The older Australians who are doing it tough

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One group of older Australians should be much more worried than the rest when it comes to funding their retirement, according to research.

The Centre of Excellence of Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) reports that most Australians “do well out of our retirement income system and that the living standard of retirees has improved over the past decade”.

Rafal Chomik, senior research fellow at CEPAR, recently wrote in The Conversation that our system ranks highly in international terms.

“About 60 per cent of older Australians can afford a lifestyle better than that deemed to be ‘modest’ by widely used standards,” he says.

“Households headed by Baby Boomers reaching retirement age between 2006 and 2016 did so with incomes 45 per cent higher than those who retired a decade earlier.”

The CEPAR research claims that ‘typical’ retired Baby Boomers households earn only 20 per cent less than when they were working. And their spending requirements are lower.

“Lower spending in retirement is common because older households need to pay less for transport, less for working clothes, and have more time to cook,” says Mr Chomik. “And they tend to spend less over time, rather than more over time as benchmarks publicised by the superannuation industry assume.”

CEPAR research concludes that because about 80 per cent of retirees own their own home, older Australians live in poverty at about the same rate as working-age Australians.

But not renters. And especially not single renters.

The living standards of those who rent in retirement were very different, says Mr Chomik, with only about 15 per cent of older renters able to afford a lifestyle better than ‘modest’.

“Among all older people, only about 10 per cent fall below the poverty line set at half the median income. Among older Australians who rent, 40 per cent fall below. Among older Australians who rent alone, it’s more than 60 per cent.”

In YourLifeChoices’ 2018 Retirement Matters Survey, 47.6 per cent of 5748 respondents said they were on a full or part Age Pension. But for those receiving rental assistance, the most recent increase, on 20 September 2018, was $1 per fortnight or 50 cents a week.

Rental assistance climbs only in line with the consumer price index (CPI) every six months, and struggles to keep pace with rents. Sydney rents, for instance, have doubled over the past two decades while the CPI climbed 68 per cent.

Research by the Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research and Methods analysed five government payments to assess how they could be restructured to reduce the poverty gap. It concluded that Newstart should increase by $270 per fortnight, the Age Pension by $11 per fortnight and rent assistance by about $10 per fortnight.

“Rental assistance is less effective in reducing financial stress than it was when it was introduced, and is set to become even less effective if rents continue to climb more quickly than the price index,” says Mr Chomik.

With fewer Australians retiring as homeowners, rental assistance is a hot potato.

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Written by Janelle Ward

93 Comments

Total Comments: 93
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    Yep retirees today have never had it so good.
    And things will only get better for the next generations of retirees
    Lucky country indeed

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      For retirees who are cushioned with a government/parliamentary pension I would agree with you, Lothario.

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      You are a LNP stooge and a nuisance…

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      Crooks have never had it so good in this country. Corrupt Governments changed laws and opened many legal loopholes for crooks to stop paying tax and get richer.

      Honest people always had it tough and always will. The pension and all social security will be eradicated by this Government. They will bleed this country dry while it gets sold off under our noses.

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      Spot on jackie.
      Of course what one of our LNP sponsored trolls fails to ever address is the ongoing attacks on the income of retirees by HIS employer. The family home will be the next one if this lot get back in.

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      Oh yes……Lothario is the using the same avatar as FormerLaborVoter.

      Genuine posters note: my accusation that the government was funding trolls on this website appear to be well founded. Not only do you get the same type of comments (vile devoid of facts mudslinging comments) but now the same avatar.
      This is simply not good enough. YLC needs to vet users according to IP address or by some other means to stop trolling. Enough!!!!

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      MICK…No one is safe in Australia because they own their own home…Corrupt councils will keep on increasing the rates and insurance companies will too. Then if some mining company wants to use the land they are free to do as they please wether you like it or not. If the Government want you to go for infrastructure development it will shove you off and pay you less than what its worth….The only people doing well are crooks…the same people that vote LNP. Birds of a feather stick together….Lothario is a shit stirring Liberal. Time will catch up with the lot of them. I would love to see the day when they all end up behind bars.

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      Your problem is Lothario is that your opinions are based on extreme right wing ideology that leaves no room for variation on subjects that are as broad as an elephants hide. There’s no grey just black and white. You obviously haven’t travelled around the poorer suburbs of Sydney, which would blow your ‘well off’ argument to pieces. I don’t class myself as in the poverty zone but I’ve seen enough examples to know that it exists and its not rare. Who cares what the reasons are that people find themselves living under the poverty level. There’s a multitude of reasons and many not the fault of any particular person. It just goes to show how social attitudes and humility are diminishing when people deny that poverty among older people exists based on their own fortunate circumstances.

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      Your problem is Lothario is that your opinions are based on extreme right wing ideology that leaves no room for variation on subjects that are as broad as an elephants hide. There’s no grey just black and white. You obviously haven’t travelled around the poorer suburbs of Sydney, which would blow your ‘well off’ argument to pieces. I don’t class myself as in the poverty zone but I’ve seen enough examples to know that it exists and its not rare. Who cares what the reasons are that people find themselves living under the poverty level. There’s a multitude of reasons and many not the fault of any particular person. It just goes to show how social attitudes and humility are diminishing when people deny that poverty among older people exists based on their own fortunate circumstances.

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      Lothario, read the article again. Retirees without a home are not travelling well. People who have to pay rent especially single pensioners are not well off.
      They are not griping about shares because they don’t have any.
      Many are becoming homeless which would be so scary when you are frail.

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      I agree Paddington. They should be griping about anything which raises the cost of household consumables and rents.

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      I agree Paddington. They should be griping about anything which raises the cost of household consumables and rents.

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    Lothario, which rock were you hiding under? Here is the real truth of how Retirees never had it so good, or is it the case just a few cheating weasels that have worked the system having a good time?.

    The greed of the present government in clawing back every cent from pensioners/retirees knows no bounds. I’ll give my personal experience in a moment. First, let’s see where the Morrison Coalition wants to spend money. Luckily, the big end of town ‘s popularity has been trashed and taxpayers will not be forced to pay for the rich and well-heeled “business people who do FA to enrich the economy but rape and plunder the environment.

    So what sounds good? Here is the government spiel.- Yes, the yellow hordes are upon us and will invade soon. Yes, Islamic State will conquer the world and contaminate Australia. Yes, the Ruskies are planning world domination, as if the present population doesn’t already control a land mass 4-5 times the size of Australia, Yes, there must be other enemies not yet identified but we must be prepared for.

    Our response (politically a safe and vote winner and misunderstood reaction), bolster our fighting forces and call it defence spending exercise. What a joke! Our perceived enemies must be laughing their pants off. Let’s rip $50 billion (conservative) from pensioners retirement income to buy 10-12 conventional submarine future rust buckets that if we’re lucky could sink half a dozen fishing boats, coming to our shores. If you spread these along our coastline, they will be so far apart, we might lose a few accidentally, and that’s in peacetime, let alone wartime.

    Totally inadequate for our defence you might ask, your right, so let’s rip off more money from taxpayers and buy 100 or so F-35 jet fighters, so badly designed, only a few have been able to take off without crashing, at 35-40 million each that’s another cool 4 billion plus. What, you say, pay for planes still on the drawing boards? Why not it’s for our defence, Also let’s build infrastructure, and connect two donkey regional towns with 4 lane road links, so a few farmers can get their produce to market 1/2 an hour quicker., But, But, you ask again in disbelief, won’t that get political votes for the country/national party?.

    What happens with flood mitigation? What are we doing about climate change? What are we doing to mitigate bushfires? No votes so no plans. What are we doing with all these Royal Commissions? No votes so no action. But they buy the Government time. I can name five Commissions currently underway. So what does the present government do about those that have made recommendations? You guessed it – nothing. In fact, missing valuable parliamentary sittings days, paid for by the taxpayers is a crime of stealing money and yes, ScoMo is a white-collar criminal as a result.

    Here’s how the government weasels its way along to make brash promises that win votes and how it funds them.

    If you have scrimped and saved all your life, worked two jobs, with wife working two jobs as well as bring up three kids and putting them through college, then university, saved like the earth will cease, paid off the mortgages as soon as possible paid four lots of taxes for the best part of thirty years, then at the end you would have enough savings for retirement. Or so you hope. The reality bites. The part pitiful pension was scrapped by that lying, Teflon coated ScoMo, who like Trump, blames everyone except himself for the country going south big time. Why do I call him a conniving liar? Because I’ve seen him deflect unpleasant questions and will never answer a question where he or his government have stuffed up, or trumps up the old question of asylum seekers causing all this misery, and after 5 years in detention, wonders why male only dominated prisoners rebel or simply go mad. The majority have done nothing except seek a better life from oppression and brutality. Yes, they have jumped the queue in some cases, not understanding, that had they been able to afford plane travel, they could have been processed and in Australia legitimately in 6 months. What a joke Mutton head, your maker will reserve a special place for you (perhaps on Manus Island) when your time comes. By the way, I have worked on Manus Island in the ’60s, and the island is beautiful to look at on a postcard, but to live there, no way. You cannot wear heavy clothing because of the 98% humidity and heat, but if you don’t, mosquitoes, swamp flies, sand flies, cane toads, lizards, snakes, and other flesh eating bugs as well as malaria, dengue fever etc., will soon change your mind the place is idyllic. Back to the real world:-

    The wife finishes work at age 71. Fit and healthy up to this point, but within 2 years her healthy is so poor she needs constant 24 hour care and attention. The only solution is an Aged Care Home. Found one that provides decent care and has reasonable surroundings and attitude after a short but horrible experience with a “cheaper” place. At this point, my head is spinning as our whole life is changing rapidly from stability to ever increasing worries with payments. She is totally disabled now but is not covered by disability insurance I was told. She’s too old at 74.

    You would think the government would be helpful after cutting our part pension. Our outflow towards the Aged care Home is extreme, I mean $7,774 per month, more than triple our income per month, and guess what- the government deems us to be well off and charges $2,600 per month included in the above figure or more than 1/3 the cost. Why? We get nothing from the government, we pay little taxes, but we earn bugger all. All this money is coming out of hard won after tax savings we fought tooth and nail for. And you think that’s fair Mr. ScoMo. Where are our millions we paid in taxes over our working life Mr. ScoMo?, I hope it’s not another jet plane or useless submarine. Can’t wait for the elections to boot this scum out of existence.

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      The facts don’t lie – it’s all there in the CEPAR report

      We now have record employment , economy going swimmingly , share market bloating retirees and future retirees super , housing affordability improving all the time

      I’ve read your previous posts JoJo – you’re always anti this government . Your posts are biased and politically motivated

      If you and your wife worked 2jobs and saved you must be a millionaire a few times over .

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      JoJozep…Even if you have worked all your life and paid taxes that is never enough for this Government. They want you to keep paying till you drop. Just because you own your own home that still gives them the rights to do as they please with it too. We are all slaves to this evil system that’s run by people that pretend to be Christian. The lot are satanists. Actions speak volumes.

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      You make a lot sense JoJozep. I hope the Royal Commission into Banking looks into the funding and costs. Is there some way your situation can be reviewed now that your income has been reduced and swindled. I hate the way this Government has not focused on the important things

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      So sorry, I meant the Royal Commission into Aged Care. The costs, the rip offs and the standard of care

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      JoJozep…Have a look at keeping the wife at home with assisted home care. Prisoners get treated better than people in nursing homes. What is on paper is never in reality.

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      “They want you to keep paying till you drop. Just because you own your own home that still gives them the rights to do as they please with it too.” – Jackie

      Jackie, many people agree with you and that is why they will do everything in their power to make sure Labor don’t win this upcoming election.

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      “They want you to keep paying till you drop. Just because you own your own home that still gives them the rights to do as they please with it too.” – Jackie

      Jackie, many people agree with you and that is why they will do everything in their power to make sure Labor don’t win this upcoming election.

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      I don’t know how you come to that conclusion Adrianus, that is not what people agreeing with Jackie mean at all,what they mean is if the Coalition get in again things will go from bad to worse.

  3. 0
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    The retirees not doing so well were the ones that were attacked by Joe Hockey and never forget it.

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      Very true floss. and they got into government in 2013 on the worst lies and broken promises, but we won’t forget this LNP government when it comes to vote at the coming election.. I’ll have a bat in each hand….
      But it’s not just age pensioners who are worse off under this government…it is also the unemployed and those on the lower rungs of the ladder…This government doesn’t care about them, only the leaners like Hockey, Abbott, Cormann et al, who look after the top end of town…This government could fund a respectable and generous universal age pension if they enforced the correct taxes from the rich and the big end of town…

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      Hockey and Cormann should be made to resign and lose their entitlements for corruption over that travel company. Any other public servants who did that would lose their job and super benefits.

    • 0
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      Labor musslinging Rae
      Award of the contract was in line with government procurement policy and completely transparent

    • 0
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      Rae, Michaelia Cash should also go. No ordinary member of the Public would get away with not providing a Statement to the AFP. Scott Morrison just shows himself to be weak in not addressing these issues.

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      No Hockey didn’t declare his shareholding until after the contracts were signed. There were special meetings and collusions. They should both resign. I’ll celebrate with a very nice champagne if those two fall on the sword. I might even have a cigar haha.

      Remembering them celebrating stuffing up retirees still makes me angry.

      Yes Michaela should go and that Price woman responsible for all sorts of Environmental destruction as Minister.

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      Yes Rae, lets swap them all for the union bosses.

    • 0
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      Yes Rae, lets swap them all for the union bosses.

    • 0
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      Rubbish Adrianus, more right wing BS from you as usual which no one believes anymore, the unions do not have the sway over Labor they once might have had.

  4. 0
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    JoJozep some statement and correct in many ways.Yes this government are a bunch of criminals for what they have done to this country.

  5. 0
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    The CEPAR research is fair and o kefirvr and reflects the true position of reiteee in Australia
    The postings of a few who whinge and complain on this site does not reflect reality
    Facts don’t lie

    • 0
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      Oh yes they do. In the correct/corrupt hands a bunch of facts can be manipulated, reframed and dished up as honest truth. Think of the banks, catholic priests and campaigning politicians.

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      The problem is surveys can be misleading and none are 100% percent accurate. We are constantly being lied to by a corrupt Governing system that’s entwined with Corporations. We are all treated like livestock and prodded with fear mongering, division and diversion. This survey is just another diversion to convince the masses all is well. The Government wants to subdue the masses into a false sense of security so that they can get re-elected. It’s pathetic that you are sucked in by it all. Wake up!

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      You go ahead and buy their income stream new products. No. Thought not. Maybe a reverse mortgage or sign up for one of the loan schemes? No!

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      Don’t need it

  6. 0
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    No two cases are the same, so obviously the solutions can’t be the same, for instance to say Newstart should increase by $270 is ridiculous and pensions should only increase by $11 is equally ridiculous, eg I have 4 uni students living next door sharing the $450 a week rent, they have a pretty good life and manage just fine, if they got a $270 per fortnight increase, an increase of $1080 between them per fn $2160 per month almost $26000 per year, which is close enough to double what a pensioner gets, I know these are a set number for the people concerned and it’s certainly not necessarily the normal, and that is why I state the situations for most are different, when I was a volunteer with community transport, I had a lady working with me as a carer, she was single and things had never been good for her coming from an abusive situation, although she never once complained, she was out there 2 or 3 times a week helping people less fortunate than herself, which must have been hard to imagine, I recall her telling me she got a rise in the pension of about $9 per fn her rent immediately rose by about $6 per fn leaving her with an extra $3 as most things had risen the $3 soon disappeared, these are two different scenarios I don’t know how typical these situations are, but it’s obvious we need to treat each case on it’s merits.

  7. 0
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    HI JIm,

    I notice the intent of your reply is to state no two cases are the same. I agree, but if a large number fall into our position, through no fault of our own, we get nothing yes absolutely nothing, zilch zero, from the Government.

    You wouldn’t consider we are entitled to something, even a postcard from the Queen or a Christmas card would do, to thank us for the millions we poured into the economy over 54 years? (The cards would help our combustion heater in winter)

    • 0
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      I don’t know how many people fall into each of the two examples I have given, and it’s a terrible shame what has happened to yourself and your wife, and you should at least be compensated for all your hard work, especially with disability availability, not everything can be blamed on the current government, the example I showed above for the single pensioner was during the term of the previous Labor government, I don’t think governments of either persuasion do a particularly good job regarding pensioners, Newstart or disability needs, hopefully the NDIS will address some of the issues, the basis of my comments are that there will never be a one size fits all, some people have been fortuanate and live very well on the pension, and I know people who have survived very well all their live on welfare, other people have worked hard all their lives and often through no fault of their own end up on struggle st, I don’t have the answers, other than treating everyone according to individual circumstances, those could include health, rental affordability, maybe individuals contribution throughout their lives, how they ended up disadvantaged, unfortunately it all becomes complex. I sincerely hope that you can get some help with your situation it sounds very much like you deserve it.

  8. 0
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    “Among all older people, only about 10 per cent fall below the poverty line set at half the median income. Among older Australians who rent, 40 per cent fall below. Among older Australians who rent alone, it’s more than 60 per cent.”

    To quote whoever said it, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. While 60% is a very high number, one has to ask what is it 60% of. The number of single renters hasn’t been given although I’m sure that the oversight wasn’t deliberate. The latest figures are that just over 300,000 individuals and families receive rental assistance but I can’t find a breakdown of this into couples and single recipients.

    When this figure is compared with the 3,600,000 retirees in Australia we can get a percentage of about 8.3% who are renters (both couples and single) who receive rental assistance, a far cry from the trumpeted 60%. I hasten to add that the figure of 60% is probably factual but taken out of context.

    I’m not trying to belittle those renters caught up in this unfortunate position, merely trying to make sense of the figures quoted. The reason that retirees are still renting can be many and varied and can include marriage breakdown, illness, bad financial decisions or too much spending along the way and not enough saving.

    • 0
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      Who’s CEPAR? Anything to do with right wing think tanks like Grattan? Never heard of CEPAR before today.

      I stopped reading when I got to the bit:

      “Households headed by Baby Boomers reaching retirement age between 2006 and 2016 did so with incomes 45 per cent higher than those who retired a decade earlier.”
      The CEPAR research claims that ‘typical’ retired Baby Boomers households earn only 20 per cent less than when they were working. And their spending requirements are lower.

      This is BS. Very few retirees I have ever spoken to earn only 20% less than when they were working and boomers SPEND MORE if they have the means, which many do not.

      The only ‘research’ I’d be willing to take as legit on this issue is from the Bureau of Statistics as I distrust the political debate trying to turn black into white through their third party think tanks.
      Not saying this is the case. Just saying this is the game.

      Just did a bit of research. CEPAR is funded by ARC and ARC is dictated to by the current government which rejects projects which are left leaning. By implication there is likely pressure on the Board of ARC to run right wing research and reject anything which does not run this script. Check out the link:

      https://www.themonthly.com.au/monthly-essays-gideon-haigh-nelson-touch-research-funding-new-censorship-214

      I don’t seek to politicise this OM as I know who you work for but I see the threads of the right wing cancer having taken charge of ARC and then its effective subsidiary CEPAR.
      As I said above I cannot take anything which comes along a ‘fact’ as being other than the next bit of propaganda. Sickening that the right cancer pervades our society. We really do need a French Revolution of sorts to cleanse our society of this dangerous behaviour.

      Yes I know what your reaction will be. The right always comes back when it is questioned. Cheers.

    • 0
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      Oh crap Mick
      Research is based on recognized and accepted scientific methodology
      Just beciasue you don’t like the outcome of the research you can’t dismiss its findings
      That’s just immature and silly

    • 0
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      You should not be permitted to post under different name Lothario. YLC needs to stop this.

      Go to the link and READ, if you know how, the article.
      I heard on the news this morning that the CURRENT government, your employer, is disgracefully putting its cronies into ever public office and position of responsibility. It was denounced for that but I have been writing along those lines for a couple of years.
      This started with Abbott and YOU are a part of the propaganda machine. One might be concerned that the current government is trying to copy the Chinese model.

      You are a disgrace. Post your BS. Nobody other than your work colleagues are listening.

  9. 0
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    I find that many so called pensioners, when leaving the workforce with a nice nest egg, go all out to reduce their own pot and then ask a pot from the Government. Read the Money pages of the Herald, where wealthy people try and milk the system so they can arrange their affairs so to get a pension and a health care card. These same wealthy older people now ask us to continue their welfare payment called franking credit refund.
    The ones who are a true pensioner, who through no fault of their own need to rely on a welfare payment. They only ask for sufficient money to pay their rent and for shelter and food. There are different types of ‘aged pensioners’.

    • 0
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      Franking credits are tax that an investor has had withheld from their dividend, it’s amazing how well envy politics work, setting one group against another, Pensions are not welfare they are a return on a lifetime of paying into the system, although some have paid more than others and get less back, the reasons are many and varied, some are the fault of the individual, I suspect most are through no fault of individuals but bad luck, single women coming out of abusive situations, men coming out of unfair divorce situations and no doubt a multitude of other reasons. The article is specifically about the needed increase amounts for pensioners and Newstart recipients, as I have previously commented no two set of circumstances are the same, so no two solutions will work. So my final comment is I agree with your last paragraph, everyone no matter what their circumstances are entitled to live with some dignity.

    • 0
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      Yes see all. But those same people will justify it by saying they earned a part pension with all the tax they paid, and they probably have. others will vilify full pensioners by insisting that they must have spent all their money on cigarettes, alcohol and gambling and why should they get something for nothing. A Unversal pension would stop all this judgement because it is a very unfair system.

    • 0
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      There are some people who wrought th system.
      You can even go to Centrelink and they will help you keep your pension by advising you spend money on a new caravan or spending money on your home. We know people like that. They even got the partner allowance for many years because the wife was 12 years younger. They update their cars, one each.
      That is one category.
      However, there are people who retire who have struggled to pay off a home but have no other money resources. They have an old car and one only not one each. Their home is modest. They are not undeserving nor should have to defend their right to a pension.
      The third group, the neediest of all, is the one who could not manage to acquire a home and the poorest is the single pensioner. We should be doing more for this last group by way of senior accommodation.

  10. 0
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    Oi HarLot, OFF WITH THE SHADES.

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