Survey says most Australians won’t have enough once they retire

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According to the latest MLC quarterly Australian Wealth Behaviour Survey released yesterday, of the 2000 Australians surveyed, six in 10 believe they will fall short of the amount of money needed to live a comfortable retirement.

Perhaps more alarming is that one in three say they will have “far from enough”.

When the survey asked participants what type of retirement they expected to have, words such as ‘stressful’, ‘frugal’ and ‘struggle’ were used.

“While economic indicators are quite strong, at an individual level it’s apparent that Australians aren’t feeling confident about their finances, and this may be causing anxiety about retirement,” said MLC General Manager of Customer Experience, Superannuation, Lara Bourguignon.

“What’s interesting is that respondents said they need over $1 million to retire on, but even small super balances help in retirement, so instead of being worried and fearful, people should feel motivated and empowered to take the little steps that make a big difference.”

The survey also revealed that, despite serious retirement concerns, three in four Australians have failed to see a financial adviser in the past five years, as they felt that, to seek such advice, they needed to be wealthy.

However, Lara Bourguignon says that Australians need to be reminded that any amount in their super balance will help.

“A typical balance of older workers now approaching retirement is less than $150,000,” said Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees Chief Executive Officer Eva Scheerlinck.

“Less than five out of every 1000 super fund members have $1 million or more in super.”

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96 Comments

Total Comments: 96
  1. 0
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    I’m more concerned about whether I can spend it all before depart this mortal world.

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      Lucky you.

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      You have a bitterness about you Geezer which is sad. Don’t know what made you like this but you need to find some empathy to replace the hate.

    • 0
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      What hate? Too much empathy is bad too.

    • 0
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      So is too much chocolate. But you need some!

    • 0
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      Mick he enjoys taking the Mickie out of us!

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      I’ll help you out. Name and address on request!!! Of course the best and only reward you will get is that wonderful feeling that you have made not just me, but the people I would share it with happy.

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      Nope people are never happy as the more they get the more they want. So you are deluding yourself if you think mere money will make you happy.

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      You, sir, are the perfect example of what you preach, but like Slim Tony and Fat Joe – you figure that this false) sense of entitlement only works one way – on those with the least who feel entitled to eat a little. If you’re a shiny-arsed loser with no scruples and no morals, entitlement is absolute… and real!! The rest get to eat cake.

      And they wonder why the French found a better use for the guillotine than preparing chooks for dinner…

  2. 0
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    The solution for some is to keep working , or find enough part time work to supplement your pension. Not always an easy task. I do bits and pieces but it’s hardly enough to do more than pay for an occasional treat, like dinner out, new clothes, or a movie. I’m also two thirds of the way towards starting an online store, but still not sure if all the money and hassle will be worth what I might earn! I’ll keep it going for a while, and If I can cover my costs, it might continue on.

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    As I have stated before a lot of retirees do not have enough super due to circumstances out of their control eg illness, loss of work and marriage break downs. I myself only have a small amount of super this is for a rainy day. I worked up until last year but was retrenched, and now approaching 70 cannot find work, employers want younger people. It is hard living off the pension as it all goes on bills and they do not stop coming. The cost of living is crippling us all. The pollies turn a blind eye to our issues as this does not affect them, they go on to pensions as soon as they are out of office. I feel they should get the same pension we do and not until retirement age. The government has to stop picking on us pensioners and take a look at other areas they can cut back eg overseas aid, refugee handouts, cut back on immigration do not bring people here unless they can contribute to our country. We are growing too fast and there are not enough jobs to go around, hence not as much tax going into consolidated revenue. Pollies lack knowledge about what it is like living day to day on a low income, and they are not exposed to the riff raff scattered about the burbs. Put some refugees in and around where the pollies live see how that affects them.

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      Agree with you Jannie & could not have said it better!

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      You have hit the nail on the head Jannie. How can the country give borrowed money on overseas donations when we can’t even balance our own budget. I, for one, resent the savings the Govt has made on reducing my pension being handed outside the country.

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      I was made redundant about 3 years ago and as I was late 50’s. I have not been able to get another job. My husband is on the aged pension and we have some savings. I have superannuation which I am hoping to leave for a few more years before we have to touch it. The way the cost of living is going up, it is hard to try and work out how much money we will need to live. Our Government have got no idea how people of the pension live nor do they care. Lots of changes need to be made, but who is going to do this when the government only think of themselves. We need a change of Government, the more independents the better.

  4. 0
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    If only two thousand people were surveyed out of over 25 million people living in Australia the result of the survey cannot be accurate.
    It doesn’t state whether those surveyed were already retirees or people who were under retirement age and either have, or are looking for, a job.
    Without that information the article is just another news “filler”.

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      All surveys are ‘inaccurate’. Having said that the polls normally get it right and their sample group is not exactly huge either.
      To add fuel to the fire your “25 million” is quite misleading as it includes children, retirees, people in nursing homes and plenty in between who have no relevance to the story. The actual figure would be much smaller.

    • 0
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      Yes Mick I know what you mean.
      However the story above indicates it should be relevant to all who are headed towards retirement and that includes everyone who has finished school and either has or is looking for a job.
      You cannot possibly excluded “plenty in between” when it comes to superannuation.

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      You are both correct in your comments. The other thing to take into consideration is that the survey was commissioned by one of the largest private superannuation funds who have a vested interest in wanting more money to go to super. I have had numerous phone calls lately for all sorts of polls and surveys and what I have seen from these is that most of the questions are slanted in such a way as to get the result that the people who commissioned it would like.

    • 0
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      That’s usually the case, arbee – I return us to the Trebor Policy of a single national retirement funding scheme run by the same rules for everyone, with upper limits on private contribution, out of the grasping hands of politicians and their avaricious ‘business’ mates (and that includes Unions operating as businesses with the old mates on the board etc), and controlled by an elected body of an uneven number probably five, of whom at least one must be a pensioner, one unemployed, and one an SFR.

      Everyone, including politicians, gets the same deal for the same % of contribution with caps so that avaricious millionaires can’t salt money away and cop multi-million dollar ‘super’ payouts every year.
      Someone suggested that in the event of unemployment, disability etc, a standard payment be made to each account towards retirement as part of the unemployment/disability package.

      All income, fringe benefits and deemed benefits to be taxed at income tax rates for all income etc above that.

      Such a scheme offers a basic retirement fund for all and the opportunity for those with excess to put away a little more, but without the blatant imbalances and rorting that goes on and on.

      The rorting at the top end, and the preferential schemes for the top end have lead some, including myself, to posit that the entire current approach was set up so as to provide the fat cats with an easy way to hoard money tax-free.

      Taper such a system in over five years so people can get their affairs in order…. then expect to be slugged for your benefits unwarranted… and that includes all retired politicians.

      Now THAT, grasshoppers, is called ‘making the hard decisions’ and ‘leading from the front’ if you are a politician – not this current bullshit of chop away at pensioners and retirees and unemployed because ‘they’ are ‘costing’ too much.

  5. 0
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    The next lament.
    “‘frugal’ and ‘struggle’”? Yeah….that’s how the wife and I reached retirement. Now we are prospering and travelling despite not getting a pension. Swings and roundabouts! Pick your poison.

    • 0
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      Some of us have to rely on the pension due to circumstances over the years. You are lucky you have good health and able to travel, obviously you had a good job up until retirement and therefore a good super balance, and of course no other issues to upset your little apple cart.

    • 0
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      Jannie what part of ‘struggle’ and ‘frugal’ do you not understand?

      Some people are prepared to make substantial sacrifices to prepare for their retirement, other are not. Despite personal circumstances (or even because of them) we all make choices with the money we have and we have to live with the consequences of those decisions.

    • 0
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      I take your point Janine and am more sympathetic than you give me credit for. Unfortunately many people who are where they put themselves have the hand out and expect those who went without for half a century to stump up money for their life choices.
      For the record I have had good health but always looked after myself. I did not retire with good superannuation balance and my job was not as good as you might like to think.
      Applecarts? Yeah we all have one of those but don’t shoot the messenger. As I said above you pick your poison. Ours was a life of work, zero self indulgent spending and much more. Nothing to do with being a silvertail. We are not.

    • 0
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      KSS yes I agree it can be due to circumstances.

      However it must be remembered for most of our lives the dream of a better home in a better location has been sold to millions by real estate, banks and government. It suited their income streams and stamp duties and taxes.

      While people were doing this trading up and up they weren’t able to save much as each mortgage was bigger and bigger.

      Now those homes are causing jealousy and angst as costs rise and pensions don’t due entirely to CPI manipulations.

      This attack on retirees can be shafted right back to the governments of the past two decades.

      The worker’s who grew this country to prosperity are being very badly treated in my opinion.

      Those people were assured the OAP was an entitlement and then the rules all changed.

      Blame incompetence of government and greed of the property industry but not the pensioners for not saving enough.

    • 0
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      As everyone should know super is an investment and investments of any kind can and do go down as well as up. People have to be more involved in their super (or whatever other investment they choose) and stop expecting to bailed out by the taxpayer when they don’t.

    • 0
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      Not everyone had the grievous misfortune to remain married to the same person for fifty years or to stay in the same job for fifty years, or the privilege of not being ill or injured for extended periods of time with little to no income, or of not being rorted by the company you kept afloat with hard work and dedication while its ‘management’ were bent on destroying it so their ‘higher-highers’ could get out of that business and into something more lucrative, leaving behind many people out of pocket.

      If only life were solely dependent on making the effort, KSS – it would be so much easier, and many out there with next to nothing would be millionaires in retirement.

      Do not generalise over things of which you know nothing. Many who do so would be long dead if they had to go through what some have had to endure.

    • 0
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      Trebor do not presume to know anything about my life events. Divorce, near death illness (twice), redundancy (three times), protracted court action with attendant costs have all featured in my life map. As they do for many people. They don’t make me (or anyone) ‘special’.

      The difference is I refuse to be a victim with a “woe is me” attitude and a sense of entitlement that the world owes me a living. Life is way too short. I got off my backside and worked damn hard to be self sufficient and made many many sacrifices along the way to do it. It can be done and it takes effort. In the end you have to be responsible for yourself because no-one else is!

  6. 0
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    And another report stated that if a person aged 20 were to put an additional $20 a week into super over their working life they would have close to half a million extra in super than they would have done if they had not made the contribution! People in their 50s could have an additional almost $90k.

    The fact is that people may be concerned but what are they doing about it? And they have the opportunity to take action since they are still working. But like other things such as buying property choices have to be made (i.e. give up one coffee a day) many are not prepared to make sacrifices no matter how small.

    • 0
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      I would not recommend that any one under 40 today put any extra into super.

      Better to invest else where anyway as you have more control over your money.

    • 0
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      Either way OG they are not doing it!

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      As I indicated above we all have life choices. Some of us are dealt a bad hand but most who struggle later in life do so because they were unable to control spending in their working lifetime.

    • 0
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      KSS it was suggested that would be the case – compound interest etc. However it isn’t the case – there are people that manage the world’s wealth and if you actually want to make money you need to step away from their control. You can’t do that by investing in a super fund.
      You will get a comfortable return but you will never do well. That because that Well is theirs not ours.

    • 0
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      Very true Rosret. But most investments are also marketed to average citizens once the top has gorged itself and many are actually the top offloading their investments and taking a profit whilst leaving little for the rest of society other than the routine collapse in the value of what we have bought.
      I have wised up to this and my investing has become as good as it can be in the absence of the huge head start rich people have. It sure is an unfair world but we all do the best we can with what we have.

    • 0
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      Mick – so true. As you said – you went it alone and used your know how! Well done.

    • 0
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      Reports can lie KSS. I had a whole of life policy supposed to mature at $80 000 that made $23800.

      I also paid a huge whack of after tax money into super for 37 years and it wasn’t near $500 000 at the end.

      In fact regular saving into index funds and direct shares outside super plus outside property has seen far greater returns that super over the same time frame. I’m not scared of paying tax if I’m making good income either.

      I once worked out my contributions would have built a portfolio of 8 houses over the same time frame that the super returned a bit more than $400 000.

      Saving isn’t easy unless you do it first before you see the money.

    • 0
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      Agree Rae. You can earn a better return outside super unless it is a SMSF. People just think it is good because they put money in in small amounts and get a lump sum at the end. I often wonder how many work out whether those small amounts added up to more than the lump sum. In many case they do.

    • 0
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      Yes OG. I’ve kept detailed spreadsheets for decades myself. Plus every scrap of paper the super fund ever sent me including the original promise documents.

      The one showing how 8 houses could be bought and positively geared for the same fortnightly contribution but using debt was interesting.

      I worked it for a Uni assignment in a Farm Management course. I was astounded and dismayed.

      Then again I was stupid enough to buy a proper farm instead of CBA shares which would have made millions.

      The farm was much more fun. I’d make the same decision again if I had the choice.

    • 0
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      By the time someone aged 20 retired half a million will be chicken feed.

    • 0
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      You’re generalising, too, Mick. Are you now blaming those who, for reasons of piss poor management and economic handling in this nation, fell through the cracks?

    • 0
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      All the negative Nancies are out in force I see.

  7. 0
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    Hi MICK…Yes, I agree with you about the old Geezer..He’s just another wet blanket and louse.

  8. 0
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    Instead of worrying , do something about it
    Save more
    Simple really
    Oh and then there’s always the pension safety net

    • 0
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      To late to worry Raphael. Just making conversation.
      Saving is for those who earn money – its all about spending less of your savings after retirement day.
      Its “the how much less” that our new generation of retirees need to be concerned about.
      Our parents had superannuation funded by their employers, indexed for life. They could set and forget.
      We, on the other hand, are not going to have that privilege and we have to continually re evaluate because I am one that certainly wants to avoid being beholden to the Government’s pennies.

    • 0
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      Tell that to the people doomed to perpetual part-time casual on declining real wages and rising costs. On the news tonight the toll roads in Syd-en-ey went from a profit of a few million to 800 times that in one year…

      Tell that to those forced to use and pay twice for THEIR roads… who pays for that at the end of the day> Every business large and small, every worker and thus every end use.

      It’s a death spiral upwards and downwards at the same time and only the blind cannot see it.

  9. 0
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    All those responsible for future projection must really be seeing the writing on the wall.
    There are a lot more than 5 in 1000 with $1m in super – its just not in a super fund. Remember the government have limited contributions to super funds.
    Even doing the Maths at $1m on retirement at 65. Two years ago it was huge, today it will buy A house.
    So you don’t need a house?
    Up have gone the rates, up has gone the electricity and gas. What happens when utilities go up? Everything goes up.
    So that $1m has devalued faster than the rate of inflation.
    If you give yourself $50K p.a. for 20 years your money less anything gained along the way is gone. 65 +20 = 85. People are living well into the 90s these days.
    Also turning the clock back 20 years to 1997. What was your grocery bill? Your income?
    $50k p.a. probably won’t be a sustainable income in 2037 and the only way we are going to cope with this housing bubble is by wages growth (inflation) and the devaluation of your super fund.
    Added to that are younger generation can’t pump extra money into super because they have 40 year mortgages. This means the pyramid idea of the young paying for our generations super won’t add up and they in turn will have even less.
    The government needed to step in a whole lot early and prevent this housing boom. Sadly many are going to get financial stung.

    • 0
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      Great post and so true. Only thing you forgot was the price of food which has skyrocketed more than electricity prices.
      There is an old saying: the poor live on the capital and the rich live off the interest of the capital. That is the key. Unfortunately ordinary people just cannot think in that way.
      Holding a million dollars in your hand might make one feel like they are on top of the world but people whose brains function in that way forget the most important facts history should have taught them: the value of money is a function of inflation and time. You just have to factor these in to analyse the issue properly.

    • 0
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      Mick it was my hope to just live off the interest gained on Super and keep the amount saved as the reserve capital but super funds just can’t (don’t) give that sort of return.

    • 0
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      I’ve been trying to find the current figures for equity withdrawal debt unsuccessfully. If all the fixed interest everyone tore into in 2008/9 because of fear of shares is in the housing bubble returns could be very unprofitable going forward.

    • 0
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      What about the $33 billion in $100 notes in circulation? I rarely see one myself. Read somewhere there was 5 times more $100 notes than $5 notes in circulation. That’s a lot of money under mattresses.

    • 0
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      Sure it hasn’t been carted off overseas in private jets.

      Lots of money in drugs, sex and gambling just for starters.

    • 0
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      Some fifteen years ago I said to our local newsagent that he would need $2m in retirement funding to live well – he laughed. Bet he’s not laughing now….. wait another ten years or so, or even five, and let’s see the value of your retirement funding then.

    • 0
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      Trebor it might only be a fraction of what is needed today.

  10. 0
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    Old Geezer, I will happy to share the burden of ensuring that every cent you have is spent before you depart this mortal coil.Please provide amounts you need to relieved of and bank account details and I will be happy to do the rest!

    • 0
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      Join the queue then and let me know why I should donate to your cause.

      My bank account details are useless as there is very little money in them. You might scrap together enough for a cup of coffee.

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