9th Feb 2018

Statistics show pensioners slugged hardest by living costs

The latest Living Cost Indexes (LCI) underscore the fact that many age pensioners are struggling to make ends meet, with higher-than-inflation prices crimping their spending power.

The index, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this week, differs from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) because it measures the price fluctuations in out-of-pocket expenses for five categories of households. CPI is a measure of inflation.

The latest report shows that in 2017, basic living costs for age pensioners rose by 2.1 per cent, compared to a CPI of 1.9 per cent. Australians earning a wage were out of pocket by two per cent more than the previous year. Welfare recipients, not including age pensioners, were the worst off, having to fork out between 2.3 per cent and 2.4 per cent more to cover their living expenses.

Self-funded retirees fared the best, managing to keep their living costs below CPI at 1.6 per cent.



According to the ABS: “The Living Cost Indexes have been designed to answer the question: By how much would after-tax money incomes need to change to allow households to purchase the same quantity of consumer goods and services that they purchased in the base period?”

In the December quarter of last year alone, the basic costs for self-funded retiree and age pensioner households rose 0.6 per cent.

YourLifeChoices is awaiting clarification from the ABS as to whether the data collected differentiates between pensioners who own their home as opposed to those who rent.

The December issue of YourLifeChoices' Retirement Affordability Index reported that cash-strapped couples who rented allocated 29 per cent of their weekly expenditure to housing. Affluent retirees who owned a home and had private incomes spent just 13 per cent of their budgets on housing.

One YourLifeChoices' member who spoke on the record about her struggles said she had been forced to take out a reverse mortgage to stay on top of her bills.

Pat Isaacs, 73, said: “By the time I’ve paid rates, body corporate fees, phone, internet, electricity, insurances, fuel and other car expenses, there is not a great deal left for food and other essentials.”

Mrs Isaacs’ story is one of 5000 narratives captured in the YourLifeChoices' Retirement Affordability Index, which was compiled jointly with The Australia Institute (TAI).

Writing for the publication, senior TAI economist Matt Grudnoff said there were one in four retirees living in poverty – twice the OECD average of 12.5 per cent.

Do you struggle to make ends meet? Has the cost of living risen faster for you than you can budget for?


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COMMENTS

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OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
10:51am
It's shocking that there are seniors out there who contributed a great deal to this country and now can't afford a decent standard of living. That reflects very badly on the morality and integrity or our society. But at least pensioners do get a regular increase. Some of those who lost their part pension are now on fixed incomes of around half what pensioners get, and some of them don't even get any concessions or benefits. Of course they can drain their savings, but then they don't have them, do they? And right now they are being told NOT to cash in assets, because values have fallen. But if they don't have cash - which they probably tried to keep to a minimum to maximize their investment returns as far as possible - they have to cash in assets and suffer a big loss.

The system is broken! The LNP committed, when changing the assets test, to a full review. Another broken promise! They just sit on their hands and do nothing but complain and bully the battlers, and dream up ways to persecute them further - such as that disgusting cashless welfare card (which is a great idea for a handful of carefully SELECTED people who have demonstrated lack of discipline, but should NEVER BE CONSIDERED for groups or communities, much less entire sectors of society).

What confounds me, though, is the contempt those who aren't suffering show for those who are doing it tough. I find that arrogance and nastiness very disturbing indeed. Why aren't we all uniting to demand a better deal for all senior citizens, and a better prospect ahead for younger Australians so that they have a strong incentive to work and save? After all, an enjoyable retirement is surely the very best incentive in the world to be productive. Far better incentive than a few less dollars in tax when you are working and earning - especially since those extra dollars only go to folk who don't really need them anyway. The lower income earners, who really need extra, don't pay tax so they don't get any benefit. The world is run by the self-serving greedy, and the self-serving greedy have no conscience and no national pride.
Linda
9th Feb 2018
2:10pm
I fully agree. The young folks who are faced with costs associated with paying for a place to live and the oldies are being mistreated because of the way various sorts of relevant tax laws and other arrangements that seem to help those who need it less get lots more, way way more than they need.

Any party that wants to look at the issues for those who are suffering should fare well in this next election. What is happening now is terrible and unacceptable.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
3:18pm
Where are all these struggling people? I don't see them on the streets begging like I do in other countries.
George
9th Feb 2018
4:42pm
Agree, OnlyGenuineRainey, the system is fully broken and needs to be replaced. Ignore OG and his spate of usual rubbish, Liberal-inspired & paid comments.
Only a change to Universal Pension for all (say with min 15 years Residence) without any Asset Tests but actual Income taxed, can fix this massive mess.
Also, we need a Minimum Tax system to ensure all companies and the rich pay a reasonable share of taxes and not Nil or negligible taxes. We will then have no shortage of funding.

I would vote for any party which can adopt such policies.
In the absence of such a party, my recommendation is for all to vote out all current sitting members (especially of Liberal, Labor or Greens) by putting them last in preferences - maybe that will create some fresh thinking by getting rid of these leeches who look after themselves only.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
5:01pm
I guess we could go back to the old days where people invested in life style assets so that they didn't have taxable income so they could get the OAP.
Knows-a-lot
9th Feb 2018
5:08pm
The elderly vote mainly for the LNP. There's no fool like an old fool.
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
8:13pm
OG, in past posts you've claimed to be accommodating and helping a host of people who are doing it tough. Now you've never seen any. If you haven't seen people begging, you must be blind. But nobody with intelligence or decency wants us to go down the road of countries where beggars are everywhere, surely. I would have thought our society was better than that - but apparently there are those walking among us who care nothing for society or human decency, as long as THEY prosper.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
8:45pm
Rainey from the picture you paint of such disadvantaged or starving people you have me looking on every street corner for them. Clearly things are no where near as bad a the picture you paint. Artist's prerogative is the only way I can explain your picture.
TREBOR
10th Feb 2018
11:10am
Get out more, Geezer.... (Ebergeezer Scrooge)...

"There are currently 105,237 people in Australia who are homeless. The rate of homelessness (which takes into account population density) is 49 out of every 10,000 people (0.5% of the population)."

"https://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/about/homelessness-statistics"
musicveg
10th Feb 2018
8:33pm
I agree with OnlyGenuineRainey, we need to stop the divide and conquer attitude and unite to make Australia better. More money for low income people will see more spending and the trickle effect goes up not down via handouts to big business. I just had a chat to my local newsagent guy today and he is frustrated that every time he orders stationery which is every week, he has to spend time changing all the dockets and his computer system. Why is everything going up all the time? Do CEO's really need to keep making more money or is it for shareholders? Who is getting all this extra money?
OnlyGenuineRainey
12th Feb 2018
5:01pm
The rich are getting it, musicveg. And world leaders and leading economists are daily expressing concern that increasing inequity is a road to social and economic destruction. It's at crisis point and MUST be addressed. But sadly, greed prevails, and the ''I'm all right Jaclk'' crowd are like OG - turning a blind eye by choice because it doesn't hurt them.

In the UK, they slashed taxes to make the UK the world's leading tax haven. A recent doco exposed interviews with wealth people who benefited. Asked if they spend in ways that would have a ''trickle down'' effect, they all replied ''absolutely not''. They admitted flying to foreign countries to buy $100,000 watches and jewellery with their tax bonus. So that's where the money goes. Into the pockets of millionaire watchmakers, jewellers, car makers, boat builders, etc. - but only the very wealthy ones who cater to fantastically wealthy clientele.
KB
9th Feb 2018
11:44am
Yes but my daughter lives with me so she contributes towards the cost of living. I know of people who take Centrelink loans in order to bills and essentials like a nee fridge. Then they have less to live on because the majority of income is taken out to cover the loan,The government must help aged pensioners by increasing the aged and disability pension,
TREBOR
10th Feb 2018
4:26pm
My daughter is back home at 'mum's place' - the one that Dad set aside a major portion of his life to set up so as to ensure that my kids always had a home they could go to. She's between movies and is looking at a security supervisor job at the CommGames...

Thing is - costs are getting so high that I wonder if my relatively well-paid kids will ever own their own homes. Even when they inherit from both Mum and Dad, they won't have enough to buy outright, and the costs of living make it hard to save.
musicveg
10th Feb 2018
8:34pm
Yes, land prices have doubled in my area.
Bletch
9th Feb 2018
11:52am
When is this going to stop ?
lucky country eh?
Food up, petrol up,electricity ALWAYS rising, rates up, body corporate up, Gas rising all the time, private health up, pensions stay the same or a pittance of a miracle rise, politicians give themselves a Large pay rise....the list goes on our take home money is getting less and less and will not go around anymore, the cost of living is becoming a farce and no wonder homeless figures is on the rise, when exactly will some politician do something about this serious problem ??????
Lark Force
9th Feb 2018
1:06pm
The big wage earners don't feel the pain of all these cost increases.
If the rises impacted on their living expenses maybe, just maybe they would take notice. However the LNP and their insistence on free enterprise and let market forces decide the price philosophy, I doubt it.
Linda
9th Feb 2018
2:17pm
The laws around property ownership for investors and for foreign investors are ruining the lives of the young and the renting old. Add on all these increased costs and folks can easily become homeless.

It is possible for the government to offer incentives and to change the laws to make things much easier for those who need a home to live in.

Council rates tied to the value of the property looks exactly like double dipping to me. Every council has an increase for each year, just a few percent, when the values of homes increase so dramatically it is like free money to the council, and the state stamp duty. A great little earner for local and state governments at our expense. These kinds of tricks should be stopped.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
3:30pm
It's not free money for councils. Councils work out their rate book every year using property valuations and if they can't raise enough from their current rate structure they increase their rate structure. Yes I know about having to apply for excessive rate increases.
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
7:40pm
And it matters not how wasteful or inefficient they are. They get their increases and they double-dip because values go up, pushing rates up.

The deputy town planner in our council stuffed up a subdivision plan and cost the council millions, then lied and even hired a hot shot expensive lawyer (at council cost) to take residents to court, telling them council had hundreds of thousands to fight them until they go broke, so it doesn't matter who is right. The lawyer had to withdraw in the end because it was obvious council staff was going to court based on a lie. More millions. Residents complained. Deputy was promoted. Rates went up.

Linda is right on that point.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
8:10pm
Rainey you don't have to tell me how wasteful Council's are as one of my sons has a full time job making them more efficient and the mind boggles with some of the things he tells me that goes on.
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
8:14pm
Well make up your mind which side of the fence you sit on, OG. When Linda complained, you contradicted her!
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
8:47pm
Well it's certainly not free money for councils as all the valuations are known before the rates are set.
*Loloften*
12th Feb 2018
9:25am
Bletch...the only way your kids will be able to afford homes of their own is with u gifting them a 10% deposit as we did for our kids as we both worked f/t & could afford it way back then. And, shockingly/sadly my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer a few yrs later, given 12mths to live when he insisted on knowing, & after his 5 major ops (obviously we both had to stop working) & in between all the Chemo & Radio treatments when he a few wks of feeling almost well, we did our best to fulfill some of his bucket list by withdrawing funds for not only the enormous excess payments after our Private Health/Hosp Insurance but also fulfilling his some of dreams.....as very gratefully for us both & our determination, he lived for another 5yrs & I'm now a single age pensioner with bugger all funds except my increasing dilapidated 50yo home which I can't afford to jazzy up for sale. Can't even afford to replace the many appliances/heating/cooling that no longer work. When ppl say we pensioners don't pay taxes it makes me a bit angry, we do, thx to Howard's GST. I could sell my old home but won't be worth a lot, not in the rich suburbs, not a big block of land. Could move in with one of my children but prefer to stay here with my still alive neighbours/friends & not be a burden to my kids. When I need it most after paying for it for 45+yrs, will need to discontinue my private health insurance. Thru no fault of my own, I'm now one of ppl living in poverty. My children are successful & paying heaps of tax (thx to us helping them whilst in their early 20s) but have 6 children between 'em & education is no longer cheap, no matter where. Approx 75% of all Aussies are struggling & there's no rainbow over the horizon.
VeryCaringBigBear
13th Feb 2018
6:56pm
Your kids must be very selfish if they are not helping you out. My family offer me much more than I want.
OnlyGenuineRainey
14th Feb 2018
6:23pm
That's because you handed out in bucket loads to them - taxpayer-funded gifts that were disgustingly unethical and selfish.

9th Feb 2018
12:11pm
Swings and roundabouts
When living cost for pensioners exceed their pay rise , just save a little less
Next year or so , you will be compensated when pensioner welfare increase exceeds their increase costs
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
8:31pm
In what century will that happen, Raphael? And how much do you think pensioners can save? Clearly you are another who doesn't live in the real world.
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
8:31pm
In what century will that happen, Raphael? And how much do you think pensioners can save? Clearly you are another who doesn't live in the real world.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
12:22pm
Many people can't wait to qualify for the OAP as they are better off financially than working. I hear daily from people who are on the OAP how great it is and what a wonderful time they can have especially with the low of public transport. Anyone with savings as well must be really enjoying themselves as they have not only the earning on their money but the capital available if they need it.

The government certainly did the right thing in changing the assets test too. Any couple with $1 million invested well would be earning at least 10% with some doing much better. $100,000 a year is far superior to the amount of the OAP. Earning this sort of money they can also afford to pay full price for everything as well.

Only reason system is seen as broken is by those people who failed to plan for their retirement and missed out on organising their affairs well enough so they could get the OAP.

I did some calculations recently and my cost of living is below what I would get if I was on the OAP and I live very well. So I can't see how anyone could be struggling on the OAP.
*Imagine*
9th Feb 2018
12:42pm
Not all assets are making income. Couple A have a one million dollar house and $300 000 super. They have full pension, concession card and money to spend. Couple B have exactly the same assets. $500k house and $300 000 super. They also have a $500k eco block that they have tended for forty years, at no cost to anybody but themselves, they have improved the environment, provided habitat for native species, reduced green house gases BUT no pension or concession card for this couple. They must live entirely on their $300 000 super or sell their life's dream and invest in a bigger home or blow the lot on the pokies. Then they will get a pension like couple B.
This system sends the wrong message and rewards the wrong effort.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
12:48pm
Your couple B has made a lifestyle choice with that eco block same as many do with holiday homes.
Rae
9th Feb 2018
12:51pm
I agree for once OG. It's not rocket science to live well without wasting money. Those renting are doing it tough but the OAP with medical concessions should be able to budget and save a bit each fortnight which soon adds up when done regularly.
*Imagine*
9th Feb 2018
1:05pm
Exactly right OG a lifestyle choice that the Government, in their wisdom, tells the couple to drop or starve. The system, such as it is, demands that Couple B sell their hobby, sit around and do nothing, OR be like couple A and divest themselves of their $500 000 eco block by investing in a bigger home, splashing out on non asset spends such as OS holidays or gambling, in fact any wasteful pursuit that doesn't help improve the country. If couple B choose to do that, then they too will get the pension that they deserve. I imagine a universal pension system would be better for the country in the long run, as we would have far more couples like couple B who would not be totally disillusioned by the inequities built into our present mish mash retirement income policy.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
1:19pm
$500,000 is a very expensive hobby so they need to find a way of making money from it or sell it so they can live a better retirement. I certainly are not in favour of propping up such hobbies that are of dubious benefit if at all. A friend had one of those eco blocks and when they died it was sold. It didn't take long for the bull dozers to undo his lifetime of work.
*Imagine*
9th Feb 2018
1:43pm
Well in this case it was not a bulldozer that did the destruction, it was the stroke of a pen in the hands of a philistine government. So now you are 'propping up' Couple B in an expensive country house as they start to lose their fitness gained by their hobby, you will also 'prop up' their health care. Good system isn't it? Glad you like it.
I don't.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
2:03pm
Your couple B could sell their house and build a house on their eco block so they could keep their fitness. However one doesn't need an eco block to keep their fitness and their health.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
2:17pm
I actually know a Couple B with a family farm and what they did was give the family farm to their children so that they could get the OAP. They still manage the family farm as though nothing has changed. Maybe your couple B could do the same.
Rae
9th Feb 2018
2:25pm
Yes I suggest they start gardening where they live and perhaps walk and invest in an exercise tape of some sort to do a few times a week.

While I do believe a universal aged pension would be cheaper if all other income was taxed, and also fairer, this example doesn't cut it as many have bought hobby farms, holiday houses, motor homes, boats and caravans which they enjoy and that keep them mobile.

With a universal pension and income tax the centrelink costs could be much less and people could have these assets once again.

Propping up people in an expensive home isn't going to last I'm afraid as it is very very discriminatory and the government will be looking for funds as they have just about destroyed the revenue base.

It'll be land taxes for sure and those in expensive property will be badly hit.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
2:52pm
They have already worked out the model for land taxes. They want to scrap stamp duty on the sale of land and replace it with a land tax. Any property that has had stamp duty will be exempt from land tax until it changes hands. State governments want the more reliable income but local councils don't want to collect it with their rates.
Rae
9th Feb 2018
5:14pm
Yes I can see it coming and also a GST rise. They will start needing funding soon for State responsibilities.
*Imagine*
9th Feb 2018
7:24pm
Actually couple A and B are both hypothetical to illustrate that the system is not concerned about total assets but rather what those assets are and where they are held. The same could be done for the income test. However, it is instructive to see how advice is given to couple B, but nobody suggests that couple A sell their million dollar house and live next door to couple B and both couples pay their own way. The sooner we have a universal OA pension the better for all. There will be no need to 'game' the system and no need for Centrelink officers to seek out the 'gamers. We could also get rid of the plethora of 'grandfathered' rules and provide a system that is both fair and understandable. Is that really too hard for our well paid politicians to think through?
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
7:48pm
As usual, Imagine, OG CHOOSES to miss the point entirely and twist the argument. He is wrong. You are right. The system is WRONG. It supports the irresponsible and punishes those who contribute most to society. That's bad for society and bad for the economy. The system sends a strong message that the only way to prosper is to manipulate to take advantage of a flawed system. If you do what's good for the nation, you suffer. Only fools and the selfish who benefit immorally from it would support such a system.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
8:07pm
I don't support the current system at all. People should only access the OAP when they have no other means of support. A couple with $800,000 clearly have the means to support themselves for as long as they can and would then qualify for the OAP.

I have always supported myself and will do until the day I die. I get no concessions or have had any assistance from the government. I only had positively geared properties as negative gearing to me is a mugs game with too many variables that can go wrong.
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
8:21pm
OG, if people who save have to forfeit the benefit to the government, nobody will. What a stupid notion! Tell everyone ''you can have a million dollar handout to fund retirement if you bludge on others, but if you save you get a kick in the teeth and told to bugger off''. What are people going to do?

So you support yourself. Lucky you to be able to. Obviously you've done very well with your university degree and privilege. Others didn't have it so good, and only got part way to self-sufficiency, so you gloat and demand they be kicked in the teeth. Go away! We don't need people with your illogical and self-serving attitude. We need people who see common sense. Paying people to be irresponsible and punishing those who do what's good for the nation IS JUST PLAIN DESTRUCTIVE. It will wreck our economy - if it hasn't already.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
8:55pm
So I'm now a real mug because I have enough to support myself in retirement. That I what people refer to as cutting down the tall poppy and trying to get them back to your level.
TREBOR
10th Feb 2018
11:14am
No need to cut down those who label themselves 'tall poppies', Ebergeezer... like using the term 'class' - one should never self-describe as 'classy' - one always leaves such things to those who observe, and self-praise is no recommendation.

So self-describing one's self as a 'tall poppy' is not recommendation..... and in doing so you already reduce yourself to a lower level..... Her Majesty would not be amused....
OnlyGenuineRainey
12th Feb 2018
5:07pm
You have really warped logic, OG! Nobody said you were a mug because you have enough to support yourself in retirement. You are a mug because you support policies that bash people who work hard and save well. You are a mug because you have poor comprehension and can't understand that objecting to unfairness to the less affluent hard workers and savers has nothing to do with ''cutting down tall poppies''. I wasn't even talking about tall poppies - who haven't suffered unfairness and don't need any government support. I was talking about those who are NOT tall poppies, but have worked hard and saved well to be moderately well off in retirement and are being punished for it. Very much afraid, though, that you are painting yourself as a ''mug'' with your illogical responses to my comments.
OnlyGenuineRainey
12th Feb 2018
5:21pm
OG, I was actually talking about the cutting down of shorter but growing poppies -a practice you engage in constantly.
johnp
9th Feb 2018
12:24pm
In regard to rising bills like council/water rates which are now over the top.
But esp. re electricity bills
These days with all the many retailers (100s?), intermediaries etc from the top at board and CEO level down to sales, marketing, advertising, call centres. CBD plush offices, admins, IT support etc etc there are lots of unnecessary costs multiplied many times over. When all the householder should need to pay for is the actual generation, control and network distribution to the door.
The above comments also generally apply to water mismanagement and multiple retailers in the supply of water.
Rae
9th Feb 2018
12:53pm
When the money runs out and the recession hits the prices will fall or a lot of people will have to be disconnected. Somehow I can't see that but who knows what foreign governments will do.
Lark Force
9th Feb 2018
1:17pm
You nailed it Johnp, multiple companies, multiple overheads, multiple CEOs, multiple lerks and perks are all contributing to rising prices. As for the salaries and incentive packages of CEOs across these "services", its no wonder that they are incentivised to maximise profits. Which means to achieve their bonus' the consumer gets stung.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
1:33pm
In the old days before privatisation we had electricity generators and supply authorities. The generators charge the supply authorities prices just enough for their books to break even. Supply authorities charged their customers enough for their books to break even. I remember on supply authority made a few million profit one year in forex trading (they imported transformers and other goods form overseas and used hedging to keep the price they paid as low as the could). State government saw this and then wanted dividends from all the supply authorities. This is where electricity privatisation started. A couple of employees in a supply authority did too well hedging currencies.
Rae
9th Feb 2018
2:28pm
That I believe OG.

Putting bankers in charge of governments is not such a good idea. Running a bank is not the same as running a State or Nation.
TREBOR
10th Feb 2018
11:16am
I leveled the same criticism at our 'banker PM' - running a nation is nothing like running a bank with other people's money as a means to provide profit for a select group called 'shareholders', while skimming the cream off the top for self.
Rae
9th Feb 2018
12:26pm
Not round here obviously. Just passed the local cafe and it was checkers with OAP having lunch and coffees. As long as they can afford that they'll be right.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
12:43pm
Thought the same thing when I too passed a café while out doing a bit of grocery shopping.

Gee they love the free donuts at the Donut King with the expensive coffees. I often see them at the Golden Arches enjoying their free coffee with those overpriced burgers too.
Rae
9th Feb 2018
12:57pm
Yes OG. That $20 spend is a $1000 a year and pays my entire electricity bill. My friends also don't get it as we can meet up for coffee in a park and someone bakes a cake or scones and it costs not much at all. I don't even like the crowded cafes especially those ones where the monoxide from cars adds to the dreadful ambience of beside main road eating haha.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
1:11pm
I only go to such places if I have no other choice. In places like airports one can't carry food through biosecurity points so one takes whatever is available.
AutumnOz
10th Feb 2018
4:23pm
Rae, Thursdays and Friday are days when community transport bus in most districts pick up the elderly and disabled and take them shopping. There is usually a coffee shop very close to the drop off and pick up points.
Perhaps it is people waiting to be picked up after shopping you are seeing rather than people just popping in for lunch.
Old Man
9th Feb 2018
12:27pm
Instead of complaining about this, why not come up with a solution. Should pensions be tied to the CPI, should it be tied to the basic wage or should it be tied to the average wage. The CPI has been a false benchmark for decades as it's not those items that are used to set the standard but the ones which are left off the list. Unions are bleating that there has been no wage rise for years so that's a problem and if we look at the average wage, we are including those earning millions each year. This is an area where all governments since the age pension was legislated are at fault, none worse than the other.
Rae
9th Feb 2018
1:01pm
You can't tie it to the average wage as that is skewed by the excessively high top incomes.

Perhaps the median but then that would be unfair to annuity holders who get no increase except the CPI. OAP are actually way in front of some of those SMSF retirees.

If wages keep deflating we'll have an economic collapse and that will help sort things out as it usually does when the imbalances get too great.
TREBOR
10th Feb 2018
11:18am
Hang ten politicians and ten economists a week until the rest get the message.... add in ten bankers after a week and keep going through the list.... one day there will be no Untermenschen to worry about, especially those who strive to run the country for their own benefit...
Suzie'Q
9th Feb 2018
1:03pm
MY Husband and I both left work age 14 and started work and paid taxes from then on. We are both now 72. We still pay Health Insurance, luckily own our own home, but pay Rates, House and Contents, Car, Licence and Insurance. We are living solely on Centrelink Age Pension. What a Joke when Politicians give themselves a raise, which is more than our whole Pension. My Husband and I paid Taxes for 50 odd years, while our State was still getting on it's feet. I would have thought, that people who paid taxes for that long, deserved a decent sort of a Pension. The way Power, Gas, Petrol,Water and Food Keep going up and don't try and say the Pension goes up too, because it doesn't cover it all when you go to pay the bills. All Age Pensioners want is a fair go for the Taxes we paid. Not treated like a poor relation, and given Just enough to get by.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
1:36pm
I just can't understand how anyone could work that long and not have a nest egg.
Hasbeen
9th Feb 2018
6:34pm
It wasn't too hard Old Geezer. All you needed was 3 kids who did things, rather than watch TV.

The football player required a couple of hundred kilometres a week of running around, the one with music, dance lessons & Gymnastics was even more, but the athlete who also rode horses was the most expensive, & that was before the cost of tuition & gear.

Yes Suzie, rates & house insurance have got ridiculous. My rates have escalated for 26 years at an average of 15%. Inflation has nothing on councils for making folks poor.

I don't have much sympathy for renters bitching about paying 25% of their pension on rent. I pay over $100 a week, [almost 20% of the pension], on rates & house insurance on a fairly modest home, way out of the city. Add in maintenance & it is costing me more than most renters around here, to live in my own home.
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
7:53pm
Agree about rent vs. costs of home ownership, Hasbeen. And homeowners are punished with lower asset thresholds as well. After knocking myself out to pay 18% interest on a mortgage, I'm fed up with seeing people who lived the high life milking the public purse.

OG, you overlooked the part about SuzieQ and her husband leaving school at 14. Like many disadvantaged - and UNLIKE you who got a university education - she and her husband probably slogged on quite low wages - barely enough to pay the day to day costs of keeping a family going and the mortgage paid.

This is the problem we have in Australia. Those who work hardest are trampled on. Those who save best are trampled on. The spendthrifts and bludgers, manipulators, cheats, and the rich get the handouts.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
8:14pm
School can be very limiting for some as well and I know many people who are multimillionaires who failed miserably at school. I wouldn't say they were trampled upon at all.
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
8:26pm
Once again, the arrogant illogical inconsiderate response. Some people do well despite disadvantage, so everyone should. Nobody knows the advantages some who claim hardship have. I went to a seminar once where are multi-millionaire businesswoman claimed to have started from nothing and struggled in an office with holes in the floor. Found out afterward her father, grandfather and brothers ran the most lucrative law practice in the state. I had a cousin who did brilliantly, thanks to a wealthy local taking him under his wing and coaching him every step of the way. His brothers had no such advantage and didn't do nearly as well.

Yes, I also know a couple of millionaires who failed at school. But I also know how they got their money and I wouldn't want it if that's what it takes.

Life treats us all differently, for a host of reasons. But generally speaking, lack of education means huge disadvantage and a lifetime of lower earnings. That's a FACT that only nobody with a brain would deny. And yes, those who struggle in low-paid jobs with no qualifications or education to do better ARE trampled on.
VeryCaringBigBear
10th Feb 2018
8:06am
Today a university education can also be self limiting and a real issue for some people who realise that there is no job available for them. Do they write those 4 years off and start again or spend the rest of their lives in unskilled jobs with a big HECS debt that they will never afford to ever repay?

We are fast becoming an over educated country will no one wanting to do the menial jobs so import workers to do them instead.
TREBOR
10th Feb 2018
4:30pm
We are aware that you can't understand, Ebergeezer....
OnlyGenuineRainey
12th Feb 2018
5:12pm
Gosh, having to spend life in an unskilled job would be SO much worse for a university graduate than for a brilliant and talented individual who never got the chance to study or get qualifications and is forced to work in frustrating conditions and for low pay for a lifetime! The way snobs think continues to astound me! BigBear, you remind me of the wealthy widow who told the poor widowed pensioner, ''It's fine for you to live on crumbs. I have always been accustomed to bacon and orange juice for breakfast. You never had it so you won't miss it.""

You really don't understand, do you BigBear? I was commenting on the fact that those without education probably worked in low-paid jobs all their lives and therefore had little or no change to accumulate substantial retirement savings. The question of whether education is limiting or not has nothing to do with it.
VeryCaringBigBear
13th Feb 2018
10:55am
I left school at 14 and did OK without any fancy bits of paper. Today 30% of graduate have not got a job 2 years after finishing their degree and many do other jobs while during a second degree hoping that will land them a job. Many end up in low paid jobs with debts they will never repay.

That why the government lowered the income at which you begin paying it back.
OnlyGenuineRainey
13th Feb 2018
1:26pm
So there's a good reason why we should restrict entry to university like we did in my day.

BigBear, lots of people did ok with little education, and lots suffered hideously and DIDN'T do okay. There are all kinds of reasons why some people succeed and some don't. One major factor is guidance and emotional support. Another is the kind of parenting one had in their early childhood - the formative years. And yet another is whether they suffer abuse and injustice that messes with their heads.

Vast numbers who grew up in orphanages and children's homes end up in jail. Why do some not? Usually, you can trace back to find that those who don't had either better support and guidance in their formative years ( age birth to 7) and/or they had someone in their life to mentor, guide and support them at critical times.

We all have very different stories to tell, and very different reasons for where we are in life now. For my part, I acknowledge readily that I had a wonderful mentor whose guidance, support and inspiration drove me to persist with endeavours no matter how tough the going was. And who taught me how to survive in a cruel world. Obviously, you had some major benefits that many who suffered little or no education missed out on, so a little compassion wouldn't go astray.

I know a few who aren't employed and are doing second degrees. They will do third and fourth. They would never work unless they got a job doing nothing for fantastic remuneration. Those who want jobs and are competent will usually find them fairly quickly if they are qualified. It's the unqualified who are up against it, because the qualified can apply for the unskilled jobs, but the reverse isn't true.

My point, though, was that Suzie and her husband may well have had little opportunity to accrue substantial retirement savings. And OG's comment was arrogant and uncalled for.
floss
9th Feb 2018
1:37pm
Don't look at me I did not vote for these Liberal morons.Their business model has failed for working Australians while Mal. and his greedy mates have made a trillion.For the whinging mob that voted them in you now pay the price, did you expect it to be any different.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
1:40pm
Unfortunately the days of pollies giving handouts are way gone so no about of whinging will bring them back.
Redwyne
9th Feb 2018
3:12pm
Do these ‘poor old pensioners’ have children? In my world we look after each other. As the elder of 4 generations I have no doubt about my family support. As for the elders eating out and being seen as frivolous, isn’t that how the general public looks down their noses at overweight people eating out as well? Too much judgement in my opinion.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
4:04pm
So what you are saying it that old fat people are fat because they eat out?
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
7:44pm
I have children. One widowed and struggling to support a large family on a single small income and one living on one very modest wage while caring for a disabled child and having to pay massive therapy bills. No way could either help me financially. I suspect many are in the same position.

As for eating out - I see no problem with that. What angers me is that those who do are rewarded from the public purse and those who save are deprived and punished.
VeryCaringBigBear
10th Feb 2018
8:00am
Rainey I thought your children were university educated and thus were doing very well indeed. So your statement about Old Geezer doing well because he has a university education is not correct.

I actually admire Old Geezer as he looks after himself and his family without the help of any welfare. I guess I could be the same but when I see the happy stressful life my family enjoys today I have no regrets in giving them a leg up when they needed it most.
TREBOR
10th Feb 2018
12:22pm
Everybody cops largesse from government in one way or another, VCBB and Ebergeezer.... but you know that already.... no functional society operates without a mix of rampant rape capitalism and socialism......

Of course, we could always return to the good old days of the company stores and no conditions or rights for workers... without which, BTW, neither of you would be very likely to have prospered.....

Get your minds right, Lukes.... no failure to communicate here...
OnlyGenuineRainey
12th Feb 2018
5:18pm
BigBear, my children are university educated. That didn't, sadly, prevent one losing a partner to illness and the other giving birth to a child with a major disability. OG boasts that he DID do well, so my statement is NOT incorrect. And I would admire him if he weren't so arrogant and egotistical, and downright nasty about and to people who haven't enjoyed the good fortune that has clearly positioned him to be able to be self-sufficient.

As it happens, I look after myself also - though not due to any good fortune or university education, both of which I missed out on in spades. I taught myself valuable skills and I continue to work. But I acknowledge that disadvantage and injustice destroys lives and I speak out against the vile arrogance of those who denigrate or insult battlers, and those who refuse to speak out against injustice and cruelty.
Sundays
9th Feb 2018
4:16pm
People get sick, lose a partner, get divorced, have too many children, lose a business and many other things that can go wrong in life. Relying solely in the OAP especially if you rent is tough. Then there are others who never looked to the future and spent all their earnings. Pensioners are not a homogenous group, but how do we differentiate between those who life has treated badly, and those who have been careless. We can’t and really should we? I would prefer a universal pension for all. This would also fix the many anomalies in the OAP.
Rae
9th Feb 2018
5:34pm
Yes indeed and sensible income tax for other income. Yes I pay tax and would pay more but it would be equitable and fair and sustainable.

It would save the superannuation system and support the economy as once again negative gearing investments or business would be desirable.

Saving would be once again worthwhile for everyone not just the high income earners and assets for lifestyle could be bought without penalty.

We'd finally join the other OECD nations and the spend would become closer to other OECD nation % spends on the aged.

The no tax over 60 Howard thing is crazy. Why would you do that?

Sure allow a good discount for retirees but if they got a universal pension and concessions, especially the medical, then you could tax wealthy retirees something without causing too much grief.

Yes I'd have to pay when now I don't from super pensions. Maybe just a little wouldn't hurt if you did have a universal pension as well.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
8:12pm
Have seen many over 60 that were better off when they had to pay tax and got a 15% rebate than they do now with the income tax free. So it is not as good as it seems and really only helps those with the bigger retirement incomes.
TREBOR
10th Feb 2018
4:33pm
Ah, yes - the old 15% rebate welfare, eh, Ebergeezer? Thanks for reminding us..

Another aspect of welfare that needs a closer look........ along with a heap of other things such as subsidies to assholes to buy serial housing etc....
TREBOR
10th Feb 2018
4:36pm
A government that is not in the business of doing business (its excuse for offloading OUR utilities and creating the cost of living upward spiral), should not be in the business of subsidising business, either......

You make or fall on your own merits... like Jo/Jo Bloggs going to work. I see people constantly exhorting the workers to be 'more valuable' to their employer - government should be doing the same to its business children...

The public purse is not there just to feed parasites in business..
Joy Anne
9th Feb 2018
4:37pm
I cant afford to live comfortably now, By the time I pay Rent, Phone, Electricity, Vet, Scripts, Specialists, Insurance, Rego etc I pay these fortnightly and have around $100 left to live on if that at times. I try and save a little bit so I can pay these things.
This is a disgrace after I worked and paid my taxes from 15 until 62 when I nearly lost my life with a Massive DVT and PE. Our govt is giving so much to foreign aid and this money could be spent here in Australia. I pay $300 per week now and my rent will increase to around $325 per week when I move due to the place being sold.
Rae
9th Feb 2018
5:40pm
Have you thought of sharing the rent with another share house person. You'd also share a fair bit of the electricity, and water bill.

I'd be seriously thinking of interviewing people and having a trial three month lease drawn up with extension if needed.

I grew up in a boring house mum ran in the inner city and living with strangers isn't that daunting if you are careful and have a good solicitor.
AutumnOz
10th Feb 2018
4:55pm
Joy Anne, Rae has a good point and it is worth thinking about but don't forget to check with the Real Estate Agent to see if you can do than with a rental contract.
I grew up with one or another family member living with us most of my childhood and teenage years, I thought it was a normal way to live and it although may have caused distress to my parents and the family member and fights were kept away from me.
I have been thinking it is about time we all, either OAPs or self funded retirees thought about offering a spare bedroom to someone who needs a home.
I am not sure it would work but it would help solve the problem of single people who need accommodation and also aged people who needed someone around in case they need help.
Not everyone has children who either can, or will, help out when needed.
Rae
12th Feb 2018
10:09am
Yes never let a stranger stay without a contract. i'd do a trial one first just in case it doesn't work out.

The Real Estate agent can help with the contract you need to sublet on your current rental contract.
Knows-a-lot
9th Feb 2018
5:06pm
Of course pensioners are hit hardest. We're on a fixed income that falls in real terms relative to the cost of living.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
5:17pm
Pensioners are not on a fixed income as their pension is indexed.
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
7:35pm
Yep. It goes up by cents when the cost of living for low income earners goes up by dollars. The indexation method is a joke.
maxchugg
10th Feb 2018
10:35am
I saw a cartoon recently of some old age pensioners who had left Australia and re-entering as boat people to qualify for more taxpayer funded benefits than they were getting as pensioners.

Rightly or wrongly, there is a perception that the cartoon represented reality.
VeryCaringBigBear
10th Feb 2018
12:29pm
Unfortunately that cartoon left out the 90% who drowned at sea trying to get back to Australia.
OnlyGenuineRainey
12th Feb 2018
4:55pm
90%!! WOW. I've heard of dreaming up exaggerated rubbish, but that takes the cake. Do you write fairy stories for a living, BigBear?
VeryCaringBigBear
13th Feb 2018
10:48am
It wouldn't get me into one of those leaky boats with open fires onboard. If they don't sink they catch fire.
OnlyGenuineRainey
13th Feb 2018
1:29pm
They are NOT leaky, BigBear. Most of them are very robust and safe. Goodness, people love to make up fairy stories to push their ''causes''. The people coming in by boat are mostly wealthy, or they wouldn't be able to come. Only a small handful risk their safety in rust-buckets.

I know people who work in border control in the NT and they are constantly telling me how they find tons of valuable jewellery and the latest electronic devices on these quite luxurious yachts full of expensively-dressed men and women who CLAIM to be refugees.
VeryCaringBigBear
13th Feb 2018
7:03pm
They are economic refugees not people fleeing from persecution which want to get here so they can bring all their relatives including their umpteen wives and children. Genuine refugees wouldn't be able to afford such an expensive voyage.
OnlyGenuineRainey
14th Feb 2018
6:26pm
Correct, and they DO NOT come in leaky boats. A tiny handful of genuine refugees arrive without substantial wealth to pay their way.
TREBOR
10th Feb 2018
11:07am
Exactly why utilities should not be handed off to a cartel, who, in league with the government that 'sold' off the utilities, makes the prices to suit themselves and their own pockets, instead of providing a service.

Be interesting to see what job Gladys gets when she 'retires' from politics with a hefty pay packet for life....
Rae
12th Feb 2018
10:12am
The jobs these people go on to are enlightening hey.

Read the main beneficiaries of the 65 billion tax cuts will be Cayman Island account holders. Wouldn't surprise me if that's true.

Lot's of money if you can get into politics these days when everything goes and selling public anything is a licence to print money.
Grey Voter
10th Feb 2018
2:31pm
At the end of the day, we WILL unite at election time and give the suckers a thrashing. They pass so many laws to control pensions and welfare and then sign contracts to spend BILLIONS on nuclear submarines to defend us from phantom enemies. Whatever happened to the ANZUS treaty? The ancient Greeks used to say that too many laws, rules and regulations are a sign of a corrupt society. They knew very well.
VeryCaringBigBear
10th Feb 2018
4:29pm
Changes are not always for the best.
Ductape
10th Feb 2018
5:23pm
....At the end of the day, we WILL unite at election time and give the suckers a thrashing....

There is little point in doing this GV, simply because both major parties sleep in the same bed! And what with the minor parties only working to ensure that if anything worthwhile DOES look like getting up, they do their level best to knock it back down - what bloody chance does the country have? Modern politics has become a joke.
musicveg
10th Feb 2018
8:53pm
Changes are good VCBB if it means a fairer system for all. And Ductape there is more than two parties, we need to make them weaker, not all minor parties knock things back. But I do agree modern politics is a joke and it starts with the continuous hand-outs to retired pollies who must be asset tested like everyone else.
musicveg
10th Feb 2018
9:04pm
Getting back to the topic, yes I struggle to make ends meet. Nearly 50% of my income goes on rent and I have to feed a teenager. I spoke to my local newsagent guy today and he noticed I don't buy my fav mag anymore, I had to cut back on where I could. This effects his business and it continues from there. I now bake my own bread, cheaper to buy flour in bulk. Grow some vegies, and only eat wholefoods. We only drink water and I make tea out of my lemon balm and lemon verbena that I grow. I never eat out, never go to the cinema (borrow DVD's from the library instead), hardly ever even leave town unless I can warrant more the one necessary thing to do. I put off servicing my car for 3 years now because I can't afford to do the miles. And I am continuing looking at ways to save so I can prepare for the time I might end up homeless. Whilst CEO's and pollies keep getting rises, the rich get richer and the poor are feeling more and more suppressed and many giving up hope. Many people donate to overseas charities and yet we don't see the suffering in our own country because to some it is not that obvious. Might I add not everyone is able to do the things I do to make my life better, I was lucky to learn how to live frugal from my mother.
*Loloften*
12th Feb 2018
9:34am
All pensioners/welfare recipients etc ARE TAX PAYERS.....thx to Howards GST.
VeryCaringBigBear
13th Feb 2018
7:05pm
Not those who buy everything in the black market.
OnlyGenuineRainey
14th Feb 2018
6:22pm
You CANNOT buy everything in the black market, BigBear. In fact, you can only buy a small portion of what the average pensioner needs in the black market. Try paying council rates, buying insurance, or petrol (and taxes on petrol are HUGE!). No black market for any of those things. Nor for car registrations, licenses, medical costs, prescription pharmaceuticals (and a vast array of non-script meds and personal products as well)... The list goes on and on and on. Your comment is ridiculous.
musicveg
14th Feb 2018
9:21pm
Here is a petition that might interest some people, the Government hands out money to companies that help others avoid paying tax!!: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/stop-funding-the-masterminds-of-tax-avoidance


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