The months leading up to the budget are typified by wild guesses and conjecture about which cuts will be made and who will bear the brunt.
This year the pre-budget ballyhoo has been considerably heightened by a change in government and the new government’s Commission of Audit, which has apparently reviewed every aspect of Federal Government expenditure – root and branch – in order to identify ‘waste’ and related potential cuts to reduce the budget deficit.
Whatever the outcome of the review, the facts on retirement income and pensions have changed little over the past decade. Approximately 66 per cent of people aged over 45 who have retired are on a full or part Age Pension, 15 per cent live on superannuation or an allocated pension and eight per cent are living on dividends.
These proportions are unlikely to alter in the next few years, as while the introduction of compulsory superannuation (commonly referred to as the SGC) in 1993 will help future generations to achieve a substantial nest egg before they leave full-time work, the SGC came too late for the baby boomer generation who, by and large, will enter retirement both underfunded and uninformed.
Interestingly few government funded bodies have seized the challenge to help these transitioning retirees, or in fact take the time to actually ask them what they want or need to improve their retirement income prospects.
So YOURLifeChoices, a privately owned website with 105,000 members, which regularly surveys its audience on their needs and wants, asked the relevant questions. In our annual Lifestyle Survey 2014, we asked our 50-75 year-old members 45 questions about their attitudes and experiences pertaining to health, money, retirement income, work, technology and government policies. We received 7,423 responses which enabled us to learn a lot about our members’ needs and views.
Of those who answered, 53 per cent are fully retired, 33 percent work full or part time, 10 percent are volunteers and four per cent are carers.
Most revealing were the responses to the four questions on retirement, concerns, retirement information and government support.
Firstly, when asked if the government does enough to support retirees, the answer was a resounding ‘No’ (79 per cent).
We then asked what are the respondents’ major concerns in retirement, and received 5,500 different ideas, which can be categorised into the following:
- having insufficient funds to lead a reasonable life
- cost of living rising and eroding savings or income
- maintaining health and unexpected health expenses
- pension too low for decent standard of living
- pension not keeping up with increased costs
When asked if it was difficult to keep up with retirement information, 53 per cent agreed it was. And when asked what could be done to keep retirees better informed about their options and entitlements, the 5391 responses can be categorised into the following four key points:
- regular, frequent updates on changes to pensions, entitlements, government initiatives for retirees
- such information to come form independent source, not linked to those with commercial gain to be made
- information in plain English – most current information is too complex or written in legalese
- information should help educate retirees on their options
YOURLifeChoices recognises the cry for help in these answers and the gap which has been clearly identified – a need for practical, plain English, independent information.
So it is launching the first ever quarterly Retirement Update on 30 March.
This update will be sent to our full membership list in an easy-to-read Real View format, with the option of reading as a downloadable PDF.
Content will includes:
- Latest Centrelink rates
- Association of Super Funds Australia (ASFA) retirement standard costs of living in retirement, with budget tables for members to check their own household costs
- SuperRatings funds performance updates
- Government entitlement updates
- Pension updates,
- Rights in Retirement
- Saving money in retirement
- Retirement income Q&A
- Legal updates
As well as explanations of annuities, diary dates, and the latest retirement apps, calculators and resources.
This quarterly report is available to all members of YOURLifeChoices website, which is a double opt in process, free of charge.
In creating this quarterly Retirement Update, YOURLifeChoices is offering for the first time ever a truly independent one-stop shop for retirees wishing to keep up to date with the rules and requirements surrounding their income, rights, and opportunities to live a full and productive retirement.