25th Jan 2018
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Reducing pension confusion
Author: Kaye Fallick
Reducing pension confusion

After 16 years of publishing information about retirement income, it is clear that most Australians are more confused than ever about their possible Age Pension entitlements. Those who do receive a full or part age Pension are often confused by changes in entitlements, while those yet to apply for a pension are daunted by the 26-page Centrelink application form. To say nothing of the concerns many have with revealing assets that could be used against them at some future date. Seeing a planner is an option and many YourLifeChoices members have found this to be very helpful. But not everyone can afford to pay a planner, nor is there universal satisfaction with all planners’ advice.

So, what to do and where to go to better understand the Age Pension rules on income, assets and residency?

The good news is that YourLifeChoices has a solution.

Last year we spent many long hours creating and testing a ‘one-stop-shop’ online tool which helps pre-retirees and current retirees plan or check their pension entitlements, including how much they can reasonably expect to receive. This RetirePlanner takes around 45-minutes to complete and you can save and change your data as many times as you like. It is filed safely in the cloud, for your private access at any time. You can also print and share this information with a financial professional should you engage one. The price of the tool is $19.95 and this amount is fully refundable if you are not totally satisfied.

But wait, there’s more!

On Saturday 17 March, the entire YourLifeChoices team is conducting a workshop to help our members better understand the rules, the regulations and their individual circumstances in retirement.

Even better, all attendees will receive free access to the RetirePlanner Tool. And we will be showing you how you can use this tool to keep strong control over your retirement expenditure as well as your pension entitlements.

Our life circumstances can change without warning, so it is really important to stay up-to-date on how our situation might affect our income.

So, click this link if you are interested in learning more about the YourLifeChoices RetirePlanner Tool or the Retirement Bootcamp on Saturday 17 March.

You will NOT receive annoying calls about this.

But you will be notified when registration opens next week so you are in the front row to learn more about your retirement income options.





    COMMENTS

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    26th Jan 2018
    10:37am
    No indication of where or what time the workshop will be held?

    It's great that YLC is providing this service, but an absolute disgrace that it's needed. This evidences the government's gross disrespect and lack of empathy for senior Australians.

    The promise of a comfortable retirement is surely the best incentive there is to work hard and save well, but in Australia you are harshly punished for contributing to productivity unless you can achieve high wealth or remarkable investment returns. Those who save well but are lack the sophisticated knowledge of investing to achieve high returns are simply denied any benefit from their hard work and sacrifice and required to drain their savings until they qualify for a pension, and then jump through a maze of hoops to secure their entitlements. What an appalling situation! When are seniors going to rise up and demand that this be sorted? All we need to do is unite - not as a political party, but as a lobby group demanding fairness and putting forward logical and rational argument why current government policy is wrong and harmful to Australia, and sensible suggestions for change.
    Triss
    26th Jan 2018
    11:55am
    Count me in the lobby group, Rainey.
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    1:16pm
    A lot of people who reach their mid to late 60s don't have the cognitive capacity that they once had, so the online tool mentioned and the proposed workshop would be of at least some assistance. Most people nearing pension age however can cope quite well and there's a maze of information available both on and off line.

    5 years ago I sat down with my brother and his family. He is very well off with a house in Sydney, and his savings and super and other financial complications are quite diverse. Our goal was to work out his standing in relation to receiving the age pension eventually. It was quite easy to do, though complex. Within 1 day we had devised a plan based on all the government information we had access to. To this day the basics of the plan remain intact, and my brother is happy with the outcome.

    My point is "if" you are organised and thorough then the age pension maze is not really a "maze". You just need to put in the preparation time and effort. Many people are not prepared to do that, or for congitive reasons can't do that .... these people need assistance.

    Then there's the "whingers" ..... a small minority of reasonably well off folks who, despite their comfortable life in old age, always whine, whine and whine that poorer pensioners don't deserve more pension money than the richer, self funded retirees. Yep, they want their million dollar house, their $500,000 in savings accounts and their $1 million in superannuation **PLUS** all government age pension subsidies **PLUS** the "full" age pension. They feel "entitled". Luckily, they are a very "tiny" greedy minority.
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    2:59pm
    I haven't heard much whining from anyone with $1.5 million+ and their own home. I have witnessed many in this category manipulating to get a pension they don't need (e.g. Big Bear!)

    It's those with total assets of $500,000 to around $1 million (for a homeowner couple) who will be struggling if they are not very savvy investors, because they will have to drain their savings for the benefit of people who saved less. It's not whinging, but rather making the point that it's bad for the country to punish people for living a responsible life style and contributing positively to productivity. People who find their income is less because they saved might over-invest in housing, spend up big on overseas holidays etc., or chance it in high risk investments. None of those options are good for the nation.

    Nobody should have less income than pensioners, and certainly those with relatively low incomes shouldn't be paying more for everything than pensioners do.

    If we want productivity and people to strive for substantial self-sufficiency so that the cost of supporting the aged falls, we need to encourage, not punish, those who do what is needed to build the economy. Everyone should be entitled to enjoy the living standard they planned and worked to achieve. It's not a question of greed or need. It's a question of common sense. If one aspires to a certain living standard and works and saves and plans to achieve it, it isn't reasonable to snatch that reward away and give more to people who saved less.
    Aussie
    26th Jan 2018
    3:33pm
    C'on Rainey ..haven't you learn anything over the years about our goverments ???? they do not give a shit about us they only a seat fu...ng warmers and all they care is there juice pension and their work security that is why they all are like that ....they do not care they are taking from us and will continue taking until they close all pension programs maybe very soon and all of us that have nothing (No super left no property ...nothing ) are totally stuffed

    So mate time to reflect on our goverments .... we need a new constitution (REPUBLIC) and major changes on our Social security system .... It is a shame we are like this in 2018 why other pensioners of many other countries live happy with their pension and secure without stress like USA, UK and many other countries they do not keep moving the pension pole every few weeks and in our country when new govs. are elected the game start again ...Hit the Fu...ng pensioners.

    Total discrace for our country that was a beutiful place to live ....sorry mate not now ..... stress, dangerous and crime evrywhere.

    Time to think what to do .... I am and maybe time to get out permanently to O/S and have cheaper and peaceful life with the small savings I have left and hope I still get some small pension.

    ..... I am 75 and probably live another 10 to 15 years and I will like to live in peace withour worries and stress ..... I have been doing a lot of research and travel to many Asian countries and there are big possibilities to move out and live in peace with small savings for 15 years then that is it .... on the box and burn ....finish
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    5:28pm
    Aussie bye bye. Go and live in sumptuous luxury in your beloved Thailand or Philippines. You'd be happy there. You can take Rainey too.
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    5:50pm
    I have no desire to leave, JimD, but I might have to if this stupid government keeps indulging the irresponsible and making it futile to work and save. They are running the country into the ground with their idiotic policies, and sadly the tunnel-visioned seem unable to see the flaws and the problems that are looming. Seems some can't think past ''he's got more than me so take it off him''.

    No, it's not fair that some have savings to retire on and others don't. It's not fair that some had to work very hard and go without to save while others lived the high life and still had money left over. It's not fair that some inherited wealth and others didn't. Life isn't fair. You can't fix by robbing Peter to pay Paul. But you certainly can destroy the economy by taking away incentives to work and save and building a welfare mentality. And it's happening!
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    6:13pm
    Rainey wrote, "It's those with total assets of $500,000 to around $1 million (for a homeowner couple) who will be struggling".

    People with a million dollars are NOT "struggling". That's more than enough to sustain a couple for many lengthy years. As the amount dwindles, and when they qualify for the pension, then the pension they receive goes up, up, up and UP as their money assets go down. Whether they decide to make their million dollars (with interest) last 30 years, or live it up and spend it all in just 1 year, our VERY good age pension system WILL then provide the full age pension to them.

    The age pension is nothing other than a safety net. It was never, ever designed to be anything other than that. Nor should it be.

    And it seems from the above quote, that Rainey doesn't seem to understand that if a couple owns a home in Sydney and no other expensive assets (the "average" Sydney house value is now 1 MILLION dollars) and they have NOTHING in the bank or superannuation ...... then for the purposes of getting the age pension their money assets are virtually **ZERO**, therefore they fully qualify for the FULL age pension despite owning a MILLION DOLLAR property. The value of the family home is NOT part of the assets test.

    For a couple's "assets" to be 1 million dollars (and be home owners at the same time), they would need that 1 million dollars to be **IN ADDITION** to the value of their home.

    ANY couple who has that 1 million dollars is doing VERY WELL INDEED. "Most" of them possess the insight know that. "Most" of them know that the age pension is there as a backup if ever needed. And most importantly only a tiny, tiny minority of them whinge and whine and moan about their VERY privileged position not providing enough for them to continue the high life for all eternity. The VAST majority of age pensioners have more insight than that.
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    6:33pm
    JimD, it's now apparent why you are on a pension. You have no understanding of economics. At current return rates, a couple with $1 million in savings might struggle to achieve an income of $46,000 a year in reasonably low-risk investments. They will be paying several thousand dollars a year more than pensioners in rates, license, registration, public transport, medical and chemist costs etc. So having saved $1 million - possibly with great sacrifice during earlier life - they might be $6,000 a year better off than a pensioner. But every year, the pension goes up and their income remains the same, because they can't add to their assets to make their returns keep pace with inflation.

    Now let's assume they are slugged with a big medical bill and some home repair costs. Or maybe they suffer investment loss. Their savings fall to $850,000. Their income falls to less than $40,000 a year and they are actually no better off than a pensioner when concessions are considered. And still every year their income remains the same while the pensioner's increases.

    Yes, they can spend their savings. Effectively, they are then GIFTING their money to people who have less and get handouts. So why bother to save it?

    On the other hand, a couple with $500,000 will actually have a higher income than the couple with $1 million. So a couple with $1 million goes cruising and blows $500K to be better off. For every $100K they spend, they will get an extra $180K from the taxpayer over the next 10 years. Now that's dumb!

    $1 million is not a lot of money for two people who have maybe 30 years of rising costs, deteriorating home, furniture and appliances, and increasing health and care needs ahead of them. Yes, when their income falls enough, they will get a pension. But the point is that their savings are not really benefiting them given that if they didn't have them, they would be given $1 million over that same period. And that makes the system unsustainable. The simplistic arguments just don't hold water when you are considering the national interest. The government is telling people ''save a million and suck eggs; blow it and retire poor and we'll give you a million over the next 30 years (if you live that long)''. When everyone says ''well there's no point saving then'', there will be very few pension dollars to go around, and it's the needy who will suffer.

    Common sense dictates that we should all support a system that ensures there are minimal or no incentives to reduce your wealth and be welfare dependant. Giving part pensioners a little more now could well mean that they will be able to move to self-sufficiency, or at least will only ever need a small part pension. Denying them means that they will rapidly move to greater dependency and be a bigger burden on the taxpayer.
    Aussie
    26th Jan 2018
    9:35pm
    Rainey,

    This JimD sounds like OG exept that OG is nicecer and provide proper discutions sometimes but this JimD hateful, discriminatory and bigoted is against people like you that provides good information and share good ideas for the better of us.

    I thank you for your contributions and suggest not to waste your time with inbecile people like this one JimD can not and is not capable to contribute any constructive comments jus rubbish statements
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    11:29pm
    My dear little Aussie, will you bring your Thai mistress over to my place too? Love & kisses oxoxoxox
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2018
    12:03am
    But don't tell her about your Thai girly-boy. She'll get jealous.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2018
    7:01am
    He sure proved your point, Aussie! Left nobody in any doubt at all.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2018
    11:35am
    Oh by the way Thaissi, oops I mean Aussie, don't forget to take Rainey over to Thailand with you when you desert Australia. You'd both be happy together over there in Paradise. All the best. All my love. oxoxo
    VeryCaringBigBear
    30th Jan 2018
    8:27pm
    I haven't read YLC document but I doubt it contains any of the legitimate strategies I have used in planning my retirement. Unfortunately most people fail to plan for their retirement and use the rules for the benefit of themselves and their family.
    Anonymous
    31st Jan 2018
    11:00am
    Yes, BigBear. Most people have ethics and integrity and understand that ripping off the system, just because you can, will ultimately hurt everyone. Then again, the rip-off merchants just don't care. They only ever think of themselves.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    31st Jan 2018
    1:58pm
    Rainey I'm not ripping off the system at all. All I have done is read the rules and used them to benefit both me and my family. If I hadn't done so I would have just benefited myself and not helped other members of my family. Most people are way too selfish to do what I have done. I just can't understand why people keep all their assets which they have little if any chance of using themselves.
    patti
    26th Jan 2018
    10:55am
    As a retiree whose only income is the Age Pension, I consider myself fortunate that I don't have to walk this minefield, nor do I have to find out the hard way. Yes, It's a small amount I am allowed to live on. But - at least I know exactly how much it will be each fortnight. No more calculations or wondering if I should do that bit of work......
    Cowboy Jim
    26th Jan 2018
    11:15am
    Just on the pension is not an easy life, patti. But of course you won't have any worries about investments. Quite a few people are of the
    impression that you have to have absolutely nothing to get the full pension and I just hope people in the 60s realise that instead of squandering all their savings like some mates of mine have done. You can have your $100'000 plus without losing too much.
    Grateful
    26th Jan 2018
    11:37am
    Maybe that's where they can start looking Cowboy Jim, maybe the "wrong" people are receiving a government hand out??
    We have this argument in this forum every time "entitlements" are even implied.
    How simple it would be if there were NO part pensions and the pension is only paid, certainly at a higher rate, only to those who NEED it, the way it was intended??
    Would save a lot of economic and personal problems.
    There is evidence to suggest that over 50% of those who receive a part pension don't even spend it!!! What does that tell us??
    How many of those who had their pensions reduced or lost them completely from 1 January 2017 really experienced any hardship as a result?
    How many who now receive the full pension, still below the poverty level, experience hardship every day??
    Can be resolved very easily.
    jackie
    26th Jan 2018
    2:13pm
    Grateful...I agree....There are too many greedy people that been fortunate to accumulate a nest egg but will never be satisfied with their lot and want more. Part pensions have to be stopped unless that person is working part-time and declaring their income every fortnight.
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    3:16pm
    So, Grateful and Jackie, we should declare that nobody who works and plans for a higher standard of living in old age is entitled to enjoy any benefit from their efforts unless they get rich enough that their investment returns exceed the combined value of the pension and benefits? If a couple saves $500,000 and can only earn the average 5% return, they should live on $25,000 a year with no concessions, while pensioners get around $34,000 with concessions? Or they should just effectively gift their savings to the taxpayer by living on them until they run out, and get no benefit at all for accruing them?

    Sorry, this sounds like the politics of envy, and if this sentiment is allowed to influence policy we are likely to end up with hundreds of thousands more pensioners placing a much higher drain on the economy. When it becomes futile to save, there will be far less saving to support those in genuine need.

    The changed assets test forced many to drain their savings, and statistics tell us a lot of those affected have chosen to over-invest in housing, take expensive cruises, gift money, or move to high risk investments. Eventually, they will cost the nation much more because of this foolish policy. And we risk killing productivity if we don't allow people to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

    Jackie, how do you know people who accumulated a nest egg were ''fortunate''? Maybe they struggled very hard and went without a great deal, or worked incredibly long hours. Those who live it up in their working life are handed up to $1 million tax-free from the taxpayer purse. Yet they accuse people who worked and paid taxes of ''greed'' for wanting to benefit from their own savings. It's a bit rich to suggest people who planned and sacrificed to achieve a slightly better standard of living should be ground down to pensioner level and denied any benefit for their efforts, but worse than that, it's bad for the economy. If there's a reward of up to $1 million for having nothing, most retirees will orchestrate to have nothing.
    Aussie
    26th Jan 2018
    3:40pm
    Yes Patti ... maybe you own your home ???? or renting ??? but yes a full pension will give you small living but not a quality as expected to have in Australia.
    But yes if you own your home will be a lot easier because you may have reduce rate payments and electricity .... so maybe is Ok.

    I have been researching places in Aisia and you can live very very well with the minimum pension renting a 2 bedrooms home and pay hospital bills when needed and eat very well .... I have travel to many countries and live in front of a nice beach and also in the country areas ...beatiful green healthy places and 100% save to live .....but that is me and congrats to you ...making ok in AU .....wish you well
    tisme
    26th Jan 2018
    11:19am
    retirement is scary for people like me , ( carers who care for family). when those I care for end up in care or gone then what ?? no superannuation homelessness is a real possibility for unpaid carers .
    if we are able enough to move .
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    1:26pm
    The "caring" role is traditionally a female role, and because of that it is woefully undervalued. If for the past 200 years caring had been specifically a "male" role, then carers would be viewed as heroes who are paid TOP salaries.

    But Australia is still in the Dark Ages regarding this. The minor advances over the last few decades regarding this are about one 20th of what's required for true equality and true recognition.

    We need to value our women MUCH, MUCH, MUCH more.
    TREBOR
    26th Jan 2018
    1:49pm
    And our men, Jim... don't forget our men....
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    2:23pm
    Nah, we blokes get it easy.
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    3:21pm
    Careful, JimD. You'll upset Tib and Knows-a-lot with that comment.
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    6:21pm
    Thanks for reminding me Rainey ..... I should have written "we blokes and retirees get it easy".
    Sundays
    26th Jan 2018
    11:21am
    It’s a good idea YLC. However, I hope you do a better job than some of the responses you give relating to superannuation and Centrelink rules. Often, your information is not complete, confusing and sometimes incorrect. I’ve mentioned this in my responses, but the silence is deafening!
    Chuck
    26th Jan 2018
    11:40am
    you are absolutely correct Rainey but how do we join forces to tell politicians what we think is fair.
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    3:23pm
    I guess we need to form a lobby group, register it, and invite retirees to join. No political bent. Just produce white papers, run surveys, and seek media attention.
    Aussie
    26th Jan 2018
    3:43pm
    Rainey mate .... YES I AM IN no worries ...make it happend mate
    GeorgeM
    27th Jan 2018
    12:39am
    Rainey, good idea but could be hard, and am not sure why YLC hasn't already facilitated such a lobby group / forcefully represented the members on this issue.

    Maybe, a Petition through Change.org could be a start to get people in the mood for action.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2018
    2:15pm
    I asked YLC and they were going to discuss it at a meeting last Monday. Haven't heard anything further. Olga hasn't been back to me since.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    31st Jan 2018
    4:41pm
    If old people wont learn to use computers then how can you get them to change their lifetime voting habits. You have bucklies on this one Rainey.
    Colinm39
    26th Jan 2018
    11:54am
    Thanks for the Retirement Planner.. I have tested it and it's accurate..

    Many Aged Pensioners who lost their financial entitlement when the Asset test limits changed may not realize they have to reapply for the Financial side again as if they are new to the Pension.

    We are a married couple, we have MyGov accounts and we have had to resubmit all of our documentation ie the 26 page paper form, but online for each of us...... Because we have joint Bank accounts I had to upload all of our bank statements in duplicate ie one set for me and the other uploaded for my wife. Our result will be available on the 22nd February... That's nearly 8 weeks since applying.. and... I can see my previous data on MyGov..

    Fortunately I can handle it.. and I have persevered because it's more about Estate Planning because we are in our late 70's. I want to ensure if one of us deceases the system is in place..

    Over the years I have found Centrelink extremely helpful, firstly for my pre-retirement, secondly to handle awkward money issues with a disputed will and thirdly in my later years. Mainly through direct contact with their FIS officer. The last couple of years I have found it nigh impossible to make an appointment and have given up ringing them..
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    1:39pm
    Regarding your last paragraph --- I have several friends who have had that EXACT same experience. Apparently Centrelink has dramatically downgraded it's "human to human" contact procedures over the past few years. Most communication is now done via contacting a Centrelink "computer".

    Luckily I've had no need to contact them for over 2 years. I merely just occasionally check my age pension account online. It's been well over 2 years since I've spoken to a human there. But like magic, that age pension money appears in my bank account every 2 weeks.
    Colinm39
    26th Jan 2018
    2:19pm
    Yes, it's sad.. I was in my Centrelink office the other day because I was having issues trying to understand the message, "still more information required for your claim".

    They told me there were 40 ahead of me, come back again or ring.. I gave up with the ringing process and the next day a lovely person rang from Centrelink and told us we need to reapply to have the Financial side of the Aged Pension restarted...

    So that's where the 26 page reports started.. A week after we finished the updates my wife received a full set of paper forms in the mail.. The date was the day the person rang us.... The ssssllooowwww machine works

    I haven't found anywhere that states that you need to reapply. I was just uploading letters giving Centrelink the new account balances because when I went online the only field I could change was my SMSF..

    But we are in control now, I have many ticked boxes when I examine the progress of the claim.
    johninmelb
    26th Jan 2018
    12:03pm
    The best we can ever hope for is that this initiative will give some assistance to navigate the maze, though it will only ever be a short-term solution. The changes will keep coming no matter what, and no matter what colour of government.

    We have debated this topic endlessly and achieved nothing. It is what it is and it ain't gonna change. Learn to live with it. The current useless idiots we call the goverment are going to keep on attacking us. That is a given. Learn to live with it. Shorten's rabble have had umpteen chances to change things. They have not and despite the fantasies of those on this site who live in lala land, they will not. That is a given. Learn to live with it.

    At best, the ignorance here of just how government policy is formulated is astounding. Having worked in Government, I can truthfully tell you that the rantings of YLC subscribers never once figured in the policy deliberations.

    I hate this pension schemozzle as much as the rest of you and get tired of my pension being reduced because I sometimes manage to save a few dollars by economising, or because the value of my super has gone up due to a rising stockmarket - which I am not complaining about, but worry about it being sustainable long term, and there's another GFC.

    I could worry about it and rail against like you all do and send my BP soaring. But I don't. It is what it is, and no politician in my lifetime is going to change anything that makes it easier.

    You can disagree with me as much as you like, I couldn't care less. I have common sense on my side. In all the years I have been on this site, it has only got harder, not easier, so none of your ranting and raving has made a scrap of difference. Even Blind Freddie could work that out.
    MacI
    28th Jan 2018
    6:52pm
    I'm with you johninmelb. I visit this site periodically and many of the same people are still pitching the same old arguments and rants about how unfair this or that is they were a couple of years ago.

    I occasionally amuse myself by putting forth a contrary argument to certain regular contributors but soon get tired of it because it is rare that I get a response that actually addresses my points which I'm happy to be challenged. Either I get some kind of personal attack (I'm an idiot) or some anecdote, that who knows if its true or made up, to support their view rather than reference to facts.
    zus
    26th Jan 2018
    12:04pm
    Hi, are any of the bootcamps in NSW, Wollongong????
    Cowboy Jim
    26th Jan 2018
    1:59pm
    Grateful - your comments would make good sense if your scenario would not encourage
    workers to spend every dollar while under pension age. The saving for old age would certainly be a thing of the past. See enough of the pension money going into slot machines where I live. As for the evidence of part pensioners not spending their dollars I'd wonder where that is. Maybe the whole thing would lead to more and more "needy" people. Like people in public housing with a decent bank balance.
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    3:19pm
    A financial adviser showed me reports that up to 95% of those impacted by the assets test change are spending furiously on upgraded housing or overseas cruises, because they have realized that their savings aren't benefiting them. Nor are they benefiting the needy. They are giving a bonus to people with a few hundred thousand or people who have assets but don't own a home.

    Yes, we are in grave danger of creating a society of homeless leaners. You can't just keep bashing people who work and save and expect them to continue. They will lose patience. Many, like Big Bear, are already manipulating to get around the system. More will do that. And when there are lots more poor homeless pensioners, there will be much less for those in genuine need.
    mike
    26th Jan 2018
    3:45pm
    How many retirees realise that Turnbull's promise to restore the concession card to those that lost it due to Hockey's changes was a lie. Those who had between $813000 and $1.25M on 1/1/2017 had it reinstated, but if you had LESS than $813000 on that day, even $1 less, but lost it a day later, a month later say due to an increase in your super balance, YOU DID NOT. This was branded unfair and discriminary. I have written to Mr Gee MP, Mr Abbott and Mr Alan Tudge MP, asking that this discrimination be resolved, and part pensioners who lost their part pension AND the concession card in 2017 have it reinstared. All I get back is Liberal spin rubbish and nothing is done. I am sick of the Liberals and after voting for them for the last 50 years, They are thieves and liars, will now vote One nation
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2018
    1:12pm
    Yes, Mike. They are being hideously unfair, but the whole system is unfair. A friend told me Centrelink mistakenly counted one of his assets twice. Because they did, he had $817,000 and therefore lost his pension on Jan 1 and got a concession card for life. If they had not made that mistake, he would have lost his pension a few months later when he had a very small gain on one of his investments, and he would have been worse off due to not having the concession card. What a crazy system! You have to wonder about the intelligence of those who design and promote it.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    31st Jan 2018
    2:01pm
    The concession card should only be given to those on the full pension as it's just stupid giving it to people who can afford to pay full price.
    Rae
    31st Jan 2018
    5:05pm
    The concession card should go to all. One of the reasons people are divesting assets and spending savings is to get the card. Many SMSF retirees are hugely disadvantaged by having to pay working people's costs when they earns so much less than the median wage.
    Aussie
    26th Jan 2018
    3:48pm
    For those that $19+ is money need it for food here is a search you guys can use to acheive similar results and also provide you with lots of info .

    https://www.google.co.th/search?q=free+retirement+planning+in+australia&oq=free+retirement+planning+in+australia&aqs=chrome..69i57.16529j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
    johninmelb
    26th Jan 2018
    3:59pm
    All we really need is a copy of the Excel spreadsheet that the Centrelink Financial Planners use. It is brilliant. Allows you to work out every possible scenario, just by changing figures. As taxpayers we own Centrelink, so there is no reason why they cannot give us the blank spreadsheet. It was developed using taxpayers money, so is not proprietary.
    ABI
    26th Jan 2018
    4:24pm
    I totally agree with you Rainey, I was about to write exactly what you said.
    I was on a piddly part pension, now received a small inheritance, my next pension rate will be $4, that’s were all my hard work took me to.
    Hardly had a holiday in 50 years, now thinking of living it up and enjoy my retirement.
    I have seen a financial planner and the idea of paying him $2000 in fees and him spoon feed my money back in small amounts so I can get some pension doesn’t appeal to me.
    I rather spend my money how I want and then Centrelink can fund the rest.
    I’m really disappointed the way pensioners are being treated.
    I have been in this country for 50 years and worked for most of it, never expected it would end this way.
    Sarina
    26th Jan 2018
    4:38pm
    Yes I cant agree more. I have just recently just retired from a lower level government job.
    From aged 60 I did salary sacrificing, reducing my salary to $37000.00 before tax. I worked that way for 9 years and grew my super. I now am being punished by not being elible for the aged pension and must live on my super. The catch is I have a $54000.00 tax bill on the money I saved which was pre tax. If I pay this tax I then become eligible for the pension. I consulted a financial planner who, between him and the new suer fund,m was going to cost me $8000.00 per year. I am just over the limit for being eligible for the pension. What a nightmare........all because I saved diligently. The message I get is that "All older Australians must become poor"
    Triss
    26th Jan 2018
    5:42pm
    If you worked in a government job and you salary sacrificed to a super fund, Sarina, don’t you get a pension anyway?
    marls
    27th Jan 2018
    2:48pm
    Sarina
    Can't understand why you paid tax on your super ax theres no tax after 60 I was a gvt employe to but could see the writing on the wall I retired at 62 and no tax on super I lived of my super then applied for the pension. at 65 my options was living a decent life retiring early or having to kill myself travelling 4 hrs daily plus the need for a new car and then only a tinny pension
    Sarina
    26th Jan 2018
    4:39pm
    Yes and who has access to this workshop???????

    26th Jan 2018
    5:44pm
    Okay, so I'm starting to get a picture in my head of how we can lobby to at least embarrass the government publicly and make them worry a bit about votes. Your individual stories are solid gold. I need more please! What I think we need to do is put together a white paper with examples of personal stories and some rational, unemotional argument that demonstrates the flaws in the pension system, then suggest some of the ways it can be improved - taking care to ensure that the suggestions aren't outrageously costly (Unfortunately, the universal pension might not be feasible at this point in time. We might have to live with some form of means testing for the time being. If we can drive gradual improvement, that's better than nothing.)
    Cowboy Jim
    26th Jan 2018
    6:07pm
    Rainey - you mentioned above an average return of 5%, could you tell
    us where to get a return like that. At the moment I can only find the Military Bank Deeming Account handing out 3.25% which we are deemed at anyway. Of course, there are risky investments for
    more than that but I have been there and got burnt.
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    6:12pm
    That's the government's figure, Cowboy Jim. They claim 5% is the average return. No doubt some are getting high returns. Old Geezer claims 10%. But you are right, there are risks attached to higher returns. You are doing well, actually, to get 3.25% on a bank deposit.
    *Imagine*
    26th Jan 2018
    5:55pm
    There are those who have expressed an opinion that if we have saved for a ‘rainy day’ as we were advised to when growing up, then we do not deserve to be eligible for a state aged pension. These people believe that the pension should only go to those with nothing. They don’t agree with part pensions either. OK let’s take the other polarised view. Get rid of all pensions, give nothing to anybody, as in Vietnam. If you are eighty five with no money, then get out and work for your living. Grow vegetables and sell them on the street. If you didn’t save for a rainy day, then tough, get your family and friends to support you, work for some money, or starve. Both these points of view are heartless, thoughtless arguments that have no place in our developed nation.

    Did you know that the basic tax rate in the UK is zero below $20,253 and 20% for an income of $20,253 to $79,250 and they pay in addition to tax, 12% National Insurance that entitles EVERYBODY, every single person, married or not, to an aged pension of $215 per week and free health care. Neither is means tested. So, these arguments above are totally irrelevant, the system there does not set one retiree against another, jealousy, envy, greed don’t matter in this area.

    In Australia we start paying tax at $18,200 and pay 32.5% plus 2% medicare levy for $37,200 to $87,000 . Why are our governments incapable of providing a similar outcome for its citizens to those in the UK? We are paying more into the coffers. We also have so many more natural resources that could fund a far better system than any other developed nation. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG HERE?
    Grateful
    26th Jan 2018
    6:01pm
    Looks like you're living in the wrong country, doesn't it. Who'd swap with Imagine?????
    *Imagine*
    26th Jan 2018
    9:11pm
    This is what I mean Grateful. Shoot the messenger! I am asking why AUS cannot do the same as the UK and many other countries and provide a universal aged pension for its citizens. It is not a matter of 'If you don't like it go somewhere else." It is a matter of questioning the overriding policy of our governments that seem to be based on "We cannot afford to look after our retired people like other countries can" What is your answer, just take what they give you and be grateful? Mine is to question why we have such a confused and inequitable system that sets people against each other.
    marls
    27th Jan 2018
    2:55pm
    Imagine my mother in Europe gets the aged pension no such thing as means test she also receives a portion of my deceased fathers pension plus a small pension from another European country as my father was in the war she also gets Aussie pension. Worked here for over 20 yrs no means test in Europe my Aunty and uncle in Germany also are assessed as individuals for the aged pension no means test in nz every single person of pension age qualifies regardless of wealth and can continue to work yet Australian gvt is to buddy giving most of out money away to overseas and had no concerns for its own people
    VeryCaringBigBear
    31st Jan 2018
    2:25pm
    Imagine you forgot that low income earners also get a low income rebate which means they pay no tax until their income gets to about $20,700 from memory and this rebate also reduced your tax until to you earn quite a bit more than $37,500 as well. If you are over OAP age then a couple don't pay any tax until their income is approx. $60,000 a year. If they have super in pension mode they pay no tax on it if they are over 60 as well. I'd much prefer to live in Australia than the UK.
    Grateful
    26th Jan 2018
    5:55pm
    People who have nothing and NEED the age pension, for various reasons, have absolutely NO problem with completing the application. What does that tell you???
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    6:09pm
    That it's too complicated if you have any assets and it's yet another incentive not to save or have assets in old age, but to be totally dependant on the taxpayer - whether you need to be or not.

    Seems some think all old people need be made to suffer being poor. Is it a crime, now, to work and save to be a little more comfortable in old age, or to put aside money for big medical bills or needed home repairs?

    No wonder Big Bear spent all his money on a flash house, gifts to grandkids, and cruising the world for 5 years. When we all decide savings are of no use and do what Big Bear did, then how much will there be to share around all the poor oldies who NEED pensions.
    Cowboy Jim
    26th Jan 2018
    6:12pm
    Most probably the same needy people I see coming down in the park for the free lunch the church people provide and they are parking their $40000 car round the corner. They need a free feed like I need development aid.
    Cowboy Jim
    26th Jan 2018
    6:14pm
    BigBear has his head screwed on the right way, might not be socialist but certainly he knows how the wind blows. You cannot take it with you but you can spend it before they take it off you.
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2018
    6:47pm
    I admit to living in a relatively affluent area, but I can't find a needy senior, although nearly all around me are on full aged pensions. One couple gave $1.5 million to their kids and bought a $1 million house. Get a full pension with benefits and call their kids for a cheque every time a bill comes in or they need some appliance, item of furniture, new clothes, etc.

    A lady up the road cries poor, but was a high paid journalist married to a high paid journalist and inherited $500K. Not sure where it all went, but I'm certain there some stashed somewhere because she lives very well.

    Then there's the ''disabled'' pensioner (who actually isn't) who inherited $1.5 million from her father, spent $880K on a luxury water-view mansion, $60,000 on a luxury car, and left the rest in the US bank account her father had set up for her so Centrelink won't know she has it. She built the mansion with two separate wings and moved her gay lover into one, registered her as her ''carer'', and now between them they get 2 single pensions plus a carer supplement. The ''carer'' pays most of the bills in return for the right to live in the mansion, and the not disabled disability pensioner is laughing (or actually dancing) all the way to the bank.

    Next door, a couple are co-habituating but not married and claiming they are not de-facto (though they certainly are!) and getting two single pensions.

    Another claiming hardship has a Veteran's Gold Card and gets everything from medical care and pharmaceuticals to special shoes and toothpaste free, not to mention limousine transport to doctors when needed.

    It actually seems to me that I'm probably the poorest person in the district - in income terms - despite still working and having enough assets not to qualify for a pension if I wasn't. I've got no complaints. I've got enough and I'm very contented with my lot, but after living in poverty for nearly 3 decades and working my guts out, it irks me that all these folk who had it far, far easier than I did are living high on the hog on taxpayer dollars. And I have to admit to sometimes thinking I should just get smart and ''do a Big Bear''!

    Would that the solution was, as some think, to tighten the rules. Every time they do that, they create a host of new problems that further discourage working, saving, and striving to be independent.

    Yes, Cowboy Jim, BigBear has his head screwed on the right way. But imagine if we all did what he has done! Then where would all these ''needy not greedy'' folk be? Yet they want a system that encourages everyone to do just that.
    Triss
    26th Jan 2018
    11:18pm
    Even so, Rainey, look at the ex politicians with their grace and favour jobs with a high salary but still clawing in a taxpayer funded pension which includes free holiday fares,etc. They’re worse because their non-assessed pensions are built on corruption.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2018
    7:18am
    Yes Triss, and I suspect the reason our system is structured to encourage manipulation by the well off is to reduce anger at politicians. If only the genuinely needy got pensions, there would be a lot more resistance to politicians getting them, but by allowing the rich to manipulate to get benefits, politicians can say ''well, we let you do it, so why shouldn't we?''. And it has worked. Vast numbers of wealthy justify and even endorse these absurdly bad policies. Look at Big Bear and OG and Bonny! All saying the pollies are doing the right thing.

    Why is it so difficult to get the message across to people that the system is bad for the country? The only answer I can come up with is that people think only of themselves. Self-interest drives their opinions and their votes. And when someone highlights the national interest, they mount a personal attack because in their minds the only motive can be self-interest - so this person must have some sinister agenda. Or they simply fear that people who lobby in the national interest will drive change that will hurt them personally because loopholes that have let them manipulate might be closed off.

    What you say below is so true. This country looks after those with no ethics or morals. It looks after spendthrifts and wasters. It looks after bludgers. It hands out very meanly to the genuinely disadvantaged. And it bashes hard workers and savers who are ethical and responsible. And it seems there must be an awful lot of spendthrifts, wasters, bludgers and manipulators, because there are an awful lot defending a terrible system that is wrecking the economy. And what totally confounds me is that the defenders complain loudest about a ''welfare mentality'', but it's the policies they support that create it.
    Cowboy Jim
    27th Jan 2018
    11:33am
    Well Grateful - you have a few good ideas for needy people. Could I
    add one to them: All people on a full Govt Age Pension to be prohibited from gambling the Govt's money away. Like they are trying to do with the cashless welfare card for Aboriginal people at the moment. Pensioners would no longer need to complain all the time about power bills. My bill is less than the equivalent of a pot of beer a day.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2018
    2:31pm
    I know it's not practical, but I'd love to see the pension system take into account past earnings and lifestyle. Wouldn't it be interesting to see just how many poor pensioners either lived high on the hog during working life, gave away money, took expensive holidays, gambled, etc. as opposed to how many had GENUINE misfortune. I suspect the number in the latter group would be very small indeed. I also suspect that for the most part those accusing savers of ''greed'' and demanding part pensions be abolished are those who were fiscally irresponsible, rather than the genuinely hard up. (Quite possibly Grateful and Jackie are exceptions. I hope so!)

    I have the deepest sympathy for those who faced genuine hardship, crisis or trauma. I've been there! I've walked in your shoes, and I feel deeply for you. I support all demands for a better deal for you. But MOST of today's retirees SHOULD have a decent savings nest-egg, or at very least own their own home. Yes, we lived through the GFC and 18% home loan interest, but we also lived through some fairly prosperous times. And if I could save hundreds of thousands and buy a nice home despite a minimal income for most of my life, very high medical bills for a child, long periods of illness, and a disabled partner, why can't most others?

    Given that it appears to be a disadvantage for a homeowner couple to have more than $200,000 in other assets, I guess we'll see a lot more frittering their money away, pushing the cost of pensions up. So please tell me how anyone on a full pension can be foolish enough to suggest that we should continue to disadvantage working and saving. Give those with modest assets a decent part pension and concessions and there will be strong motivation for more people to save and avoid needing a full pension. Then there will be more available to pay better pensions to those who really need them and have nothing else.

    Grateful and Jackie, you are hammering nails into your own coffin! What you suggest can only make things worse for those with very little over the medium to long term.
    marls
    27th Jan 2018
    3:01pm
    Grateful
    That's rubbish my aged pension took 4mths and had to go to special mgt because I had a bank account for my grandson total of $400 had to get my locsl member involved
    VeryCaringBigBear
    31st Jan 2018
    8:29am
    Past earnings and lifestyle have nothing to do with one's financial position today. If you are considered to have insufficient financial resources to get by you get welfare. If you are considered to have adequate or better financial resources to get by you get little or no welfare.

    Is the fair?

    No.

    Is life fair.

    No.

    If you haven't realised it yet nothing in life is fair.

    I laugh when I see teachers trying to teach kids to share when they themselves never do one of my grandkids sent her child to school without any coloured pencils they other day with a note. What happened was that the kid was told to share their pencils and after having replaced them three time my grand daughter had had enough and told the teacher that it was some one else's turn to share as she was all shared out. She then got a phone call from the principal telling her her child had not bought the required pencils to school and not to let it happen again. My granddaughter has since drilled holes in the pencils and attached them by a string to her daughter's bag. Now if pencils are required the bag has to be bought into the classroom. This resulted in another call from the principal about breaking another rules as no bags are allowed in the classroom. So my granddaughter told them that it was either no pencils or a bag in the classroom. School has now bought all the kids pencils.

    Next time you say something is not fair then you are right. Nothing is fair so save your breath.
    Anonymous
    31st Jan 2018
    10:58am
    BigBear, the fact that something appears difficult to change doesn't mean nobody should try. Some things ARE changed in response to people highlighting problems.

    If all retirees stopped justifying or ignoring wrongs that don't hurt them personally and joined forces, we would be a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, self-interest is cruelling things for everyone. The quality of life deteriorates across the board because self-interest dominates over common sense and ethics.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    31st Jan 2018
    1:59pm
    Rainey that will never happen because people are way too selfish to help anyone but themselves.
    Careworn
    26th Jan 2018
    8:45pm
    I agree with Rainey. After having saved all our working lives, in retirement we are little better off than a pensioner couple who didn't save a cent, and the pensioner couple can sit back and not have to worry about where they are going to get a reasonable and safe interest rate on their savings. I kind of envy them.
    Triss
    26th Jan 2018
    11:22pm
    I agree with Rainey as well, Careworn, it seems that if you have a few ethics and standards in your life you get passed over for the ones that don’t.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    31st Jan 2018
    8:30am
    Now you know why people use the rules to play the game so they and their family get the best outcome they can.
    Rae
    31st Jan 2018
    5:13pm
    Keep pulling your money out of the market or bank or super fund and buy a safe. At a certain point you can get the pension.

    Until we call the craziness for what it it... gross government incompetence over decades nothing will change. A run on the banks fixed deposits and super funds will set the cat amongst the pigeons.

    Tell them you spent it on champagne, fine dining and designer clothes.

    Use the rules as BB says and gain that extra $36 000 odd a year. Mad if you don't.

    27th Jan 2018
    11:41am
    I just saw an interesting spreadsheet that a neighbour drew up. This is an analysis of the finances of a retired homeowner couple who have about $120,000 in pre-2015 super pension and $600,000 in personal savings. The spreadsheet is based on the assumption that concessions are worth $4000 a year approx. and that inflation, that savings return 2% interest, and that inflation increases pensions by 3% per annum. These are not unreasonable assumptions, though they might exaggerate losses a little.

    Now, this spreadsheet shows that this fellow will effectively donate 60% of his savings to the taxpayer over the next 10 years. If he wants to enjoy the same income as a couple in the same position who saved only $200,000, he will watch his savings fall to $215,000 over 10 years. The balance goes to the taxpayer, because it's lost pension income that he has to compensate for by drawing on savings.

    Now, keep in mind that his $600,000 was saved from income he paid tax on at 30-40% over his working years. It was accumulated by going without restaurant dinners and holidays and new clothes. And as punishment - and yes it IS punishment - for paying maybe $240,000 or more in tax, he is now being taxed some $385,000 in old age.

    And some people think he shouldn't ''whinge''.

    I'm not an actuarian so I can't validate the figures, but it alarmed me to see the figures show that homeowners with modest savings could be effectively paying a tax of between 36% and over 60% of their savings balance in retirement over 10 years, and many will see more than half their hard-won savings taken in ''tax'' as punishment for saving over a ten year period. What's the point of saving in this situation?

    I'd love for someone to show me how these calculations are wrong, but unfortunately they seem to match calculations I saw from a reputable source that showed some homeowners with substantial savings could actually be up to $180000 better off over ten years for every $100000 they spend.
    Cowboy Jim
    27th Jan 2018
    12:37pm
    Your calculations tally, Rainey. For every $1000 I spend I get an extra
    $3 a fortnight in the pension, used to be $1.50. OK, let's spend $10'000 on a holiday (you do not go far with that in the old country) and you find yourself $30 better off a fortnight. You do several of these holidays and you'll be on the full pension again. The Govt must think we are all mugs, eh?
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2018
    1:24pm
    What I don't understand is how some people can claim this is acceptable. Is it just envy that leads them to want to see people who saved a little hurt?

    Sadly, you are right about gambling. A woman I know is constantly whining about me having more than her and claiming it's unfair, but she puts $50 a week into poker machines and buys several lottery tickets every week. How can anyone suggest it's ''fair'' to take from people who save to give more to those who do this, or to people who took expensive overseas holidays before retirement?

    I'll shortly be relieved of about $80,000 in genuine health and special care costs and needed home modifications, and if I wasn't working it might result in an increase in income and reduced rates, car registration, license, public transport costs, chemist bills, etc. I would end up about over $10,000 a year better off. Now many would say that's good, since these costs are genuine. But if I put $80,000 through the poker machines, I'd make the same gain. $10,000 a year is a pretty generous reward for squandering $80,000 of savings. But this is the situation many here are endorsing. And some, like OG and Bonny, want to make it even worse by taking houses off people who draw any pension in old age.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    31st Jan 2018
    8:44am
    I know of one lady who puts over$1000 a week through the pokies. She put it in a low value machine and has a couple is spins and draws it out as cash. She then deposits it in her grand daughter's account. She thus decreases her assets by nearly $100,000 a year. She will soon be back on welfare no worse off then before the asset test change. I have suggested this to many others as well. Funny thing is the number of jackpots they have pulled off as well. So some are now better off than before the assets test change. When asked by Centrelink all they have to say is they have a new hobby.

    I just can't believe how many loopholes there are in our welfare system.
    Rae
    31st Jan 2018
    5:16pm
    That's a top idea BB. I'm sure there are many ways to explain spending $100 000 a year.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    31st Jan 2018
    6:28pm
    Rae as long as you spend it on yourself and not gift it (ie leave a questionable trace where the money went) then you are OK with Centrelink. Launder it though the casino. pokies etc and say you now have a gambling problem. If you cash it out in cash then they have no idea what you have done with the money.

    It was sure funny drawing out lots of cash and giving it to my grandkids to pay off their mortgages. They got to actually handle the cash for a couple of minutes. I had to make sure I also drew out a different amount of cash than they deposited as well. Cashier even congratulated them on winning the money at the casino.

    If Centrelink can't trace cash what hope have they got with Bitcoin etc.
    Rae
    1st Feb 2018
    10:19am
    I bought an annuity BB so I'm still busy making money as I doubt I'll ever get a cent from Centrelink. I don't mind as I've been an investor for decades now. I suspect the markets are headed for corrections though and a lot of paper money is going to disappear.

    That will be the final nail in the superannuation coffin.


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