A letter to all retirees

We recently received an anonymous letter at YOURLifeChoices, addressed to all retirees

A letter to all retirees

We recently received an anonymous letter at YOURLifeChoices, which was addressed to all retirees in Australia. It discusses one Australian’s frustrations with the asset-test based Age Pension in Australia, and argues that other countries around the world are successfully supporting all of their retirees, no matter where they would fall in an asset test. What do you think? Is Australia looking after its retirees? Or do you agree with Anonymous that we have a very long way to go?

Opinion: Help us live life to the fullest

To all retirees in Australia,

At the outset we live to work or work to live in order to satisfy what we ought to want and need. We enjoy the beauty our country has to offer and, at the same time pay our taxes, as is our moral obligation to this country of ours.

We enjoy a peaceful serenity across the wide shores; the quite mountains, the land so wonderful, its beaches, lakes, rivers and inlets teeming with all sorts of fish and wildlife. This vast landscape, its lakes and seas, dictates its beauty with lush colours surrounded by views beyond description to anyone’s eyes. It is unique, its culture and land so vast with plains and valleys spread across as far as the eye can see. We truly appreciate what the beauty of nature has given, the sad thing is when you retire everything changes. Pensioners like us will learn to tone down, we struggle and all of the above beauty which nature has given to us means nothing if you can’t afford to live, its beauty and culture is wasted for we live not getting our exact entitlements due to the asset test.

In Germany there is no such thing as asset test, which means less office work and less hassle for everyone. Everything has been done accordingly without affecting Government assets – funding for every citizen has always been part of the obligation to pay their dues.

Not giving the pensioners a pension unless they pass an asset test is how the Government gets off the hook of their moral responsibility to us. I’ve notice that being one of the best economies in Europe, such as Germany, didn’t cause it to disregard its obligation – it expects the young and the old to pay their taxes but, at the same time, include tax subsidies to cover pensioners and so the cycle goes on and on.

Most of us (retired) are willing and able, healthy and willing to continue to do so for as long as it takes.

One change I feel would help improve our economy is to give pensioners support, incentives and guidance to whoever would invest in Australia. We should also offer these things to pensioners who create jobs for the younger generation and generations to come, with tax offsets or incentives to those retirees who engage in business. For me it’s about time Australia accepted a change to make this country a better place to live for everyone, both psychologically and morally.

Many years have passed, but never has this issue been debated until now. We pensioners must wake the sleeping government, shake it to act properly so that if we work all year ‘round, tirelessly, then we must be given chance for a change to better our lives, rather than becoming bitter as we watch them get worse.

If funding shortages is another problem, one change is to cut down hard on charity intended outside our shores and redirect that amount to focus on pensioners who were once the forefront of our economy as taxpayers. The saying goes that charity begins at home. Not giving us a fair go is complete neglect. This opinion is arguably one sided as it strives to prove we pensioners are neglected, however,  it has been done without a hitch in other countries which are now enjoying the benefits of helping pensioners live life to the fullest.

Editor's note: It is worthwhile noting that countries such as Germany and the UK, which don't have means tested pensions, do require the majority of citizens to pay a type of national insurance based on their earnings. This is over and above any income tax paid and goes towards the provision of pensions.





    COMMENTS

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    wheels
    2nd Oct 2013
    10:06am
    Well, I'm 67 and it may well be exactly as that excellent letter suggests...depending on your circumstance. Some years ago I went to my local Federal member to complain about my future. Since maybe 2years after then, I see that my alloc pension is tax free and withdrawals are too. I get a seniors card and all of this doesn't cut out totally unless I have over $1M or a considerable income. I am not on a part pension yet as my wife works but at the level it would not be granted, I would not have much to complain about. I understand though, that if I had assets and little income, I might be complaining.
    Grateful
    2nd Oct 2013
    10:54am
    The Age Pension is a "BENEFIT" to assist those that, through whatever reason, are unable to support themselves, to be at least able to have a VERY basic EXISTENCE.

    It is NOT an ENTITLEMENT and people with over $1 million and/or have $80,000 p.a. income as couples , or, over $800,000 or $50,000 p.a. income as is the current situation, should NEVER be considered in need of taxpayer assistance and support.

    The assets and income tests should be SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED and any "savings' be partly re-distributed to the basic pension to at least give those who are REALLY in need to get a chance to enjoy some benefits which should be the right of every Australian, regardless of their financial circumstances.
    Jurassicgeek
    2nd Oct 2013
    2:03pm
    Grateful...the age pension is an ENTITLEMENT! We have worked and paid taxes all our lives. Do you think the government pays this "entitlement " out of kindness? They pay it because they have to...it's an entitlement....I know in other countries those governments take their responiblities seriously...here the pollies/govt have the "benefit" mentality...on the other hand the dole and payments to illegals are "benefits"..learn to distinguish between the two!
    Grateful
    2nd Oct 2013
    3:19pm
    Jurassicgeek. Before telling people to lean something, maybe, you should get your own facts straight. But, we are getting into the area of semantics here and i can't be bothered arguing interpretations with someone so dogmatic.
    But, if you care to read from the Australian Law Reform Commissions definitions, good luck to your interpretation.


    Age Pension
    Print
    36. The Age Pension is designed to provide income support to older Australians who need it, while encouraging Age Pensioners to maximise their overall incomes. It is not designed to provide a replacement for income achieved over a working life.[31] As explained by the Tax Review, ‘the balance between the role of the Age Pension as a safety net and its role as a supplement to retirement savings is a threshold issue for the design of the Age Pension and its integration with the retirement income system’.[32]

    37. In 2009, fewer than 5% of Age Pensioners had earnings from employment.[33] In particular, the Age Pension is likely to provide the majority of retirement income for individuals with broken work patterns—such as women (who are more likely to have career interruptions because of caring responsibilities), intermittent workers, carers and people with disability.[34]

    Means test
    42. The Age Pension, like other income support payments, is subject to a means test—comprising either an income test or an assets test. Under the means test, people with significant income or assets must draw on them before ‘calling on the community for assistance’ through the Age Pension.[42]

    43. The income test assumes that a person’s need for support can be determined by the level of income. The assets test is designed to ensure that individuals, who have substantial assets, use their assets to support themselves in retirement.
    Grateful
    2nd Oct 2013
    3:21pm
    I'd suggest that "calling on the community for assistance" is drawing a very long bow as a definition of an "entitlement".
    Abby
    4th Oct 2013
    5:38pm
    The pension used to be an entitlement it is just that the rotten politicians robbed us
    Jurassicgeek
    7th Oct 2013
    12:45pm
    Feel better now gratefull?....you quoted from the scriptures... what ever you/they call it... it is still an entitlement...different story however with payments to illegals...now there is a benefit!! ..but then again we must read the scriptures about what we call things..
    minnie
    2nd Oct 2013
    10:50am
    What happens when The Liberal/Nat Government under Abbott take the tax free threshold down to $6,000 - pensioners, newstart etc will all have to pay tax on their pensions?
    Grateful
    2nd Oct 2013
    11:21am
    Sad times ahead Minnie. And the former government wanted to address this concern by increasing the superannuation contribution to workers to 12.5%. But, the new government will stop that and thus effectively substantially reduce the opportunity for more people to be self sufficient in their retirement.
    And we are an aging society which will add to the genuine welfare bill in years to come and that will probably mean that even people with genuine need for assistance will be further disadvantaged.
    I don't think that anonymous letter writer has a snowball's hope in hell of EVER seeing the Age Pension become the universal ENTITLMENT which he is proposing.
    MITZY
    2nd Oct 2013
    12:19pm
    Minnie: It's just a matter of "how soon" the Coalition will reverse the tax-free threshold from $18,000 to $6,000.

    The increase (by Labor naturally) in the tax-free threshold from $6,000 to $18,000 was OFFSET with increases in "marginal rates" for higher income earners, so it was REVENUE NEUTRAL, placing a slightly higher tax load on the wealthy.

    Somewhere recently I read with regard to the tax-free threshold (probably SMH) that the reporter indicated "....Obviously, Labor's increased threshold is "counter" to the COALITION's "ethos" and will be reversed......". So, it's just a matter of when.

    If part of the Coalition's plan is to abolish mining taxes and carbon taxes etc, sack 12,000 public servants (already started implementing this) and then install the highly controversial PPL scheme etc. and make pensioners and retirees partly pay for it out of reduced dividends on their investments, it is so typical of Coalition governments of the past and future.
    The days ahead will not be full of "lollipops and roses".

    On the matter in hand, a lot of the European pension schemes are probably better because the recipients and employers pay into them all the working life of the individual. My cousin says in Austria that the government estimates "X" amount of years of the highest salaries earned and divides them for an average. Therefore not every individual's age pension is equal. If you are out of work for many years and on government benefits, the benefit you receive is counted and added to the amounts you receive in prior or future employment years in determining your pension. If you are out of the workforce having babies, the money you would have earned is also accounted for towards your retirement pension. You are able to work after retirement and what you earn is added to a certain amount of your age pension. However, you do pay some tax on your earnings and pension. It is a great incentive in Austria to go to work and earn as much as you can as it definitely benefits you in retirement. I know a German couple with their two children who emigrated to Australia some 25 years ago and started their own business importing machine toolings. Her husband had a massive heart attack and died in his armchair watching t.v. Because a lot of his life-span was working in Germany, his wife was entitled to half of his anticipated German pension until she attained retirement age. She would then be entitled to a part German/part Australian pension according to the treaties in place between the two countries.

    However, for the majority of pensioners contributing to this web page, who worked in private enterprise or for themselves, they would have no superannuation (it was hardly heard of years ago unless you had a public service job). Anyone employed from the time of the Hawke-Keating/Labor Government
    and going forward to their eventual retirement will reap the benefits of compulsory-accumulated superannuation and will be a lot better off than us.

    We'll all have to wait until the next Labor government is elected for anything financially beneficial to happen to the current group of age pensioners.
    Mr Charlie
    2nd Oct 2013
    11:38am
    These are the current German VAT (GST) rates, Standard VAT rate: 19% (Jan 2007)

    Reduced VAT rates: 7% foodstuffs, books, medical, passenger transport, newspapers, admission to cultural and entertainment events, hotels.
    Plus their income tax rates are much higher. It is a case of you get what you pay for.
    Fair Go
    8th Oct 2013
    8:42pm
    But look at what you do get for what you pay for - not only hospital and doctor visiting, but dental and all allied health services. FREE education. Having been in that country last year, despite the so-called European financial crisis, Germans seemed to be living pretty well. Yes, they pay more tax, but also get more. I would rather pay more tax and have a stress-free retirement, not worrying whether I could pay my next bill or not. No means test. Yes, you have paid for your retirement benefits, but look at what you get! On a previous trip to Germany, my friend's father (who was almost 90 years of age) lived like a king. Had the best clothes, food etc. He paid his rent (which are pegged) and had ample money left over. As his needs were less at his age, he sent money to his son who lived in Australia! Some of us in Australia are not always at fault for not having saved enough for our retirement (such as bringing up children on your own etc.) even though we have worked most of our lives. There was no super when I began work and indeed I didn't get any until about 1990. Now living on a pension, it is no fun. I know which system I would prefer.
    MarLin
    2nd Oct 2013
    11:47am
    Agree with Grateful's comments re the increasing impost of aging society on the welfare bill with more medical costs, etc. What I don't understand is why the Labor gov't (and no doubt the LNP will follow suit) make life so difficult for retirees wanting to live abroad for more than six weeks. My wife and her (now our) family is Vietnamese and her father is very ill so we like to spend a fair bit of time over there. It's worth mentioning that I get all my medical support in-country (vastly cheaper than Australia - and my doctors were all trained here so no problem with their skill levels), so while I'm o/s I'm actually reducing the burden on Australia's welfare budget - so why then cut off my pension supplements after six weeks and entire pension after six months? It doesn't make any sense to me - especially when I think back to working in the mines in NT when the normal behaviour for everyone was to work six months then go to Bali for six months and hence avoid paying any income tax at all!!!
    Rod63
    2nd Oct 2013
    11:52am
    Please don't say "life to the fullest". There is no such word as "fullest". The correct expression is "life to the full".
    Paddles
    3rd Oct 2013
    10:25am
    Rod63

    Get thee to Professor Google and you will find adequate references for "Fullest"

    2nd Oct 2013
    11:56am
    I can fully understand that there are a number of pensioners who would like a increase in their income, myself included. How ever if one is realistic and works out the amount of actual tax paid by the individual over their working life of say40/50 years.Including sales tax and income tax the pension and free medical, lower registrations and council rates telephone etc etc they would be surprised at how much MORE they take out of the kitty compared to what they paid in.

    If Europe is such a great place why aren`t there people lining up to go there?

    If you can support yourself then why cry poor mouth?Be thankful for small mercies.
    Paddles
    3rd Oct 2013
    10:30am
    Bofor

    Your point about "input" vs "out-take" is perfectly valid and that takes no heed of the national infrastructure such as transport, communications, defence etc. As the old saying goes............"you can't get a quart out of a pint pot".
    Anonymous
    4th Oct 2013
    12:01am
    Bofor they are
    Anonymous
    5th Oct 2013
    12:04pm
    Head out of the sand Bofor - UK has more immigrants than any other of the European countries and why because like Oz they have generous dole monies and other benefits. But they do unlike OZ restrict the Age Pension to years paid income tax unlike Editor said above - semingly not checked as upped the no of years quite recently with chucking out of Labour who admitted to trying to change the British identity by bringing in millions of migrants who they think and do first off vote left and Labour. Like they do here and go for and get a lot more of the monies paid from the hard work of the population who worked for years and paid their dues without adding to the pot enough which is why majority want immigration limited or cut off altogether. Other Europeans like Germany have said too late they will be Islamic republic within a decade or tw.
    Most likely then all payments will cease. Which is why people go to western countries in the first place. Human nature at work. Not racist- realist. Wake up and smell the decay of our systems. And with institutions like Reserve Bank found corrupt so much for our government too on levy paid fior years on your income taxes towards the age pension. No government stops levies but if they do a record is to be found. In the case of the age pension levy it is non-existent.
    Mak
    2nd Oct 2013
    12:06pm
    @ Gratefull, The pension for retired people is an ENTITLEMENT based upon a percentage of tax paid from earned wages which went into a fund to be paid back upon retirement. Thousands of Seniors today were part of the scheme which was commandeered by the government who then changed the pension rules and regulations, which also happened in the UK. The Queen of England was entitled to the pension, which she refused. Every person whether rich or poor is entitled to the the percentage of money they paid with their taxes. UK has a health system which covers dental for Seniors, but does not happen in Australia, WHY. Free bus and train travel at any hour should be available in Australia, not between XX am and YY pm. UK pay Seniors 200 pounds at Christmas, and during the year in summer, a weeks free holiday in various guest houses. Many Seniors did not have the benefit of superannuation, no baby bonuses, just worked hard to raise the children correctly and not a great deal of savings, maybe just enough for a basic, once a year holiday at the sea-side, no going to restaurants or take-away food, no weekends away, no brand new cars every couple of years, no car at all for a great majority, no mega-dollar presents at Christmas.
    I had to retire, my wife was working, my pension was a pittance because of this, and we had to sell our house because we had a mortgage, which we could have kept if I received the pension to which I was entitled. We had severe set-backs in our lives, including my superannuation fund collapsing in a heap, and no recompense for me. I am grateful for good health, but not in any way grateful to greedy, money hungry, selfo-firsto mega-payment on retirement politicians who care not for those who worked and fought hard for the free country in which they wallow. When one reads and hears how other affluent Western countries treat their Senior citizens, this country's politicians are a bunch of pathetic tossers, and when I hear,"This is god's own country, mate,!" I shake my head in disbelief. There is only one god, it's called MONEY, nothing else.
    What are you grateful for, Grateful.
    Grateful
    2nd Oct 2013
    3:52pm
    Mak. You are going back to old history and we must live by today's laws.
    Please check my earlier reply to Jurassicgeek where I have posted the current Australian Law Reform Commissions definition.
    What am I grateful for? I have lived in this fantastic country all of my life, paid all my taxes, raised and educated a wonderful couple of kids, and from those taxes that I paid, I have received such wonderful facilities, schools, hospitals, health care, roads and protection that those taxes helped pay for and certainly the best quality of life conditions in the world.
    And IF, for some reason, due to ill health (which unfortunately I have suffered, but received outstanding medical care and treatment) and other financial setbacks, there is a wonderful pension system which SUPPORTS me when I am in NEED of support. Sure, we have a few things that still could be improved upon and my suggestion that the current means test is far too generous and that by reducing the levels of the assets and income test, that saving could be re-distributed to those on the basic pension to allow them some extras that they cannot afford on the basic pension payment. Maybe, we should all take a look at our own lifestyle expenses before asking the government to support it?
    Paddles
    3rd Oct 2013
    10:37am
    Mak

    Do you think that your unfavourable comparison of the benefits of the Australian system vs the British one, takes into account the fact that the UK has about 50 million people to our 23 million, their land mass would fit into Australia umpteen times and they have had a couple of thousand extra years to set it all up?

    Grateful

    You have just about nailed it with that one........well said!
    Anonymous
    3rd Oct 2013
    5:36pm
    Britain has 62 million of which 4 million and rising are Muslim.
    They also have strict rules as to who can get the state pension in full. 40 years of working is one. Here 10.
    And grateful - please post links to info taken from any website or else run the risk of accusations of plagerising and/or copyright etc.
    Abby
    5th Oct 2013
    10:19am
    Grateful
    just because sonmething is stolen from us does not mean we should not try to get it back
    Jill
    2nd Oct 2013
    12:06pm
    I get a rash when I go to Centrelink and become, for no apparent reason, nauseas and tearful. These rather remote people have a job with strict guidelines. I guess it is not their fault (employment restriction on numbers of govt officers or something) that one waits 2 hours to see someone. I am newly retired having worked for over 55yrs. My husband and I became Australian 35 years ago when we first arrived in this paradise after a terrible financial crash that stripped us of our home and savings. After paying the remaining tax demanded, the various subsidiary business people and employees what they were owed we had very little left and a small holiday seemed in order. I am always grateful that we did (a) first come here and (b) became part of the whole so to speak. My now very elderly husband has recently become in need of my almost full time assistance. I mention this because I had no idea we were going to be penalised by the Govt for trying to do the right thing. We had minor assets on arrival in Australia and saved and bought our little pre-war house in 1994 with a suitable 14% mortgage at the time. On my retirement this year the remaining mortgage was paid out and what was left of my modest super put into an account that pays a set amount each month to us as a pension. Our property desperately needs upgrading safety work and alterations to accommodate our changing health and safety requirements: When I mentioned this to Centerlink they asked me for receipts!! I asked why. This money is an asset and they have to be sure I have not given it away! To my horror our Govt pension was reduced on review of my savings to $148 fortnightly. When I asked why the low amount and pointed out the colossal expenses we are facing (as all OAPs do) with rates, utilities, house maintenance and insurance etc the reply was - and I quote -
    "Mrs .............., if you had done absolutely nothing to help yourself since arriving here, If you had not saved religiously and paid your taxes, met all a new citizens obligations and now had nothing, we (Govt) would be able to help in every way! As it is, we can do very little indeed" I protested at the unfairness and the officer told me she/he agreed but that was the way it was.
    On sharing our knowledge and experience with others:- My husband wanted to volunteer to teach his considerable Trade and small business skills at a TAFE or community college and was declined about 2 years ago and although not said outright, he was of the impression that it was his age (80+) that was against his acceptance even though he had worked until age 80. Similarly, I am now in my 70's and when I asked Centrelink last month if I could do paid work for one day a week was warned that almost dollar for dollar I would lose the Govt pension.
    This is ridiculous! I want, we both want, to help ourselves whilst we can and sharing our combined business knowledge and helping ourselves at the same time should be welcomed not rebuffed! I agree with the anonymous writer that the German system seems fairer. I thought we paid our taxes and would benefit accordingly here also! If we were in prison we would be better treated with the benefits.
    Like many retirees I am now faced with giving up our PHI even though the Health System is being privatised and demoralised and the waiting lists are so long. Who can afford over $200 per month and still eat? Retirement is not the happy television model of grey nomads enjoying themselves. Those actors must have had several properties and sold them during the boom times to fund their lifestyle. The faint hearted will fall by the wayside fellow OPA's. We should indeed, as anonymous said, wake up the government and demand attention to this unfair and unjust state of affairs. Hard work and prudent lifestyle should be rewarded not penalised! I do not think I will ever understand the attitude that old persons are a dead weight on society - we built these cities, hospitals, roads and rail systems and bought Telstra shares to help spread the technology and farmed this unforgiving land to the edge of extinction - why should we be grateful to be remembered rather than penalised by the Government? My Australian Grandparents would turn in their graves. Like my husband and I, they worked till they almost dropped but they were not vilified and demeaned because of it. If I see one more smiling Real Estate Person at my door or on hear them on the phone I will scream!! Where would they have us live if they sold our "desirable home" for us? In the woop-woops? More than the very young we need to be near hospitals etc. My car is 29yrs old and we seldom use it because of the costs and may indeed sell it to defray the registration etc. We seldom go out because of the costs. Where is the joy they talk about please? -- - the whole subject upsets me!
    Anonymous
    2nd Oct 2013
    1:28pm
    Jill, you appear to either be in a strong financial position or you have been receiving incorrect information.
    Your family home is NOT regarded as a asset and you can have investments bringing in a considerable amount of money before you loose all your pension benefits.
    Even if your pension is only $1 a fortnight you still get all the "fringe benefits" of medical, low cost medications, discount on council rates, discount on telephone, etc etc .
    Never forget someone has to feed the "goose that lays the golden egg".
    Anonymous
    5th Oct 2013
    12:24pm
    I agree Jill. You need to get better financial advice. Your Bank usually has this on offer and can advise you or your church or any church that helps out those in need of financial advice most do - I worked with one but gave up the job to a lady who needed to volunteer so as not to have to slog the streets looking for work at 61 when no one will employ a person that age unless older themselves. In spite of the Age Discrimination Ace that Costello brought in in 2004 which should have ads say up to 65 or whatever age pension age is.
    I think you have been badly advised and know the feeling that some seem to give out at Centrelink - and was an Employer who went in instead of ringing in - so got the treatment in the queue. Not nice at all patronized as being inferior was my feeling listening to those before me and the way they were looked down on. These days have come to the realization that this is because of left wing education and the constant sneers at so called bogans whereas the lfting of others arriving on humanitarian grounds are treated with compassion in spades.
    So go for it and also do go to British Pensioners in Australia web site and get advice re your state pension there if you have not already put in a claim. They will help you. $20 to join and well spent if you need in depth help. Can pm me.
    PeeKay
    2nd Oct 2013
    12:06pm
    Quite frankly, such a letter as the original anonymous submission, gives me cause for concern. I don't wish to make either a pro- or anti- comment about the assets and income tests, however, if you examine them I don't see how they can be considered unfair.
    It seems to me almost impossible to work your way around these rules such that one can have an income of say $1 million p.a. and still receive a government pension.
    Perhaps I'm naive and correspondents will tell me so.
    It is not an original thought to state that it "costs money to run a country". To offset those costs the government, of any particular hue, has to raise funds; which it generally does via taxation.
    How it distributes those funds, i.e. the pension, grants, PBS rebates, discount cards, etc. has nothing to do with the income and asset tests. Those are simply means of assessing how much each person gets from the pool of available funds for pensioners and retirees.
    If you want the tests to be less rigorous (some may say fairer) then you'll have to elect a government that is prepared to rip funds from another sector (e.g. education). I wish you good luck with that one.
    As Mr. Charlie has quite rightly illustrated, it's pointless making a comparison with Germany as they have higher income tax rates, higher VAT rates,plus VAT on food. Again, if you want all that then elect a government that will institute it - once more, good luck with that one.
    zizzer
    2nd Oct 2013
    12:13pm
    All Australians in excess of 70 years of age who have been residents for that period should be entitled to a pension/part pension because
    Chifley established 42/43 National welfare fund into which all tax payers made a compulsory contribution of 7.5% of all personal income
    Menzies Confirmed that the compulsory Contribution should be maintained separately and paid into a Trust and shown as a separately on Tax assessment
    1946 The National Welfare Fund established by Menzies with National Parliament as Trustee. The contribution was shown separately 46,47,48,49,50 personal tax assessments
    The blce of the fund in 1950 was approx 100 million pounds
    Menzies became p.m. 1949 and the Compulsory Contribution levy was then grouped with Taxation Assessment and paid as one amount into Consolidated Revenue
    51-85 The compulsory levy of 7.5% continued to be collected and paid to Consolidated Revenue until 1985
    74-75 Whitlam paid pensions to all over 70
    75 Fraser cancelled this and he and Lynch transferred blce Welfare Fund A./c aprrox $470.m to Consolidated Revenue A/c
    The pension is not a privilege It is an Asset owned and accrued by each Australian citizen who has funded this asset from their own contributions
    Renny
    2nd Oct 2013
    6:28pm
    Thanks for dome history on this. When I started work at 15 the Age pension was an entitlement, and now my 66 year old husband is entitled to nothing because we had to use what super he had (blue collar worker) after he had an accident and while I was finishing retraining at Uni. I now earn just over the $80,000 mark and while we live quite well it is certainly not enough to let us improve our living circumstances when I am able to retirle, if ever. Yes I want to be comfortable in Retirement but I don't have unrealistic expectations. I feel for my husband who has been badly let down by circumstances. It's funny how taxes and levies get applied and then forgotten about. I've paid tax for 44 years and without kids have had little back for it. My husband similarly. Tax and the government's money is mine too. It saddens me to think that I would have been better off if my family had stayed in Scotland.
    Stevie Wonder
    2nd Oct 2013
    12:15pm
    Give those who are REALLY in need to get a chance to enjoy some benefits which should be the right of every Australian, regardless of their financial circumstances. Sorry Rusty1 all pensions are designed so that you can't enjoy it and you certainly can't get ahead without being penalised.
    We the pensioners need to show our voting power to get the politicians to hear us. They say we need to get rid of the age of entitlement but don't include themselves when saying this just look at Brandis & Joyce claiming for attending a wedding they were not entitled to, not to mention their excessive superannuation scheme. We need to get politicians who are ethical and work for the people who employ them not just to claim as much as they can to fatten their wallets. We need Statesmen not greedy shifty ones like we have now on both sides of politics.
    seer
    2nd Oct 2013
    12:33pm
    Why has the asset test limit for a full pension couple homeowner decreased from 279000 to 273000 at Sept 20 2013 and the part pension limit increased from 1092000 to 1110500 at Sept 20. This information based on your life choices publication.
    Precious
    2nd Oct 2013
    1:38pm
    I must reiterate on this subject painful to hear it...We are all so fortunate in this free world we live in in the West how can anyone have the nerve to criticize on asset testing.....Havent you got a lawyer, accountant or whatever to handle these things for you....and with our population increasing at such a rate don`t you think at our age it is good to give some younger people who have never ever had the opportunities we take as absolute granted.......greed the word is written in our Bible (Christians etc) and this is absolute greed I think......if you have so much money and comes far more than the asset testing allows you should go out and spend it....I hope this doesn cause too much offence but really................
    Precious
    2nd Oct 2013
    1:41pm
    My late husband used to tell people how I made FIVE pound sterling go out of a ONE POUND Note and that was when we were first married in 1958.......wake up, grow up and just be sensible and how much can we spend now at our age I am 76 in three week time and still there is only so much we need.....my photo was taken last year March, 2012...................................
    Heff
    2nd Oct 2013
    1:53pm
    Regrettably, the issue of pension entitlements is simply yet another of many many funding issues our Country faces in 2013 and beyond! Of course that doesn't make it any less important or critical to those needing to survive in what is supposed to be " the lucky country"!
    Reality is we are a country with a small population and with a wide geographic spread meaning we simply don't have the funds to provide every "wish list". Unfair? Maybe ... But that's the reality folks.
    Yes governments and politicians have made "past promises" from everything like aged pensions, superannuation, GST, Tax rates and the list goes on but guess what - these are constantly broken or changed to suit either the government of the day or changing circumstances we find ourselves in.
    Our governments need to get efficient first with the funds we provide them with through our taxes, then we can have an informed debate about whether we need to provide government with more of our hard earned money for more benefits such as increased pensions etc
    The message in this is to stay in involved Australia... Take an active interest in what our politicians are planned - voice your opinion to whom it matters and o it often - shrug off once and for all the " she'll be right" attitude or you'll forever get rolled over
    Anonymous
    5th Oct 2013
    4:37pm
    Henry over in the Meeting place - see bottom of page home and join as a member too, and maybe like to have input on his new political party representing seniors and needing input.
    Nanday
    2nd Oct 2013
    1:57pm
    As a self-funded retiree and an immigrant who came here in my mid-thirties, I have worked hard and been frugal and am proud that I have never drawn any government benefits. However I feel a sense of uncertainty about my financial future and the reason is the constant government changes to rules and regulations. Examples are some of the things mentioned here already, such as changes to the asset levels and to the minimum for taxation to begin on individual earnings (now $18,000 but possibly to be reduced). Another one that bothers me is the government's threat to tax earnings on SMSF's over $100,000 per annum. In a good earnings year this wil push a lot of people who have much less than the oft-quoted $2 million over and trigger a tax penalty. I just read an article that shows that home owners without solar power are now subsidising those with because of a generous feedback tariff that was introduced as an incentive. The government has guaranteed that it will not cancel these generous payments but will adhere to their agreement because it would be unfair to backtrack and change the rules. I agree that this is indeed the right thing to do as people were enticed to install solar by the incentives and planned accordingly. However it appears that the government does not feel the same about imposing new taxes on superannuation fund earnings for self-funded retirees, or changing asset test levels or adjusting personal taxation levels. As the government copes with a deficity due to its own bad management, they start to eye pension funds and entitlements as a potential purse from which to take some money. As a retiree I need certainty so that I can budget for my future needs. Instead I feel as though I stand on shifting sands. Since we entered our retirement and pension years under certain rules and planned our future accordingly, these should be grandfathered and not changed.
    Renny
    2nd Oct 2013
    6:33pm
    With that kind of income I think you might just cope. Give me a break - some people who were frugal and worked hard all their lives end up on pensions of $20,000 or less. Honestly - get real! You are well off!
    Precious
    4th Oct 2013
    12:06am
    Pity there are so many people that are literally rorting the system...if they were all brought to task then everybody could look forward to a liveable pension without any asset testing at all.....so much corruption etc and some openly talking about what they do and almost bragging about it...I knew someone who did this who came to a rather sticky end...indeed run over on the busy roads.....hm
    Samzoe
    2nd Oct 2013
    2:07pm
    I think the pension should be means tested.It is ridiculous to think that everybody should get a pension.There are hundreds of older people in this country who have huge amounts of money and have absolutely no need of a pension.
    Pension payments should go where they are needed most, certainly not to every retiree.
    Foxy
    3rd Oct 2013
    11:20am
    ......agree wholeheartedly with your comments - simple - to the point and "spot on" :-)
    Anonymous
    4th Oct 2013
    12:05am
    Spot on
    Precious
    4th Oct 2013
    12:08am
    Absolutely correct and I`m sure we all know many.....................maybe they all think they still lliving in the UK where even the Queen is entitled phew.............
    Renny
    4th Oct 2013
    6:51am
    Absolutely!
    Anonymous
    5th Oct 2013
    2:22pm
    Hands up those who'd love to see Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer and the hundreds of other billionaires, and tens of thousands of millionaires in Australia, getting a full pension?

    Hmmm .. That non-existent show of hands is a surprise!!

    To compare the European pension and taxation systems with the Australian pensions and taxation system is comparing apples with oranges!

    I can tell you this much. I've travelled around Europe in recent times, and talked to many older Europeans - and the first thing they say is how great it must be, living in such a wealthy, low-tax country - that's Australia!!

    Many European nations have VAT/GST of 23% - and this tax is on EVERYTHING!

    In addition, many European nations have poor infrastructure, lower food quality, less money to live on, more social problems, and high levels of pollution.

    At the end of the day, the means testing we have here, is structured to ensure that those who have little by way of assets or income in their old age are not left to starve!

    The old age pension should never be an AUTOMATIC entitlement - it should be an entitlement to those who DESERVE it - because they are now facing a struggle, because of infirmity, loss of assets due to outside influences, or other calamities.

    Many people have worked hard and lost serious money because of fraud, unfair treatment by financial institutions, bad investment decisions, or accident/health calamities.

    The pension and welfare system is there to support those who NEED support - not those, who DON'T NEED support.

    The only thing that needs to be done, is to fine-tune our current means-testing system, so that unforeseen anomalies and injustices are removed.
    Anonymous
    5th Oct 2013
    2:30pm
    This 3 times I have agreed with you lately.
    Hasbeen
    2nd Oct 2013
    3:01pm
    I really don't think it is fair for us oldies to expect the taxpayer to keep us, while we have an asset that could be paying our way. Why should the taxpayer keep us sitting in our major asset, our home, preserving that asset to leave to our kids.

    I can see no reason why the pension, or at least part of it, should not be considered an advance against that asset, to be repaid from our estate. There is also no reason why, with in reason, the amount advanced could not be more than the current pension, allowing the oldie to chose the lifestyle they desire, without having to sell up & move out of their home. This way the retiree could benefit from their labour acquiring the asset without too much upheaval in their life. Any advance should be interest free as those without assets would still get the pension as a free gift.

    One aspect of the asset test is very inequitable. People on hobby farms, who have owned them less than 20 years have most of them valued as an asset, by the means test. Most only have them because of their kids equestrian activities, & they are no more valuable than a nice house in the city, but prevent the pensioner getting the full pension.

    I am lucky. After 20 years residency this asset test no longer applies, but many of my neighbors had to sell up & move into town to get the full pension. As the city encroaches, many more find their little acreage highly valued for asset purposes, but planning rules prevent them subdividing & selling off the excess they neither want or need.

    I was even prevented giving a daughter a bit to build on for herself, or building a second house on the property, making the land actually valueless to us, except it is our family home.
    maggie01
    2nd Oct 2013
    3:18pm
    Hello,
    I suppose this is a radical thought, but I feel that every one of an pensionable age should get a aged pension.
    Does not matter if they are millionaires or paupers, we have done all we can for this country, and still more as volunteers. Every one has a right to the pension.
    Renny
    2nd Oct 2013
    6:37pm
    Maggie - those who are on millions have generally done that by paying none or little tax. They write everything off as business costs forcing funding of services onto PAYE taxpayers. Perhaps pensions should consider now much tax you've paid over your lifetime - that would get a lot of people off it and mean more money for those who need it,
    Anonymous
    5th Oct 2013
    4:57pm
    I myself have long advocated that everyone drawing down a salary or a fee for service should be on the PAYG scheme for one thing it would provide a monthly amount of money to the government for services and all can claim backj legal at the years end as now workers do. But also it will mean a group certificate for the likes of Clive Palmer and Gina ?Rhinehart so the ATO will have a real figure of income to work on and the shinnanigans that go on today with all sorts of income being slid over and hidden will end and we will all be equal and fairly treated - something not happening today imo.

    Anyone know if politicians are on it - I think not as I well remember Keating being chased for not putting in a tax return over a 3 year period and he would if he was on PAYG surely.

    Interesting and we can thank Ted mack that their super is now 9% not 69% altough those on it still get that bit I am told and yet not provided for just comes out of General Revenue where our 7.5% levy on income tax for age pension goes and is being spent of others not just those who contributed. Treasury Retiree said in 1999 that the levy is still there. Whatever is being posted here - doesnt prove it is not still going into GR as what government evercancelled collecting a levy on income tax to date? What grateful posted was from Lawyers and we know how they work. I would like proof it was cancelled myself. Reason the UK is not means tested is because all who work pay into the Pension Fund which still exists and the monies from income tax now part of National Health Insurance Stamp goes to Inland Revenue who hold the Pension Fund. Some wrong info being put here. Misleading.
    aussiebill
    2nd Oct 2013
    3:15pm
    As a self funded retiree I do not need additional income as such at this time by way of the age pension. However a more equitable approach would for all over 65 and retired to have access to the medical cards available to pensioners only at this time.
    sensible senior
    3rd Oct 2013
    8:58am
    aussiebill i thought tony abbott was going to bring this in for you.
    Alipal
    3rd Oct 2013
    1:47pm
    I'm a self-funded retiree, not a pensioner, but am entitled to a Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card because of the low level of the pension paid by my fund. My biggest gripe is that neither this card, Medicare, nor private health cover could compensate in any way for the very expensive MRI my husband recently had to diagnose his prostate cancer. And we harp on continually about men's health! Fortunately we can afford this expense because we are careful in our spending, but what about those who cannot? This procedure is not recommended to them, so they are walking time bombs. It was only recently that robotics for prostate ops were at least partially refunded by some private funds, but as for reconstructive surgery! Females with breast cancer have a better deal for reconstruction.
    The "Gap" between specialists' fees and refunds is ever widening. No wonder some folk would rather stay in the dark about their illnesses, or opt for public treatment at the expense of other taxpayers.
    Renny
    4th Oct 2013
    6:58am
    Alipai - I'm sorry about your husbands cancer - but I fail to see why you had to pay for an MRI. 2 of my brothers who gave had prostate cancer in the last three years, and my sister just finished treatment for oral cancer. Only one paid anything at all and that was a choice to opt for a different treatment because of other medical issues. The treatment all have had has been fantastic. Pay more Medicare levy and lefts all have easy and quick access to top quality care. I see private health as allowing the rich or better off to queue jump at the expense of the poor. If they have to pay extra then TOUGH!
    Anonymous
    5th Oct 2013
    5:02pm
    You do it is called the Commonwealth Seniors Concession and is means tested so if you cant get it may be have an income greater than $50K if single or $80K for a couple.
    http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/commonwealth-seniors-health-card
    Ink
    2nd Oct 2013
    3:25pm
    "Most of us (retired) are willing and able, healthy and willing to continue to do so for as long as it takes.
    One change I feel would help improve our economy is to give pensioners support, incentives and guidance to whomever would invest in Australia. We should also offer these things to pensioners who create jobs for the younger generation and generations to come, with tax offsets or incentives to those retirees who engage in business. "
    If retirees start a business, because they want to share skills, employ youth and aren't ready to roll over and die yet, then they are penalised. If they want to hire more retirees, penalised again, because of compo insurance. The cost is ridiculous. 60 is the new 40, so regulate as if times have changed.
    KKKKatie
    2nd Oct 2013
    4:57pm
    I may have misunderstood it but I think in Norway, everybody gets a pension at 62 whether still working, or not.
    Sillabil
    2nd Oct 2013
    4:57pm
    Grateful you misunderstood the letter, it does say that our Governments deems it to be a support but what Anonymous is saying that it SHOULDN'T be and that we should endeavour to adopt other countries way of handling this as we have worked most of our lives and paid taxes. But what happens to the many, many people whose career it was NOT to work. Unfortunately in my own life I am acquainted with a few of them. I am 74 by the way and still work about 4 hours a week.
    Grey Voter
    2nd Oct 2013
    5:00pm
    I believe that an assets test is perhaps justified in Australia for the simple reason that workers in the likes of Germany and the UK, as well as in Malta, my country of origin, actually pay a compulsory contribution towards a fund which specifically exists to pay a pension to retirees. For example, I worked from age 17 to age 34 in Malta before I emigrated to Australia and throughout those years I contributed 1/12 (or one month's salary) into the fund. On attaining the age of 61, which is the retirement age in Malta, I was allocated a pro-rata pension, no questions asked. Having said that, the law in Australia required me to apply for my Maltese pension through Centrelink (Tasmania Office) to ensure I do not exceed the poverty line in Australia ever. Even when the exchange rate of the Euro results in me receiving say $4 extra from the Maltese government, the Centrelink computer reduces my and my wife's pension accordingly ($3 each) for that fortnight. Also, the Maltese government pays a substantial bonus to all National Insurance pensioners in June and again in December each year. I am talking of a tiny island here (17 miles long and nine miles wide) with a population of 400,000 and NO natural resources AT ALL. The main income is from tourism. Yet, their pension scheme is simple to understand, fair and does not punish anyone with initiative who has worked hard all his life. You contribute throughout your working life and you retire on 2/3 of your last salary (indexed annually) for the rest of your life. Compare that with the draconian, confusing and repressive system in Australia and the inevitable conclusion is that this beautiful, rich country, in my humble opinion, is grossly mis-managed by an excessive crowd of mainly senseless / ruthless bureaucrats on multiple tiers, whose main interest is to line their pockets by increasingly and relentlessly squeezing the lower strata of society to shine in their "performance". One day there will come a leader who will have the guts to reform the archaic and unjust system of government in Australia but unfortunately all of us writing in this forum will long be dead. God Save the Queen !!!!
    Sillabil
    2nd Oct 2013
    5:09pm
    Well said, this is exactly what "anonymous" is talking about, I believe and I agree.
    Aloysius
    2nd Oct 2013
    5:01pm
    I am a self funded retiree because I saved every penny I could and did without as much as I could. My reward is that I get no support and I just get by. If I had squandered my income on a great lifestyle and saved nothing then I would get a pension. I do not see this as fair. Remember the fable about the ant and the grasshopper. Today's government would strip the ant of his assets and give them to the lazy grasshopper. Not a good model in my view.
    Renny
    2nd Oct 2013
    6:43pm
    I wonder how much tax was paid. People who have managed to accumulate a SMSF have usually also managed to minimise the tax they pay - something more difficult to do for PAYE tax payers. While minimising tax is legal, if people have - should they expect the same level of support?
    Aloysius
    2nd Oct 2013
    7:31pm
    I was a PAYE tax payer. No rorting.
    Anonymous
    4th Oct 2013
    12:10am
    Renny why don't you have yourown fund
    Renny
    4th Oct 2013
    7:15am
    I was a federal public servant and I'm now a teacher - I have no choice in fund. We've never had enough money to set up a fund. Marrying young - we spent the first half of our lives e pensively trying to have kids, and like most our age expected to get a combination aged and wife's pension so we. Old retire together. My husband only paid super for the last fifteen years of his working life, had a serious back incident and surgery at 54 and was not able to continue to work. So through all sorts of circumstances we weren't able to accumulate an SMSF. His super had to be cashed in to allow me to finish retraining at Uni - things do happen. We will be fine when I retire because I won't until I can afford to (we own our house so plan to downsize then). My issue is that at 66 and disabled, after paying tax is all his working life my husband gets sweet FA From the government. My income is just enough to support us in the cold climate we live in. I'd like to retire I before he dies really but that is looking less and likely because IMHO the government spends our taxes in the wrong places.
    moke
    2nd Oct 2013
    5:09pm
    If our politicians had to exist like most pensioners today, e.g. no lifetime perks& sometimes on the bread line, I think they would wake up and realise if it were not for the tax payer they would not be able to live the grand life they do after retirement. I wonder what is meant by a level playing field.
    Grey Voter
    2nd Oct 2013
    5:09pm
    Aloysius, I do not think it's fair to generalise in this manner. I salute your attitude but it is not true that the elderly require a pension because they have squandered all their money throughout their life. Generalisations like this are odious and hurtful.
    Sillabil
    2nd Oct 2013
    5:11pm
    Grey Voter, but you can,t say it is not true!
    Aloysius
    2nd Oct 2013
    5:39pm
    I did not suggest that you or any other person squandered but I said, correctly, that if you had squandered then you would get a pension. This model does not provide an incentive to save for your retirement, as this model penalises the savers.
    Grateful
    4th Oct 2013
    1:40pm
    Aloysius. The "saver" is not "penalised" if they contribute into a superannuation fund, either a compulsory employer funded one, or a self managed one, as the massive subsidies provided by the government through the most generous taxation benefits, provides a HUGE "incentive" to participate.

    But, watch out, all of these benefits are "on the table' and remember that the "days of entitlement are well and truly over" as Joe Hockey so plainly warned.
    The days of the media so warm and fuzzily calling our new P.M. "Tony" will become Mr Abbott, when the honeymoon is over.
    Aloysius
    8th Oct 2013
    3:32pm
    Grateful, your argument applies well to people in a higher tax bracket. I wish I had been one of those but I wasn't. 15% tax is better than 20% but doesn't add up to much when you miss out on the benefits that pensioners and health card holders enjoy. I had next to no tax deductions as a PAYE person who put 5 kids through the State school system.
    Grey Voter
    2nd Oct 2013
    5:19pm
    Sillabil, what I mean is that many strive to raise their kids, give them a good education and have their house paid by the time they are retired. Haven't you heard of the asset rich and cash poor? Just because you spent a lot of money on your family and to pay off your debts, does NOT mean you have squandered your money and should feel guilty about drawing a pension.
    Grateful
    4th Oct 2013
    2:11pm
    Grey Voter. You know the "size" of Malta. Not only do they have that clever "pension scheme" but do you ever hear them complaining about the hundreds of alsylum seekers that continually arrive on their shores from Africa? Maybe it's got something to do with the people and not just the "government"??
    Figtree
    2nd Oct 2013
    5:53pm
    Bit difficult using Germany as a reference, they have a complex set up, where employers and employees fund (compulsory) equally for an employee's retirement benefit. This has been in place since WWII. There are no lump sums available only a pension, in proportion to the amount of the funding. Ran into some problems, when East Germany came home and folks had not funded for their retirement long enough to secure a liveable amount. But for most Germans it reflects their understanding that if you don't put in you don't get out.

    As for the "Age Pension" as a "BENEFIT", it is not a benefit, was granted/promised to all Australian in return of personal income tax, being taken out of salaries and wages on a pay basis, and not only paid in a lump sum, once a year at the end of the financial year. This gave the Federal Government income to run the country on a monthly basis, instead of having heaps by the end of August and nothing for the balance of the year. Something are easily forgotten, then again somethings are not known at all.
    Grateful
    4th Oct 2013
    2:05pm
    Old Law Figtree.
    Anonymous
    5th Oct 2013
    5:28pm
    Old or not the levy has not been proven to have stopped in any of your inputs Grateful. And why are you so down on anyone who takes the stance which was fed to all for the decades.

    Work hard and pay your income taxes and a pension will be there for you. Millions now on pension were told this. Not a pipe dream because Menzies took the money that was in the Pension fund in 1950 and directed the levy to continue to be collected but to then be put into General Evenue along with the proceeds of the Pension fund which he closed so as to use the pension monies for other matters and since then it has been conventiently forgotten. Many have tried searching but found nothing.

    Why do you stick up for governments who always look after themselves better than the people and funny enough agree when deadly enemies on all else that their back pockets need filling more than others.
    lindy
    2nd Oct 2013
    6:56pm
    Unless we have paid a special tax we are not entitled to a pension like Germans unless we meet the asset test. Middle class entitlement mentally has no place in this country.
    Grateful
    4th Oct 2013
    3:41pm
    Spot on Lindy, "entitled" being the operative word.
    Davymac
    2nd Oct 2013
    7:03pm
    If one has sufficient assets to not be entitled to a pension and complains .....Wow.
    We struggled to pay our superannuation for years to provide for our retirement and this supplements our pension now. If we chose to take a lump sum then why would one expect to receive it and an asset free pension. Come on, the vaste majority of Australians having made hay while the sun shone, make no provision for their retirement, do not own a home and winge because the pension will not buy their cigs and booze. The assets test is quite generous. I for one would rather see Municipal rates free on homes of pensioners. Municipalities make negligable concessions to the people who have paid the way of the municipality for most of their lives. But they consistantly raise their rates well above inflation every year. (in Victoria the State government reduced the car registration concession and increased slightly the pensioner rate concession but it does not cover the yearly rate increase in our municipality)
    *Imagine*
    2nd Oct 2013
    8:20pm
    Pension calculations based on assets and income in Aus helps employ bureaucrats and provides an environment that fosters dishonesty as “clever” pensioners gift, hide, distribute and spend, to disguise assets and income. It is true that we have all paid and continue to pay to support each other, including those who frankly don’t deserve it.
    It is interesting that those who generally gave more to the public purse through higher tax rates usually get less in return, unless they were unfortunate enough to lose assets/income or are clever enough to have them in trusts or their children’s names. However, they do not have a monopoly on greed. It is not uncommon to hear the loudest cries for more from those who have enjoyed public support throughout their lifetime and never fully provided for themselves.

    Income Test -I worked for eleven years in the UK and more than thirty five years in Aus. My Aus pension is less than half that which I receive from the UK . Receiving a UK pension was a requirement that was ordered by CLink and I pay tax on it (in Aus). Eight percent of the UK pension is not taxed because the ATO recognise it as a return of capital that I put in, CLink don’t. The whole sum including deducted tax is assessed as income by CLink. and my Aus pension is reduced accordingly. Bizarre, working Brits, including the working poor, are paying to support me and pay Aus Tax.

    The Assets Test - we are lucky enough to own a shack that we bought in 1978 for
    $22 000 now assessed by the Valuer General’s office for Council Rates as worth $220 000 but CLink say it is worth $350 000 by their valuation. Go figure. The whole thing has become an industry.

    Clearly CLink are not using the same rules as either the ATO or the Valuer General, no wonder there is rorting, the system is broken. Just as the equitable system mentioned by zizzer was changed earlier, I’ll wager that there is now plenty of activity by CLink to find ways to tap into the trillions of dollars presently wallowing in private super funds, and growing.

    Just imagine an honest, equitable system, one where our Government wouldn’t encourage a hide and seek mentality, and the aged were given just rewards for a life of contribution and toil.
    AlbertC
    3rd Oct 2013
    9:07am
    i am 70 years old out of that 70 yrs i spent 25 of them working 2 jobs to make ends meet working approx 8 hrs a day driving trucks 10 t0 12 hrs a night on Victorian rail as a goods guard in that time i was paying twice as much tax . while somebody with the brains to be a bank manager or manager earned roughly the same money but had the privilege of being home with hi family something i was unable to do. reason we had 8 kids to bring up i could only work my part of the bringing up by earning money my wife of the time had the responsibility of the rest. i could not afford to pay money into a government assisted super fund in those days every penny counted. i now only live on basic pension with my partner who is also on a pension we live fortnight to fortnight and budget very tightly what i would like to see is people on a full pension who do most of their traveling to and throw hospitals and other places get free transport for the rest of their lives and people who are only 50 yrs of age taken off the seniors card whilst they are still working and earning good money to be honest they do not need it i know a lot of people around me that earn top dollar and get discounts on seniors card. and some of them brag about it.if you want to push the bludgers in government for reform then you have to change your approach so that the battlers get a better deal from them have a nice day
    Paddles
    3rd Oct 2013
    10:11am
    The unfavourable comparison with the German pension scheme is true enough but the writer neglected to factor in, or mention, that the German scheme was started as part of the post war reconstruction of that state and that means that they had more than 40 years of operation before Australia introduced the Superannuation Guarantee Levy which was (and still is) an impost on employers

    The whole thrust of the complainants letter, like much of the writing on this topic, confuses superannuation with pension. Superannuation is mainly a return of workers' subscriptions augmented by investment returns over the period in which it is contributed. Pensions, on the other hand, are paid out of consolidated revenue or taxation collections.

    Some countries, such as the United Kingdom, have both schemes running in tandem with elements of entitlement fully portable. There are many former UK residents living full time or even, as naturalised Australians, who continue to draw on the British scheme.

    To arrive at a better understanding of the Australian scheme and its necessary limitations, your correspondent should consider the basic truth that NO GOVERNMENT CAN GIVE YOU ANYTHING THAT THEY HAVE NOT TAKEN OFF SOMEONE ELSE!
    Anonymous
    5th Oct 2013
    2:31pm
    Paddles - I'm quite happy to have my pension money taken off the get-rich-quick real-estate developers - the corporate executives on $500K a year - the CEO's on $5M or $10M a year - and the billionaires who have paid virtually no tax because they employed dozens of sleazebag lawyers and accountants to set up trusts in tax havens!
    Nightshade
    3rd Oct 2013
    10:22am
    "To at least have the very basic existence " as Grateful says

    Is exactly what it is.
    We grovel & are grateful for the crumbs we are thrown.
    The reason the pensionable age has risen/gone up & up - 67 years old now before you can qualify.
    IS TO KEEP YOU ON THE DOLE/UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS -
    WE ARE THEN REGISTERED WITH AN / THE EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES -
    WHICH MANAGES US -
    WHICH GETS PAID TO MANAGE US -
    PAID
    PAID
    PAID
    PAID
    WHO PAYS ??????????????????
    WHO IS GETTING PAID ??????????????????
    WHO IS PAYING ?????????????????????
    WHICH POOL OF MONIES PAYS THE EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES ??????????????
    IT COULD NOT BE
    TAX PAYER MONIES - COULD IT ????????????????????

    So what has happened is that they have TAKEN what should be given in aged pensions & given it to the EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES -

    WHO OWNS THE EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES ...... ?
    Not the banks
    AND
    Discrete OTHER BODIES
    UNLAWFUL IS WHAT IT IS...

    Especially seeing how there are no jobs
    And they are deliberately dismantling the work place for the Australian workers.

    AND THERE IS NO TRAINING FROM THE EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES - go figure !

    Might I just add that it is BORROWED MONEY AT HIGH INTEREST that is being paid to the Employment agencies = looting the nations credit capacity.
    All illegal in the eyes of the law.
    How about that.
    Nightshade
    3rd Oct 2013
    10:32am
    TRUST ME.
    THEY WILL FIGURE OUT HOW TO EXTRACT EVERYTHING FROM, US FORTH WITH.
    ONE DOLLAR AT A TIME.
    They will even come with pliers just in case someone has gold teeth.
    Waste not want not.

    In the meantime did we all see on (was it) 4 CORNERS .../? how the R.B.A .
    THREW THE GAZILLIONS AROUND
    Trying to sell the plastic money technology .../?

    Like no one else on this planet can invent a similar product / that is not exactly the same / therefore it is original & does not breech patent restrictions.
    Other nations do not want plastic money because ...

    COUNTERFEITING IS A LUCRATIVE BUSINESS ALL AROUND THE WORLD
    FROM THE GOVERNMENTS & BANKS DOWN ARE ACTIVELY ENGAGED ....
    FrankC
    3rd Oct 2013
    4:43pm
    I have been saying many times that this country should cut down on its overseas charity handout, and concentrate on those people that have worked all their working lives to make this country a great place to live, and have supported all these charitable dollars in their taxes something the governments past and present , don't seem to realise. I said to Julia that charity begins at home, because they wanted to increase payments to $8-9 billion by 2015-16; PNG and Indonesia were getting just over $1 billion each. I wonder what happens to it n Indonesia ??!!
    Anonymous
    4th Oct 2013
    12:17am
    Tony is cutting it
    Grateful
    4th Oct 2013
    2:07pm
    Not the only thing that he will be cutting either Pete. Just ask Joe Hockey.
    Virginia
    4th Oct 2013
    2:26pm
    Miserable and mean ... are those who through no fault of their own live in the lucky country and they still gripe and moan "I haven't got enough" "My Million(s) prevents me getting the pension" Spend your money on travel is the best advice I can give you...... Go to one of those countries where the inhabitants through no fault of their own live subsistant and hungry lives. Spend your money there and then you can come back and get the pension.
    I am not religeous I am not a do gooder but a lot of people make me sick to my stomach... so righeous are they and so undeserving.
    Abby
    7th Oct 2013
    11:10am
    Well said Virginia
    If everybody went and spent their money and then came back and claimed a pension some of our pensioners that are so well righteous would feel the sting as their share would lessen.

    4th Oct 2013
    2:32pm
    Part of income tax was supposed to go toward pension.....I think it was 10% but governments did not invest it. I am 85% self supported but get some from C link and the other benefits and I feel sorry for those who rely on the old age pension alone. You could have paid into super schemes like I did so you only yourselves to blame if you are feeling the pinch now. The current super schemes now are private enterprise rackets and should be taken over by an HA HA honest government.
    Grateful
    4th Oct 2013
    4:09pm
    Just a reminder to everyone, from 20 September, the combined full rate of pension for couples who own their own home works out at $2,834 per month, around $700 per week. No king's ransom, but, not bad for a "pittance" and if that's not "enough" then, maybe, those should have a really good look at their own expenditure levels. It's the ones that are Single and/or those that don't own their own homes that must be battling big time.
    Imagine how much all of these recipients COULD get if the pension was only given to the genuine needy and not to those with $1.2 million or on $50,000 and $80,000 p.a.!!!
    Grateful
    4th Oct 2013
    4:09pm
    Just a reminder to everyone, from 20 September, the combined full rate of pension for couples who own their own home works out at $2,834 per month, around $700 per week. No king's ransom, but, not bad for a "pittance" and if that's not "enough" then, maybe, those should have a really good look at their own expenditure levels. It's the ones that are Single and/or those that don't own their own homes that must be battling big time.
    Imagine how much all of these recipients COULD get if the pension was only given to the genuine needy and not to those with $1.2 million or on $50,000 and $80,000 p.a.!!!
    Anonymous
    7th Oct 2013
    2:39pm
    Fully self funded...get nothing from government whatsoever. Have friends put all money into a massive home costing over $2M...now getting pension, living on smell of oily rag to pay rates etc.

    Why!! Because they want the darn pension. For goodness sake if people have the funds to support themselves why not do so. Ok it sticks in your craw at times when you have to pay full everything for untilities, rates etc. but surely it is better to not be beholden to Centrelink for every move you make.

    The pension is there for those who need it, not for those to connive and work out how to hide assets etc in order to get part pension and the pension card.

    Governments have warned for years that belt tightening may have to occur re welfare...all the newcomers to this country for instance, never paid any taxes, but go straight onto benefits and many will never work. We have to get real in this country; there is not a bottomless pit of money and as the rules state it is not there to keep you in the manner to which you were accustomed when you were in the workforce.
    Poppysmum
    8th Oct 2013
    11:00am
    I have a trust, and will continue to draw from it just the bare minimum I need to live on, plus a few little luxuries, so that I NEVER have to join the CentreLink line!


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