite well that I had very little chance of being given a job before I reached retiremnent age.
    I chose not to do this as I felt that taking a dole payment was the wrong thing to do. I now feel that I acted foolishly as the present government seems hell bent on making life harder and harder for self funded retirees and their families.
    Given this governments propensity to give to the rich and take from the poor, I doubt if I would make the same decision if I could go back in time.
    Carol
    24th Mar 2016
    12:14pm
    Thommo you are correct what has yourlifechoices done about the changes in the goalposts re part pensions when they stated there would be no changes to the pensions. Is there now any incentive to save for your old age, think most folk won't bother, but then it will be unsustainable for anyone to get a pension. Very foolish indeed.
    KSS
    24th Mar 2016
    1:20pm
    And what have you done about Carol?
    Pollyanna
    24th Mar 2016
    12:19pm
    I think 67 is deffinately high enough. I am only 64 and on a disability pension but even so I could not do a full day's work
    Stretch
    24th Mar 2016
    12:24pm
    If the Government wants to deny the old age pension to us until we're one foot in the grave, they'd better make damn sure we can have decent breaks from work during the half century we'll be shackled to work. Old age used to be when you could finally rest, enjoy the bit of life left before the downhill to incapacity and death. They want to squeeze every one of our productive years for working.
    Portable long service leave for every one, casuals and ongoing employees, regardless of moving jobs, should be legislated for.
    At least we'd get an occasional break, every ten years, to live rather than just work.
    LiveItUp
    24th Mar 2016
    12:27pm
    After all the age pension was introduced at a time when people lived only a few years after they retired. Government is therefore just reverting back to the reason why the age pension was first introduced.
    KSS
    24th Mar 2016
    1:24pm
    Bonny is right Stretch and most didn't even live long enough to be able to claim the pension in the first place. Those that did died soon after.

    Its a bit different today when people can spend well over 20 years on the age or disability pension after 65.
    Anonymous
    24th Mar 2016
    10:54pm
    What a shame all our oldies aren't dying! Sad that people are actually able to live long enough to enjoy a bit of leisure time. With all the technological advances generating massive profits, and in a nation in which we have obscene extremes of wealth, it's evidenced that our total expenditure on the age pension is low by OECD standards as a portion of GDP and TOTALLY AFFORDABLE. Furthermore, it isn't expected to grow much in the next few decades, and it is likely to gradually shrink as the effects of compulsory super kick in.

    It's time for Government to stop lying about the aged pension and acknowledge an obligation AND an ability to pay.
    PlanB
    25th Mar 2016
    9:02am
    Yes many may live a lot of years after they retire but it is the QUALITY NOT THE QUANATY of life that matters
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    4:42pm
    ''Government is therefore just reverting back to the reason why the age pension was first introduced.''

    Bonny, if that's the best this tunnel-visioned brain-dead government can do, then we'd best get rid of them in a hurry. You don't fix tomorrow's problems by taking policy backward to a former age when EVERYTHING was different.

    We need a government that is innovative, forward thinking and socially and economically responsible, and can produce solutions that fit TOMORROW'S world - a world where robots do much of the work and the demand for labour is minimal. A world where people reasonably expect the standard of living past generations worked so hard to provide - not a stinking feudal society where the privileged party and the underprivileged drop dead on the job or starve.
    ex PS
    27th Mar 2016
    10:05pm
    It's our own fault we just don't have the good grace to turn up our toes in time to fit in with the LNP's plans. we are just inconsiderate.
    old-age worker
    24th Mar 2016
    12:52pm
    NO.
    Even if it is "grandfathered" (unfortunate term in this context).
    One thing I have attempted to stay healthy for, and saved for, is my (and my wife's...) retirement.
    Paid into super long before it was compulsory, and SAVED both money and health to enjoy it.
    Pity the poor kids who now will have to work longer before they too can enjoy it.
    Like some have already said, I wont need a pension (hopefully!) but I have gone without, all my working life, actively managed my superannuation (despite what my fund wanted me to do during the GFC), and I have always earned below the average wage, oh, and was (still am) the sole financial support for my family.
    It can be done.
    In theory, a retirement age of 70 SHOULD mean that much more super. Until the pollies work that one out!
    JoMojo
    24th Mar 2016
    12:59pm
    They do NOT need to raise the retirement age to 70. Too many people not capable of working to that age. Taking jobs from younger ones anyway. Todays taxpayer have good Super 9.5% or 15% so there is a good part (or full) pension for their retirement. Next stop immigration/selling our houses/land/farms to china so our kids can afford a home. Decenralise out of Melbourne look at other (cheaper + better) building materials than brick/mortar. Of course stop and these so called politicians entitlements after they lose. Canada just went back from 67 to 65 !
    Pollyanna
    24th Mar 2016
    3:06pm
    You are so right JoMojo. If you want to see the figures of what the ex politicins get it would rock your socks off
    bartpcb
    24th Mar 2016
    1:14pm
    This raising of the retirement age is going to bite all parties in the bum. By keeping people at work for longer, be it in white or blue collar areas, is going to create a 'bottle neck'. Younger people rely on persons retiring to create vacancies into which they, the younger ones, can fit. This policy will increase the unemployment amongst the young at exactly the time they can ill afford it. There will be an increase in medical expenditure as older people suffer work related injuries and sickness. There will be an increase in the Welfare expenditure as the young cannot find work. There will be an increase in 'Re-training' expenditure in a pathetic attempt to train people for jobs that cannot be made to exist. It may seem counter intuitive but, it would be better to LOWER the retirement age!!
    KSS
    24th Mar 2016
    1:26pm
    A 'bottleneck' bartpcb? You mean like the 'bottleneck' in affordable housing because the 'oldies' refuse to downsize to make family homes available for the young?
    JoMojo
    24th Mar 2016
    5:51pm
    Downsizing is a joke. A new 2 bed unit double garage went off the plan for $635,000 I'd only get $550,000 for my house + land. So downsizing is only for the wealthy. Most older units are NOT accessible to older people, too small bathooms/shower/toilet. Back door and internal need to be 900mmwide. They have stopped volunteers over 60 because of insurance. So we become isolated shops have steps to exclude us. etc. etc.
    Anonymous
    24th Mar 2016
    11:01pm
    KSS, I am so sick of this BS argument about how tough it is for the young to buy houses. They have it a million times easier than my generation. Sure, prices are higher relative to wages. But EVERYTHING ELSE is way cheaper relative to wages, so they can put much more of their pay toward housing. Most families have 2 wages where we had only one. Interest rates are around 4% as opposed to between 9% and 18% that we paid.

    Look at the price of cars and furniture and appliances. I just bought a new lounge suite and fridge and paid EXACTLY the same number of dollars for them as I paid for the equivalent products in 1974! A car in 1964 cost more than a year's average wages. Today you can buy one for a few month's average wages.

    If the young stopped eating out and taking overseas holidays, they could easily afford the kind of home we started off with - small, old, in need of renovation, and located in the cheaper part of town.
    musicveg
    24th Mar 2016
    11:08pm
    And the money they spend on technology! Look at tradies for example, when I was growing up they all drove around in beat up old utes and chucked their tools and the dog in the back, now they have air conditioned 4x4's and these fancy huge lockable tool boxes on in the back, I think the dog gets the back seat these days.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    7:16am
    Yes, musicveg, and every young worker I know - and I mean 30s or very early 40s) owns shares and investment property. Workers in my generation didn't even think about share or investments until well after their youngest finished university- if at all! They were struggling to keep a roof over their heads and their kids fed and clothed.
    PlanB
    25th Mar 2016
    9:37am
    KSS, why the hell should an older person DOWN SIZE when they have saved all their *&^%#@& life to get where they want to be after having to live in a city because of work -- uproot themselves from their friends and everything they want I think you must be far from pension age to even suggest such a thing or a very unempathetic person.
    PlanB
    25th Mar 2016
    9:51am
    The young have as much or more chance of saving than we did -- but they spend it as fast as they get it and are happy to have debt and pay BIG interest because they HAVE to have all the latest -- cars/ tech / eat out / fancy houses THEY would not not sit on butter boxes like we did and put up with hard ship till you SAVED to buy what you NEEDED -- not just what you WANTED, no wonder they can't afford a house. Most of them got it too bloody easy and have idea how to save or do without and think the world owns them a living.
    Valalan
    24th Mar 2016
    1:27pm
    They're just wañting to hang onto the money we have paid in taxes over the years knowing that some will not last that long
    LiveItUp
    24th Mar 2016
    1:31pm
    Sorry that money was spend many moons ago. They now have a big debt as well to pay interest on and one day their debtor will call their money back.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    8:11am
    And the gross mismanagement will ensure it grows very much bigger, Bonny. Punish people for working and saving and force savers to surrender everything their sacrifice gained them and people will stop saving and will have no assets and then what happens to the pension bill? Oh, that's right! We abolish pensions. Great idea! And then the starving masses will HAVE to turn to crime and revolution, and where will you and your self-serving privileged mates be then?

    We need to PRODUCE AND SAVE. To do that, you need to REWARD producers and savers. And we need a FAIR progressive tax system that is properly enforced, accompanied by an intelligently structured welfare system that supports the needy without destroying incentives and rewards and without grinding the moderately affluent battler down into poverty.

    STUPIDITY among the privileged got us where we are now, and GREATER STUPIDITY among the privileged will make sure it gets worse.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    4:32pm
    BTW. We would have no debt or deficit if the rich simply paid their share of tax. That's all it would take. We had a prosperous country when the rich paid tax at fair rates.
    student
    26th Mar 2016
    1:21pm
    Hey Rainey, look who makes the rules and laws!! It's the rich and they sure as h** aren't going to take way their life-style and comfort.

    For the life of me I can not undersand how a rich person can be bankrupted and still live in a life of luxury! If (for some unknown reason) I went bankrupt, I would loose everything I own and not get any credit or help from anywhere. As I said, the rich make the laws that protect them and not us.
    maxchugg
    24th Mar 2016
    1:38pm
    What will the changes mean?
    If you are a politician it will mean nothing, as Joe Hockey showed us, along with many, many others.
    For everyone else it means an increased period of paying taxes combined with the probability of a shorter period of time on a pension.
    To be fair, with age expectancy increasing is probably not unreasonable to expect the age of eligibility to rise if pensions are to remain affordable.
    However this argument is doubly applicable to members of parliament whose pensions and associated benefits are as astonishing as they are unaffordable.
    Parliamentarians should not qualify for a pension until they reach the age for retirement that applies to everyone else, and there should be a massive pruning of the entitlements that go with parliamentary pensions, including those available to ex-Prime Ministers.
    LiveItUp
    24th Mar 2016
    1:56pm
    They have already changed it so that ex pollies don't receive their pension until pension age. Admittedly their are still those retiring under the old rules but given time they will all eventually retire under the new rules.

    Time to put that argument to bed.
    Pollyanna
    24th Mar 2016
    3:41pm
    I agree maxchugg. There is still too much money given to ex-politicions and it should be stopped now for everyone who is not in parliament. Surely they should have saved enough money to retire on and they do not need an office and secretary funded by us plus most of them have other jobs to live on
    musicveg
    24th Mar 2016
    10:44pm
    Ex-polis are rorting the system, giving each other a helping hand by sacking,changing and swapping all the time, makes you wonder, where they get all this money to pay them such a handsome pension?
    maxchugg
    25th Mar 2016
    10:19am
    Bonny, are you sure about that?
    I have been looking at the legislation and from what I read the minimum age for eligibility for a parliamentary pension is now 55.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    4:46pm
    Yes, maxchugg, and notice the politicians didn't accept a sudden change that pulled the rug out from under them when they had no chance to plan and adjust their circumstances. They made sure that changes were phased in gradually so the older pollies weren't disadvantaged. Don't see any similar consideration for the rest of us.

    24th Mar 2016
    2:26pm
    I can't really Malevolent Turnbull & Co. trying to anything but raise the pension eligibility age to 70, and beyond. I retired at 56 and THAT wasn't soon enough!
    Joyful56
    24th Mar 2016
    3:44pm
    I already have to wait until 66.5 and that is more than old enough. I understand how future generations should provide for their own future with superannuation, however, unless the percentage is increased we will have a pretty bleak future. 9% is nowhere near enough - it needs to be in the order of 15% I believe.
    My generation (now 60) needs the pension - I have not had many years with any super contributions and certainly don't have enough to live on until my death.
    Clampett
    24th Mar 2016
    4:22pm
    With cash strapped governments eyeing off our super just bring in a government retirement
    bond that you can buy into at a young age to ensure you can retire at 60.-

    Then give the pension to everybody.
    LiveItUp
    24th Mar 2016
    4:28pm
    I certainly wouldn't buy into anything managed by the government.
    Clampett
    24th Mar 2016
    4:51pm
    Bonny -the $118 billion dollar future fund has,nt exactly been a flop.
    LiveItUp
    24th Mar 2016
    5:25pm
    Is the future fund to pay public servants and pollies their pensions?
    LiveItUp
    24th Mar 2016
    5:27pm
    It hasn't been a big success either. Way too dependent upon the US economy for my liking.
    Puglet
    24th Mar 2016
    5:14pm
    Decisions about the age for retirement for men and women were made in a different social era. The life expectancy is now over 80 so most of us can expect another 20 years of life so many want to work past 65. I worked quite a few years past the 'official' retirement age but that is because I choose to. I love my career and can work. Not everyone is able to do this and I want my tax to support those who can no longer work. I am now a self-funded retiree at the bottom of the scale so I am not a wealthy retiree (not eligible for a Health Care Card). Unlike others, I choose not to rort the system by quickly spending all my super on world tours and then go on an OA pension. If the share market continues to fall many self-funded retirees like me will be eligible for a pension so the problem will get worse. Over 65s are most likely to vote for the coalition that is why it makes the most draconian cut-backs in this group. No matter what it does to us we'll moan a bit but we'll still vote for them. Until we are a loud political force the govt. of the day will be too scared to use us for their middle-class welfare. Instead they'll go after the top earners who don't pay tax at all!
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    8:24am
    Only very stupid over 65s will vote for the Coalition, Puglet. They are destroying a great nation. Even their own most prominent past leaders condemn what they have become and the stupid destructive policies they have adopted.

    LNP is no longer LNP folks. If you voted for them in the past, understand that the reasons you supported them no longer exist.

    They are now a bunch of elitists trying to restore feudal society and plowing us heavily into debt by the worst mismanagement we've ever seen - designed to continue to advantage the super-privileged and try to bleed stones rather than tax the rich.

    Their unprecedented attack on older and disadvantaged Australians is both socially and economically disastrous and MUST BE STOPPED.
    student
    26th Mar 2016
    1:26pm
    Hey Rainey .......... I LOVE YOUR MIND!!!! Don't hold back, make my day!!
    Dreamer
    24th Mar 2016
    10:27pm
    I would be happy to undertake paid employment to 70 if there was any available. These days I am inundated with opportunities of volunteer work, meaningful, and much appreciated work that enriches all of our lives.
    Clampett
    24th Mar 2016
    10:39pm
    I have noticed that Bunnings is employing more elderly (read-experience rich) people of late.
    Not sure what the age restrictions are, but Bunnings are to be commended for giving older people a go.
    Usually if you are over 60 nobody wants to know you.
    musicveg
    24th Mar 2016
    10:39pm
    And enriches those who you help with your volunteer work, but if you are put on newstart instead of the pension you can still do this but with a lot less money,that's why the government is trying to the retirement age higher.
    musicveg
    24th Mar 2016
    10:41pm
    Follow Canada and put it back to 65, this will help keep younger people employed, especially ones straight out of school and give them a good start in life.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    4:43pm
    That would be smart, musicveg.
    Nard
    24th Mar 2016
    11:39pm
    I agree with you Bonny
    I suggest everyone read this report that was published in August 2015. I find it a balanced report to understand the nexus between Age pension and super/savings. Super still has a long way to go to maturity before age pension reliance will reduce significantly

    https://www.aist.asn.au/media/15000/2015_Retirement_Incomes_Paper_FINAL_FOR_RELEASE.pdf

    It also confirms the position that Age Pension is not an entitlement. It is a safety net system, quite different from the generous, contributory systems in place in many comparable countries. Its safety-net status is evident in two important characteristics: its maximum rate is set at a relatively low level (just over one-quarter of average male wages) and it is means-tested. The important words here are MEANS TESTED which means you must qualify. This has been the case since the introduction of pensions in 1908.

    Unfortunately everyone has taken for granted that they will get it because they deserve it. This is the same sense of entitlement that they abuse Politicians for having.
    This last feature means that instead of paying relatively high pensions to higher income earners, as under a contributory system, the Australian pension is usually lower for higher income earners due to the assets and income tests. For low income workers, the Australian Age Pension provides retirement income close to the OECD average; however, for average and higher income workers, the Pension provides retirement income that is near the bottom of the OECD league table.

    Australia’s Age Pension is amongst the lowest cost of all OECD countries. Modelling by the Productivity Commission (2013: 148) taking population ageing into account found the cost of the Pension would plateau at about 3.7 per cent of GDP by 2050.

    Nonetheless, the Age Pension is tremendously valuable to individuals. The full Age Pension including supplements is around $22,500 for an individual and around $33,500 for a couple. To replace this level of income with personal saving would require around $390,000 in assets for an individual or around $590,000 for a couple.

    How do you compare in your wealth level?


    Over the last six years, the wealth of households headed by those 55 to 65 and 65+ year olds increased faster than households in any other age group. These households saved more but they mainly benefited from capital appreciation (particularly rising house prices). Households headed by someone over 65 will be relatively unaffected by the increase in government debt that accumulated over this period. Retirees, who pay much less in taxes, are unlikely to contribute much to paying off the debt.

    Average wealth for 65 to 74 yo was $1,000,000 and 75 + a little under $800,000. 55 to 64 yo was a little under $1,100,000

    The mean net value of owner occupied dwellings was $546,000 or 44% of their total mean net worth. Remaining assets average around $440,000 for those 65 – 74 and $240,000 for over 75s.

    Therefore if you have assessable assets of greater than $825,000 to place you in a position of losing the age pension you are in a better position than the average retired couple.
    Congratulations if you are above average. It is time to accept the fact that if you can pay for yourself you do. Whether in retirement funding or Aged care when the time comes as I for one am sick and tired of the continued bleating of the hard done by blinker wearing whinging supposedly entitled that carry on in these blogs.

    I do not expect nor want an age pension when I reach retirement age and will most likely have paid a lot more tax than most of you over my lifetime.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    7:57am
    Talking about ''average'' wealth is grossly misleading, Nard, because obscene wealth among a few balances against vast numbers with very little. Try figuring out the average wealth of the world, when 62 people own more than over 3 billion battlers! What does the ''average'' tell us in that situation? NOTHING OF VALUE!

    We have some very wealthy older Australians. For every one of them, there are dozens who are struggling.

    The fact is that the OECD figures say 1/3rd of Australian pensioners live in poverty, and Australia performs worse than most countries in the world when it comes to providing older people with financial security.

    The LNP and supporters peddle a lot of lies that suit the purpose of those who support elitism or a return to the feudal society, and the purpose of the greedy privileged who just want more at the expense of the lifters who struggled all their lives and ended up with far too little to support themselves in old age.

    You do, however, truthfully confirm that the aged pension is a highly affordable social cost that will only cost an estimated 3.7% of GDP by 2050.

    THEREFORE THE BS ABOUT AGED PENSIONS BEING UNSUSTAINABLE IS JUST THAT - GROSS LIES AND BS DESIGNED TO DISADVANTAGE OLDER AUSTRALIANS VERY UNFAIRLY.

    As for this GARBAGE about needing only $590,000 for a couple to replace the aged pension income... who dreamt up that number at a time when interest rates are below 3% and the stock market is falling drastically? At the Government-declared average return rate of 5% (which is grossly optimistic) $590,000 only generates $29,500 in income. There are typically costs to generate that - management/advice fees and accountant fees - which pensioners don't incur. And then there is the loss of pension benefits, which could come to several thousand depending on a couple's circumstances. And a sizable portion of assets will always be in furniture, personal items, cars, etc. - which are COST-generating, not an income-generation. They require maintenance, insurance, and replacement. Then there's the need for liquid cash to provide income to replace the lost pension, which implies a sizable amount of assets attracting very low return or being forced to sell assets in a down-market and realize capital loss.

    Add to that the problem that many older folk find themselves stuck with non-returning or poorly returning assets that they can't sell due to economic downturn, yet in many cases Centrelink still values those assets at a high figure.

    What is disturbing about the assets test is that it discriminates heavily against the most disadvantaged, because it is those who have suffered early poverty, educational disadvantage, or crisis that made them very risk averse who are most likely to be suffering low returns on investments. And forcing people to drain their savings to live is counter-productive when you want a less dependant society. Many who can't get a pension at 65 will in a couple of years, whereas paying them a very small pension in their early retirement may well have positioned them to lock in investments long term and achieve a much better financial position in later retirement.

    There has, stupidly, been no consideration of age in the changed assets test. Someone with $825,000 at age 90 is certainly well enough off not to need a pension. Someone with $825,000 at 65 is likely to have the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $80,000 by age 90, and a run-down old house that is worth very little due to not having the income to maintain it. Add to this consideration the fact that a healthy retiree needs far, far less to live on than one in poor health - not just due to health costs but due to ability to do handyman chores, sewing, gardening, etc to cut living costs. None of this is ever considered in our stupid averages-and-assumptions-based system.

    There is the thoroughly economically destructive issue of removing incentives. On the one hand, we have a treasurer saying we all need to ''work, save and invest'' and on the other we have an idiotic treasurer saying someone who did save should be harshly punished in retirement by the government depriving them of $78 per year for every $1000 saved over a given limit, when the rate of investment return is more likely to be around $30 per annum. So the saver is effectively ''taxed'' at the rate of 260%! Why would anyone want to save?

    And finally there is the gross inconsistency and unfairness of allowing an income of over $70,000 a year and a part pension while someone potentially earning significantly less than $30,000 a year is forced to sacrifice hard-won savings that might have accrued from sacrificing the lifestyle that pensioners enjoyed. And allowing locking wealth up in multi-million-dollar houses or ''gifts'' (conditional) to kids before age 60 while the honest poor are bashed over the head and left with no reward for decades of struggle.

    I am NOT blinkered, wearing, whinging or supposedly entitled. I am just fed up with the idiotic, unfair, economically destructive attack on one section of society that has already suffered far more than most sectors (due to falling investment returns) AND is far less able (due to age and health) to find ways to combat the loss.

    We CAN afford to pay decent pensions on a fair basis, AND WE SHOULD. And talk of denying people a pension until age 67 or 70 when their bodies are worn out at 55 from slaving away for pay around 1/2 of what they actually produce - so their rich tax-evading bosses can get richer - is DISGUSTING.
    Rodent
    27th Mar 2016
    5:19pm
    Hi Nard

    In your post of 24 March @11.39am you said this

    Nonetheless, the Age Pension is tremendously valuable to individuals. The full Age Pension including supplements is around $22,500 for an individual and around $33,500 for a couple. To replace this level of income with personal saving would require around $390,000 in assets for an individual or around $590,000 for a couple.

    You are quite correct, the Pension is very valuable indeed. In its most simple terms the Pension has an earning rate of 7.8% pa, this can be seen by understanding that a Pension paid for a Home Owner couple will change by approx $7800 pa for each $100,000 change of a particular Asset value, either up or down.

    Your statements in regard to the personal savings required, ie $390k and $590k may be misleading because you dont say if the Couple is a Home Owner or Non Home owner. Come Jan 2017 there are HUGE differences in Pension to be paid depending on the Asset figure and whether you are Home owner or Non Homeowner
    OR a Single Person or a Couple
    Based on March 2016 rates and with a $600k asset figure a Single Non Home owner will receive an annual Pension of $ 11021pa, where for the same $600k a Single Home owner will receive ZERO pension.
    Anonymous
    28th Mar 2016
    8:32am
    Rodent, does the $11021 you quote for a single non-home owner include rent assistance, or is that additional?

    We hear so much about how tough pensioners paying rent have it, but very little about the unfairness of the pension system to some homeowners. Tally up rates, insurance and maintenance costs (the latter can be very high for sick or disabled pensioners and those too old to do much themselves), and add the loss of income on the money they had to invest to buy the home, and they may well be paying a lot more than many renters. Then consider that many with only very modest savings - who from Jan 2017 will have to draw huge lumps from their savings annually to make up for pension losses - lose very substantial discounts on rates along with their pension, and you quickly discover that the government has tipped the scales heavily against those who accepted its urging to ''work, save and invest''.

    Once again, the government is killing incentives and rewarding the ''put your hand out'' mentality. Consider a single home-owner with a modest older-style $250,000 home that hasn't been renovated for a while. Rates, insurance and maintenance might easily top $5500 p.a. Add $7500 p.a. in lost interest on the capital (and that's at just 3% - government says you should get 5%!) and then the loss of $11021 pa pension, and this homeowner could sell up and pay $450 per week rent and still have $12 a week more income than owning their home.

    I just don't get where these so-called experts who make these absurd rules regarding pension entitlement are coming from, much less how some people can be so bat-eyed as to approve the nonsensically unfair and economically damaging approach that constantly increases the penalties for trying to be self-sufficient, and encourages a lifestyle that makes people far more reliant on pensions in old age.
    Anonymous
    28th Mar 2016
    8:46am
    BTW. I want to own the property that pensioner pays $450 a week for, because if it's equivalent to the $250,000 home he sold, the owner is getting a whopping 9.36% return on investment.

    At current average returns on residential property, this pensioner SHOULD be able to rent something equivalent to the home he sold for less than $200 per week, and be a whopping $312 a week better off than owning his home. Perhaps this is what the government and privileged want to encourage? Anyone who can't achieve total self-sufficiency living in slummy removable cottages in caravan parks or bed-sitters in massive inner-city skyscrapers?

    Sure, my example is simplistic. We have pensioners in the cities struggling to afford to rent anything liveable. I understand that. But the point I am making is that the government's approach is seriously flawed. It drives a mentality of ''spend up big and put your hand out'' and punishes those who struggle to move closer and closer to self-sufficiency. And it seems to me it's because those making the rules are lazy and negligent. They can't see past those long snout-in-the-trough noses. (No wonder, since they are so focused on sucking up benefits for themselves and trying to look like they MIGHT be doing something useful - when only an idiot would believe they have even the faintest clue what they are on about!)
    ex PS
    28th Mar 2016
    7:33pm
    Nard the only problem with your teory about the government relying on Super to replace pensions is the fact that this government has destroyed all incentive to put extra money into Super. If people do not see Super as a viable and fair funding tool they will not embrace it.
    Why would anyone with any sense put their retirement funds into a system that will not allow them total access to them upon retirement. You won't be able to take out a lump sum, you won't be able to leave the balance to kids and the government will restrict the annual withdrawels.
    Not a very appealing way to fund your retirement.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2016
    9:47am
    This is what I keep saying, ex PS, but some people just don't seem to have the intelligence to comprehend. The government is destroying all incentives to save and self-fund. The grand plan for reducing retirement costs will fail, because the government is punishing those who save.

    At the end of the day, people will do what is in THEIR best interests, not best for the nation or a bunch of strangers they don't feel any responsibility for. We may all feel sorry for the needy and wish there was more done for them, but people aren't going to give up their own comfort and security to make some stranger better off.

    I've heard many say they wished they hadn't saved or put money into super or they wished they had taken more from the government when it was available instead of being proud and self-sufficient. I'm hearing people now say they will spend on world cruises. Younger folk are saying they will gift their money to their kids before turning 60. I know happy couples who are planning to separate because of the cost of staying together (Of course they'll buy homes next door to each other!)

    Vast numbers are plotting ways to evade the cruel and grossly unfair changed assets test - BECAUSE IT IS UNFAIR. It cannot save the country money, because when something is seen to be grossly unfair and against an individual's interests, the majority will find ways to circumvent it.

    The issue isn't whether someone else THINKS you can afford to live without a pension - or even whether or not you can get by. The issue is that your plans have been wiped out and all the benefits of your struggle and sacrifice handed to strangers, and you fear what will come next - because there is no trust. The government has displayed a lack of integrity and ethics and - worse - total contempt for the people who did what the government urged us to do, for the sake of the prosperity they promised our hard work would yield. They attack ONLY those who struggled in accordance with their urging - NOT the rich who can afford to sacrifice, and NOT those who just lived it up, saved what they easily could, and put their hands out. Only a select group of battlers have had their lifestyle destroyed. And now they threaten to deprive those who struggled to pay of a home of the benefit they earned. What comes next?

    Any saving will be short term, at the expense of much higher long term costs. The system needs a complete overhaul - throwing out and rebuilt from the ground up to make it fair and to retain incentives and rewards for saving.

    Anyone who CLAIMS to support a better deal for the country or a better deal for the needy is bat-eyed and illogical if they are not strenuously opposing the changes to the assets test as a dumb and destructive move.
    Goldleaf
    24th Mar 2016
    11:46pm
    Rodent, you said you put cash in worker's pay envelopes so you would not know. My mother who was a teacher employed by the government in the 50s and my Auntie employed by the ABC in the 40s and 60s showed me their pay slips and there it was. I suggest you google the history of the pension in Australia to find out more.
    Rodent
    25th Mar 2016
    8:50am
    Gold leaf

    Thanks, I am more than familiar with the full Pension History, and all the related details.
    You may have misunderstood what I said, which was that I made up pay packets for PMG employees that contained CASH and a Specific Payee details pay slip. In 1958 when I did this I dont believe there was anything on that payslip about employee deduction for Pension of any kind.
    student
    26th Mar 2016
    1:41pm
    Hey Rodent, I too used to do day labour (building of Mascot Airport, Garden Island etc) and only made deductions if the employee wanted it. Actually, the Department concerned had to 'invite' clerical staff to join a pension scheme. That was different to day labour workers.

    As for making up pay packets ... I used to love Christmas time when because of the huge amount of holiday pay packets to be delivered, I often did deliveries to day labour workers in a commonwealth car this two armed men and one armed male clerk to supervise the cash payments. Oh what fun!! Knowing I was in a car with over $2million dollars was exciting :)
    Nard
    25th Mar 2016
    12:19am
    Goldleaf, I suggest you take a history lesson and learn about what the real truth is about the supposed National Welfare Fund.

    Back in 1942 Chifley increased tax to pay towards the National Welfare Fund. Only a small portion was directed towards social security as the bulk was used to fund the war effort. This was Labours way of not breaking their promise of not increasing income tax but inferring they would be getting social security for their money. (Think of the fund like our Medicare Levy today.)

    In 1945 the Commonwealth split the personal income tax into two components. One, the social services contribution, was to be used exclusively to finance social security cash payments. Revenue from the contribution was paid into the National Welfare Fund, from which all such cash payments were to be made, but there was no link between personal contributions and entitlements.

    Say again there was no link between personal contributions and entitlements.

    The social contract has always been a complex mish-mash of popular mythologies about what the state owes to the citizen. We are still living with the political consequences of Chifley's clever little political ploy. His scheme made it seem like the Australian tax system was a quasi-contributory and fully-funded insurance program.

    The National Welfare Fund has long passed into historical obscurity. But the mythology of welfare contributions it engendered remains - one that imagines the welfare state as a giant piggy bank and thanks to Chifley, many Australians worked and paid taxes all their lives believing that was exactly what the social contract made possible.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    8:31am
    ''We are still living with the political consequences of Chifley's clever little political ploy.''

    No, Nard, we are living with the economic consequences of the Fraser Govt stealing billions from that National Welfare Fund and misappropriating monies that were always intended to provide pensions. Whatever Chifley did or didn't do, you can't change the fact that there were billions in the fund when Fraser stripped it. And tax dollars that should have been directed to it are still being collected.
    Nard
    25th Mar 2016
    9:22am
    Rainey, the main reason Pensions will be 3.7% of GDP (not Tax revenue received by the Govt) is that by 2050 the superannuation system will be mature and most will have workers will have a built up balance. Even so if they do nothing more than use their employers to fund super via compulsory they will still be relying on the public purse to supplement their retirement through age pension.

    Australian GDP is currently around $2,000 Billion. Govenment budget from receipts is around $400 Billion. Social security is the largest portion of this pie. Age pension is the largest part of the social security pie.

    Asset testing does not penalise people who were disadvantaged early in life. It reduces entitlement to pension because you have assets that can otherwise produce an income. Early disadvantage or not, if you have accumulated assets you have assets and are not now disadvantaged. from a wealth perspective if that is the case.

    Better get your calculator out because your calculations of a CPI effect are incorrect. Using a CPI of 3% $825,000 now will be worth around $320,000 in 30 years if no capital is drawn down. Property continues to increase in value and averaged around 6% growth over the past 20 years. Over a 30 year period you can expect the value of property to increase 5 or 6 times value over 30 years regardless. The flipside to this is that Age Pension thresholds go up with inflation so they will pick up more pension over future years all things being equal.

    The whole concept of amassing a asset base for retirement is to prove an income. The suggested figures $390,000 & $590,000 are based on income streams that also drawdown on capital over life expectancies not based on living off interest/rent or dividends only.

    I agree that there are wealthy people that have well above average asset wealth. The point i am making is that if you have assets above $800,000 excluding your home you have wealth above the average Australian. Under the new changes Couples with assessable assets under $450,000 will likely be better off with those over this level being worse off.

    If you have lifestyle assets such as home contents and vehicles they are recorded with Centrelink a fire sale values and yes need to be replaced or repaired but is not this a part of your budget already??

    People who earn an assessable $70,000 a year will likely be working past retirement age and will only be receiving a very small pension and do so mainly because they want the concession cards and can continue to work. Yes some may be forced to continue to work as they are unable to afford retirement on their terms. If they were earning this from their assets then they do not need a pension and will have asset levels over the thresholds. The main exception to this will be mainly ex government workers on unfunded superannuation pensions - pensions they will lose upon death as there is no capital value to leave to their kids.

    Rainey, while i try to provide a balanced argument taking into account both sides and i know a number of people who are in good and bad positions. My main gripe is that there are many people who can support themselves but do not want to because of the old and redundant attitude of entitlement.

    I acknowledge that you and i will obviously agree to disagree but urge you to consider the opinions of others because from what i see a lot of your thinking and argument is flawed and deep rooted in your thinking
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    10:04am
    I could say the same about you, Nard. That al lot of your thinking and argument is flawed and deep-rooted in your thinking.

    Answer me this:

    X, having suffered massive early disadvantage, struggles on a low income but goes without extensively, works multiple jobs, and enjoys NONE of the lifestyle advantages others take for granted, in order to SAVE to leave an estate to his children that will ensure his grandchildren never endure the disadvantage that caused him so much pain.

    Y, having been born relatively privileged and enjoyed a good education and high salary, trips around the world and dines out and wears expensive clothes and drives new flash cars, and retires with very little - having sent his kids to private schools and set them up in homes. Able to work well into old age due to a sedentary job, plenty of money to indulge in quality health care, none of the health problems created by early abuse and deprivation, he can keep earning. He doesn't need to save aggressively and he has no use for a high asset base, as his kids are set up already and he can keep earning.

    Z falls somewhere in between, but being relatively affluent, sinks $2.5 million into a house and shares $2 million between 2 kids before he turns 60 on the understanding that they will pay most of his bills in retirement.

    Y and Z get pensions. X is supposed to drain his hard won savings and deprive his kids of that inheritance he slaved so hard and went without so much to acquire - based on GOVERNMENT PROMISES that if he saved for retirement, he would be BETTER OFF as a result. But now he's much worse off. His income, with benefits, is nowhere near that of full pensioners, and his savings are going to dribble away over time until there is very little left.

    How is it reasonable to suggest that X should be denied the benefit of his lifestyle choice - the right to retain his wealth to leave to his kids - while Y and Z are rewarded for their lifestyle choices?

    This is the world you try to justify.

    I am X. I know thousands of other Xs. And they are angry. They feel cheated. They struggled and got short shrift at every turn through early life - victims of a cruel and uncaring society in which there was no justice. And now they are being shafted again. And you tell them they should change their thinking? Why? Because you were more privileged and ASSUME, totally wrongly - like the stinking politicians - that anyone with savings must be ''lucky'' and should sacrifice for the common good. Well nobody sacrificed for our good when we were being abused and deprived. Unlike the stupid politicians, we figured out the RIGHT solution to improving our situation. We figured out that working and going without to save would improve our situation. And now all that we gained is being taken away and we are being told ''you shouldn't have more than Y and Z, so give it back.''

    The solution is to PRESERVE ASSETS. ENCOURAGE AND REWARD WORK AND SAVING. SUPPORT A HEALTHY SOCIETY.

    STOP WHINGING ABOUT A MISERABLE 3.7% OF GDP GOING ON AGED PENSIONS. And stop the stupid contradictions claiming that's unsustainable, when obviously it's highly sustainable.

    Superannuation hasn't yet delivered. Today's retirees were promised tax-payer funded pensions in return for decades of hard work. Stop whinging and whining about having to honour that promise and pay a debt that is owed, and one the payment of which will deliver both economic and social benefits - in big dollops! Stop the greed and selfishness. Demand the wealthy shoulder a fair share of the tax burden and acknowledge, publicly, the right of the aged, sick, disabled, and otherwise disadvantaged to be properly supported in a caring society.

    The way to cut the welfare bill is to IMPROVE health, education, lifestyle and opportunity, NOT to bash the down-trodden.
    Nard
    25th Mar 2016
    11:15am
    Rainey, I too am an X having been raised in a large family with a father the only income earner in a blue collar government job that did not even provide him with super for a major part of his working life. I went without a lot during my early years but i did not go without an education as my father made sure that all us kids got a private education. I watched my father work hard and he in his own words is in a comfortable retirement being made redundant at age 59. He is not a millionare and does get some part age pension, he never inherited any money. He is now 81 and mum 79 but is in a position that he has an income that is in excess of his and mum's needs. I do not want his money left to me as i will likely be retired or close by the time he dies. It is your choice if you want to leave your kids/grandkids something but do they need it or will they need it as they should be close to retirement when you go and be suitably self-sufficient. Have you asked them if they want your money?
    I have had a lot of my wealth transferred to an ex partner & ex wife through divorce so am i also disadvantaged? Yes i am worse off than i could be but i am also working to ensure i will be able to retire on my terms. I worked in a job for 20 years to raise my kids and buy my home. Not a well paid job by any means but i have also studied further and am on a pretty comfortable wage now because that is my choice to do something better for me.
    I have helped my kids already financially as probably you have/did. But tell me if you were in a position to give them their inheritance early would you have done that? While people who may have done that to take advantage of the gifting rules - well frankly i think it may be stupid but it is not against the rules only morally wrong. The same as using all your money to buy a big house to access Pension - the economics make no sense in most cases.
    I have had health, marriage and relationship breakdowns, personal issues and made poor personal and financial choices over my time as obviously so have you. I have been broke, unable to feed myself, put petrol in my car. I have seen investments and my super rise and fall through hard economic times. Yes all these have cost me money. I am 55 and probably work at least another 10 years because i want to maximise my retirement. I save/invest around 50% of my income now because that is my choice for the future. I should be in a position by 60 to retire if i wish but may continue. I am going to travel, play golf 3 days a week, go out and have fun because i do that now and will be able to in retirement whether i get any handouts from age pension or not.
    Some choices are forced on us some we make ourselves, blaming others or the government is not an answer neither is holding on to the animosity or worrying about the choices of others.
    A lot of what you describe as examples does come to choice. Every choice has consequences. Retaining your capital may rob you of a lifestyle that you worked hard for and should enjoy. You will still make your kids position better with any bequest that you leave
    While i know that my parents will leave me and my siblings a house and some investments I will not need it but i will thank them for it
    I have made my choices and will continue to make more, some will be wrong but they will not stop me. I may be dead before all this happens then my kids will be even wealthier given I did not spend the inheritance.
    Apart from death and taxes the only other certainty is change. Some change we will not like but it is inevitable and in all cases accepted even if begrudgingly.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    4:29pm
    Nard, you have just absolutely confirmed that you have no idea what you are talking about and no comprehension of the situation others struggle with. YOU ARE NOT X. You got an education. X didn't. X was raised in abject poverty in an institution and left school at 14 with 5 year's schooling and never had an opportunity for any kind of training or decent job. X didn't get anything like the chances you got in life. X doesn't know what it's like to have caring parents who work to give him educational opportunities, nor what it's like to have siblings, and he certainly wouldn't know what it is to inherit anything, let alone ever receive a gift of any monetary worth. That's why he struggled so hard to save to give his kids and grandkids the chances he didn't get. That's why he's justifiably so damned angry that he is now denied the benefit of that struggle.

    Nard, X DIDN'T HAVE CHOICES. A cruel and unjust society denied a whole class of people choice, and denied them the stability and guidance they needed to be able to make wise choices even if they were offered any. And unlike you, X - at 65 or 70 - is faced with a sudden change at a time when there ARE NO CHOICES to combat the disadvantage. You still have 10 years or more left to plan under the new rules and adjust your situation. Those of us who are already retired don't.

    Clearly, you are among the arrogant privileged who just don't get it at all.

    Yes, my children DO need the money I saved. My grandson is disabled and his parents worry endlessly about how they will manage to set him up with financial security and reasonable comfort.

    But putting aside all issues of personal angst and social injustice, the plain common-sense response to the ABSOLUTELY IDIOTIC change to the taper rate is that if you punish people who save, they won't.

    We expect an aged pension cost of only 3.7% of GDP by 2050, and reducing thereafter, because of superannuation. But people who would otherwise have voluntarily contributed to super and who would NOT make lump sum withdrawals early in retirement or retire before aged pension age are now being sent a strong message that they are fools. They are far better off to spend up big and put their hand out, because there are big rewards for saving MUCH LESS and a 260% tax on those who save more.

    Only a blithering IDIOT would support such economically and socially destructive policy. Shows just how dumb the LNP government is. Or maybe they just think we are all idiots who can't see through their destructive policies?
    Rodent
    25th Mar 2016
    4:46pm
    Hi Nard

    Having read of the "interchange between you and Rainey.

    Wont say too much now , more later re Pension changes/Welfare BUT meanwhile as from 1 July 2017 the NEW income and assets tests Thresholds are FROZEN for THREE YEARS

    Just in case you have missed this point
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2016
    7:58am
    Yes Rodent. So nobody won - least of all the most needy. But there were plenty of losers and I believe the chickens will come home to roost and we'll find that the NATION lost big time - as the destruction of living standards of the aged, the ability of the aged to support and pass down wealth to their offspring, and the removal of incentives and rewards for work and savings takes its toll.

    25th Mar 2016
    9:44am
    Technology is reducing the demand for labour. There is an obvious sensible and socially and economically responsible response to that: Reduce working hours and allow earlier retirement. Encourage single-income families or both parents working part time so children get more parental attention in their formative years and families enjoy a better quality of life.

    Force those who introduce labour-saving technology to share their additional profits equitably in society by paying the same wage rates for less hours and paying more tax to fund earlier retirement and better provision for the sick, disabled and unemployed.

    Then there is the greedy, self-serving response of allowing the profit-mongers to hoard their extra profit while cutting pensions and benefits and demanding people work longer. With less demand for labour, that ultimately means higher unemployment and more poverty, more illness, more disability, more mental stress leading to more illness - all leading to higher health costs and less health services creating more disability and illness and more poverty and mental stress, until the social consequences are so bad that we have civil unrest and increased crime.

    What will it take to wake the greedy self-serving up to the fact that they are signing their own death warrant? A healthy society is of so much greater value than billions in a few foreign bank accounts. But this incompetent LNP government is determined to promote profit over people and to support further economic decline and social collapse for the sick purpose of lining the coffers of the privileged minority with gold.

    Productivity will decline as incentives and rewards are removed and hope for economic and social improvement fades. Consumption will fall with falling incomes among those who consume most of their low income. Increasing the wealth of the rich doesn't increase consumption because they already have more than they need. They just hoard the wealth - taking it out of circulation, which reduces tax revenue and employment growth.

    Greed has taken us into a vicious cycle of falling consumption driving lower job growth and reduced tax revenue, leading to more social welfare cuts and wage reductions, which drive further falls in consumption and job growth and further reduced tax revenue, leading to yet more social welfare cuts.... and so it goes on!

    Only idiots fail to see that the solution is to INCREASE incentives and rewards, encourage saving and assist the preservation of assets, and tax the well-off to get money back into circulation and push lower incomes up so consumption can rise to generate more jobs, higher profits, and higher tax revenue, that assists more social welfare spending to drive higher consumption, more jobs, higher profits and greater tax revenue. With greater overall prosperity and social health comes improved health and increased productivity.

    The LNP is doing EXACTY THE OPPOSITE of what is needed to stimulate economic recovery. And they are doing it in the name of GREED and SELFISHNESS.
    Peter Gillespie
    25th Mar 2016
    12:15pm
    I agree with the pension age rising to 70 or even older in future years
    PlanB
    25th Mar 2016
    1:30pm
    Maybe Peter you would also agree to getting rid of older folk altogether then you wouldn't have to worry about paying the old folk a penny
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2016
    4:37pm
    PlanB, he's probably among the elite who don't know what real work is, but exploit the poor struggling labourers and bricklayers and cleaners etc. and would be happy to see them all drop dead on the job at 65 so he and his ilk can keep hoarding their wealth in foreign lands and evading their fair share of tax.
    PlanB
    26th Mar 2016
    8:39am
    Yes it would be nice if people could walk in the shoes of others less fortunate Rainey
    ex PS
    28th Mar 2016
    7:44pm
    PG, all we will be doing is swaping the pension bill for an unemployement bill. If it isn't for the displaced elderly workers it will be for the youngsters who will not get a start.
    We haven't got enough jobs to go around as it is, where are all these new jobs going to come from?
    Maybe we can auction jobs off to the lowest bidder, the LNP ackers would love that, maybe that's the master plan?
    musicveg
    28th Mar 2016
    8:33pm
    That's how the government will save money because newstart allowance is below the poverty line. More young people out of work means more turning to drugs, turning to crime and being a burden on our society. We need to leave the jobs for young people especially just out of school so they don't lose hope. Pension must go back to age 65. Canada has done the turn around, I will be voting for a government who will bring back pension entitlement to 65, so i know my son has a better chance of work in the future.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2016
    9:50am
    You are so right, musicveg. Technology is REDUCING the demand for labour. Anyone who can't see that society must change to accommodate that reduction - by encouraging earlier retirement, shorter working hours, more single-income families or both parents working part-time, etc. is not fit to be in parliament. These selfish morons are destroying the nation with the backward-looking idiotic policies motivated solely by greed.
    worker
    25th Mar 2016
    12:56pm
    before continuing to hammer the pensioners those we employee MPs should have the life time forms of pension and perks removed when we no longer employee them as MPs in parliament

    I would bet Holdens or ford or toyota and other companies do not pay life or time forms of pensions and perks to there former employees.
    Joyful56
    25th Mar 2016
    1:52pm
    Yes so right worker. They should accrue super at our rate (9%) and then only be able to draw their superannuation when they reach their preservation age (same as us again)! They should not receive any pension until our pension age either. Talk about a golden ticket.
    These people, mainly, also move into other highly-paid work and so should not be entitled to a pension at all!
    Nard
    25th Mar 2016
    5:03pm
    Oh my dear Rainey, Certainly you have not been a punching bag all your life. You had a lifetime of oppotunities to do better with your life but didn't make your choices. My father left school at 14 too. He even went back to Tafe in his 50s to learn Computers so he could get a Job as a trainer in his field.

    Please enough of the bleating heart
    musicveg
    25th Mar 2016
    6:23pm
    I think Rainey has done very well considering all the obstacles, if you read his story properly, most people would have turned to alcohol or drug abuse, and clearly Rainey has a good thinking brain, and done very well to raise and look after a family, and I agree with Rainey's comments, we need a fairer system that looks after ALL PEOPLE not just polies and the rich. And as for TAFE, what hope have we got if they keep closing them all.
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2016
    8:22am
    Thank you musicveg. Nard couldn't be more wrong, but then people like Nard want to judge rather than understand, because it suits their purpose.

    Actually, Nard, I made very GOOD choices overall. For someone of my background to be worried about the pension assets test suggests they've accomplished far more than 90% of Australians. I also put all my kids through university, including one who had a disability and whose medical and special needs cost us the equivalent of three houses - with no medical insurance due to a government stuff up! How many Australians who were not born into hideous disadvantage have done that well?

    Going back to school, unfortunately, has never been an option for me for a number of reasons. I would have loved to and I tried. I had to choose between working two jobs to put my kids thru uni or claiming the luxury of time off to study myself. But I worked my way up in the world regardless.

    Nard, I don't usually tell my story. I did so only in the hope of making you see that your view of the world isn't necessarily valid. Clearly, that was a wasted endeavour. Like so many I encounter, you want to somehow make everything about ''choices'', with no consideration of the fact that many people don't have the luxury of appealing ''choices'', and many more have been deprived of the opportunity to ever learn how to choose wisely.

    I was lucky. I encountered some strong, wise, kind influences in my life at a critical time. Otherwise, I'd have probably ended up where 95% of those of my background end up - in prison or addicts. Of course you would say it's their fault. You know all about growing up abused and deprived in an institution and being kicked into the world on your 15th birthday with not a cent to your name, no education, no job, no decent clothing, and nobody to give a damn what happens to you - and a firmly entrenched belief, due to training, that you are ''the scum of the earth'', ''stupid'' and ''of bad blood'' and don't deserve to be alive. Precisely what ''choice'' do you think such people have, Nard?

    If there were less ''holier-than-though'' judgmental people making wild ASSUMPTIONS and more people paying attention and showing empathy and compassion, we might solve the problems this nation faces. Ultimately ALL OF OUR NATION'S PROBLEMS are due to plain selfishness and lack of empathy and respect.
    ex PS
    28th Mar 2016
    7:52pm
    Nard, you only display your ignorance with your unsympathetic and venal discharge against someone who coul probaly work you into the ground in the workplace.
    Only an over entitled right wing prig could make doing an honest job for an honest days pay something to be belittled.
    I think you have just proven Raineys point.
    Do you think your father would be proud of you?
    Fred
    25th Mar 2016
    8:37pm
    Marls I also expect that you would give a pension to a person who has done nothing in life except steal other peoples property, people who have sold drugs to kids, been in and out of Gaol for many years, people who have raped and killed, people who have molested children and all the other people involved in crime who never paid one cent in tax but now they are 67 we the who have worked to pay our taxes are expected to hand out money to them. I wonder how many millions would be saved if these sort of people were not entitled to any pension because of the lives they have ruined and the lives they have led. I say stuff them let them starve.
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2016
    8:28am
    Fred,most who fall into that category are rich enough to never need a pension. Their theft and drug-running etc. has not only created an underclass of victims who NEED pensions desperately, but has also made them filthy rich. No risk of them ever starving. And with the possible exception of the rapists and killers, most of them are prancing around in suits and pretending to be respectable. Government offices and company board rooms are full of people who stole, defrauded, engaged in corruption, molested children, and yes, even traded drugs - and certainly paid little or no tax!
    Fred
    27th Mar 2016
    9:18pm
    Rainey how is it that when ever someone writes anything connected to or even not connected to your reply always brings out your opinions that the rich are to blame for everything. First the largest amount of drug dealers are drug users them selves and they do it to support their habit a majority of thefts and burglaries are committed by druggies so they can get money to support their habit so that defeats your argument that most who fall into that category are rich enough to never need a pension. Yes there are some people who facilitate the import of drugs and they will most likely never be caught if they never touch the drugs but only pay for the import. True about your comment about them prancing around in Government Offices and Company Board rooms except for the point about it being most of them. There are a hell of a lot of people out there not the ones you talk about who are Con Men, Thieves child molesters etc who are not high up in society they grew up in families that did all that and they progressed into it they have never worked or paid tax and the only payment to society that they have made is their time inside which of course we as tax payers paid for. I noticed in the part about molesting children you never mentioned Priests are they not in your fireing line of upper class people.
    Anonymous
    27th Mar 2016
    10:54pm
    Fred, do you have evidence to support your claims? Because the statistics I've seen evidence that the majority of drug dealers are well-to-do. Addicts may engage in petty dealing occasionally to finance their habit, but they do it under instruction and supervision by wealthy dealers who pay them with drugs. They don't have the funds or infrastructure to support serious dealing.

    I did not say most who prance around government offices and board rooms are thieves or drug dealers. What I said is that most of the thieves and drug dealers are prancing around government offices and board rooms and won't ever need a pension. I stand by that statement. That doesn't mean that a majority of the rich are evil. Not by any means. It simply means that the majority of evil are well enough off - generally as a result of their evil deeds - that they will never need pensions. Those are two entirely different statements. But the latter is factual, because the evil poor typically end up in prison or die young.

    I don't blame the rich for everything, but the fact is that the rich make the rules, and the rules determine how society operates and who it discriminates against. For the most part, the poor who engage in wrong (bludgers, thieves, addicts, etc.) are reacting to a social condition that traps them in a state of unhappiness, frustration, or desperation.

    The evil rich, on the other hand, engage in evil by choice - for pleasure or profit. (And yes, priests fall into that category too, sadly.)

    Bottom line, Fred, is that people don't choose an unprofitable and unrewarding way of life if they see that they have a valid choice. It's so easy for the holier-than-though who have never walked the walk to talk about ''choices'' and to judge. But people who make poor choices do so either because they are not presented with reasonable options, or because they are educated to make poor choices - typically because they have been indoctrinated to believe they are not worthy of a better way of life.

    We can rid society of the evil poor by understanding and helping, because nobody wants to be one of the evil poor. We can never rid society of the evil rich. They do too well out of their crimes.
    musicveg
    27th Mar 2016
    11:12pm
    Exactly what some multi-national companies are like Rainey, One such company is the evil Monsanto who are poisoning the earth, killing off our bees and wanting to grow food that will only cause harm to us all (GMO's), this is only an example of rich evil, there are lot's more. India has just kicked them out for taking advantage of poor farmers and making them sick as well as helping them lose their farms, some committing suicide through desperation. An example of rich companies stopping at nothing and really have no humanity or compassion in their bones.
    ex PS
    28th Mar 2016
    7:58pm
    Fred stealing other peoples property? Does that mean LNP politicians who are trying to steal our houses and pensions wil not be entitled to a pension themselves? Seems fair to me.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2016
    10:14am
    Good one, ex PS! Sad that - like so many rich thieves - those thieves will always prosper, and generally at our expense.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2016
    10:14am
    Good one, ex PS! Sad that - like so many rich thieves - those thieves will always prosper, and generally at our expense.
    Priscilla
    26th Mar 2016
    1:01pm
    It is time that politicians are governed by the same superannuation and retirement rules as the rest of the population. After all, it is their incompetence that results in the state of the economy and the loss of thousands of jobs, homes and livelihoods. The exorbitant payouts and perks to politicians must stop. They should have the same restrictions as everyone else.
    student
    26th Mar 2016
    1:13pm
    the retirement age goes up means unemployment numbers come down and more income tax collected. The number of jobs is decreasing and unemployment is cheaper than the aged pension. The aged pension has dropped to 60/64 (?) so I suppose the pollies are empowered to raise the age if they want ( and give themselves a few more years of using the trough) Call me synical, but I do not believe the Government does anything just to be nice/good to the masses. It's them first, second and last.

    Ooooh I am in a bad mood!! Glad I'm not a politician!!
    Nard
    26th Mar 2016
    7:41pm
    Rainey, yes you have done well. so being better than 90% of peeps does not entitle you to a pension. I have not read one substantive argument why any person is entitled to a pension because of entitlement fairness or otherwise as you wish to constantly state.

    historically a means test has always been in place which requires a person to qualify. Not because you had a hard life but because you require a pension.

    on 20 september 2007 when the asset test was relaxed reducing reduction from $3 per $1000 to $1.50 per thousand effectively increasing a lot of peoples pensions, did we hear the same complaints. No would be the answer. Took it and ran. now the rule is reversed we are hearing all the hard done by stories. On the facts of it the 2007 arrangement should never have happened.

    My view remains that if you can look after yourself then you do. If you require a pension from the public purse to do that then l have no issue with that.

    What i reject is the entitlement or fairness argument which to me has never carried any weight or legitamacy.

    You may or may not believe that you deserve or have earned a pension but the fact is if you have assets or income above levels set then you get a reduced or no pension. I am happy with that.

    good luck to you
    Anonymous
    27th Mar 2016
    8:36am
    Nard, I AM entitled to a part pension because I worked and paid taxes and saved for decades under the promise of a part pension under certain conditions that I satisfy now. It is not ethical, moral or legal (except when one powerful party changes the law wrongfully for their convenience) to alter a contract after one side has fulfilled their obligation completely to then advantage the other side and relieve them of their obligation. If any other contract was so altered the party altering would be forced by courts to honour its obligation and the disadvantaged party could claim extensive damages. Put simply, the government's action is criminal in this situation.

    That is beside the point, however. The government can engage in criminal actions because it makes the law. The critical point is that the taper rate change was economically and socially destructive, because it effectively '''taxes'' savers at the rate of up to 260% of their income as punishment for saving a few thousand dollars too much (apparently!). It therefore removes incentive to save, which is just plain dumb in a society that claims it benefits from people saving to fund their own retirement.

    Also, the change was grossly unfair, because it persecutes the most disadvantaged - those who don't have the capacity to earn a decent return on their investment. Overall, it discriminates against the section of society who have suffered most due to economic downturn - leaving the rich well alone with their obscene concessions and tax avoidance schemes, and PRETENDING to give more to the needier (though that is a pretence - a huge LIE), cutting tax to small business, and pledging tax cuts to large companies (many of which pay none anyway!) and to high income earners - all of whom are far better positioned to contribute to the economy than the poor persecuted part-pensioners who suffered the loss of, in some cases, 30% of their relatively small income, and many of whom will now have well under half the income of many full pensioners. (Of course the change is idiotic, because those it hurt will quickly become pensioners imposing a far bigger burden on the state as they are forced to surrender their savings!)

    Couples on a whopping $70,000+ p.a. income continue to get part pensions. Yet couples with a miserable $23,000 pa income are forced to drain savings that may have been acquired by going without holidays and restaurant dinners and nice clothing. Couples who sank millions into homes get pensions. Couples who gifted generously to their children in earlier life get pensions.

    The only people this cruel and discriminatory change attacks are the honest battlers who couldn't quite make it to self-sufficiency and don't have the knowledge and confidence to maximize returns on their investment. And the message the change sends is ''Don't save unless you are privileged, because we can't have the underprivileged working their way up. We will tread on them and squash them right back down where we (the egotistical, self-serving privileged) believe they belong.

    Nothing this government has done in relation to pensions is for the benefit of the nation. If it was, they would have taken from those who could best afford to make sacrifices. They didn't. They took from battlers who have struggled for decades to achieve a modest standard of comfort, and who DESERVE the reward they earned. And ultimately, the move was the most economically and socially destructive change imaginable. It does EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what the government claims to be seeking to achieve, and EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what is needed.

    Nard, if it was sensible and economically advantageous, and promised the nation benefit, I'd go along with it without protest. But those who support it are blinkered and deceived - or just not affected and too self-serving to care.
    Anonymous
    27th Mar 2016
    8:41am
    BTW. The Henry Tax Review agrees with me that the assets test should be abolished and a deeming rate be used instead.

    And the previous change may have been unjustified at the time, but it SHOULD have happened, because the taper rate SHOULD align with investment returns. With falling returns, the taper rate should also fall. That's plain common sense and fairness. The deeming rate reduces. Nobody should be punished for saving. That's just plain STUPID.
    Rodent
    27th Mar 2016
    4:06pm
    Hi Nard, Rainey and other interested parties, what do you think about this

    Re Age Pension Asset Test , and Taper Rate Changes due 1 January 2017

    I have read with great interest all the comments in recent weeks that relate in any way to these proposed changes. Also I have taken notice wherever Welfare gets a mention.
    The following are reproduced comments I received in a reply to a series of questions I raised with the Department of Social Services , following an initial reply I received from Minister Morrison. These words explain in FULL detail the Categories/Types of Payments that are affected by these legislated Asset Test changes.

    As many would be aware the main categories of payment are Age Pension, Disability Pension, Carer Payment – however there are others that are under the umbrella of Social Security Income Support Payments. The changes to the Assets Test apply to these payments as follows

    Age Pension
    Carer Payment
    Widow B Pension
    Wife Pension (Age)
    Wife Pension (Disability Support Pension)
    Bereavement Allowance
    Disability Support Pension

    The changes to the Assets Test also apply to the Social Security Income Support Allowance payments set out as follows

    Newstart Allowance
    Sickness Allowance
    Special Benefit
    Parenting Payment
    Partner Allowance
    Widow Allowance
    Youth Allowance *
    Austudy *
    Austudy- Living allowance

    * The Assets test changes apply to these allowances only when parental means testing arrangements do not apply.

    The changes also apply to Service Pensions and Income Support Supplement paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs. All these payments were included in the analysis of the number of income support recipients that would be affected by the changes to the Assets Test, and the estimated financial impact.
    ex PS
    28th Mar 2016
    10:30pm
    I really think that simply put, most people agree that if you really don't need a whole or part pension you shouldn't get one. The stalling point seems to be, when do we reach a point where a part or full pension should not be given.
    I believe that what should be taken into account, and it should be the only thing that should be taken into account, is the disposable funds available to the retiree.
    If you have $800,000.00 invested earning 10%, you shouldn't need or want a pension. If you have a $800,000.00 property that is adding nothing to your income it should not form part of the assessment, if you sell this property and covert it into cash it will be assessed as an investment.
    In other words, if you own something that does not bring in an income you can't call it an asset for the purposes of restricting access to a pension or part pension.
    As far as the government thieving property and calling it a loan to provide a pension, I'd rather burn my property to the ground and go to prison for doing so, than hand it over to a thieving government.
    musicveg
    28th Mar 2016
    11:33pm
    What worries me is that when a house is classed as an asset and is means tested it is often unfair either way. If someone has been in their house for over 50 years and value of houses in their neighborhood has risen dramatically, I think it is unfair that they have to move out from what they know just because the house which they call home is worth a lot on paper. To the owner it is priceless. My neighbor built his house when there was only a few houses around and now in his 80's wants to live out his life in his own home. Just because the land he now sits on is worth most likely at least 600,000 he should not be forced to sell and move. Where do you draw the line?
    PlanB
    29th Mar 2016
    7:04am
    musiveg I agree with yu fully what a hide to expect a person to move out of something they have worked long and hard and do without many things to get --and be where they want and to expect them to move out at any age let alone a good age when there is not much energy to do anything.
    Stretch
    29th Mar 2016
    11:54am
    The heroic stories of how hard one worked or tough one had things have no connection to whether or not the new threshold test is fair. We are all the hero in our own life-story.
    What is relevant is whether the taper rate cuts in at a point that leaves the retiree with enough to live on.
    A home-owning single has to have more than 550k in assets before they get no pension. They will get the full pension when they have 250k or less in assets. I can see how this would produce a very modest income.
    We do need to keep in mind that these asset thresholds are more than what the majority will retire with in our lifetimes, and that most will get part or whole pensions. If your aim is to get the OAP then you'll get it, most likely. Rainey, I find it bizarre the determination to get the pension and the arguments that you're hard-done by these changes because you have too much in assets to qualify.
    Middle class welfare kicked in under the Howard Government and the sense of entitlement from that group is now firmly embedded to the point where most believe they are worse off relative to others when in fact they are not. See SMH 12 May 2015 economics news.
    If you have the assets to pay for your own retirement it should be used exactly for that - not kept for your kids inheritance. If you have the assets to pay for your own retirement you probably got that through being a high income earner. Add to that salary sacrificing to superannuation, negative gearing and other tax-minimisation ways to build your wealth for retirement the taxpayer owes you nothing. You've taken enough.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2016
    3:08pm
    I agree with you, musicveg, but how is it reasonable to suggest that therefore someone with a $1 million home and $200,000 in the bank should get a full pension, while someone with a $200,000 home and $825,000 in the bank should get nothing at all?
    Stretch
    29th Mar 2016
    3:22pm
    It is infinitely reasonable to not give the pension to someone who owns their home and has $825,000 in the bank! What a distorted sense of entitlement you have Rainey! You are arguing for the well-to-do and trying to portray them as some sort of battler who is doing it tough. Classic Howard and Abbott and Hockey!
    musicveg
    29th Mar 2016
    3:26pm
    Yeah, it is hard one Rainey, I just hate seeing old people who have lived in their home all their life, are part of the community, have family and friends nearby, etc etc, have to sell up and move to somewhere they are not comfortable with. I only live on less that $25,000 a year and know nothing else, so 200,000 in the bank is at least 8 years living for me. I pay rent though and don't need money for maintenance, rates etc. and I keep healthy by my life choices. I would hate to see my mum who loves her home,her garden and most importantly feels safe have to give up her home, she has no other assest,s and her home would be lucky to fetch anything over $300,000.She already downsized after my dad's passing and sold their home so she could look after herself, but to have to do it again seems so unfair.She still struggles to make ends meet with rates, bills etc. She never has a holiday for instance.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2016
    6:51pm
    Stretch, you are missing the point entirely. I am not trying to portray the well-to-do as battlers. I'm arguing for incentive, reward, and common-sense logical fairness.

    Having savings doesn't mean someone isn't a battler. Many people who saved had a tremendous struggle to do so. We did. We earned minimal wages for nearly all our lives, had no education or skills. We worked menial, low paid jobs, but we worked nights and weekends and stayed up all night making clothing and furniture. We went without holidays and outings and nice things. We saved because we feared poverty and were determined to escape it. Now, instead of benefiting from all that sacrifice, we are punished for it by being forced to drain our precious savings away far too early in retirement, while people who lived the good life and only saved half as much - but have a house worth 4 times what ours is worth - get huge handouts. It is THEY, not I, who have a distorted sense of entitlement.

    If you read my posts with an open mind instead of with green eyes, Stretch, you would see that I am arguing for an economic benefit for the nation - a pension system that maintains fairness and incentives to be responsible and to save and plan for retirement, rather than rewarding irresponsible conduct and dishonesty and denying the responsible a fair reward for their efforts.

    BTW. Stretch, you obviously don't know much about economics. We've had actuarians to the numbers. A couple with $825,000 at age 65 does NOT have enough to last through retirement if they live past 90 (and many will!) unless investment returns improve dramatically.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2016
    6:56pm
    PS. Stretch, if you read my history - I HAVE TAKEN NOTHING. No high salary. No super. No negative gearing. No capital gains concessions, NOTHING. And that's the problem. Too many people making wild assumptions with no attempt at validation and no examination of the facts. Why shouldn't my SAVINGS that were accrued by going without luxuries others took for granted pass on to my children. If I choose to sacrifice to leave something to my kids, why should I be denied the same benefit that someone on a higher income who chooses to spend on holidays and gambling receives?

    What you are saying is that people are not entitled to make choices - or that only irresponsible choices will be rewarded. Responsible choices that benefit the nation long term are punished. That's pretty dumb. No wonder the country is in a mess with that sort of mentality running it!
    Stretch
    29th Mar 2016
    7:16pm
    Rainey, you play the man and not the ball. And you are offensive. And you draw ludicrous presumptions on my character and motives based on nothing. You extrapolate my response and others who do not 100% agree with you into wild distortions and down imaginary paths that your mind/emotions/hate leads you to.
    You have an enormous chip on your shoulder. Get over yourself.
    musicveg
    29th Mar 2016
    8:21pm
    Stretch, I'm sticking up for Rainey, I think you just don't get Rainey and understand at all what fairness is about.This forum is not about insulting people and their comments, this is a debate and maybe it has gone as far as it can.
    Stretch
    29th Mar 2016
    8:38pm
    Musicveg, Rainey may have a point somewhere but her responses are so full of invective and insult at everyone who disagree with her that her point is well and truly lost. She is offensive and offensive people don't need defending. She does not know how to debate but instead goes on the personal attack at everyone. I'm sorry, but she's got a serious problem and she ruins these debates by her relentless slagging off of people and her trolling of everyone who has disagreed or maybe disagreed with her until they stop posting. Well, if that's her aim she has succeeded with me.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2016
    12:56pm
    Actually, Stretch, it was you who started with the insults. I found the implied accusations of greed and misplaced entitlements highly offensive, as were the WRONG assumptions about the source of savings and the obvious presumption that people have no right to make certain lifestyle choices or should be punished for those choices while the far more fortunate who had the luxury of different choices are rewarded.

    I think your problem is that you just can't cope with someone pointing out that your logic is seriously flawed, because your accusations of posts full of ''invective and insults'' is wildly exaggerated.

    You went on the attack knowing absolutely nothing about me, Stetch - accusing me of having ''taken enough'' based on wild assumptions that you made no effort to validate. And you accuse me of being ''offensive''. That's rich!
    ex PS
    27th Mar 2016
    10:10pm
    It's symantics really the government is saving nothing, it just wants to appear to be doing something. There are no savings to be made by increasing the retirement age. We will either be paying more to young people on the dole who can't get a start or the extra dole will go to oldsters who are put on the scrap heap. Where are the savings in that?
    This is just another LNP conjob, they can't be that stupid that they and their campfollowers can't see that their stratedgy is just smoke and mirrors.
    musicveg
    27th Mar 2016
    10:51pm
    Exactly,the only saving that could be made is if they stop subsidizing mining companies and collect all the tax owing form multi-national companies who are not paying.
    Rodent
    28th Mar 2016
    8:53am
    Rainey

    re your Question
    Rodent, does the $11021 you quote for a single non-home owner include rent assistance, or is that additional?

    Answer is no - Rent assistance is in addition to this figure
    Anonymous
    28th Mar 2016
    3:18pm
    Wow! That certainly makes not owning a home advantageous for many!

    28th Mar 2016
    3:22pm
    With a retirement age of 70, Australians will retire older than citizens of any other country in the world. Not a very good look for a nation that claims to be more prosperous than most!
    Rodent
    28th Mar 2016
    4:46pm
    Rainey

    And for the same $600,000 Asset Figure in Jan 2017 a Home Owning Couple will receive a $16,702 pa Pension, BUT a Non Home Owner Couple will receive almost full pension of $32,302pa. Just a one simple example of the unfairness of these changes
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2016
    9:52am
    Disgraceful! Who are these IDIOTS who can't see past their long noses to the impact of their IDIOTIC policy changes? Oh, that's right! Their noses are too deep in the trough to see anything.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2016
    9:55am
    But what defies logic is that they have so many bat-eyed supporters. Obviously math and economics are not well understood in Australian society.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2016
    9:58am
    And I presume the non-home owner couple gets rent assistance as well, Rodent?
    Rodent
    29th Mar 2016
    10:04am
    Rainey any Non Homeowner, Single or Couple will get Rent Assistance provided they qualify and meet the eligibility conditions.

    Not wanting to upset you, or anyone else but did you notice my POST on 27 March at 4.06pm?
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2016
    4:48pm
    Yes, Rodent. I did. It's disgusting! It's a reflection of a grossly inept government influenced improperly by vested-interest lobby groups and supported by blind fools who simply cannot see through the convenient lies told to try to justify the unjustifiable.

    If only people would stop with this nonsense about ''pensions only for the needy'' and realize that this government doesn't give a hoot about the needy or the deserving - only the super-rich greedy matter. And their policies will drive the debt UP UP UP UP UP, because they are short-sighted and illogical in the extreme.
    Rodent
    29th Mar 2016
    4:55pm
    Stretch today at 3.22pm you said this

    It is infinitely reasonable to not give the pension to someone who owns their home and has $825,000 in the bank!

    Perhaps you are correct, at that figure of $825k a Single Home owner, and a Single Non Home Owner, and a Couple Home owner all get ZERO pension, HOWEVER a Couple Non Home Owner will still receive $14752 - I realise this opens other issues of including the home in the Assets test, but I doubt giving a Couple Non home owner that amount of money COMPARED to others at the same asset value of $825k is fair?
    Stretch
    29th Mar 2016
    5:17pm
    I stand by what I said, which was a refection of one of Rainey's responses, where s/he thinks it unfair that someone with 825k in assets and a homeowner is hard done by.

    I don't think the home should be included in an assets test. That works both ways, whether your home is worth 200k or one million.

    There is limited merit in comparing a couple/homeowner/non-homeowner/single/xx in assets with each other when looking for an argument to support opposition to the threshold changes as it is comparing apples with oranges.

    There has been so much energy in these posts with people competing on individual stories etc.

    There needs to be an understanding of how much people need - not want - in their retirement as a basis for actually working out how much they should get from the taxpayer. Anything above that can be self-funded if they're lucky enough to have the money.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2016
    7:55pm
    Oh, I get it Stretch. You are among the green-eyed brigade who support the Communist mentality of everyone should be ground down to the same level - regardless of their endeavours. Don't EVER let it be said that someone who worked harder and went without more should be entitled to enjoy a little more in retirement. Oh no! Give it all to the gamblers and drinkers and holiday-makers who lived it up and wasted, and tell the workers and savers they wasted their efforts - so the next generation WON'T WORK AND SAVE and the nation will be much worse off!

    LUCK has NOTHING to do with it, Stretch. SOME people may have savings because they were luckier. Lots saved despite rotten luck and incredible hardship.

    Of course, though, you want what suits you - and to hell with common sense or fairness. It's just all about what suits the purposes of the selfish, green-eyed self-serving.

    Whether or not someone with $825,000 in assets is well off is subjective. It depends on the returns they are able to achieve, their house, their health, their family circumstances, and many other variables. Lots of folk with half as much savings are far, far better off. And THAT'S the issue under debate. Whether or not we should be supporting people who are very well off and denying people who have far less. Whether or not we should be supporting people who earn $70000 a year but not people who earn $23,000. Whether we should support folk with a $200,000 home and modest hard-won savings (that aren't enough to last them for the rest of their lives) or give preference to people with $2 million homes and limited savings. Whether we should reward effort and sacrifice and encourage the next generation to be more self-sufficient, or destroy the retirement savings system and push the cost of aged care through the roof.

    It's not ALL ABOUT YOU. It's about what is right for the country.
    Stretch
    29th Mar 2016
    8:11pm
    " ...gamblers, drinkers and holiday-makers..." Goodness, what next? People who don't trim their hedge, peanut-eaters and porch-sitters? Toe-nail pickers, adulterers and atheists? You are absolutely nuts, Mad Rainey. Bonkers.
    musicveg
    29th Mar 2016
    8:31pm
    Stretch,There you go again insulting people on this forum.

    When is it truly right to give anyone a pension?

    I get what Rainey is saying about those who spend all their money, have a great life, going on holidays and gifting to children, left with not much(or hid their money in tax havens) and then claim a pension. Compare that to someone who did the opposite, worked hard, never took a holiday and was still trying to leave an inheritance for their kids, but gets wacked with, no you don't get the pension cause you saved all your money.

    There is plenty of money to go around for pensions, just get the tax from the one in three private companies that don't pay tax, stop subsidizing mining companies, stop handing out huge pensions to every tom, dick and harry whoever has stepped foot in parliament, and there is enough to look after those who worked hard, paid their taxes, and made this country prosperous.
    Stretch
    29th Mar 2016
    9:43pm
    Musicveg, follow the timing of my posts. Not the sequence as you scroll down. You will see that I've posted stuff without insult, Rainey has repeatedly insulted me and every other person who doesn't agree with her. And yes, I cracked and insulted her back after reading a dozen of her incredibly ignorant and offensive posts to me and to others. There is none so easily offended as the offensive.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2016
    8:08am
    Actually, Stretch, it was you who began the insults with accusations of ''a sense of entitlement'' and ''taking enough'' and other similar nasty innuendo implying greed.

    If you read my posts objectively, you would see that they are logical, and support reform that creates fairness and equity while retaining incentive and reward so that people want to save for their old age. I also base my arguments on factual economic data that shows that $825,000 is NOT enough for a 65-year-old couple to self-fund retirement, ESPECIALLY if they have unusual health needs or special circumstances that impose high living costs. I can show that a couple with $825,000 might feasibly become self-supporting after 5 years, under the old assets test rules, if allowed to save without penalty. But the system doesn't allow saving without penalty, so dependence INCREASES rather than decreases as responsible planners and savers try to move toward self-sufficiency.

    You keep wanting to make it about people who you think have enough claiming more unfairly. But you ignore the fact that the system doesn't determine equitably who has enough. The rorts that are allowed are costing millions - and enriching people who have far more than those who are getting nothing.

    Yes, some people do have a sense that they are being unjustly dealt with - and rightly so. I have neighbours who gave millions to their kids before they turned 60, own a multi-million dollar home, get full pensions at SINGLE rates because they are ''separated' (house is built with bedroom and bathroom at each end and they only meet in the middle for meals and to clean living areas!!!)
    I have friends who spent a $350,000 inheritance going around the world several times and get a full pension. I have friends who earn $70,000 a year and get a part pension. I know couples where one is much older than the other and transferred $2 million into his wife's superannuation account so he can get a full aged pension for 8 years until she turns 65. Raising the pension age will probably mean he'll get a full pension for longer. It's a measure that will actually help many wealthy people where there are big age differences between members of a couple.

    There are countless thousands who earned very good wages but spent freely and now claim a full pension. One I've seen here whinging about having to live in Thailand because the pension is so low earned $120,000 a year! He should be fully self-supporting after having enjoyed those earnings.

    Then, on the other end of the spectrum, we have battlers who struggled through life with no luxuries, saved aggressively because they feared poverty in old age and wanted to help their kids break out of the poverty cycle, are scrupulously honest, and are being stripped of their savings. Damned right they are ENTITLED. And only the greedy green-eyed who were less frugal would dispute that.

    Unlike many, I'm not suggesting one or two careless changes such as reversing the ill-thought-out and damaging change to the assets test. The Henry Tax Review suggested major changes - abolishing the assets test and using deeming rates. What I have continued to assert is that the whole system is inherently flawed due to repeated careless changes and needs to be overhauled.

    There are far fairer and more economically sustainable ways to determine pension eligibility, and we should all be demanding that the Government recognize the reality that the current system is so inherently flawed, brutally unfair, and unnecessarily expensive that it should be thrown out completely and rewritten from the ground up - based on TRUTHFUL history and taking into account the genuine rights and entitlements of people how didn't have super but paid for their retirement through taxation, and throwing out the wild ASSUMPTIONS that anyone who has savings or assets was somehow ''lucky'' or ''privileged'' and should now suffer unfairly.

    The bottom line is that if you punish people who save, they won't. And intelligent working Australians are now saying ''What's the point?'' The attitude of this government seems to be ''slam the workers and savers. Take all that they saved and redistribute to those who didn't.'' So we are going to have a nation of people reliant on pensions who could have become self-supporting - merely because the government removed the rewards for being frugal. It makes no logical sense.

    The bottom line is that the current system creates dependency. It punishes every effort to move toward self-sufficiency and rewards irresponsible spending, laziness and cheating. There are hundreds of thousands who WOULD have $825,000 or more in the bank if the government didn't offer rich rewards for making sure they NEVER accumulate wealth. Tens of thousands more are planning ways to reduce wealth so that their incomes rise and they get access to valuable benefits.

    I know a man whose medications cost $400 a month. His total benefits loss by not getting a pension is $8000 a year, plus in Jan 2017 he'll lose $171 a week pension. That's a $16,892 a year penalty for saving. You think he won't take a cruise or something? And you claim it's fair for him to suffer that loss while someone with a $2 million house continues to get a full pension? I know which of us is bonkers!

    BTW. Stretch, I am not easily offended, because I'm intelligent enough to see that you are clearly wrong. You haven't considered the argument at all. You just go off, like so many green-eyed monsters, condoning taking from people YOU THINK might have a little more than YOU think they need, without any knowledge whatsoever of their circumstances and without any consideration of the economic harm being done by maintaining an illogical and inequitable system.
    ex PS
    30th Mar 2016
    10:40am
    Rainey, with all due respect I ask you this. How much income is derived by living in a two million dollar home?
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2016
    11:41am
    That's not the point, PS. The point is that X wants to leave money to their kids so they save. Y also wants to so they buy a very expensive home. X is punished and their kids denied. Y is rewarded and their kids get $2 million+++ when they die, courtesy of the taxpayer subsidizing Y's living expenses while X had to drain savings to live.

    If people who save are forced to live on savings, people who buy expensive houses should be subject to the same rules. I don't actually subscribe to means testing the family home because of the emotional connection people have to their home, but neither should those who buy more modest owns and save aggressively be denied fair dealing.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2016
    2:04pm
    To put it another was, ex PS, is it fair that X, who worked for a basic wage, bought modest accommodation in a rural down-market area, but worked a lot of overtime and saved aggressively should now be denied a pension while Y, who earned a high wage and could afford to buy a nice home in the inner city that inflated in value over the years, and Z, who inherited $500,000 at age 60 and sold up to buy a $2 million house on the beach, are both supported by the taxpayer?

    I've seen comments about it ''not being my fault'' that a house inflated in value. Was it anyone's ''fault'' that their business grew in value, or their share portfolio grew in value, or their investment property improved in value? Why is it a punishable offence to have investments that grew in value but not a family home?

    I understand the emotional issue only too well. It's not an easy issue to resolve fairly, and we certainly need to consider the emotional issues. But I think that those here who keep attacking people who complain about the new assets threshold - implying they are selfish - are being grossly unfair.

    My personal preference would be to cap the unassessed value of the family home and offer concessional loans for those with more valuable homes that they don't want to sell. But I would also abolish the assets test completely (as per recommendations in the Henry Tax Review) and use the higher of actual or deemed income as the basis of assessment. It would be much fairer and provide much better incentive for people to work and save.

    It is just plain dumb to punish people for saving to try to finance their own retirement if the result of their saving is that they have an income less than the aged pension and none of the benefits.
    ex PS
    30th Mar 2016
    7:03pm
    OK Rainey, using your own scenerio, X buys a modest home in a rural area, that area suddenly becomes very popular because the water is found to have healing properties. Houses go from $280K to $800K, does X have to sell up and move on or does X have to forgo some of their pension?
    Most people do not see their home as an investment it is a home. Your insistance on assessing the family home as part of an income stream seems to contradict your statement that people should not be punnished for planning for retirement.
    I do agree with you that where it is obvious that people are buying property in order to hide Assets the property should be taken into account, but a blanket rule that all houses over a certain amount be assessed as an income stream will disadvantage many people who have done nothing wrong.
    Anonymous
    31st Mar 2016
    8:12am
    ex PS, I'm obviously not making my position on this clear. I am the first to defend the right of a person to remain in their home regardless of increased value. What concerns me is the gross inequity in depriving someone who maybe didn't have the capacity to invest in a home that rose in value, but put their endeavours into another form of accruing wealth. People become emotionally attached to the family business too, or the farm, or a collection of artworks or antiques. (Of course it's not quite the same.)

    My thought for getting around the unfairness was to set an asset threshold for ALL non-returning assets, and above that fix a deemed return rate and means test the higher of the deemed rate or actual income. A high threshold would allow for a person to own an ''average'' home (hard to assess what's average, I know - but I'm sure a reasonable figure could be arrived at) PLUS furniture, car, personal and household items, liquid cash and modest savings, etc.
    If a person then had a modest home and more savings or other assets, they would not suffer discrimination as opposed to someone with an expensive home and less other assets.

    To accommodate the problems associated with people having expensive homes and limited income, but not wanting to downsize, a concessional loan could be offered repayable on death. Yes, I know that's not a popular idea - but surely it's a FAIR concept as applied to those with very valuable properties?

    Remember that the means test would test the LOWER of deemed or actual income, which would further relieve worries for people with expensive homes.

    The worry, of course, would be that politicians can't be trusted, and we'd all be concerned that the threshold would be lowered or frozen unrealistically until everyone was borrowing - but we have that concern now anyway. What would change is that the system would be fairer.

    I agree that addressing hiding assets by buying property would be better, but it's not practical. And realistically, it's not a question of anyone doing anything wrong, is it? What has the saver done wrong? What has the person who invested in a family business or hobby farm done wrong? People are being disadvantaged very unfairly. What I propose merely removes the discrimination factor and spreads the disadvantage more evenly and equitably. Yes, a few with very expensive homes will be upset that their kids can't inherit the family mansion debt free. But why should their kids inherit when mine can't, just because I didn't have the money earlier in life to put into a home that inflated in value, so I accepted modest accommodation and saved?

    The message I keep seeing is ''you are lucky to have savings so shut up and support yourself''. Well, X was lucky that healing water was found near his property. Much luckier than me, in fact, because luck had nothing to do with my savings! So why is X entitled and I'm not? Y was lucky to have been able to buy a home in a suburb where properties increased in value. Why should their kids be favoured over mine, because I was UNLUCKY and had to tolerate basic accommodation, but saved aggressively so my grandkids would have a better start in life?
    Anonymous
    31st Mar 2016
    8:27am
    BTW ex PS (and others): I don't claim any expertise. I'm not an actuarian. Obviously, this is a complex problem, and one that drives very emotional responses (understandably!). I am merely putting forward an idea.

    What I do want to say though, emphatically, is that the current system is GROSSLY UNFAIR and those who support the recent changes to the assets test should stop for a minute and think more objectively about the discrimination in the system and the possibility that the over-simplification of an issue by ASSUMING someone with $XXX assets can support themselves is harmful to the economy as well as cruelly disadvantageous to many who deserve a better deal.

    It's far too easy to say ''You have savings. Spend them.'' But depriving people of the benefit of their past endeavours has never been the Australian way and isn't consistent with our idea of how to generate growth and greater prosperity. Fairness extends to ensuring people have spending choices and can enjoy reward for their efforts. And prosperity requires that level of fairness. The current system is economically unsustainable because it removes the core motivation for working toward self-sufficiency in retirement.

    Morrison talks about reducing tax. But deprivation of a pension is only another form of taxing. What's the point of rewarding endeavour during working life if you take it all away on retirement? All that does is send a strong message to ''spend it now folks - before you reach an age where the government claims it''.
    ex PS
    1st Apr 2016
    9:32am
    Rainey, I could not agree more with your last comment, in fact it forms the basis for my whole arguement. When assessing income and assets, if we want a fair system, individual circumstances must be considered.
    And I meen considered, not by use of a yes/no checklist with no option for clear intelligent responses from the individual.
    Rodent
    30th Mar 2016
    8:19am
    Hi Stretch, I am not interested in the "interchange between you and Rainey"
    your reply in post 29/3/5.17pm was this

    I stand by what I said, which was a refection of one of Rainey's responses, where s/he thinks it unfair that someone with 825k in assets and a homeowner is hard done by.

    I don't think the home should be included in an assets test. That works both ways, whether your home is worth 200k or one million. AGREE

    There is limited merit in comparing a couple/homeowner/non-homeowner/single/xx in assets with each other when looking for an argument to support opposition to the threshold changes as it is comparing apples with oranges.

    DONT AGREE , its not about Apples and oranges, its about fairness, the point I made was that I dont believe its FAIR that a Non Homeowner Couple should still receive a substantial Pension when all other Pensioner categories at the SAME Dollar figure receive ZERO

    Some people actually believe that the Pension Cut off point is actually $823k or $825k because they have read it somewhere- this is of course INCORRECT for a NON HOME OWNER COUPLE - and thats the point I tried to make. The cut off point for a NHOC will be about $1,023,000

    My concern, and why I offer any comment at all is that there are may people who do not understand the negative impacts of these Pension changes and will only appreciate it after their Pension is Reduced, or eliminated in early Jan 2017

    There has been so much energy in these posts with people competing on individual stories etc. -- AGREE , certainly a lot of wasted energy in some of these posts

    There needs to be an understanding of how much people need - not want - in their retirement as a basis for actually working out how much they should get from the taxpayer. Anything above that can be self-funded if they're lucky enough to have the money. AGREE, but there will always be confusion over this

    30th Mar 2016
    12:09pm
    What worries me about many of these posts is the odd idea that some folk seem to have that someone who saved a few bob, despite hardship, but doesn't have the capacity to earn much income from their investments, should sacrifice their income to subsidize an income for high income earners who cruised the world and lived the high life rather than saving, and/or sank millions into a family home.

    How is the battling saver NOT ENTITLED when the millionaire lavish-home-owner is? Are we now declaring people should be rewarded, in retirement, for having been able to afford a home in an up-market area, while those who had to settle for modest houses in the slums are punished if they saved a little?

    This is only one of many major inequities in the system. But please stop bashing the poor part-pensioners who are NOT well-to-do, but who saved for retirement in anticipation of a comfortable lifestyle and being able to leave a bit to their kids. Just because they have some dollars in the bank DOES NOT mean they were lucky or privileged, and SHOULD NOT mean that they have to be totally self-supporting while others who have always been far, far better off are looked after from the taxpayers purse - merely because they could afford to make different spending choices, or because they choose not to be honest.

    If I sell my modest home and buy a $1.5 million home, I qualify for a full pension and all benefits immediately. Is that fair? If I had given my home to my kids before I turned 60, I'd qualify for a generous half pension - despite the fact that they might let me live in it free until I die. So how is it fair to disqualify someone who has some assets - that may be worth very little and returning almost nothing!

    The bottom line is that the assets test change assumes a return of well over 7.8% on investments (when benefits are counted). Very few will be getting that. Some are getting less than 3%. The government says the average is 5% - so they contradict themselves and declare their own ruling grossly unfair!

    If assets can't yield over 8%, the pension means test SHOULD NOT be based on an assumption that they do. Its grossly inequitable.

    And yes, Rodent, the homeowner v. non-homeowner thresholds are another gross unfairness.

    I say again - the system needs a TOTAL OVERHAUL, not irresponsible lazy tweaking that invariably makes it less affordable over time by encouraging the kind of behaviour that drives the nation's retirement funding costs UP.
    Alexia_x
    30th Mar 2016
    4:37pm
    No, I think to work and pay taxes for 40 to 45 years of your life should entitle you to a pension when you become 60 or unable to work for reasons of infirmity or disability after 50.
    Jannie
    31st Mar 2016
    10:16am
    I am 68 and working part time to make ends meet. Not everybody has a perfect life eg poor health and hard knocks during ones life time. I am finding working only 15 hours a week is very hard and tiring, also the younger ones make fun of you still working at that age. I had a knee op two years ago and still struggling with the pain but still have to push on and try make a decent wage before I go on to the full pension. The more you earn the less pension you get.
    Jannie
    31st Mar 2016
    10:16am
    I am 68 and working part time to make ends meet. Not everybody has a perfect life eg poor health and hard knocks during ones life time. I am finding working only 15 hours a week is very hard and tiring, also the younger ones make fun of you still working at that age. I had a knee op two years ago and still struggling with the pain but still have to push on and try make a decent wage before I go on to the full pension. The more you earn the less pension you get.
    Kato
    31st Mar 2016
    7:07pm
    Stop blaming the elderly for the problems created by successive governments. Reduce the number of politicians state and federally. No free or next to free lunches in parliament house on the taxpayer. Pollies don't earn they are paid. They have sold the country off but not there own revenues and perks. Just keep pushing the message to the young your tax dollars are paying for the aged. Creating division. We called low lifes like that Mongrels. They are Un Australian being led by big business.
    Jolly
    1st Apr 2016
    11:46am
    So why is working with computers OK to work till 80. Who ever wrote this article has no idea. Technology is moving at the speed of light. I am in the Telco Sector and I am a Systems Tester. I am now ramping up on a totally different type of testing and providing support. And let me tell you it is very difficult to keep up. I am 67 and I can tell you I wont be doing what I do now when I am 80 years of age.
    PlanB
    1st Apr 2016
    1:41pm
    I am sure Jolly that there are many that as you will not be doing what their job have been at an older age -- this Government is dreaming.
    Jannie
    5th Apr 2016
    8:17am
    I agree at 68 I am still working but finding it very hard to keep up with changes and my body is tired after working only a few hours. All pollies need to get out in the work force and see what it is like, they sit in their little world and act like school children in parliament what hope has anyone got with such idiots running our country.
    Jannie
    5th Apr 2016
    8:18am
    I agree at 68 I am still working but finding it very hard to keep up with changes and my body is tired after working only a few hours. All pollies need to get out in the work force and see what it is like, they sit in their little world and act like school children in parliament what hope has anyone got with such idiots running our country.
    Johnny
    12th Jul 2016
    8:39am
    Gillard's worst move was to increase the pension age to 70. I taught in primary school classrooms for almost 40 years. Yes, bending and getting down to little children. Not to mention the mental exhaustion. To continue to do this to 70 would be difficult and guess who would suffer the most? Yes-the children.
    PlanB
    12th Jul 2016
    8:47am
    Crazy to expect anyone to keep working till they drop -- we all have a right to SOME down time b4 we leave this planet
    PlanB
    12th Jul 2016
    9:15am
    It was Joe Hockey that increased it to 70 Johnny NOT Gillard