17th Oct 2018
The key to older baby boomers’ prosperity
Author: Janelle Ward
Poverty growing among older baby boomers

Financial helpline counsellors say they are on track to receive a record number of calls from older Australians struggling in poverty.

National Debt Helpline financial counsellor Greg, who has been at the call centre for 14 years, said most calls related to older Australians unable to pay rent or meet mortgage repayments. “The phones just never stop now,” he told the ABC website. “You put the phone down, you pick the phone up again.”

The Poverty in Australia 2018 report, published yesterday by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) in partnership with the University of New South Wales, said housing status was the critical factor that determined whether older people lived in poverty.

It found that 43 per cent of tenants aged 65 years and over lived in poverty, compared with just 12 per cent of all older people.

It found Australia had the 14th highest poverty rate among 34 OECD countries and was in a group of English-speaking wealthy nations with above-average poverty levels.

The Salvation Army’s financial counselling service, Moneycare, reported a similar spike in calls from Australians aged 55 and over seeking help to deal with “severe debt” – debt that it estimates is more than six times a person's annual disposable income.

“The trigger may be someone who can't afford hot water, that's when they connect with us," financial counsellor Kristen Hartnett told abc.net.au.

“For someone else it might be legal action, or someone says they can't afford the next bill.

“People are trying to do the best they can, but we want them to connect with us so that we can see what they can do to take some of that stress off them.”

She said the number of callers to Moneycare had increased by 37 per cent in the past 10 years.

“I think it's the change in circumstances,” Ms Hartnett said.

“People hit retirement, and they're still carrying heavy debt with mortgages and credit cards.”

Commsec economist Ryan Felsman said that while many baby boomers had reaped the benefits of the property boom, those on lower incomes had struggled and warned that their situation was likely to get worse.

“What we're seeing with the data is that if you're a pensioner, really that's the type of person that's under pressure," he said.

“If you're a self-funded retiree, generally you've accumulated enough savings over time to live a fairly comfortable life.

“It's mainly people on government transfers and welfare payments that are struggling in this environment.”

Australians struggling with debt should call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007007 or go to the website.

Were you able to take advantage of the property boom? Do you believe Age Pensioners  should be able to rent and still enjoy a dignified lifestyle?

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    COMMENTS

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    17th Oct 2018
    9:47am
    It’s the salvation army’s job and self interest to come up with such reports
    Those 43% so called poverty level tenants can easily be fixed . Salvation Army should help them move to cheaper rent cities and towns
    Old Geezer
    17th Oct 2018
    10:57am
    There was a recent study done where the average wealth over those over 65 was $1.3 million. Now wonder they are a prosperous lot.
    johnp
    17th Oct 2018
    12:16pm
    does that $1.3M include the family home ??
    1984
    17th Oct 2018
    12:21pm
    So where's the link to the study?
    Old Geezer
    17th Oct 2018
    1:58pm
    I'll post it when I find it.
    1984
    18th Oct 2018
    1:15am
    So you haven't found it yet, have you looked in your fantasy file or "I'm full of it" folder lol
    Farside
    18th Oct 2018
    3:37pm
    Distribution of wealth is highly asymmetric so $1.3m might be right for the "average" person (or is household) aged over 65 however I am sure the median would be much lower and the mode lower again.

    For what it's worth the most recent ABS tables for this were from 2011-12 and showed the mean over 65 wealth was around $600k.
    Old Geezer
    18th Oct 2018
    4:57pm
    Nope not in my I'm full of it folder or my fantasy file.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    21st Oct 2018
    7:30am
    Is this what you are looking for OG?

    https://startsat60.com/money/saving/research-reveals-the-biggest-financial-concerns-of-older-australians
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    22nd Oct 2018
    5:51pm
    Yes, he'd be dumb enough to quote unvalidated waffle.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Oct 2018
    2:08pm
    Thanks VCBB that's the one.

    I hope you are not calling me dumb OGR as you know what they say it's takes a dumber person to pick a dumb one.
    Old Man
    17th Oct 2018
    11:43am
    Sorry Janelle, this article is meaningless. It's nice to quote statistics but statistics mean nothing without actual numbers. Sure, phones may not stop ringing but how many lines are there? How many people work there to answer the phones? What is the duration of the calls? Mark Twain popularised the phrase, attributed to Disraeli, that there are "Lies, damned lies and statistics."
    Cowboy Jim
    17th Oct 2018
    11:48am
    You will always find poverty if you actively look for it. Mate of mine lives with his partner of 40 years and now they are on 2 single full pension with rent assistance. He always claims he is poor and it's hard to make ends meet. So with about $43'000 per year for 2 oldies and if asked - of course they are in dire straights.
    So the report to me is absolutely meaningless.
    Old Geezer
    17th Oct 2018
    1:06pm
    I know similar couple where she owns the house and he claims rent assistance.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    18th Oct 2018
    6:59am
    I know a woman who built a luxury home and fakes disability (has certificate saying she's ''mentally disabled' but is able to travel the world, arrange construction of a luxury water-view home, get a master's degree, and mount repeated court cases challenging relative's wills!). She moved her gay lover in, claiming to be her ''carer'', so both get full pensions with a bit extra for the 'carer' and the 'carer' pays rent and claims rent assistance. All up, they have a very high income, especially since the will contests resulted in the home owner having maximum allowed savings.

    What does 'knowing someone' prove, Cowboy and OG. That the system is flawed? Yes it is. Shockingly and hideously. And the flaws are both driving poverty and harming the economy. That not everyone is poor in retirement? Obviously! OG constantly boasts about being well-off.

    It's totally irrelevant what someone you know is doing. What matters is that a significant number of folk are struggling and the system should be changed to address that.

    The sensible way to change it is to stop rent assistance, pay a universal but fully taxed age pension at an adequate rate, and setup a hardship prevention system in consultation with charities. Handouts based on claimed need simply drive more claims of need - and less saving and planning.
    The current system incentivises cheating and manipulation and punishes responsible living.

    I want to see those without homes housed adequately, but I want to see fewer people retiring without homes. Vast numbers of aged renters COULD have owned a home, if they had planned and saved and sacrificed the way most of us homeowners did. I'm sick of hearing about ''luck''. I had NONE. I worked my guts out, and now I'm supposedly ''lucky'' and every penny I earned is benefiting the taxpayer, while my income is less than that of pensioners. If the system continues to operate in that manner, we will have fewer and fewer people saving for retirement.

    Fortunately, the family home is currently exempt from the pension assets test, and there is still an incentive to own a home. For how long? That exemption is part of the problem, because it drives people to buy expensive homes so they get a pension they don't need, and then there's less to pay pensions to those who do need it.

    Aged pension reform is way overdue, and if it's to achieve the results it should seek, it will be the abolition of this ridiculous notion of ''needs-based welfare'' and the introduction of a system that - as in most other countries - respects the aged and rewards endeavour and responsible living. When people can enjoy their savings, they will save more. When there is no benefit in over-investing in housing, there will be less of it and a healthier property market.
    Cowboy Jim
    18th Oct 2018
    9:30am
    Well written OGR - a lot of which I agree. I would like to see a full pension for aged people but with everyone paying tax on everything they receive including the pension. That is how it works in most countries where the old are not on welfare but on an entitlement, and if they have more than others they pay more tax.
    At the present time we have two different types of pensioner and sometimes we seem to point fingers at each other which is not needed. A full pension, superannuation and some private income counted and taxed would make us equal and would not undermine the productivity of the nation.
    Also agree about the housing market being overvalued because that is the single asset people can transfer to the next generation without paying a contribution to the tax man. A healthy inheritance tax for properties worth over, say, $1.5 million would also help to constrain the runaway prices of property.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    18th Oct 2018
    11:08am
    If only there were a political party with the common sense to address these issues logically, Cowboy Jim. But they seem only capable of putting useless bandages on the injuries in the current broken system and mostly the bandages make it much, much worse!
    Farside
    18th Oct 2018
    3:47pm
    so it seems many people "know" pensioners who are gaming/rorting the system to their advantage yet seemingly unable to bring these alleged rorts to the attention of those who might investigate the veracity of the claim and put a stop to it. Perhaps if light was shone on more such cases the case for long overdue reform along the lines mentioned by Jim might receive serious consideration.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    8:37am
    Farside, I've reported and asked for investigation. It goes nowhere. The rorters know their way around the system. Those who are caught - or unfairly victimised - suffer because they don't know the loopholes and they don't have the connections.

    Many years ago, I was applying for jobs - absolutely desperate, with a sick partner and young children to support and a mortgage. I learned that a CES employee had promised a friend from interstate a plum job in our area if she chose to relocate. That friend was not well qualified for the position, and as I lived in a high unemployment area, there was government edit that the CES was not permitted to assist non-locals into jobs unless either there was definitely no eligible candidate living locally or the applicant had special approval of need on compassionate grounds. Neither was the case. This employee was simply looking after a friend - illegally. I happened to be friends with the local MP at the time, so I mentioned what was happening to him. I had a terrific job offer the next day, but the interstate applicant got her job and moved. A few years later, this CES employee was working in a different govt department, and suddenly a lot of her friends were getting disability pensions, despite appearing to be perfectly healthy and able to work.
    I again spoke to the local MP and guess what? The employee in question was PROMOTED - now not assessing disability applications directly, but instructing others who were assessing.

    You are right, Farside. People know pensioners who are gaming/rorting the system. But there's nothing anyone can realistically do about it. You might recall Big Bear boasting how he quite legally gamed the system. It would take a diligent and intelligent politician and a large totally non-corrupt band of government employees to stop the gaming, and neither exists.
    Old Geezer
    19th Oct 2018
    10:53am
    OGR 80% of jobs today are not advertised at all.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    11:50am
    What an idiotic comment, OG. What has that got to do with the discussion? Nothing at all! You continue to astound me with your rubbish comments that make no sense.
    Noodles
    21st Oct 2018
    9:21am
    I agree also with what you said OGR. Taking away the incentive to save for your retirement is not a good thing at all. We do not want everyone on welfare in their retirement years. Only those who genuinely need it should get it. Less on it more for those who are in "genuine" need.

    So much rorting the system going on but how to crack down on it??? We all, I am sure, know of those who are divesting themselves of assets one way or another purely to get access to a part pension.

    A total overhaul of the welfare system needs doing and the sooner it is done the better.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    21st Oct 2018
    3:55pm
    Noodles, it precisely the ''only those who genuinely need it should get it'' edict that is causing the problem. You'll NEVER stop rorting. The only way needs-based welfare can ever work is to stop manipulation and cheating, and that's not possible. The solution is a universal aged pension, like in every other nation. Then the incentive to save is not removed and people can benefit from working and saving. Apply fair taxation to retirement income and EVERYONE will be better off, plus we'll save a fortune in administration and policing costs.
    Jim
    17th Oct 2018
    11:57am
    Non of this can be true, we baby boomers are all wealthy, or at least according to the current generation we are, and our greed is the cause of all of their problems.
    Cowboy Jim
    17th Oct 2018
    11:59am
    Thanks for the laugh!!
    Old Geezer
    17th Oct 2018
    12:11pm
    I agree. I get given a hamper every Christmas because they tell me that I am more deserving than most of those they give them too.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    18th Oct 2018
    7:23am
    And you accept it and keep it because you are a thief, stealing from people in genuine need and faking an excuse that - according to your flawed and uninformed judgement - others need it less.
    Old Geezer
    18th Oct 2018
    5:09pm
    OGR there must be lots of thieves then.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    8:28am
    That's the lame excuse most dishonest folk use to justify themselves. Everyone else is doing it so it's okay. No, OG. It's NOT okay, no matter how many others MIGHT be doing it (and everyone else isn't!). It's theft. It's dishonest. It's disgusting.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Oct 2018
    2:09pm
    Just proves I am more deserving than most of those who do get a hamper.
    floss
    17th Oct 2018
    12:32pm
    I am a great supporter of the Salvation Army as my dad told me about the great work they did in the last war.We should give as much as we can afford.
    Jim
    17th Oct 2018
    12:44pm
    Absolutely agree, my old man thought they were the bees knees and always encouraged us to make a donation when they came round the pub on Saturday nights.
    Triss
    17th Oct 2018
    9:25pm
    My dad was the same, Floss.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    11:51am
    They do a lot of good. One of the few organisations that genuinely delivers what it claims to aim for.
    floss
    17th Oct 2018
    12:35pm
    I hope you gave the hamper back O.G.
    Old Geezer
    17th Oct 2018
    12:38pm
    No we enjoy one every Christmas. Just got asked what sort of turkey I would like too.
    Paddington
    17th Oct 2018
    12:58pm
    OG, you are a stirrer! You say anything that will cause a shock and awe response!
    Old Geezer
    17th Oct 2018
    2:01pm
    Sadly those hampers are given to those who should not be getting them but because their money management skills are lacking money just slips through their figures.
    Rae
    17th Oct 2018
    2:35pm
    I'll never forget the wonderful local doctor who delivered a hamper and toys the Christmas after my husband was killed. It was such a kind gesture and ensured we had a nice Christmas.
    Old Geezer
    17th Oct 2018
    3:56pm
    Rae some people need those hampers but when you deliver them to mcmansion after mcmansion you really have to wonder.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    18th Oct 2018
    7:21am
    Got a hamper one year, when we were really doing it very tough due to illness and high costs for a special needs child. Also got help with her medical bills, which was really appreciated. The year our baby nearly died there was no hamper, but the Salvation Army ladies cleaned my house, did the washing and ironing, setup and decorated a Christmas tree with gifts under it for the other children, and left a cooked turkey and Christmas cake and a casserole in the oven for Christmas Eve dinner. They knew I'd spent all my time at the hospital for weeks and had not had a chance to even think about making Christmas special for the other children.

    If I got a hamper I didn't need, I would certainly return it. I was deeply grateful for the help in a times of genuine need, but I have no tolerance for the arrogant pigs who exploit charity and make cruel judgements of those who genuinely need it. Yes, many take it who don't need it, and that does not excuse gross dishonesty and greed, OG. How do you think adding your mcmansion to the delivery list solves the problem of misplaced charity? It only makes it worse.

    What you are doing is vile and disgraceful. It's theft - pure and simple. You are well off because you are a common thief.
    Old Geezer
    18th Oct 2018
    5:11pm
    OGR you are only jealous as you don't get offered one.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    8:27am
    No, OG. I could never be 'jealous' of someone because they profit from theft and dishonesty. If I wanted to be a thief, and have a more than I need by stealing from others, I have plenty of opportunity. I just have superior morals and ethics.

    BTW. I am often offered. I graciously decline and offer to donate a few cans of food instead
    Old Geezer
    19th Oct 2018
    10:59am
    OGR you are such a fool in that You cut off your nose to spite your face. Of course it is not stealing to accept gifts from gift givers as not to do is being nothing but ungrateful and insulting to the gift giver. I believe in paying it forward and being doing so one must graciously accept anything given in return. That's how it all works.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    11:49am
    Christmas hampers for the needy are NOT gifts, OG. They are charity. They are meant for those who genuinely need them - not for greedy, self-serving thieves.

    Paying it forward means thinking of others ahead of yourself. To pay it forward, you GIVE. You don't TAKE except when you are in genuine need of what is offered. Then you take gratefully, but with the intention to repay by giving to others whose needs you may have the capacity to reduce. It is simply a concept of repayment not to the giver directly, but to society, so that the giver's generosity benefits the community and not just the recipient.

    You are not paying it forward. You are stealing. You are making a total mockery of the entire concept of paying it forward, being selfish in the extreme.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    11:53am
    PS. Read again, OG. I took it when I needed it. I was deeply grateful. I showed my gratitude by doing whatever I could for others, at every opportunity, and NEVER taking more than I genuinely needed. That's paying it forward.
    Old Geezer
    19th Oct 2018
    12:16pm
    OGR so when I am offered a couple of free nights on the Gold Coast I should decline because I am not needy. What about all those dinners at other people's place. I shouldn't go because I am not needy.

    OGR you have no idea about what paying it forward means. I give heaps away so why shouldn't I accept with gratitude what others offer me including Christmas hampers and turkeys. I take excess produce to the food store for the needy and the lady says we have been given lots of this would you like to take some? Why shouldn't I accept as they have more than they need for the needy. Not to do so is being wasteful. It is truly amazing in that the more you give much much comes back too.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    5:17pm
    OG, free nights on the Gold Coast are not ''charity for the needy'. They are incentives of some kind aimed at people who can afford to take up an offer that profits the supplier. Dinner at a friend's house is a social occasion. It's not intended as charity and it's not focused on the needy.

    You are deliberately distorting the facts to justify your unconscionable behaviour - and it IS unconscionable. You are misrepresenting the pay it forward concept for personal gain, and that's disgraceful.

    People who give don't take charity that they don't need, knowing it's intended for others. It's that simple. What you are doing is stealing. If it were a fact that it would be wasted if you didn't take it (and it's NOT), there would not be a problem of so many going hungry. We wouldn't have people raiding garbage bins for food. Whether they are where they are through misfortune or mismanagement (and I suspect more often it's the latter) the fact is that there ARE needy and hungry people out there. And you are stealing their daily sustenance.
    Old Geezer
    19th Oct 2018
    5:37pm
    I guess I'll just have to be one of the hungry needy people in your Eyes OGR.
    Old Geezer
    20th Oct 2018
    5:54pm
    OGR free nights on the Gold Coast have no strings at all attached other then I am a good fellow.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    21st Oct 2018
    11:42am
    Everything free has strings attached, OG. And no, you are not one of the hungry needy. You are a greedy, self-serving, narcissistic thief.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Oct 2018
    12:36pm
    OGR I see it as getting something back for all the taxes I paid over the years and still pay. Also remember if you help someone good karma comes back to one many times over.
    ex PS
    23rd Oct 2018
    11:35am
    So all those people that OG insists are on welfare really aren't, they are simply accepting gifts from the Australian Government, it would be rude not to do so. Alternatively, for all his talk about welfare, O.G. is actually accepting welfare from a charity organisation, a true leaner.
    At last the truth is heard. I do not begrudge him, he just hasn't been able to put enough aside to look after himself, maybe he can take some basic courses in financial management, nothing too complex, just basics, so that he can take it in little bit at a time. Who knows, maybe one day he will be advanced enough to even have his own Bank Account.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Oct 2018
    3:46pm
    No mere bank account for me.
    Jim
    17th Oct 2018
    12:41pm
    What is poverty, I was born in the 40’s, 3 meals a day would have been a dream, I don’t recall being particularly hungry, but meals consisted of one main meal, usually the meal was spuds and veggies and sometimes a bit of home made bread, if we were lucky we might have a bit of meat on Sundays, that would have been if mam could get hold of a scrap end of something, we were still on rations that didn’t end until 1953, the one thing I don’t recall is obesity, as I have said I don’t recall being hungry but then I don’t recall the many disadvantages we must have had, everyone else was in the same boat so it wouldn’t have been obvious, I do recall every now and then we would get a pair of rabbits, I could never understand why they always came in pairs.
    Old Man
    17th Oct 2018
    12:51pm
    I don't know the definition of poverty, Jim, but the definition of being rich is having 5¢ more than you need. BTW, I like a nice pair.
    Old Geezer
    18th Oct 2018
    5:13pm
    As a kid I used to trap rabbits, catch fish and every wild ducks for our dinner. Even had an odd roo as well.
    almost a grey hair
    17th Oct 2018
    1:02pm
    cowboy Jim. I hope your mate and their partner of 40 yrs do not present as a couple as claiming any allowance or pension from Centrelink, paid for by the taxpayer might just be a tad illegal and may need to be repaid or possibly a jail sentence if it was found that the oversight was intentional. Loose lips sink ships !!!
    Cowboy Jim
    17th Oct 2018
    5:41pm
    If you have got stuff all and you are in your 70s in this country you cannot ever repay and they won't put you in jail. Yes they are always together, not one without the other; had some problems re C/Link and went to a tribunal and got away with it so far and that is years. I am sure there are a lot of them, would try it myself but I DO have assets and I would have to repay so I do not even consider it.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    18th Oct 2018
    7:32am
    There are lots of them, almost grey. My neighbours are a couple but claim to just reside together. Couple up the street have been happily married for 45 years but built a house with bedroom suites at either end and common living in the middle and claim to be ''separated'' so both get single pensions. I know a woman who fakes disability (has done for 30 years) but moved her gay lover into her luxury (inherited) home as her 'carer', charging her rent so she can get rent assistance to increase their joint Centrelink income. It's common, and the only way to fix it is to wake up to the reality that needs-based welfare creates need, and pay a universal aged pension - fully taxed.
    Old Geezer
    18th Oct 2018
    5:15pm
    OGR there are many couples just like that.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    8:25am
    Yes, OG. There are. Which is why I continue to say the pension system is a disaster and needs reform. But you continue to support the status quo, despite recognising the flaws. I can only assume you are somehow taking unfair advantage of the system. Otherwise, why endorse it?
    Old Geezer
    22nd Oct 2018
    12:38pm
    OGR I know all the flaws and good luck to those who use them. I just love the one where a couple buy the most expensive house they can so they collect the OAP and then downsize when they run out of money. That is a real winner for me.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    22nd Oct 2018
    5:51pm
    So you want the economy be stuffed and people to suffer? Good on you, you vile creep.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Oct 2018
    2:06pm
    The only thing keeping our economy afloat is immigration.
    Paddington
    17th Oct 2018
    1:12pm
    Boomers covers a generation so older ones would be worse off most likely. The ones around 60 or younger could be possibly in a better position. Older ones in seventies and eighties are not boomers.
    Renters would be worse off than home owners and they are! Being in debt in your sixties and seventies would be very unfortunate. If one can manage no more than to retire in zero debt and own your own home and have someone to share your retirement with, life is pretty good.
    Where people choose to live cannot be dictated to. They need their families and support systems in place. This could be medical as well. Not everyone wants to live in a small town or remote place. People should be allowed to choose. Of course money is a concern but shifting someone to whoop woop because privileged people say so is unAustralian and heartless.
    Judgmental people on here never disappoint with their cruel comments.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    18th Oct 2018
    7:48am
    So what is the solution, Paddington? Keep stealing the savings of those who worked their guts out to achieve comfort in old age to hand out more to those who didn't and those who couldn't? It hasn't worked. It isn't working. It won't work.
    We need a system that rewards effort and responsible living fairly. I support being charitable, and showing respect and empathy for those who genuinely struggled, but society can't afford to give every battler the life they aspire to.

    I couldn't afford to live where I NEEEDED to live (for health reasons and family support) when I was working my guts out and paying taxes. But now people like me are supposed to live on less than the pension so others who may or may not have done it tougher than I did can live where they choose?

    I'm not among the judgemental and I do not lack empathy or compassion. Nor do I fool myself into thinking that everyone had the same opportunities. But it is a fact that many who struggle were far less willing to sacrifice and save in their younger life, and those who didn't really do it tough are the most likely to now be the most demanding. People who knew real struggle tend to have lower expectations.

    I don't support moving anyone to 'whoop whoop', but I think we have to recognise that needs-based welfare creates more need. And that's contributing to destroying our economy. People who live on other people's money have to accept that they can't have the standard of living they aspire to.

    I wish I had a solution that those in power would recognise as a solution and adopt. Sadly, I see things getting much worse, because we are governed by self-serving, greedy fools who have no clue how to fix the nation's ills - and most likely no desire to.

    I do see moving people to affordable accommodation as reasonable, so long as that accommodation is close to facilities and accessible for family visits. Lots of big country towns have very affordable house prices. People living on handouts should not expect to be able to stay in expensive areas of the big cities that those funding their lifestyle could NEVER even dream of affording. I daresay a lot of taxpayers would love to live in inner Sydney or Melbourne, but they can't!
    Nan Norma
    17th Oct 2018
    1:20pm
    People on single pensions paying private rent are struggling. And their chances of getting government housing are almost zero as many gov. houses have gone refugees. I know this because I'm seeing it all around me.
    KSS
    17th Oct 2018
    1:38pm
    Um this is from the National Debt Helpline, aided and abetted by The Salvation Army’s financial counselling service, Moneycare, Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) all of whom only deal with people unable, unwilling or incapable of managing their own finances. No wonder then that perceptions are as they are. And we are including those of 55 who have another good 10 years before 'retirement'! (Settle down, yes there may may be some who have health issues, others who have been made redundant or divorced and a host of other 'victims' in those numbers, but you cannot use these as an excuse for all!)

    And what's with this boomers took 'advantage' of the property boom nonsense? The vast majority worked hard and sacrificed just to keep a modest roof over their family's heads. Some may have a single investment property of 'holiday home' which was intended not only for family holidays over the years but as some kind of surety in retirement. There was no 'advantage' being taken at all.

    According the ABS there are 3.6 million retirees (Dec 2017) so how many are we talking about?
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    18th Oct 2018
    7:27am
    Property boom? First we had to survive 17%+++ interest rates while struggling to raise and educate kids and keep a roof over their heads. And for vast numbers of us, that was done on low wages because we never got to go to school past age 15 - got the Intermediate if you were lucky! Now we are hearing how we all had free uni education! What a joke. You had to be lucky enough to come from a family who would keep you at school to Leaving Certificate level first!
    Rae
    18th Oct 2018
    10:55am
    One thing we don't hear about are the skilled migrants coming from countries where Tertiary education is free arriving here to compete with our kids who have to pay tens of thousands for their training. That isn't exactly fair in my opinion.
    Old Geezer
    18th Oct 2018
    5:21pm
    I have been lobbying Labor over its promises to put more money into schools. What is the point if the kids can't get jobs when they leave or worse still go to uni and have debts so big they become wage slaves for the years when they should be focused on rising a family. Labor answer is to put more money into child care. They really just don't get it at all or maybe their is a hidden agenda as they think it is simply stupid to pay parents to stay at home and look after their kids instead of paying expensive childcare for them to go to work. No wonder we have a falling birth rate and need to import so many migrants. Our society as we know it has changed for the worse over all these stupid policies.
    BElle
    17th Oct 2018
    1:49pm
    When we were retrenched in our late 50's the pension was about 50% of the average income.
    19 years on it is now only about 30% and that is as a couple. Single pensioners fare even worse. Its high time this and other Governments started to take responsibility of the older generation. The generation that has worked hard, paid their taxes, support previous retirees in the latter years and are now expected to finance themselves in retirement. Double Jeoparty.
    Swinging voter
    17th Oct 2018
    1:55pm
    And some green-eyed monsters promote the idea that the family home should be included in the assets test which, over time, would reduce the incentive to go without many things in order to have a paid-up roof over their heads in retirement. Oftentimes those who say they can't live on the pension (that was never meant to pay for internet, car rego, car insurance, holidays, mobile phone) are those who were living large while the home-owners were going without. Baby boomers were hard working, thrifty and sensible role models. I've got little time for people who worked all their lives finishing up in rental accommodation, unless it is the result of genuine hardship.
    Old Geezer
    17th Oct 2018
    1:59pm
    Met a couple yesterday building a $2.5 million mcmansion so they can retire on the old age pension.
    Anonymous
    17th Oct 2018
    3:17pm
    And OG , I bet there will be complaining the pension isnt enough and want it raised

    How many of the 43% are like that - spend on unecessary stuff and go to salvation army to get stuff. Of course the salvo's love these people, Justifies their donations and grants and tax free status
    Old Geezer
    17th Oct 2018
    3:54pm
    Most of the poverty in Australia today is due to the poor choices people make. You cold double their welfare but the same problems would still exist. It has nothing to do with the amount of money they receive but what they do with that money that is the problem. Enough is never enough for most people especially those on welfare.
    Cowboy Jim
    17th Oct 2018
    5:54pm
    OG - here the Govt would get the extra welfare back again through all that gambling. I have got 18 venues with pokies within walking distance from my front door. The casino is a bus trip away, or as a member you catch the courtesy bus.
    Cowboy Jim
    17th Oct 2018
    5:58pm
    Old Geezer - there is nothing illegal what they are doing with the McMansions, have myself to blame for living in a modest place on a part pension instead of a big one on full pension. Just cannot see the reason for it unless you want to make your rellies rich which is possible here without an inheritance tax.
    Old Geezer
    17th Oct 2018
    6:43pm
    Yes I know there is nothing illegal with those McMansions and I think we are about to see a lot more of them. I believe they are now running seminars on a strategy where a couple buys a house with all their money except what they can have for a full pension. Idea then is to downsize when you cash runs out and keep doing it. You not only have the full OAP plus benefits but a pension exempt asset that is also free of capital gains tax etc.
    Triss
    17th Oct 2018
    9:38pm
    OG, it seems whenever someone posts “you know someone”. A study shows 65 yo average wealth is $1.3 million...A couple where she owns the house and he gets rent assistance...A couple building a $2 million house so they can get the pension...
    Farside
    18th Oct 2018
    3:57pm
    "strategy where a couple buys a house with all their money except what they can have for a full pension. Idea then is to downsize when you cash runs out and keep doing it. You not only have the full OAP plus benefits but a pension exempt asset that is also free of capital gains tax etc." ... sounds like a winner to me so long as the family home is excluded from the assets test.
    Farside
    18th Oct 2018
    4:00pm
    @Triss, it's not just OG who knows someone; this is one of those rare occasions where OGR and her nemesis OG know someone. I guess the take away is that there are plenty of pensioners gaming the current system in the absence of action from our elected representatives to put a stop to it.
    Cosmo
    17th Oct 2018
    3:05pm
    Sorry but as well meaning as I am sure the poverty charity sector is, I cant help believing that it has created a poverty industry. When I retired 14 years ago with an economics, business and social research background and an early personal history of poverty and struggling parents, I contacted all the major aid charities and offered free of charge to research the root causes of poverty and what could be done to help people help themselves at an early stage. The aim was to enable the charities to divert some of their attention to poverty and hardship prevention. There was no interest whatsoever, all they were interested in was more money to keep doing what they are doing and of course to expand as they have done so. Oh, one charity did offer me a job as a counsellor but then reneged because I wasn't Catholic. As a nation we seem blind to the idea of ever asking the question 'Why' and how do we help fix or reduce it, to all of our social challenges, we just turn a blind eye while complaining that we reluctantly have to keep spending more money on band-aid solutions..
    Cheezil61
    17th Oct 2018
    5:07pm
    Cosmo that would've provided interesting & valuable info, such a shame it didn't happen (truth revealed not welcome)! Tax payers would learn a lot about this info. It would be nice to know if our donations to charity are actually going to where the moneyis genuinely needed rather than to pokies addictions & alcoholics & chainsmokers etc.
    Old Geezer
    17th Oct 2018
    5:22pm
    Unfortunately charity are now big business and they don't want to change. It is like cancer in that it is f no interest for anyone to actually find a cure. So much money is wasted in these doomed projects that could be doing a lot of good elsewhere. There would be more than enough to house the homeless many times over.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    18th Oct 2018
    7:13am
    A friend was passionate, in youth, about becoming a social worker so he could help people and improve society. He dropped out of his course in his second year. Asked why, he explained that it became very clear that the system is designed to ensure the preservation of the class system and to keep the poor down, so that they have no choice but to be economic slaves to the wealthy. Social worker, he explained, are a critical part of that system. They are NOT supposed to help people up. They are supposed to give them charity to keep them down. They do that very effectively.

    The bottom line is that if the standard of living of the poor is improved by any substantial margin, and they learn how to accrue wealth, the system collapses because the wealthy have no access to economic slaves who will work in crappy jobs for lousy wages. The capitalist system relies on the wealthy being able to exploit the poor. ''Charity'' as we know it, is a critical part of the capitalist system. It MUST NOT achieve more than an appearance of doing what it purports to do.
    Nan Norma
    18th Oct 2018
    11:09am
    OnlygenuineRainey, I believe your friend was absolutely right. That is what dole money is about, slave labour. Many people seem to be working in jobs that I can't understand why they are not employed in the job and paid appropriately.
    Cosmo
    17th Oct 2018
    7:05pm
    Its an interesting but demoralising exercise to look into the charities online to look at their accounts and see how contributions are spent. Its not unusual to find that 50% sometimes more goes into admin, publicity and salaries. I support a lot of charities but when one such high admin cost charity took on an ex Westpac exec. as its CEO, I drew the line on that one.
    Sundays
    17th Oct 2018
    7:37pm
    I agree cosmo. Some of the CEO salaries are obscene. The problem is that charities don’t always encourage people to become self sufficient with many people relying on hand outs for years. I know this from my own experience in the charity sector.
    Anonymous
    17th Oct 2018
    8:00pm
    Great to see so many common sense posters on this topic
    Nice change from the bleeding hearts and the leaners who juts want more and more handouts

    Handouts dont solve problems, only exacerbate them
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    11:44am
    Olbaid, if substantial numbers of people move to self-sufficiency there is reduced need for the charity to exist and thus less justification for huge administrative salaries and benefits and fancy admin buildings, etc. It's in the interests of the charity execs to ensure people remain dependent.

    Recently there has been a lot of publicity about the harm done by removing children from their families. A retired child welfare officer told me he was clearly instructed that to keep the department funded and his job safe, he MUST get as many kids as possible into 'care' and keep them there. Use any excuse. Attack vulnerable families who can't afford lawyers and aren't well educated, but take as many kids as you can, because funding depends on numbers. So he took kids from potentially good homes and he and his colleagues ignored opportunities to solve family problems. I know of instances where the parents were entitled to pensions but didn't know how to apply, and rather than help them, officers took their kids. I know of instances where parents got their act together and wanted the kids back and the day after interviewing them in person, officers signed stat decs claiming they couldn't find them!

    It's all about self-interest. Nobody really cares for the down and out. They have a use in our society as long as they are kept in their place. Helping them up does not advance the cause of those who purport to be helpers. Very sad, but a reality. Ultimately, the only help is from within yourself. You have to be determined enough to find your own way up. It's possible. It's damned hard... but it's always possible.
    Wary
    17th Oct 2018
    10:16pm
    About 40 hrs ago,a man approached me crying,he had received a bill ,he said he had not used any electricity
    I had to explain it was the supply charges
    Which are a higher proportion of the bill if you are a low user
    If this charge was a percentage of use
    The higher users would pay a little bit more
    And those who are cutting back because they are struggling would pay significantly less
    Nan Norma
    17th Oct 2018
    10:34pm
    Wary, There are many cases like this. Poorer people are taken advantaged of all the time. Happen throughout history. Its easy to say its bad choices. We all make mistakes but sometimes things happens things we have no control over. We are sometimes quick to judge before we know all the facts. One other thing, each generation teachers the younger generation.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    18th Oct 2018
    7:07am
    But there IS a cost to keep electricity connected to a property, so what you are saying is those who need to use more power should subsidize those who need to use very little. That would impose a massive burden on struggling large families and many sick and disabled.

    Why is it that so many people think the answer to everything is to take from one group to hand out to another. It hasn't worked, and it never will.

    Yes, Nan Norma, people are too quick to judge and many are judged unfairly, but it is a fact that a large percentage of those struggling have only themselves to blame. Not all, by any means. But a lot of them. Perhaps what is needed most in our society is practical education. And maybe it's time to stop ranting about how hardship makes people poor in retirement and start telling stories of the many who did it incredibly hard but retired comfortably anyway. Maybe it's time to focus on what CAN be achieved rather than excusing what wasn't? I'm not suggesting for an instant that we should become like OG and Olbaid - devoid of empathy and unwilling to be charitable where charity is needed. But we need to move away from the extreme socialist view that the answer to everything is handouts funded by people who might appear to have a little more.
    Captain
    21st Oct 2018
    9:58am
    Wary, if no power was used the best thing to do is tell the power company to cut off their supply. Therefore no power supply, no supply charge as there is no contract.
    Cosmo
    18th Oct 2018
    1:52pm
    OGR, sorry but i think you need to get your ideologies sorted out.Usually only monopolies can impose standing charges and most monopolies are associated with State ownership, socialism or even communism, so it seems that you are advocating something you disagree with?
    Most recent power price increases are associated with poles and wires upgrades to cope with the increased domestic use of air conditioning, heated pools and spars and multi TV and computer households. Now that doesn't sound like a typical struggling pensioner's home to me but you think they should be contributing towards this affluence?
    If a larger part of the standing charge was amortised over each unit of electricity usage, it would help encourage thriftier use, reduce geenhouse gases, reduce power bills for small, struggling users and make bigger users pay for the privilege. This sounds very close to the "user pays" ideology you subscribe to?
    Farside
    18th Oct 2018
    4:05pm
    what Cosmo said ... hear hear! A high fixed charge ensures low users will subsidise high users, no wonder the high users don't want to see change.
    Old Geezer
    18th Oct 2018
    4:59pm
    User pay should be for everything as I am sick of paying more for others to use a lot more than I do.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    8:22am
    Oh how misinformed you are, Cosmo! Unbelievable how ASSUMPTIONS motivate.

    The people who need expensive power lines are those who live in remote locations, NOT people who use air conditioning,swimming pools, etc. Long lengths of lines cost a lot to maintain. Heavy usage means that cost can be distributed. It gets high when usage is light - either due to small populations using that line or minimal use by those connected to it. The widespread use of solar, for example, is pushing line maintenance costs higher and therefore increasing the standing charge. That is one area where it's correct to say the more affluent are imposing on the less well off. But to suggest that air conditioners etc. are imposing higher standing charges displays gross ignorance of fact. Higher power consumption REDUCES the cost of supply and therefore, if power companies are honest, REDUCES the standing charge.

    Nothing wrong with my ideologies. But unlike you, I know and rely on FACT.

    And for the record, I don't agree with high standing charges at all. But I DO NOT think those who have no choice but to be heavy users (large families, people with disabilities, small business operators, renters and those who can't afford solar) should have to subsidise low volume users (many of whom are well off but have solar systems to reduce their consumption)

    You have your ideologies back to front, Cosmo. You are asking the poor to subsidise the more affluent!
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    8:22am
    Oh how misinformed you are, Cosmo! Unbelievable how ASSUMPTIONS motivate.

    The people who need expensive power lines are those who live in remote locations, NOT people who use air conditioning,swimming pools, etc. Long lengths of lines cost a lot to maintain. Heavy usage means that cost can be distributed. It gets high when usage is light - either due to small populations using that line or minimal use by those connected to it. The widespread use of solar, for example, is pushing line maintenance costs higher and therefore increasing the standing charge. That is one area where it's correct to say the more affluent are imposing on the less well off. But to suggest that air conditioners etc. are imposing higher standing charges displays gross ignorance of fact. Higher power consumption REDUCES the cost of supply and therefore, if power companies are honest, REDUCES the standing charge.

    Nothing wrong with my ideologies. But unlike you, I know and rely on FACT.

    And for the record, I don't agree with high standing charges at all. But I DO NOT think those who have no choice but to be heavy users (large families, people with disabilities, small business operators, renters and those who can't afford solar) should have to subsidise low volume users (many of whom are well off but have solar systems to reduce their consumption)

    You have your ideologies back to front, Cosmo. You are asking the poor to subsidise the more affluent!
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    11:33am
    The key to retiree prosperity - across the board - is to ensure that there is maximum incentive and reward for people to self-fund their retirement to the greatest degree reasonably possible. Sadly, the idiots in power - on both sides of the fence - are doing the exact opposite. And it seems there is a common misconception among pensioners that the way to make things better for them is to grind anyone who has more into increasing poverty.

    News flash: More people doing it tough doesn't make it easier for those struggling. It just means less tax dollars to go around, so less for everyone!

    If jealous fools woke up to that reality and supported a better deal for self-funded retirees, we'd all be better off. But no. Somehow their warped logic says that the privileged who - due to genuine need or, more often, by manipulation or irresponsible lifestyle - qualified for even a small part pension are entitled to TRIPLE HANDOUTS from the taxpayer purse - pension + concessions + franking credits. But the slightly more diligent and self-sacrificing who did what they were told to do for the good of the nation (and themselves) are somehow entitled to NEITHER a taxpayer-funded benefit NOR the benefit of a small tax concession to make their savings stretch. So, for many, it will be ''Hello Centrelink... thank you taxpayer'' and let's see how that works out for the budget, shall we. Common sense dictates what the result will be! What will be interesting is to see how long it takes to flow through to an overall reduction in the OAP. I only wish there were some way to ensure the greedy, selfish pensioners who support the ALP's cruel policy suffer first and most.
    Viking
    19th Oct 2018
    3:17pm
    OGR you certainly have a way of twisting your arguments to suit your purpose, in an earlier post you were supporting the existing high standing electricity charges and now you are saying you don't?

    Its a fact that virtually all monopolies started from government business enterprises, the earlier post you were arguing against was factually correct.
    All electricity distribution networks in this country started as State monopolies and many still are.

    People in the bush pay far higher electricity prices than those who live in the city, I live in a rural area and when I moved back here I paid close to double the previous city unit price I paid. There is no cross subsidisation and I have no problem with that.

    We have had no piles and wires upgrades for this region in at least 20 years, we still get regular outages including most major storms, that's just the way it is. We still had the same power price increases despite the lack of upgrades so who are we subsidising? Maybe you!

    It's a fact that if there is a bigger financial incentive to use less power by reducing the standing charge and proportionately increasing the unit price then people will use less power and those on smaller budgets using less power will have lower power bills, there is no subsidisation as you suggest.

    Just a simple example; if you get an electrician to put in a cable to power an air-con, the cable will be thicker and thus more expensive to install. So the total long term unit power running cost of that air-con is increased by the higher cabling cost.

    If the same electrician installs a cable for a light, the cable can be thinner and cheaper so the long term unit running cost of that light will be lower in part due to the lower cabling cost.

    Extend the same argument to the grid and its not unreasonable for larger users to pay a higher unit cost for their power because the installed cost of the grid for their use was greater than a person on lower demand.

    I'm not a jealous fool, I am totally self funded and self insured for health. I've paid a lot of tax and I still do but I'm not jealous of those needing help either, on the contrary.

    I agree that there should be greater incentives to save for our old age, I am concerned about rewarding failure and penalising hard work and success. On the other hand I don't want to live in a society like the USA where thousands of families live on the streets and can't afford basic health care. There are enough divisions in this world and I don't think we need to add to them by denigrating in the way you have those who live according to the system that has been established by our governments of all political persuasions.

    Don't forget either that last government to put limitations on self funded superannuation was not the ALP but the Liberal party, was that cruel too?
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    5:05pm
    Viking, I did NOT say I supported high standing charges for electricity. What I said was I DO NOT support making poor families, the sick, and struggling small business subsidise the well-off's consumption. And making costs higher for higher consumption in order to reduce standing charges will have that effect. Clearly your comprehension is flawed.

    And I CERTAINLY NEVER argued that electricity distribution didn't start as a state-run monopoly. I worked in the industry when it was a state-run monopoly, Viking, so I would never suggest that it never was. You have confused me with someone else!

    And I have emphatically reiterated time and time again that I do not want to see anyone in need struggling or hurt. I want to see better welfare for those who need it. But that will NEVER be achieved by bashing those who worked and saved to be self-supporting.

    I am not denigrating anyone unless they are supporting the demolition of the incomes of self-funded retirees. And I am certainly not making political comment. I am well aware of the treachery of the LNP, and the economic harm they did with their lies and deceit. But two wrongs don't make a right, and the ALP can't be excused merely because the LNP did as bad or worse.

    The change to the assets test was cruel and unfair, because it ignores age, need, earning capacity, the current investment environment, income, and a host of other very relevant factors. The cap on tax-free superannuation pension accounts was, I think, more than reasonable and maybe too generous, and certainly long overdue. But neither party is deserving of support and neither party, in my opinion, is either capable of or sincerely intent on reform that is good for the nation and society as a whole.
    GrayComputing
    19th Oct 2018
    5:14pm
    The USA was great for the Average person in the 1950 when the rich paid 95% tax at the top level not like the zero % tax they are paying now.
    The USA economy boomed, every body had a new car every 2 years and their was massive amount of spare cash and a decades long housing and holiday boom.
    Then the rich got greedy and forced the republican party to pass laws that lowered and lowered the taxes again and again till they paid zero.
    Result was the USA in a total mess with the GFC as a fine example on how avoiding taxes by the rich and super rich has left the rest us robbed, broke and desperate
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Oct 2018
    5:27pm
    Spot on, GrayComputing. And Australia was great in the late 50s and early 60s, when taxes were very much higher than now but the economy, and society, was much healthier.
    I remember a rich grazier whining to a widow about his 99 pence in the pound tax bill (I suspect he exaggerated just a little!) He complained that it was high because people like her were supported by the taxpayer. She replied ''Well, I'll swap you my pension for all those 1 penny pieces you get to keep and see if you still complain. I didn't ask to be widowed with children, but if the taxpayer helps me raise and educate my kids, they will no doubt contribute taxes to keep folk like you who are left struggling in old age."

    If only people realised that taxes are a necessity for a healthy society. It should be an honour to pay. It is in Japan. There, it's considered disgraceful to try to reduce your tax bill. People who do are shunned.

    Don't hold any hope for reform though. Government and opposition, and the minors and independents, are all screaming for lower taxes. Not much hope of change any time soon!
    Old Geezer
    19th Oct 2018
    5:39pm
    OGR Japans economy is a basket case even with high taxes and people's honour to pay.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    21st Oct 2018
    11:44am
    Most world economies are in a mess, OG. Possibly due largely to globalisation. But that doesn't mean adopting the Japanese approach to tax wouldn't benefit Australia. It absolutely would.
    Yup I Know
    20th Oct 2018
    8:55pm
    Your advertisements are more interesting than yr articles


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