Rent rises pile the pressure on age pensioners

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Rental costs in some capital cities have gone through the roof, which is alarming news for the YourLifeChoices retirement tribes that receive an Age Pension and don’t own a home.

A Domain report released yesterday shows that median rents for apartments rose by 14.8 per cent in Hobart in the past year to $350 per week, by 5.9 per cent in Canberra to $450, by 3.8 per cent in Sydney and Melbourne to $550 and $410 respectively, by 1.7 per cent in Adelaide to $300 and were static in Perth at $300.

The average increase for apartments across Australia was 3.3 per cent.

Centrelink’s Rent Allowance in the past year has increased by 1.62 per cent for couples (from $191 per fortnight in March 2017 to $194.10 in March 2018) and by 2.04 per cent for singles ($117.80 to $120.20).

As one YourLifeChoices member said after the March announcement: “So it looks like I will be getting 90 cents per week increase in Rent Allowance (the increase compared with the September 2017 rates) and I have just received a letter notifying me that my rent will increase by $10 pw from 1st May. Definitely going backwards.”

Centrelink rent assistance rates for people with no dependent children on 20 March, 2018.

Family situation

Maximum payment per fortnight

Maximum payment is paid if your fortnightly rent is more than

No payment if your fortnightly rent is less than

Single

$134.80

$299.93

$120.20

Single, sharer

$89.87

$240.02

$120.20

Couple

$127.00

$363.93

$194.60

One of a couple who are separated due to illness

$134.80

$299.93

$120.20

One of a couple who are temporarily separated

$127.00

$289.53

$120.20

For Cash-Strapped Couples and Singles, the challenge to enjoy a dignified retirement while renting on the Age Pension gets harder.

Figures in the March edition of the Retirement Affordability Index™ paint a grim picture in which, for some, income does not match essential expenditure.

After the 20 March increases, a single Age Pensioner can receive $907.60, including supplements, per fortnight ,while YourLifeChoices estimates fortnightly expenditure is $868.96. That leaves $38.64 per fortnight for non-essentials.

Cash-strapped couples were worse off. They can receive a maximum fortnightly Age Pension, with supplements, of $1368.20. However, YourLifeChoices estimates their essential expenditure to be $1382.86.

Take into account the 3.28 per cent increase in average rental costs and their situation appears dire.

Late last year, Mission Australia called for a revamp of retirement payments, especially to older people who did not own their home.

In a report titled Ageing and Homelessness: solutions to a growing problem, the organisation stated that older Australians who rented were more likely to become homeless as the Age Pension failed to keep up with their housing costs.

“Those who become homeless for the first time later in life are likely to have been private renters with a stable housing history who have experienced significant health problems, family problems, unaffordable rent, eviction or accessibility problems,” Mission Australia said.

“A review of retirement incomes is required to ensure that older people can meet the cost of living. A particular focus is needed on social security payments for older people who do not own their own home and single older people, including the growing numbers of older women at risk of homelessness.”

Mission Australia Chief Executive Catherine Yeomans called for a commitment from governments to build 60,000 extra public housing dwellings specifically for older people.

“If funding was made available to build one new supported aged care facility in each state each year, that would have a meaningful impact on addressing the current shortfall.”

Are higher rental costs having an impact on your lifestyle? Can you see a way to ease the pain?

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Written by Janelle Ward

71 Comments

Total Comments: 71
  1. 0
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    The max rent allowance for a single is $134.80. The $120 odd dollars mentioned above is when the rent allowance phases out if you pay less than this amount in rent. It seems like the author can’t interpret their own table !!!

  2. 0
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    I think that it is sad that the rent supplement is going to wealthy landlords. The wealthy receive more welfare than the poor. Build more public housing it is far more cost effective than handing out welfare to the not needy.

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      I wonder at the hyperbole suggesting landlords are wealthy. As you have pointed out, jackie, there is a huge shortage of public housing for low income earners so who do you think provides housing when the governments have failed renters? Statistics show us that almost 83% of rental homes are owned by wage earners who have the one property as an investment. Not what I would consider to be wealthy landlords.

    • 0
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      Old Man Negative gearing and charging high rents to the poor does not earn you a medal. Just remember you can’t take it all with you when you go.????????

    • 0
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      Jackie, if landlords were wealthy, a lot more people would buy investment houses instead of investing in shares and managed funds etc. The reality is that rental properties return quite poorly, and they are a damned headache to own. Negative gearing only works for very high income earners, and you have to operate your investment at a loss to benefit – so it’s really not very profitable at all. High rents? Where? I can’t find residential property that’s returning better than about 4%. That’s NOT HIGH RENT. That’s a gift to the tenant! Landlords cop rates, water bills, repair bills, agent fees, maintenance costs, cleaning up after dirty tenants… it goes on and on and on and on.

      And as for public housing – the extent to which houses are trashed suggests we are far too generous in providing housing. Maybe if it was harder to have a roof over one’s head, more people would respect the property and care for it.- and more might strive to own a home. That may sound harsh, but it’s reality. The handouts in this country have created a nation of bludgers, cheats, thieves, and vandals – while totally failing the genuinely disadvantaged. Somehow, we need to turn it all around, and I believe abolishing needs-based welfare is the ONLY solution.

    • 0
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      Jackie, negative gearing and high rents have an inverse correlation. The higher the rent the less negative the gearing.

  3. 0
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    such a nice future/retirement we have to not look forward to. rent now takes up nearly all my income daughter on disability the day to day expenses + disability needs govt pays me 3.50 an hour to care , if only they would pay me what they owe me , living wouldn’t be a problem

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      The Government owes you nothing. Your daughter, your responsibility.

    • 0
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      KSS, that is very harsh! When I see older people in particular looking after their disabled children I think how hard it must be for them!
      Children are everyone’s responsibility. It takes a village!

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      KSS His child didn’t ask to be born and it’s not her fault she has a disability.

      Shove your Liberal attitude up you entitled self.

    • 0
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      Yes, despite my view that needs-based welfare is extremely harmful to all, and should be abolished, I do think we fail LEGITIMATE carers hideously. Those who have children with significant disabilities deserve a great deal more support. That said, it’s a tough one. I know a bludger in perfect health who, after inheriting over $1 million, built a lavish waterfront mansion and moved her gay lover in as her ”carer”. Between them, they get two single pensions, a carer allowance, and rent assistance – totalling more than a lot of hard-working taxpayers earn and way more than honest aged pensioner couples who are struggling.

      Tisme, I feel deeply for you. It’s a very hard life for parents of disabled children. Quite apart from the financial hardship, they are hard work and as much as you love them and they bring joy into your life, you can’t help but grieve every day. Life is very unfair to some.

  4. 0
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    The Govt. are living in “la la land”!!! Time for them to get a grip on real costs – real living expenses and the real poverty that is becoming common place – because of the ongoing rising rental prices! Lucky country? Hmmmm – is it any more?

    The only politician that ever “cared/did anything” and built masses of Public Housing units – was Joan Kirner! Years ago!

  5. 0
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    On the Sunshine Coast the cheapest rent is around $280 – $350, for a basic unit. Even with rent allowance that’s a stretch. Perhaps single older people need to get together and rent a house with a few bedrooms and living areas, and pool their resources? Just what we need – a geriatric version of “The Young Ones”..haha

    • 0
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      All jokes aside ,probably better than being homeless and there is most likely better security and if you find a nice country town with good facilities it will be cheaper again , it’s not as if you have to live in the city for a better shopping experience you have no money.

    • 0
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      2 Bedroom house – Quiet Location

      2 Bedrooms 1 with built in cupboard Air conditioning in Living room Fully fenced yard Double Lock up Garage

      Try a tree change. The above is a darling downs town for $150 a week.

      If you want to live in Sydney that is your business, & no one else’s responsibility to pay for.

    • 0
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      Hasbeen exactly but listen to them whinge when someone suggests they should move.

    • 0
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      Has been, the Sunshine Coast in Qld is hardly Sydney. The idea of sharing is a good one, people can stay in the area they know without the expense of moving. Without Public, or low cost housing there aren’t many choices, so alternative ideas have to be considered because I don’t think this Government are going to do much

    • 0
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      Hasbeen certainly has been there! The Darling Downs is a beautiful area with most facilities handy. Not many jobs but that is not what we are talking about here. I left the city as well and bought a place for 60% of what I got in the city and I have been happy here for 10 years.

  6. 0
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    Just confirms again why being married is discriminated against when compared to being single.
    Each of the married couple is an individual citizen and should be treated as such by Centrelink. Being married should be irrelevant, same as colour and creed.
    That old adage that 2 can live as cheaply as one is so archaic that it is no longer funny. Married couples nowadays very often have “separate” time and lifestyles and do have the same expenditure requirements as singles. But, apart from the arguments that that will undoubtedly create here, the basic fact is that there is blatant discrimination for being married.
    As for the rent allowance, that is even more archaic. How can those rates be logically justified, makes absolutely no economic sense whatsoever. It’s just a token handout, an insult.

    • 0
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      As a single I find your comments to be quite presumptuous, my rent of $560 per fortnight would be affordable if it was shared. Likewise my other bills are no less because I am single. Single pensioners paying rent have a daily struggle to meet basic needs, at least couples have some capacity to make choices beyond eating which can be a luxury for single renters. I do agree that rent assistance has failed to keep up with rent; and blame the government for lack of investment in public housing for those struggling to find affordable rental accommodation.

    • 0
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      Melbgirl move outside of the city for cheaper rent or eat less.

    • 0
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      My god
      Tib has finally seen the light
      Hallelujah praise the lord

    • 0
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      Raphael I’ve never had a problem with telling people to do something to help themselves. 🙂

    • 0
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      But that’s so against the loonie lefts values
      Anyway – proud of you son

    • 0
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      Tib and Raph – (and u really surprise me Raph after knowing you all these years on YLC – are you simply “stirring the pot”??)
      What cold callous replies from you guys! People cannot just “up and move” – they have their specialists – doctors – family -friends – some kind of “lifeline”!

      Also to move – you have to come up with rent in advance – bond in advance – moving trucks – deposits for “this/that” – what pensioner (in rental) has a lazy $3000 lying around to move?? Also – there is the fact that a person can get a 12 month lease – and then NOT get it renewed again – because the “landlord” has other plans for the property? You gotta’ move yet again!

      Obviously you people are NOT in Private Rental so may I please ask – you have some compassion for those who are!!!

    • 0
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      Foxy well I guess you have to starve, problem solved.

    • 0
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      Raphael I’ve yet to me a woman who didn’t think whining somehow changed the facts. Women children same thing.

    • 0
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      No need to be nasty guys!

    • 0
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      I know Tib
      Here we are giving quality advice and and we get is a slap in the face from the likes of Fixy and Kathleen

      Foxy – the woman leaving her current expensive accommodation will get her higher bond back so savings eight there

      There are doctors in other towns besides Melbourne sweetheart

      They have a choice – stay out – but then spare us the whining
      And stop expecting taxpayers to fund your lifestyle in the big smoke

    • 0
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      Well Raph – I’m wondering what kind of medication you on right now? You are quite nasty today???

      Taxpayers do not fund my lifestyle – you don’t know me – so hey – get a life and stop telling other people who may be less fortunate than you – how to live theirs!

      People have all kinds of unexpected “hardship” befall them – no one knows what the next day will bring?? I hope your next day is crap!

    • 0
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      Can be done, people I know declared themselves single, live together in the same dwelling, each paying their own share of the rent. Even went to the Admin Tribunal about it and they now leave them alone. Two single pensions in one house would be a help as Grateful reckons. About $800+ a week coming in, not bad, especially when your rent is only $230 a week (only one gets rent allowance though, what a laugh).

    • 0
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      One slimey bludger I know, who has NEVER worked, inherited a fortune, spent nearly all on a waterfront mansion and expensive car and furniture, claimed disability, then moved her gay loved in a ”carer”, claiming carer pension plus allowance AND getting rent assistance to pay rent to the bludger. They are laughing all the way to the bank. Disgusting, when an HONEST married couple who have worked their whole lives and struggled for decades to pay a mortgage get a pittance in comparison.

    • 0
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      Would to know Cowboy Jim where rent is only $230 per week? Bush maybe?? That does not suit a lot of people – people do not have a lot of choices – people need to understand that!

      If you own a home – you will never ever understand the sad plight of people (seniors especially…..) in a rental situation!!! Never!!!

    • 0
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      Hard problems requires hard decisions. We are not being nasty at some point you will have to make hard decisions, most men know it will either be now or later women seem unable to make hard decisions they seem too tied up in what they think they deserve ,all I can say is grow up ….. Now would be a good time. You want to equal to a man well then ,man up.

    • 0
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      Simply being poor limits choices. Choosing to live in an expensive area when you are only receiving welfare is unachievable.

      It is the same for home owners. Many would love to have been able to buy in a better location but couldn’t’t afford it.

      Those who chose a lifetime of renting in the expensive area and did not save towards retiring there have to move once the only income is welfare. There is no other sensible solution.

      If the taxpayer is going to fork out for lifestyle choices I want to live on an Acreage at either Maleny or The Shannon.

      No!. Didn’t think so.

    • 0
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      Foxy, I’m in private rental in a rural city in NSW. I’ve now lived in the same unit since December 2016, and have no reason to leave. The owner accepted my offer of more rent if I could get a shower screen for the bathroom rather than a shower curtain which billowed in to stick to the body when showering. Why would she decline extra rent?

      As for relocation costs, for my ex & myself it was move or not eat. Canberra is so cruel with rents, and over 7 years ago we moved to where we are now, and haven’t looked back in regards to renting. The cost was not bad, considering it was a ‘back load’. Rather than paying for a single ‘forward load’, we got a back load from a company who had already moved people to Goulburn and were returning home to Melbourne.

    • 0
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      Yes Foxy – the place is in the bush (for a city person) but does have a hospital, a Woolworths Supermarket, clubs and pubs but no public transport so a car is almost a must but then the place of the rent I am writing about is within walking distance of Woolies and the pub.

  7. 0
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    Build more housing for the aged pensioners, I know of one lot of units that were supposedly for the aged with a separate building for the caretaker, that is what we were told. Not long after a friend went into care I passed this place and was astounded at the number of unemployed drunks and druggies that I was informed actually lived in this building. Then I was advised that an elderly couple had been on the waiting list for housing for 3 years and lived in a garage that was almost falling down. I wonder if the bigwigs will do anything about the problem???????????

  8. 0
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    It’s sad that there are people who have difficulty paying rent. They have to go without to keep a roof over their heads. The reasons that there are people in this position are many and varied including, job losses, poor health, divorce, addictions and plain bad luck. I wonder, however, if they fall under the umbrella of government assistance or whether they should rely more on charities which can provide food and clothing. Governments can only do so much and there will always be those who are more in need of assistance than others. My friend’s sisters had to make a tree change because of exorbitant rent increases and were able to buy a house in a very small country town. The downside is the lack of facilities, no supermarket, no doctor, no hospital, no dentist and no pharmacy. They are prepared to travel the 50+ kilometres to the nearest large town and appear quite contented. It’s not for everybody but it suits them.

  9. 0
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    Crazy that single people get less rent assistance than couples when they pay the same rent.

    • 0
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      But they get more pension than couples
      Nothing to complain about

    • 0
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      Crazy Horse is not complaining – merely making a statement/comment!

      Move on Raph and get some compassion in ya’ boring obviously “rich” life!! lol

    • 0
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      Crazy that anyone gets rent assistance. Homeowners have huge costs and get bashed for having worked and gone without to pay off a mortgage, and people who lived it up instead of paying off a home get a cash reward. STUPID SYSTEM!

  10. 0
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    It really angers me that rent assistance is paid but homeowners who slogged for decades to pay off a mortgage now have to content with huge rates and water bills, insurance, maintenance, and reduced pension. I’m sick of the whining about rent. I sympathize with the handful who genuinely had no opportunity to own, but 95% had the same opportunity to own a home as I did, but just didn’t bother. And now they are rewarded, yet still whining.

    • 0
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      … lots of today’s “renters” slogged for years to pay off their house! They had a house! Circumstances that happened in their lives – divorce – unemployment – sickness – changed a lot of things for these people!

      ….. 95%???? lol lol lol Another person in “la la land”!!!! You must be “old school” are you Rainey to come to that ridiculous outlandish conclusion in 2018???

    • 0
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      extra cranky today Foxy
      What’s the matter old Chook

      Life got you down ? Cheer up. It’ll get better

      Rainey is absolutely correct
      So don’t shoot the messenger

    • 0
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      Foxy what’s wrong , chuck out the old man, thought you would be cruising after the divorce. Didn’t work out that way did it. Oh well.

    • 0
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      What total oxymorons you two supposed “men” are Tib and Raph?

      Whatever “crystal ball” you using is not doing either of you justice – you poor “old miserable sods” – try getting a life – instead of ‘bullying/trolling” decent people on here! lol lol lol

      How dare you “assume/presume” you know anything about anyone on this site??? Shows your utter lack of mentality!!!

    • 0
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      Oh dear must of touched a sensitive spot. Now you have hurt my feelings. It was you that replied to a comment we made. I’m quite miffed now you seem very unpleasant. It’s not my fault you didn’t scam enough out of the ex, better luck next time.

    • 0
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      Oh oh
      Now you dunnit Tib
      Get ready for the wrath of Foxy
      Worse than Darth Vader and Hannibal Lecter combined

    • 0
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      Oh dear I hope she won’t attempt to hurt my feelings. You know how sensitive I am. I was just giving her a few pointers for the next time around. No appreciation. 🙂

    • 0
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      Irrespective of the personal opinions, circumstances and explanations, it is irrefutable that homeowners also have large cost increases as all house maintenance costs are constantly going up.
      Hence, rather that target specific groups, such as renters, for getting more benefits, it would be much more fair to have an across-the-board increase in pensions. TARGETTED BENEFITS ALWAYS have SOME PEOPLE SLIPPING THROUGH THE CRACKS, AND ARE THE STUPID APPROACH OF THE LABOR PARTY.

      It is much better to have the Universal Pension for all Individuals without any tests (other than Age 65 and Residence of say 15 years), and then leave it to all to do better for themselves if they can. And, NO CENTRELINK to deal with.

    • 0
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      Yes, George. Needs-based welfare drives more need. It’s that simple. Our stupid welfare system is designed to keep people down, and it does so very effectively. It also encourages maximum cheating and manipulation. In the end, it costs more than any means test can save, if only the costs could be correctly computed.

      I do sympathize with those who struggle with high rents, and I do understand that there are a few – a very few – who are genuinely disadvantaged through no fault of their own. But for the most part, we are, in life, where we planned to be. And I can’t find a single person, anywhere, who is receiving rent assistance and isn’t either rorting the system appallingly, or guilty of irresponsible waste of abundant life opportunity.

      That said, the best thing that ever happened to me was being denied housing assistance when I was in desperate need. I might never have bought a house if I hadn’t been refused help that, morally, I should have been granted. The result of that refusal was that I decided I’d buy a house somehow – no matter how damned impossible it seemed. I took private loans from family members and a solicitor, then signed a stat dec that I owned nobody anything to secure a loan to buy the worst, most run-down dump in town, and what my partner and I had to do to make payments doesn’t bear thinking about. Best thing I ever did for my family. It just irks me now that others are getting handouts because they didn’t do those hard yards.

    • 0
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      You are absolutely right, OGR. While some renters may have special needs which need to be supported (e.g. disabled), others are no different from homeowners who also get hit with large and ever-increasing expenses.
      Needs-based welfare sounds good, but is also a recipe for rorts and promote some people to not look after themselves. Hence, I believe the Universal Pension approach is fair and equally supports all, and allows all to then do better on top of that without punishment for earning or saving.

      Many homeowners like yourself have also gone through hell (including myself) to get to where they are and should not be discriminated against. However, I also don’t begrudge those who did better and could get better for themselves even if there was Universal Pension.

    • 0
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      Personal attacks by a few males on here are abhorrent to say the least. It is very ungentlemenly behaviour and should be called out.

    • 0
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      I agree Kathleen
      And so should women who attack men just for staring their opinion
      So spare me your double standards – it’s disgusting

    • 0
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      I do see a lot of very nasty sexist comments here, and not many from feminists, though both are equally abhorrent. But I’m amused that Kathleen objects to personal attacks, yet supports the worst kind of attack on struggling self-funded retirees, for apparently no better reason than that she has less than them – and NOBODY should be allowed to benefit from working hard or saving better, should they.

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