ABS data: asset-rich older Australian in poverty

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Despite being asset rich, nearly one-third of older Australians living on a low income are at risk of experiencing financial hardship.

Figures released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) confirm what has been widely recognised for some time – that asset-rich but income-poor is an all too common story for many older Australians.

According to the ABS Program Manager of Labour and Income Branch, Jacqui Jones, in the year 2013-14 low-income households accounted for 54 per cent of the top 40 per cent of wealthy Australian households, which are defined by the value of assets less the value of any liabilities. On the other end of the scale, just 19 per cent of younger low-income households had wealth in the top 40 per cent of Australian households.

“While many older low-income households have liquid assets such as bank accounts and shares available to them, there was large variation in the amounts available; one-third had over $50,000 worth of liquid assets in contrast to one-third of older low income households which had less than $5000 in these sorts of cash assets,” Ms Jones said.

Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of older low-income Australian households owned their home outright, owing nothing on repayments, while just eight per cent were renting. In contrast to this, just one-fifth (19 per cent) of younger low-income households owned their home outright, while almost two-thirds were either renting or had a mortgage.

“Half of all younger low-income households have less than $1000 in liquid assets and two-thirds of younger low-income households had liquid assets of $5000 or less” said Ms Jones.

The average housing costs were $106 per week for older low-income households and $215 per week for younger low-income households.

In 2013-14 when the data was collected, the number of people living in low-income households was just over 4 million, with 1.2 million being older households. In both older and younger households, the equivalised disposable income was between $205 and $511 per week – recognised as being below the poverty line (set at 60 per cent of the median income for all households).

The ABS categorises older households as those in which the reference person (either single or in a couple) is aged 65 years or older. Younger low-income households are defined by having a reference person aged younger than 65.

Read more at abs.gov.au

Opinion: Need for policy to end poverty

The ABS data tells us that despite being asset rich and (in many cases) free of liabilities, over 4 million Australian households were living below the poverty line in terms of disposable income in 2013-14. What this disconnect exposes is the gaping hole in availability of comprehensive financial support services for Australians in need, as well as the necessity for better policies.

In March, the Actuaries Institute released a Green Paper, titled Unlocking Housing Wealth, which looked at a range of policy ideas geared at helping older Australians gain access to their wealth in retirement. This Green Paper represented a huge step forward in recognising the need for solid policies in support of pensioners – rather than finding new ways to save the Government money.

For older Australians in low-income households, having wealth tied up in the family home regularly means relying on the Age Pension for disposable income, which is often barely enough to cover basic bills. The fear of jeopardising Age Pension entitlements – as well as the high-interest repayments associated with the commercial equity release products – means many older Australians are stuck living below the poverty line.

If the Government wants to lift the 4 million Australian households above the poverty line, it needs to look at enacting fair policies that will enable asset-rich, cash-poor Australians to access the wealth in their property without having to sell off assets. These policies should make it easy to unlock the wealth of their assets and offer fair repayment structures so that living in retirement is both comfortable and manageable for Australians, older and younger, and for years to come.

What do you think? Would you be inclined to borrow against your assets if the right scheme was available? Can you see any drawbacks to the government offering equity release products?

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New policy could ‘save’ the retirement of millions of Australians

Accessing equity in the family home could be a retirement saver for millions.

Written by ameliath

136 Comments

Total Comments: 136
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    Anything that is Equity Based is a very poor option. There needs to be a far Greater Oversight on these sought of products.
    The liquid asset now received has problems and how this is treated by Means Testing.
    As in Mean by Centerlink.

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    Just let older retired pensioners earn a little money to supplement their Centrelink incomes without it being a disincentive. I could earn money writing but I don’r because writing offers a very sporadic and lumpy income and there is no way I could keep up with notifying Centrelink every time I get a small cheque. So I don’t – and writing is my passion.
    There are so many ways – including the ones set out in this article – that a pensioner can employ to help maintain interest in life and income. But the loopy government won’t let us.
    Why is that the people we put in Canberra to foster our needs and interests then become policemen? Why is it that idiots elected to Canberra suddenly think they own Australia. Listen to the subtext of the current slosh on State v Federal taxes – “It’s our money we have to give to the States.” Where the hell do they think the money comes from in the first place? They grow it on the trees that line the leafy boulevards of Canberra… I knew that!
    Use Australian taxpayer money for Australian taxpayers – and that includes those who spent their lives working and paying taxes. Force the crooks to pay their share of taxes. Wow! 250 billion dollars – possibly trillions, sent offshore to dodgy tax havens. If you are going to turn a blind eye to the big time swindlers at least let retired people earn a little money legitimately – even if it is by using their assets or by doing honest work, and do it without penalising them. Keep them agile.

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      Totally agree. I have a farm. I could greatly increase production that would also have economic benefits down the line for the wider community but Centrelink would cut my pension payment. So my property lies unproductive.

      However, I work for my next door neighbour on his farm, and that allows me to earn twice as much as I would from my own farm before there is a cut to my pension payment.

      And we pay a fortune to Politicians to come up with something like this.

      And before the hyenas come yapping in, my house and farm is only worth approximately 20% of what the median price of a house is worth in Sydney.

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      Good on you Scrivener. The whole “system” is a joke and a nett result of politicians of both persuasions using their temporary “power” by messing around with all the rules and laws to try to garner enough votes to retain that “power”. A classic example of a horse designed by a committee turning out to be a camel.
      And, we certainly do have too many layers of government forcing us into that farce which we saw at CHOGM last Friday. How right you are with your disgust at one government claiming ownership of what is every Australian’s money. POWER!!!! Disgrace.

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      P.S. Re your “keep them agile” comment, how ironic in what I see as the only thing this government has done for the elderly is to reduce the cost of high cholesterol and blood pressure medication while stressing them out trying to survive on their pension and/or threats on their homes!!!!!

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      Yes, the system is a joke alright! I’m with all of you on this. The removal of incentives and rewards is what’s causing our economic demise. It’s STUPID.

      Now we face the introduction of a means test that actually pays people to shed their savings. My neighbour worked out that after Jan 2017, it will COST them $20,000 a year, rising with inflation, to have an extra $500,000 in assets. So if they sell their $800,000 home and buy one worth $1.3 million, they will be $20,000 a year better off. Good way to help the housing affordability crisis, eh? Pay retirees to upgrade their accommodation?

      Another friend figured out that if he gave $500,000 to his kids now, at age 60, he’d be at least $20,000 a year better off in retirement, and the kids would be better off as well and not have to wait until he dies for their inheritance – by which time they probably won’t need it anymore.

      What kind of STUPIDITY is this that drives people to approve policies that make it beneficial for people to stop working and saving and claim higher pensions?

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    Although the present government seems focused on finding ways to force older Australians to sell their homes and downsize into little boxes in tower blocks, it just ain’t gonna happen. Too many of us planned for our retirements and can live – albeit not in luxury, from the resources we managed to stash away in our own super funds, mostly because we own a house and don’t have to pay rent.
    If the government could come up with some sensible plan to unlock the value of my home equity I’d happily embrace it to ensure I can maintain a reasonable quality of life until the inevitable last trip in a hearse. And that would also mean I’d never need the age pension.
    But when I hear all the rubbish about doing away with stamp duty and taxing all homeowners something like $7500 p.a. just because it’s easier to rob us than to chase corporate crooks or resist the urge to purchase a fleet of submarines, I don’t have much faith that anybody in Macquarie Street or Canberra cares enough about us to come up with an equity release scheme that would be fair and genuinely help us.

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      We shouldn’t have to sell our homes and live in little boxes…..this government is forcing us to the grave with their bloody mindedness and total disrespect for the people who put them in power and who have paid their taxes to contribute to the infrastructure that we have now!

      We worked hard, paid all our bills on time, rarely travelled, just to pay off a mortgage and live the Australian dream of owning our home and having something to leave for the kids.

      We are not that old (mid fifties) and find ourselves in this situation (asset rich, cash poor) because we have had to dip into our savings, just to live! We have not been able to find work in over three years, fast approaching four!

      We are leaving the country for good….fed up with being bled dry and watching illegal immigrants, rich chinese and would-be terrorists being handed everything on a platter!

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      Doesn’t this just keep telling us that our “welfare” payment system is a dog’s breakfast. Just aside from the asset rich income poor argument, why are comparatively “rich” people, way above the poverty line receiving “welfare” payments which they genuinely do not NEED and denying genuine recipients from at least having a half decent quality of life? Start with a complete overhaul of the assets and income tests and the definition of “entitlement” against “need”.
      Just a window of opportunity regarding some of those with valuable homes but “living under the poverty line”(there would be thousands in that category), where applicable and mutually agreeable, provide huge incentives for sons and daughters to purchase those homes from their parents at a set discount rate from the “market price”, with no stamp duty, with funds made available for borrowing at below “market” rates, set for the life of the parents, and allow those parents to continue to live in the homes free of all costs. Even, maybe, stay, at a set discount to market rental thus enabling those children to negatively gear that property. Everyone wins.
      Those children are more than likely going to inherit those house “for nothing” anyway.

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      That opportunity already exists as long as you do it five years before your apply for the pension.

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      aly_rob60
      Little boxes built so close together, touching or joined should be called fire boxes. I guarantee they are built using bricks the same as chimneys are. If one house/unit/townhouse/apartment catches fire you can expects to catch fire or at least be damaged.
      In most cases our grandparents or even our greatparents houses were built on a very tight budget when housing materials were in short supply. Even in the early to mid 1950s you could not get corrugated iron to build a garage, carport or any other outside building.
      Houses that were built and sold in the later 1940s – mid 50s under contract by Govt. Housing Depts were worth very little compared to what they are now even taking into account wages etc.
      Housing in some areas of Adelaide is rising fast, partly becuase the value of land is being pushed up, not just by demand but by the Valuer-General’s Dept. People building new houses on blocks that have been sub-divided are being charged as much or more than larger blocks are. The Councils, Govt. Depts. don’t care because they are getting more revenue. In many cases the older generation cannot buy a house on a smaller block of land in the same area as they currently live on what used to be a standard size block of land with the money the sell their old house for. The only way most achieve that is to go to an area with less facilities including health further away from Adelaide city ot even out to a country area…..go into a retirement village, or wait until they need to go into an Aged Care Facility.

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      Bonny, what opportunity already exists? Please enlighten us.

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      You can give away whatever you wish as long as you do it five years or more before you apply for the pension.

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      Grateful, if we keep denying those who worked hard and sacrificed to save the benefit of their endeavours, we’ll have very few able to support themselves in old age and the pension bill will skyrocket and then there will be less for everyone.

      The socialist approach WON’T WORK, however nice it might sound.

      What we need to do is restructure the pension system so that rewards and incentives are maintained and people are ENCOURAGED to save for old age, to work and earn when they can, and to plan responsibly. And to be honest! (The current system rewards dishonesty richly!)

      Please read the second post on this page – started by Scrivener – carefully. We need the populace to understand the real flaws in the system and to withdraw from insisting that the solution is to strip those who have earned and saved of all that they worked for to give to people who claim (rightly or wrongly) greater need. When there’s no reward for effort, effort will cease.

      There have been suggestions that a universal pension plus a fair tax system in retirement would work better than the current system. It may well be the solution. But if we keep on our current path of taking from everyone who has struggled to acquire a little, we will destroy the pension system completely and there will be NOTHING left for the genuinely needy.

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      Today I signed the contracts for a reverse mortgage. I am asset rich but cash poor. My plan is to live here while my son and d-i-l build a granny flat then move there. However, I need to paint my home before I sell it, thus the reverse mortgage. I have to give away some of my independence so I can stay out of assisted living. So the reverse mortgage will only be used for 2 years at most.

      That is my plan. I am sad I have to do this but … that’s life. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I am lucky I have children who care for me and about me. But that doesn’t solve the inequality in Australia (or the world for that matter) With the recent news of the bribery and corruption in the world of the elite and powerfull, I doubt anything will improve the case of the non-wealthy. They, the wealthy elite, make the rules and sure wont change the laws to disrupt their luxurious life style.

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    I´m rich!!! because I´m asset poor and just enough cash to live, while poor, but with dignity. I´m one of the few fortunate human beings on the planet who is a free, compassionate, non-materialist and critical thinker…

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      You’re an absolute gem, Nena. I can see you’re not into the “blame game” but enjoy life to the full by meeting it head-on. I would also wager you have a wonderfully diverse cultural life. Well done! ????

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      Super, Nena! A spin-off from veganism! x

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      Asset poor — no self supplied roof over your head –rent assistance or housing commission rental.

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      Nop, Blossom, I own my little home, enough for my pet and me. A few shrubs in the small yard for the birds picking the flowers while singing so beautifully that enriches my soul. I´m happy.

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      Nena,
      I’m much in a similar situation like you and totally agree!

      Unfortunately, those who we elect to act on our behalf to look after our welfare seem to turn into “Greedy Monsters” once they are elected and then start to serve Foreign Masters who will destroy us (and ultimately them) and ensure that they (The Banksters & Cartels) own everything there is to own.
      In the process destroying the planet and ALL who live upon it.

      If only they could leave “Well Enough” alone!?!?!?

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      Nena, I’m guessing you are ”rích” because other people are supporting you (apologies if you are not a pensioner!). Good luck to you, and great that you are happy with your lot. But have you ever considered that if the government continues to bash people who worked hard and saved aggressively those people might give up that behaviour and spend up big, and then there will be no money in the pot to support pensioners?

      The current message to workers is ”don’t save for retirement. We punish anyone who saves above a low threshold. Unless you can be quite rich, it’s better to be relatively poor.” If we keep pushing that message, there will be far fewer people looking after their own interests and far more putting their hand out for pensions, and then there will be much less to pay pensions to the needy.

      This simplistic view of pensions as ”welfare for the needy” sounds nice, but it can’t work in practice unless pensions are very much lower than they are now. Wait for it! The reductions are coming.

      If you want a welfare system that pays a living income to the needy, you had better stop bashing those with a little more than you have and start defending their right to benefit from their efforts. Otherwise they, and their kids, will change their behaviour and join you in the queue for a full pension.

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    The main problem is that people will only spend the interest on their capital and not their capital. Personally I have trouble working out why? After all it’s your money so why not spend it.

    The house is also a lumpy asset which is the most inequitable part of the welfare system. It needs to be included in the assets test ASAP.

    Also if you have assets then any pension you receive should be deducted from your estate when you die. HECS debts should also be deducted from your estate as well.

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      Better to go straight to death duties like we used to have before the toffs decided they wanted everything for themselves.

      They claim they earned their wealth, without admitting how much government policies have given them a hand up – and another hand in OUR pockets to fund all the services they use.

      All smoke and mirrors to conn us into feeling sorry for wealthy people, and doff our caps because they are just so smart. Smarter than us anyway because to many of us swallowed the sugar coated sh** sandwich, and keep on voting for the LNP rich people’s party.

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      It is not fair that some people have to fund their retirement while others have more valuable assets but get the full pension.

      A couple with a $2 million dollar house can get the full pension whereas another couple with a $500,000 house plus $1.5 million in other assets gets nothing. This is grossly unfair.

      It has nothing to do with wealthy people at all. Also nothing to do with death duties which we already have in the form of probate.

      It is also unfair that our kids have to pay back their HECS debts whereas retirees can accumulate big HECS debts and never have to pay them back.

      Both the LNP and Labor are now looking at this very issue.

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      Well put Bonny

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      I feel it depends on the value of the house. Some people are still living in old houses they have had since during or just after WW11. Houses were hard to get. There was actually a waiting list. Some families lived with their parents until they could buy a house. I know of families who did that 50+ years ago.
      In some the quality of building materials was not good but they were in short supply so you bought what you could get. Because some have sold their houses and $600,500 + houses have built all around them their values have increased but the old structure actually lessens the sale price of the value of the land when the property is sold. Some manage to keep their homes and pay Govt Rates and taxes on them. The higher your current land value the more sewerage rates you pay regardless of whether is one person adding to sewerage or 10. That is hardly fair….Some live in housing commission housing which the Govt owns and is supposed to maintain structually.

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      Says Bonny who openly stated here not so long back she doesn’t own a home. I wonder what Bonny has contributed to this country that she is so ready to shoot down pensioners who do own their home?

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      well Gra, I own my own home, have done since I was 21. I have paid plenty of taxes, put three kids through school and university, all without government support except for a disabled parking permit. Having paid taxes does not entitle you to receive a government safety net; that is for those who need them. The cash poor, asset rich class do not need welfare handouts while they choose to sit on their assets so their inheritors are advantaged. Let them move into something they can afford or alternatively borrow against the asset HECS style. As a society we cannot afford to support millionaire welfare recipients while the disadvantaged stay on struggle street.

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      It’s irrelevant if I own a home or not. The home is an asset and should be included in the assets test for the pension. It is so inequitable and unfair.

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      I totally agree Bonny. I keep suggesting that the asset test is simply scrapped. There is no need to live in poverty in a giant house just to protect your wealth. It’s an arbitrary, self-inflicted utterly bonkers system, plain as the nose on our faces. I say end all the bureaucracy, fiddles and distortions to markets. Pensions for everyone. Nobody tell me that it can’t be afforded in one of the richest countries in the OECD; plenty of other countries manage to do it – the only obstacle is the uber-wealthy minority defending the status quo, ie a ‘winner-take-all’ system. If the national wealth was distributed more fairly, it wouldn’t be all the battlers and the hard working responsible people in the middle strata who would have to lose out – it would just be the greediest b—-ds sitting on the top of the pile who manipulate and exploit the rest of us.

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      The assets test is stupid, unfair, and economically and socially destructive. And the recent change to it made it 1000 times worse.

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      I love your logic, Bonny. Make sure nobody is rewarded for working hard and saving. Strip retirees of their assets. Deny anyone the right to work to benefit their children. And then wonder why the hell the nation is going to hell in a basket, ’cause nobody wants to work for the good of others.

      You make no sense at all. People want to protect their assets because they don’t know how long they might live and what their future needs might be. And yes, some want to help their kids have a better life – or provide a little for grandchildren. I want to leave my disabled grandson something so he won’t live in poverty on a pension all his life. But apparently the ”Gospel according to Bonny” declares that I don’t have the right of free choice and I don’t have the right to benefit from my past efforts.

      CRAP! That’s communism, Bonny. It STINKS and IT DOESN’T WORK.

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      Rainey, you have every right to free choice. The point is that to remain asset rich and cash poor is free choice. If one wants told onto assets to benefit their estate then fine, just don’t cry poor and put the hand out for welfare that should be directed to those genuinely need it.

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      So, Brian, it’s okay to CHOOSE to spend up big in working life and put your hand out for welfare later, but NOT to save during working life and ask for a little government help when your investments aren’t returning adequately, so that you can benefit from your savings later?

      That’s HYPOCRITICAL AND SELFISH IN THE EXTREME.

      If people sacrificed their savings for the NEEDY, I’d say ”fine”. But for the most part they are sacrificing to give more to the GREEDY who lived more lavishly in earlier life and CHOSE not to save as much, and now they want to deny those who did save the benefit of their savings.

      NO BRIAN! YOU ARE DENYING PEOPLE FREE CHOICE WITH YOUR MISGUIDED ASSERTIONS.

      People have EVERY right to hold on to their assets to benefit their children and grandchildren if that’s what they saved for, and until you deny pensions to people who have expensive holidays, restaurant dinners, new cars, and nice clothes during working life, don’t you dare tell me someone who went without those things to save isn’t – in a fair world – entitled to the same benefits in retirement.

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      There are leaners and lifters in this world. But yes people are free to choose to spend rather than save their income. If they have no savings when they reach retirement then it is the welfare safety net and a big drop in lifestyle for them. Before you cry foul about their lavish consumer lifestyles, just think about the economic multiplier and resulting benefit to the community from their spending, and how many people are employed and providing for their own futures as a result. Certainly more than if they were to entirely rely upon the frugal or miserly. In my experience the biggest spenders have also been those with the biggest incomes and the biggest super funds, holiday homes and lavish lifestyles.

      Those who choose to save and enjoy a modest lifestyle will be able to do that longer into retirement while their savings last. Most people are not being asked to sacrifice their savings for the needy; they will enjoy their savings and the welfare budget will be entirely directed to them rather than propping up the lifestyles and estates who could otherwise provide.

      If you concern is the top end who game the system to put assets and income out of reach of the government while putting their hands out for welfare and enjoying the amenity that our communities provide then that is a separate issue.

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      Brian, my concern is the GROSS UNFAIRNESS and EXTREME GREED of those who claim that someone who chose to sacrifice lifestyle to achieve a particular goal – such as leaving a legacy to a special needs grandchild or having money to pay for high quality care for themselves or a spouse through an anticipated health crisis in old age – should be deprived of the right to use their savings as they were intended and instead forced to go without while others who chose to enjoy a better lifestyle are supported from the public purse.

      I have a major issue with anyone who ”games” the system. But I also have a major issue with the selfish folk on here who want to deny anyone the right of free choice and reward for effort.

      Pensions should NOT be a reward for those who choose to be less responsible and enterprising, and the pension system should NOT be used to punish people for their lifestyle choices.

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      BTW. Brian, I have no issue with means testing income and deemed income. I see that as fair. My issue is with this cruel and unfair notion that someone who can’t attain sufficient income from their savings to be substantially better off than pensioners should have to drain their savings and forego their savings goals to get live. It isn’t their fault investment returns crashed, and they should not carry an unfair share of the burden of economic downturn.

      Couple who struggled to save in anticipation of 7% interest giving them an income of $59,500 pa. are now struggling on $25,500 a year with no pension, while people who didn’t bother to try to save are drawing $33,000 + a wealth of benefits from the public purse. To deny the battler whose income has already been halved a part pension is patently unfair, and to claim he shouldn’t be allowed to retain his assets in the hope of maybe getting higher returns down the track, or having money for special needs later, is just IMMORAL.

      As a nation, our aged pension outlays are very small and not growing. We can afford to let all retired Australians live in dignity, without those who battled to save being denied the benefit of their endeavours.

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      Rainey, I think you will find we have more in agreement than disagreement. I do not disagree with dignified retirement.

      I share your dismay with the plight of the self-funded retirees who now find themselves on struggle street. Provided they are in a modest home then I have no disagreement they should be topped up so they are no worse off than pensioners and receive full benefits that flow to pensioners until they no longer need the supplement. The name says it all … “self funded” and their funding is not earning adequate returns. If they are sitting on millions of dollars in assets then they should be liquidating some of those to cash to supplement their reduced incomes.

      Whether or not it was responsible to have planned on 7% is another thing and indeed whether compulsory super should be government backed are separate discussions.

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      No Bonny, it isn’t irrevelant whether you own a home or not. You have claimed before to live rent free in someone else’s house so obviously have nothing to lose if the family home is to become classed as an asset. Rainey raises some good points, there are those of us who have gone without during our working life to put a bit away in super to supplement the pension when they retire. Not everyone has the multi million (or even million dollar) super fund which should see them living extremely well nor do they live in a million dollar home.
      If someone is lucky enough to have a massive super fund good on them and if they are also fortunate enough to be living rent free in someone else’s house, good luck to them but that doesn’t give them the right to wish an imposition on others.

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      So do you think it’s fair that the current Tax Payer funds your retirement so you can leave a legacy to your offspring’s ?
      Or because you chose the wrong investment strategy ?

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      Retired Knowall, I don’t see why the taxpayer shouldn’t pay X, who saved to leave something to his offspring, when it happily pays Y, who earned just as much (or more) but spent his money enjoying luxuries.

      Some folk seem to have no sense of fairness or justice. They can’t see past the communist line of ”you have money. Hand it over”, with no regard to how that money was acquired or what it was intended for.

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    There are many other possibilities too. This concept of reverse mortgages has been around for many years. It is not government run and so there are motives among its few supporters.

    Give all people of retirement age the full pension and tax all income in the normal way. This gets rid of the bureaucracy associated with monitoring the current ineffective system and put everyone on an even footing. Also you are not punished for saving to fund your retirement as is happening in the current political climate

    The current right wing conservatives are a disgrace and so many ‘once in a decade’ opportunities have been squandered. The treatment of seniors has become a disgrace; Oz has very much lost direction in that regard.

    How will I vote this year? Formal and the current government shall be placed last. Only this way can we ever hope to replace the current right wing conservatives that have exceed their use by date.

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    I have a problem with statistics. Who is it that has decreed that a certain amount of money, either earned or owned, puts a person into a “poor” category. I have said in this forum on a number of occasions, please define “rich”. We are fortunate in that we don’t go without anything we need and we enjoy going out occasionally but not too often. We have much less in our super than we have been led to believe is necessary to have a comfortable retirement and it makes me wonder what the criteria are for a “comfortable” retirement.

    This topic was always bound to attract government bashing and, so far, that has happened. Some people like to live frugally and save, others like to live a little and a third group likes to have everything now and live from payday to payday. All of these groups are entitled to live as they choose but if there is an empty pot at the end o a working life then surely the blame lies with those who own the pot. Governments can only do so much and regardless of how much tax a person has paid in their working life, it’s the current taxpayers that have to foot the bill for pensions.

    Downsizing a home is an interesting exercise. There is a large part of the transaction that is eaten up in government fees and duties. Perhaps those entitled to an age pension could be exempted from these cost which might help with decisions when the time comes to move. Maybe the federal government could subsidise the state government for the loss in revenue because in a lot of cases, the downsizing will leave surplus funds which may cause a drop in the pension rate for a time.

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      Old Man-“it’s the current taxpayers that have to foot the bill for pensions”? So, when we as current pensioners were tax payers, didn’t we have to foot the bill for pensions during our working life? Of course we did! I don’t understand current tax payers who keep finger pointing the blame on to us when we helped their grandparents to live off the pension. I don’t recollect us complaining like the younger generation is today with outrages impunity. Not to mention the blatant impunity against aged pensioners from most politicians of all sides in parliament State and Federal.
      As for downsizing,look around regional areas for retirement. Two bedroom ground level strata village style units under $200,000. Purchase stamp duty is exempt for aged pensioners in Victoria.Try Wodonga on the border of Albury NSW where healthcare is a large industry.

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      Thanks HS, I was thinking of the current group of retirees or those near retirement who bellyache about all the tax they paid over the years and how they should get that back. I’m not aware of any current taxpayers who resent having a part of their tax being used to support people like me.

      I take your point about regional areas but there are a couple of things I don’t agree with about moving to them. Firstly, all of our friends and some family are here and moving would involve leaving them behind. A downside of retirement for those who move to a different area is that they don’t have work colleagues to socialise with, they don’t have children who make friends with other children which allows the parents to meet. It is harder to make new friends. Hopefully NSW will follow the lead of Vic as regards stamp duty for pensioners.

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      ”it’s the current taxpayers that have to foot the bill for pensions.”

      So, Old Man, is it the poor little darlings who are currently paying 4% on their mortgages on lavish new 4+ bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2+ living room, landscaped garden homes, dining out several times a week (just look in the restaurants and coffee shops!) and taking their kids to Bali for annual holidays you are concerned about? Or are you disturbed by calls for companies making billions to pay their fair share of tax?

      Why the hell should retirees who worked and struggled with 17%+ interest rates, bought 30-year-old run-down 2 bed + sleep-out cottages and renovated, sewed, grew vegies, made furniture, and went without holidays and luxuries to pay off their mortgages now give up what they worked a lifetime for so the much better off, but much greedier, current generation of workers don’t have to pay for aged pensions the way we did?

      Excuse me, but all this ”bash the retirees” is crap. And the ”the pot is empty” BS is just that. We contributed enough to a ”retirement funding pot” to pay everyone $500 a week in retirement, non means tested. Where’d it go? Um. $22 billion hidden in Panama give you any hint?

      The sacrifices of today’s retirees are NOT going to benefit anyone other than the crooks who have their billions stashed in tax havens.

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      Sorry, that was $22 trillion. And that’s only one law firm in one of some 31 recognized tax havens.

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      Can anyone else smell the pungent aroma of gross envy?

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    this is not new it was in a few years ago not a good products

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    Statistics again. Depends what is actually meant here by rich. Having heaps of the folding currency does not necessarily make a person rich.

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    Is it possible to move investment property into a family trust with a succession plan to include all members of the family? The income from investment propety should then be split among the beneficiaries reducing the income assessment to the pensioner. Would the value of the investment property would also be split among the beneficiaries?

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