9th Feb 2018

Report favours wage hikes over increased super contributions

Leon Della Bosca

Should workers be forced to save more of their weekly wage in order to support themselves in retirement? That is the question being asked by the Grattan Institute in a report released this week.

The think tank is calling for the Government to put the planned increase in compulsory super contributions on hold, in order that wages do not decrease.

In 2015, the institute also highlighted the repercussions of securing higher retirement incomes at the expense of quality of life during working years. The 2015 report, Super Tax Targeting, claimed that the Government proposal to increase compulsory contributions “would support a lifestyle more luxurious than most households experience during their working lives”.

The proposed Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGC) increase to 12 per cent would save the economy around $2 billion per year, but the report says that money would be better suited to providing more rent assistance for retirees – mainly single women.



"Single women who are retired and do not own their own home are the group most likely to rely almost solely on the age pension, and are at the greatest risk of poverty in retirement," says the report.

The report recommends a $500-a-year increase for renting age pensioners, at a total cost of $250 million a year.

Grattan researchers believe that the current SGC rate of 9.5 per cent is enough to support a comfortable retirement.

According to the report: "There is no strong case to raise the superannuation guarantee to 12 per cent, as currently legislated.

“If we project the retirement income for a median-income earner working for 40 years, and account for compulsory super contributions only – in other words, we ignore any voluntary super contributions and savings outside of super – we find that today’s 9.5 per cent Superannuation Guarantee and the Age Pension would provide the average worker with a retirement income equal to 79 per cent of their pre-retirement wage,” the report concludes.

Here's my take on all this, for what it's worth.

That’s all well and good for future retirees, but it doesn’t take into account current retirees as well as the 700 Australians retiring each day, including self-employed and casual workers who, combined, have not had the benefit of a lifetime of super contributions. So give credit to half of Grattan's idea, as helping today's age pensioners does have some merit.

YourLifeChoices own Retirement Affordability Index shows that the biggest fear for 80 per cent of today’s retirees is that they will run out of money before they die.

At least 15 per cent of retirees are renters, so it goes without saying that more rent assistance would be beneficial. But is this just a Bandaid solution, when increasing super to 12 per cent, as originally legislated, would ultimately address the concerns of older Australians outliving their savings?

Over 70 per cent of retirees rely on the Age Pension as their largest source of income, with fewer than 30 per cent saying that private income is their largest source of retirement funds.

At first glance, this may seem a promising result; however, when asked what is their standard of living in retirement, over 60 per cent said it is “about what they thought it would be”, with 21 per cent saying it was “worse than they thought” and only 13 per cent saying it was “better than they thought”.

So clearly, more retirees could have been better served by having more super contributions earlier and at a higher rate.

On the other hand, if the Government were to scrap its planned increases, maybe a better way to use any money derived from capping super contributions, aside from rent assistance, would be to increase the Age Pension, considering that a whopping 76 per cent of older Australians feel that the cost of living is rising faster than inflation – which is currently used to gauge Age Pension increases.

At the very least, the Government now has more food for thought.

Read more at www.grattan.edu.au

Do you think this is a good idea? Would you be happy to have less forced savings in order to support renting age pensioners? Is the Grattan Institute still missing the point on super?

Related articles:
Could we nationalise super?
Missing the point on super
Superannuation and the Age Pension





COMMENTS

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East of Toowoomba
9th Feb 2018
11:37am
I am going to be rubbished for this but, I reckon the Newstart should be increased the the OAP rate and the OAP reduced to the current Newstart benefit rate.

Reason being that when younger people lose their jobs, many of them have families to support, are paying mortgages and their costs of living are often the highest they'll ever be. A temporary stint on Newstart for a working taxpayer could be catastrophic if they have difficulty getting another job quickly, which is why I think the higher rate would be better spent here. There are only about 1/3 the people collecting Newstart as there are on pensions so it would not only be a humanitarian act but would cost a whole lot less for the tax payers.

OA Pensioners, on the other hand usually live in one or two person households, not normally with dependents and most likely don't have the burden of mortgage, car payments, child related expenses and the need to run a car or take public transport to travel to interviews etc. Their expenses overall would have to be lower than that of a people in their prime.
Dancer
9th Feb 2018
4:06pm
OK East of Toowoomba, no merit in that as far as I am concerned. My preference is to stop pushing up the retirement age, in fact bring it down, so that older people can retire when they feel ready (sometimes due to physical reasons) and younger people then get the jobs that have been freed up by older people retiring.
You are right, of course, that younger people often have families, - they also get huge welfare "extras" in child benefits (that many of us didn't get when we had children!) On the other hand, older people often have more health expenses and are more likely to maintain their private health insurance for that reason... a huge expense for anyone whose sole income is the age pension (and there are many of us!)
By encouraging older people to retire sooner on a pension if necessary, and thus freeing up jobs for younger people, the whole economy benefits because younger people and families are the ones who need to and will then spend money on homes, cars, furniture, eating out etc. Older people still eat out, maybe buy a new car, have a holiday, so they too are contributing to the economy.
That sounds more like a Win/Win situation to me.
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
5:29pm
I'm with you Dancer. I think the most sensible reform this government can implement in our current economic environment is to make retirement more appealing for everyone, and more accessible for those who need to retire (due to poor health, physical strain in jobs they are too old to do, etc.)

If retirement were accessible and something to look forward to, younger folk would have far greater incentives to be productive.

To make retirement more appealing, remove the cruel asset limits that punish people for saving, increase the base level of the pension to recognize cost of living increases, and, as you say, lower the retirement age.

As for super - STOP the stupidly extravagant and uneconomical tax concessions to high income earners. Levy tax on contributions at 20% LESS than the employee's marginal tax rate, rather than a flat 15%, and give lower income earners a substantial tax contribution to their fund so that they accrue retirement savings. Cut out all tax concessions on contributions above the minimum contribution for an average wage earner.

The 9.5% rate is fine for those who earn a healthy income, but it's nowhere near enough for low income earners or those who suffer extensive periods out of the workforce. If we stopped handing out to the wealthy and structured the system to help the strugglers and encourage the strivers, we might restore economic health. Sadly, greed rules. The rich will NEVER do what's good for the nation.

Of course there's no hope with this current mob of idiots running the asylum. The Minister for Social Security apparently replied to a question about the appropriate deeming rate for aged pensioners by saying ''We are all about getting people into to work''. And to a question about cutting the bereavement allowance for widows, he said ''It's funny...''
Raphael
9th Feb 2018
11:46am
No - age pension should not be increased but it should be made universal
Roby
9th Feb 2018
11:53am
Yes I can't help but agree with that Raphael. Once you hit that magic number everyone should get it.
tropic
9th Feb 2018
12:13pm
Fully agree. As soon as you are 65 in Australia you will be burdened with a lot of Centrelink paperwork and drama. Something that most people would have never experienced in their life. Not even talking about the threatening letters. (If you don't do this we may stop your pension). Older people don't need all this and it is rightout nasty from the government. They obviously don't do it to themselves. Therefore universal aged pensions without questions asked.
Tib
9th Feb 2018
12:55pm
I agree.
almost a grey hair
9th Feb 2018
1:03pm
There are enough minerals in the ground in Australia to make every man woman and child a millionaire, the only thing stopping us is mismanagement by government. If OAP was paid as of right when we turn 65 we could do away with multi storey Centrelink offices and the people that not only work in them but also those that are forced to frequent them with cap in hand. People that work in them are then free to play golf go fishing or take up some other activity like seek employment that they may even enjoy. If New Zealand can afford to pay as at 65 then so should we, and they are our poor relations
Rae
9th Feb 2018
1:07pm
Yes I agree.

Also I agree with almost a grey hair. We had a chance to own all our resources and would be incredibly wealthy now. The LNP stuffed that idea up and so should be made to figure out how to pay a universal aged pension.
libsareliars
9th Feb 2018
1:46pm
I agree with almost a grey hair too, but i also think that Newstart should be raised.
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
5:31pm
I think most here are in agreement with that sensible proposal, but don't hold your breath folks. They will give $65 billion to wealthy corporations that enjoyed a profit increase of 20% last year and increased wages by 2%, claiming their gift will ''trickle down'' (like the profit increase DIDN'T) but when it comes to paying pensions, the country is broke.
musicveg
10th Feb 2018
9:13pm
The trickle down is a joke, it can only trickle up, if people spend more. Most people are spending less or going into more debt. I wish I could support my local businesses more but even the newsagent was aware I had to give up my favourite magazine, that is a luxury now. I have many other things I gave up, so I spend less, I am sure other's are doing the same. When are the wealthy going to be happy? When it all goes bust?
jackie
9th Feb 2018
11:55am
No Aged Pensioners that rent, should not have their rent allowance reduced. They are at the poor end of the spectrum of Aged Pensions. I think politicians’ pensions should be reduced to the same level as ours. It should be means tested too. Our politicians live much longer than the rest of us and are a burden to our deficits. It sickens me too when they also work in high salary positions while collecting their pensions. This is so unfair. Those savings could go toward all areas that lack funding.
Triss
9th Feb 2018
12:37pm
It's not unfair, Jackie, it's corrupt.
musicveg
10th Feb 2018
9:14pm
Totally Jackie, let's means test the pollies, they should not be getting hand-outs after retirement if other's cannot when they have so much wealth.
HS
9th Feb 2018
12:35pm
The huge trouble with the likes of Grattan Institute is that none of them have first hand experience at being poor, homeless, destitute or just plain old age pensioners with or without their own home of residence. Whether you own a home or are renting the outgoings for the home owner OAP are greater than the OAP with rent assistance. If the OAP is increased by the level of the rent assistance amount then all OAP will be on the same level.
Dabbydoos
9th Feb 2018
12:56pm
Rent allowance for pensioners should be increased but an allowance given to pensioners who own their home towards the cost of insurance ( providing they have it) and maintenance and repairs. A lot of house owning pensioners live alone and so do not have anyone to share living costs with, and also pay tradesmen to perform any repairs needed. A lot of young people on Newstart share a house but they each receive the maximum rent allowance which at times covers the entire rent. Living costs are also divided unlike single pensioners.
Rae
9th Feb 2018
1:09pm
Nothing is stopping aged pensioners from house sharing. It would be a good idea.
Tib
9th Feb 2018
1:17pm
I've suggested this before and got a very negative response.
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
7:32pm
My mother would never have shared a home, despite being very hard up. She valued her privacy and independence. So do I. I really don't think most older people want to have to change their ways to accommodate a housemate. It's very different for the young. They haven't yet become as set in their ways and as protective of their privacy.
Tib
9th Feb 2018
8:11pm
Rainey When you don't have money you don't have choices. Bad luck get used to it. Hard choices have to be made and as usual woman can't make them.
OnlyGenuineRainey
10th Feb 2018
8:39am
That's true, Tib. I'm thankful I do have choices. My mother was lucky to be able to get by on very little and chose to do that rather than compromise her independence and privacy.

I guess the question for society, and the government, is ''to what extent do we, as a society, have an obligation to support the aged to achieve a lifestyle they consider acceptable?''

At present, it seems the general consensus is that we are obliged to provide generously for those who have little or nothing, regardless of whether there circumstances are due to genuine disadvantage, bludging, wasteful spending, or manipulation to appear to have little. But those who worked their guts out and went without extensively and now are honest about having modest means should be made to pay the cost, even if it leaves them with a lesser lifestyle than those they are supporting.

Personally, I think society owes the aged a universal pension that is adequate for the majority to choose to live alone if they so desire, but in basic accommodation and by being reasonably frugal.

If it were up to me, I would add a provision that those who could evidence suffering significant disadvantage - eg. injury in work accident that wasn't adequately compensated; work-induced illness; growing up in an orphanage; being born with or suffering accident or illness very early in life that caused significant disability; etc. - and suffering very low income or extended periods of no income as a direct result - would be given an additional allowance. Those who had little or nothing as a result of their lifestyle choices would get sustenance only. Almost impossible to implement, I guess, but it's how it should be.

I don't think what you now have should be in any way a criteria for determining entitlements - but rather how you came to be where you are. If you did okay despite major disadvantage, you deserve to enjoy the good life.
Rae
10th Feb 2018
8:47am
Rainey Tib is right here.

I grew up in a Boarding House and with a few rules and a lot of legal protections from tenancy agreements set up properly it was quite okay.

Something about beggars not being choosers.

The majority have voted for a semi fascist government to destroy union power and establish the Corporate State so no whining about it when it comes.

Wait until Serco takes over Centrelink and rolls out those welfare cards to everyone. Big money to be made processing those cards.
OnlyGenuineRainey
10th Feb 2018
8:10pm
Oh yes. We should all be uniting to demand those cards be abolished. They are a recipe for social disaster. They may help the occasional undisciplined welfare recipient, but they should NEVER be allowed to be allocated across a community, much less the society.
musicveg
10th Feb 2018
9:16pm
I find it hard to believe that rental assistance covers the rent, it is pathetic and has not increased for who knows how long, whilst rents just keep going up and up.
VeryCaringBigBear
11th Feb 2018
4:51pm
I will gladly accept the welfare card. Same arguments now against welfare card there was against welfare being deposited in bank accounts instead of welfare cheques. No one seem to have any problem with welfare going into bank accounts these days.
musicveg
11th Feb 2018
4:56pm
There have been many problems with the welfare card, it has not worked in areas where it has been trialed. I for one, do not want to be dictated where I spend my money, it may limit online shopping where I get my bulk dry goods. Many places will not accept it.
VeryCaringBigBear
11th Feb 2018
8:27pm
Not problem online as it will be that as long as you don't buy goods not allowed using the welfare card then no problem using it at all.
musicveg
11th Feb 2018
8:43pm
What happens if I want to save some of the money? I am still not convinced it is a good idea, mainly because someone is going to make money from making them and also it will cost the Government too much. Also it puts a stigma on people on welfare, they have to carry a card that says 'welfare card'. People will judge everyone the same.
musicveg
11th Feb 2018
8:44pm
And also how do I buy secondhand items to save money when I need something for the house or a bike for my son for example, everyone wants cash.
OnlyGenuineRainey
13th Feb 2018
9:58am
The stigma is a major problem, musicveg, and will cause enormous social harm. But also, you are right, the system will heavily disadvantage the more responsible strugglers, preventing them buying used items and obstructing their ability to save for medium to long term life goals.

I would never have risen above poverty if I'd been forced to use a welfare card. It would have wiped my family out - emotionally, psychologically, and practically. We'd have been without hope and without the self-respect that drove us to strive so hard to escape our circumstances.

It's an appallingly BAD idea that is hugely expensive and unfairly profitable to the organization(s) behind it, and downright cruel to the disadvantaged.

I would support the notion if it were restricted to only those individuals who had repeatedly demonstrated incapacity to manage their finances appropriately. It should NEVER be considered for a community or sector of society.
OnlyGenuineRainey
13th Feb 2018
10:01am
The welfare card is the ''ace card'' being played by the ''keep them down'' brigade. It's the ultimate weapon for ensuring the disadvantaged stay that way, and can never raise themselves up.
musicveg
13th Feb 2018
2:20pm
Yes I suspected that OnlyGenuineRainey, it really is another nail in the coffin for those who struggle already. Their only other option would resort to crime, which I think I may have heard that in those areas that got the welfare card trials the crime went up.
Tib
9th Feb 2018
1:12pm
If a worker pays 9.5 % or 12% for superannuation to fund his retirement surely that has nothing to do with what the government provides for rental support. It's his money. But what it does do is make it less likely that he has to keep working till he's dead. But most women who either don't work or only work part time will find their situation won't improve after all 12% of almost nothing isn't much so rental assistance is still an issue and always will be. So ladies the only thing that will solve your situation is get a job and never stop working that's real equality.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
1:25pm
It has been stated for many years now that a person needs to put 15% of their earnings into super for a decent retirement so 9.5% is way under what is actually required.
Tib
9th Feb 2018
2:35pm
OG I agree but I think the government wants to keep us working till we are dead
Eddy
9th Feb 2018
2:41pm
Please get it right Tib, no worker pays the Super Guarantee Charge be it 9.5% or 12% or whatever, it is the employer who pays it. It is viewed in some quarters as a tax on employment similar to payroll tax, and is paid irrespective of the financial standing of the employer. Whether it is a good thing or otherwise I will let others pontificate. As for the Grattan Institute, i give them no credibility at all.
Tib
9th Feb 2018
3:25pm
The employer also pays salaries it doesn't mean the salary belongs to him. Superannuation belongs to the employee it is part of his employment conditions no matter how you or the Grattan institute want to present it. It is payed by the employer because if it was left up to the employee it would never make it into superannuation and the government wants to make sure they don't pay AOP. But the superannuation belongs to the employee or am I living on my ex employer good nature. So get it right Eddy, unless I'm under the false impression that I am spending my money.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
3:40pm
Super is paid by the employer into a fund. The employee owns that money but can't access it until he meets condition of release.

Biggest problem today is that a lot of employers think they can get away with not paying it. I am forever chasing up on super for people.
Tib
9th Feb 2018
3:44pm
OG yes I've known a few people cheated by their employer out of their super. They never did get the money.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
4:12pm
ATO now have an online form to fill in and they follow up the unpaid super.
Tib
9th Feb 2018
5:18pm
Problem is they pretent to be broke and transfer the ownership of the business. They also threaten employees if they complain. Many of these people can't afford to be unemployed. Some of these business owners are the lowest form of life.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
8:32pm
Agree I know of one employee who was sacked because they asked where there super was going. They were referred to me to help them sort it out. So far we have got $20 of the thousands owed but we wont give up.
Rae
10th Feb 2018
9:06am
Eddy you are very wrong. It is paid from wages or salary. They should have let workers pay in into funds themselves but they don't trust you to do that. I've employed workers and taken their 9.5% out and directed it into super funds.

Only PAYG have the employer do the task for the,. The self employed have to do it themselves or not as they choose.

Some employers are stealing their employees wages by keeping that 9.5%.

The defined benefit superannuation is paid after tax though and is deposited as a contribution which shows up fortnightly on pay slips. These people don't get the tax concessions or the super guarantee so their contributions can be much higher that 9.5% of wages as it is based on units bought based on the income at the time.
Rae
10th Feb 2018
9:12am
Although people are envious of defined benefit workers most really wouldn't want to pay the $700 or so after tax contributions each fortnight out of their pay.

The 2015 budget actually wiped out the concessions that were received after retirement instead of the tax concessions other workers get while working and contributing.

Until you have the facts it's hard to really work things out.
Grateful
9th Feb 2018
1:47pm
WE tend to forget that compulsory superannuation is only around 20 years old and very many of today's age pensioners who were on average wages when they were employed, would not have accumulated anywhere near what is deemed to be "needed" for a comfortable retirement. Let's learn from that and do as suggested to significantly increase the percentage payable for compulsory super, now.
Now, as we know, the employer pays that and it would be FAR better in the long run for those employees to "receive" a sizeable increase in the employers' compulsory contribution to their super than the employee receiving all of any wage rise. It would be a win/win/win situation drawn over the working life of the employee.
Evidence PROVES that the vast majority of everyday household income today is spent in its entirety, with another 100% equivalent spent on credit. The less given to most wage earners, from today's evidence, the less they will be tempted to buy things that they CAN'T AFFORD!!!
Who is to blame when a first home buyer couple "beats" a group of investors at a house auction?? Think about it. Would have paid substantially more than the true market value and would then have years of mortgage "stress" to keep them awake at night and probably at each other's throats!!
Increasing rent assistance would end up where every other government "assistance" is given that affects the commercial market. Yes, into the pockets of the landlords!!!
Increase Newstart would be a gross disincentive when you take EVERY Newstart applicant into consideration. The "bludgers" and there ARE very many of them, would just have more to spend, but would stuff it up for the genuine ones. Sad, but, that's what DOES happen.

If the government is to give any additional payments, it should ONLY be to those age pensioners who do not own their home and receive the FULL pension. They are living well below the poverty line and that is totally unacceptable for a country as wealthy as Australia.
Home owner age pensioners, unlike the non-home owners, have that enormous luxury , especially with today's highly artificially inflated prices, to capitalize on their equity in that asset, through many avenues, even without leaving that home, and raising their standard of living immeasurably.
Non home owners with minimal assets do not have any such recourse. And the economy would benefit greatly, as you can just about guarantee that all of that increase would be spent on basic living expenses.
HS
9th Feb 2018
2:29pm
You don't live in the real world do you Grateful?
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
5:54pm
Nope. Grateful lives in a world where workers and savers are supposed to hand over everything they have to bludgers, over-spenders, and the minority of genuinely disadvantage. Grateful has no idea how some homeowners struggle with rates, insurance and maintenance costs - much less how some who receive no pension or benefits struggle on incomes of HALF the pension, trying to avoid draining their hard-won savings because they anticipate a heavy expense at some future time.

Why do some not own a home? A minority can point to genuine disadvantage. Vast numbers were just wasteful, or didn't want to commit half their wage to mortgage payments when interest rates were 18%. But now Grateful wants to hand out to all those who were irresponsible, and shun those whose struggle helped the nation prosper (for a while, at least).

I agree with raising the pension, but NOT rent assistance. Many renters are better off than home owners. Build more public housing. Implement more programs to provide affordable housing. Handing out rent assistance is not a fair or appropriate way of dealing with need, because some renters are quite well off. I know quite a few who put their home in a relative's name and pay rent just to get the assistance. A relative built a grand home with a separate wing attached for her boyfriend, and charges him rent so he can get rent assistance to help pay rates for a waterfront mansion. They are actually living as a couple and sharing expenses, but by charging him rent - and, incidentally, fraudulently claiming disability and naming him as her ''carer'', they pull a very generous income between them from Centrelink. Disability pension - with all the fringe benefits; carer allowance; carer benefit; rent assistance. They are WAY WAY WAY better off than the homeowner couple next door to me who are struggling to pay full price for everything on an income well under aged pension level. Oh, but they should just use their savings until they are all gone, while those who DIDN'T BOTHER TO SAVE or manipulated to cheat the system are handed $1 million in taxpayer dollars over the term of their retirement.

When everybody decides working and saving is futile, maybe people will WAKE UP that it's NOT SMART to encourage people to rely on handouts.
Rae
10th Feb 2018
9:35am
Grateful the median wage of over half the working people is less that $42000 a year.

Until something gives to allow workers wages to finally rise taking more from them now for some golden vision of the future won't work.

We have a situation where a family does better with a public house and welfare for life than the average worker and that is not going to have good consequences.

The Liberals will outsource to Serco.

Also we are no longer a wealthy country as our wage base has been deflated, our tax base collapsed and almost all our public revenue raising assets sold off to foreign owners.

LNP voters wanted the Corporate State and are very close to achieving it finally.
Grateful
12th Feb 2018
10:34am
O.G.R. You have absolutely NO idea what Grateful's circumstances are, but you can be absolutely assured that those words most certainly come from personal experience. Be much better if you stuck to the topic and avoided highly incorrect subjective criticism of individual posters of whom you have absolutely no knowledge of their personal current and past circumstances.
OnlyGenuineRainey
13th Feb 2018
9:51am
No Grateful, I don't know your circumstances and you don't know mine, or anyone else's. I was responding to your assumption that homeowners are all well off compared to renters - WRONG! And that assistance should be limited to those who don't own a home and have nothing.

Regardless of your ''circumstances'', or the reason for them - and if you have faced major challenges, I sympathize deeply - the fact is that your post actively supported the view that savers and strugglers who fought hard to acquire a home, with great sacrifice, should now suffer penalty in order to hand out to those who - for whatever reason - and often due to irresponsible lifestyle - have less.

I'm not for an instant suggesting your needs aren't genuine, nor that they are due to irresponsible lifestyle. They may well be the result of major life challenges. But your post reflects disregard or ignorance of the huge costs of home ownership and the hardship those costs can impose, and of the comparatively favourable circumstances of SOME renters. And it reflects a common attitude that savers should be deprived so that non-savers can get bigger handouts.

Need is not easily assessed, and BigBear's posts demonstrate vividly how it can be wrongly determined, and how many manipulate to deceptively create the appearance of need. I object strongly to the notion that taxpayers should hand out based on the appearance of need, and should constantly take from those whose needs were reduced by their own significant endeavours.

People who work hard and save well HAVE AN ENTITLEMENT to enjoy the living standard they worked so hard for, and while I agree wholeheartedly with the concept that the disadvantaged should be adequately supported, I do not agree with taking from people who someone PERCEIVES to be either not needy or not deserving, merely because they worked hard to try to avoid being heavily dependant on taxpayers.

I apologize if my post offended, but I based my assessment of your view of the world solely on what you said. It has nothing to do with your circumstances or how they arose. I took issue with your EXPRESSED OPINION, which was - incidentally - offensive to me, since I am among those homeowners who had an incredible struggle and made massive sacrifices to own a home, and now face untenable costs of ownership that will ultimately result in me having to sell it and downsize substantially and move to a much less appealing area, while if I hadn't bought it, I could have lived the high life and be now taking government handouts, enjoying a vastly improved quality of life. Sorry, but your assumptions about ''luxury'' are incorrect and offensive.
OnlyGenuineRainey
13th Feb 2018
1:34pm
Grateful, I think the biggest single reason why retirees are not getting any traction demanding a better deal is that they are fractured and competing.

If we all STOPPED presuming that X is getting a better deal than Y and demanding favours for one sector or another and united to demand a better deal for all, we might get somewhere. This ''I'm needier than you'' mentality is the government's very best defence against a demand for reform of retirement incomes. Divide and conquer works every time, and they don't have to divide the senior population. The ''I'm needier'' and ''I'm more deserving'' and ''I'm envious'' attitudes are keeping the divisions strong.
floss
9th Feb 2018
1:48pm
Please try to live in the real world O.G.but being a Liberal troll that would be hard for you.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
3:43pm
I thought I was more a Labor troll than a Liberal one myself.
Tib
9th Feb 2018
3:49pm
Ha ha.
Tib
9th Feb 2018
5:28pm
No no OG I'm the labor troll I always thought you were liberal lol. There may be a demarcation issue here. :)
Charlie
9th Feb 2018
2:01pm
This is supposed to be about age pension and nothing else right?

I only know that rental assistance is not intended to pay a persons rent and is well below the basic needs of the 2018 pensioner. It is rent "assistance" and only that.

Its too complicated for me, but if people are not sure what something is going to do, then they should leave it alone.

I think that planners should be paid to do nothing all day and only used when necessary, because that is far cheaper than reversing the mess they made, while justifying their existence.
thommo
9th Feb 2018
3:13pm
There should be a universal age pension for all, regardless of income and or assets. It's simple really, because the taxation system will get much of it back for the government, and just as importantly, the extra spending money will be good for our economy.
England has a universal pension, so why not Australia.
The politiicians look after themselves, and it's time they looked after us, and if they dont, they'll get booted out at the next election.
If Labor promises a universal age pension, they will romp it in at the next election, but not with Shorten at the helm..They must get rid of him, and replace him with Tony Burke.
George
9th Feb 2018
4:58pm
Agree, thommo, except your comment about Labor. Also, Age Pension should by increased by 25%. We need the following:
a. Change it to Universal Pension for all (say with min 15 years Residence) without any Asset Tests but actual total Income taxed.
b. Implement 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 - can't see Labor (without "U") who refused to reverse the Asset Test changes doing anything as bold as this. Chris Bowen helped the Liberals to win by refusing to assist part-pensioners.
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
5:16pm
I can already hear the up roar from those over 60 who pay no tax on their income from super. Then again they will just grandfather it and all will be happy like they did when they bought in that super was to counted in the assets test. Those already on the OAP who had super in the pension phase at the time do not have their super counted as part of the asset test. I thought this was wrong as anyone below retirement age who had their super in the pension phase should also have had their super grandfathered from the asset test.
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
5:35pm
You nailed it George. I agree with both (a) and (b). But they also need to fix the ridiculous superannuation tax concessions that are dumping huge loads of cash into the accounts of the wealthy and giving the battlers little or nothing.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
8:37pm
so OAPs will have no income processing assets but lifestyle ones instead. Companies will only pay the bare minimum required after they divert their sales through many overseas companies so they have little income left to pay tax on.

Awesome idea. Got any more of these?
OnlyGenuineRainey
10th Feb 2018
8:48am
That's EXACTLY how it is now, OG, and elsewhere in the world, cutting taxes made it worse!

Conversely, in the 60s, taxes were relatively high for higher income earners and life was great. Everyone enjoyed a fair go.
Joy Anne
9th Feb 2018
4:45pm
East of Toowoomba - you said it your going to get a lot of hate emails after this. I am a Pensioner and I worked 47 years and paid taxes and I live alone and the rent I pay now is $300 per week which is going up to $325 when I move per week. The place I am in has been sold.
You try and pay for scripts which the govt have decided to change these and give less and we now have to pay for any extra that was with our scripts and now is not. We also have the same costs Rego, Insurance, Phone, Electricity, etc. etc.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
5:04pm
I'd love to pay $6 per script instead of $48, get free rego, free phone and a discount on my electricity ($200 a year approx.) etc.
Charlie
9th Feb 2018
5:20pm
Of course, what a dumb view of the world some younger people have.

How many oldies would like to be young again and welcome all the problems a young person has, just to have a life in front of them and to feel well again.

Do they think we were born old and never experienced being young? Do they think being old, feels the same as being young.?

When I was young, unemployment benefits was not seen as an entitlement, but a reason for people to call you dole bludger. Before that it was a safety net to ward off starvation.

In my parents generation people were expected to live with family, or to get a job and save enough money to cover unemployment. People were happy to stay with one employer for a long long time.
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
5:37pm
I'll bet a lot who get those reductions would love to have the income to not qualify for them, OG. The only folk who deserve sympathy are those who have NEITHER the income NOR the benefits, because of an assets test that screws people who saved well but don't have enough to generate a living income from their savings.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
7:00pm
If a couple with over $800,000 in savings is screwed god help the rest of us. Many full OAPs would love to have that sort of money.
OnlyGenuineRainey
9th Feb 2018
7:30pm
Well many aged pensioners should have saved more and they would have it, OG. Anyone who justifies persecuting people who saved because there are some who didn't isn't being either logical or fair, and certainly isn't helping the economy.

Yes, people with over $800,000 ARE being screwed over. That has NOTHING WHATEVER TO DO with the circumstances of full OAPs - a vast number of whom are very well off indeed. Many are far better off than those with over $800,000. The likes of BigBear, for example, who gave money away to people who pay all his bills while he gets a full OAP.

There will always be those who struggle and those who are better off. Even in communist countries, that doesn't change. Greed ensures things can never be equal - and nor they should be. In a healthy society, those who work hard and save well enjoy the rewards. Those who don't suffer a less comfortable lifestyle in old age. And those who are genuinely needy are helped. What is unfortunate and unhealthy in our society is that those who work hard and save well, but are not able to achieve high wealth, are bashed down and deprived of all they earned, while those who bludge and waste are handed a million or more. And those who really haven't had a fair go in life aren't helped nearly enough.

Your arguments are completely irrational and illogical, OG. You don't ever seem to grasp the point. You go off on a tangent ranting about something that is not at all relevant to the comment you purport to respond to.
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
8:28pm
I think those people are with $800,000 are nothing but whingers and are certainly not being screwed by anyone including the government. They whinge because they were too lazy to plan their retirement and if they did then they got caught out with the new assets test.
OnlyGenuineRainey
10th Feb 2018
8:42am
OG, you are very nasty. Most of those caught by the assets test change DID plan very carefully but unlike those not suffering, they were - and still are HONEST, RESPONSIBLE AND ETHICAL.

BigBear isn't suffering unfairness, because he cheated the system. You probably did also, or else benefited from all the wonderful concessions granted to high income earners.

The assets test hurt the hard working savers who are honest and ethical and contributed most to society. And those hurt by it have every right to complain. It is PATENTLY UNFAIR in every way.
OnlyGenuineRainey
10th Feb 2018
8:43am
BTW. Anyone too lazy to plan retirement WASN'T caught out by the Assets test.
OnlyGenuineRainey
10th Feb 2018
8:52am
So, OG, your view is that anyone who worked hard, saved well, payed taxes honestly, planned for retirement, and acquired modest assets - but not nearly enough to generate a living income - should be stripped of all their savings to hand out generously to the lying cheating manipulators (like BigBear), the wasters who gambled and drank it all away or cruised the world and dined out, the bludgers who wouldn't work under any conditions, and a tiny handful of genuinely disadvantaged folk.

Good one! What a shit world you want to create! And when everyone says ''stuff it, why bother'', you'll whinge about the ''welfare mentality'' that stupid policy created.
Charlie
10th Feb 2018
9:12am
How about the oldies who did a degree in their 30's to get employment and then had their career cut short by illness. Also the belief at the time that 3% compulsory super was going to be sufficient. The difficulty borrowing money for housing in the 1990's
unless you already had a house. That's me.
If you are going to look at what older people should have done, you have to consider the conditions that applied at the time.
Its like the indigenous blame game on the first settlers through the eyes of a person 200 years later. But we wont get into that, it will come up again Anzac Day, no doubt.
Rae
10th Feb 2018
9:48am
The income test changes stuffed up people's retirement plans too Rainey. People who chose to save rather than buy assets in the first place.

I have friends with the $800 000 nest egg who have been told they can have $70 000 income for the rest of their lives. That isn't shabby.

If you have $800 000 and aren't managing it well then I fail to see why it's the taxpayers problem.
OnlyGenuineRainey
10th Feb 2018
8:15pm
Numbers are the taxpayer's problem, Rae. When returns average 5% and disposing of assets yields 7.8%, the nation has a problem. As for people not managing well, in many cases that's because of inherent disadvantage caused by social abuse and injustice. People who have suffered unfairly and are now struggling as a result should not suffer more because of inherent disadvantage. If there are ways to generate $70,000 a year from $800,000, then the government should ensure that the information is available to those who need it. That said, I wonder how satisfactory $70,000 a year will be in 20 years time? Seems a lot of people forget how rampant inflation eroded the value of money over the last 3 decades. Many retirees will still be alive 3 decades from now, and their nest egg will likely be worth nothing.
Jim
9th Feb 2018
5:06pm
It's hard not to agree to most of the comments on this subject, I don't think there is a simple answer, from a compassionate point of view the pensioners that are struggling the most should be given the most support, but how do you identify the ones that are in the most need, not everyone who owns their own home is doing it easy, just as everyone who doesn't own their own home are on struggle street, I have no idea how this problem can be solved, I seem to recall that my parents who lived in the UK and only recieved the base pension didn't have to pay rent, they were in public housing, maybe that's part of the problem not enough public housing, as people have already mentioned people retiring in the future will be better off with their superannuation, but that doesn't help the people in need now.
musicveg
10th Feb 2018
9:23pm
Not enough public housing is another part of the problem but also those who still live in public housing and don't need it anymore.
Knows-a-lot
9th Feb 2018
5:17pm
Wage hike will lead to increased super contributions automatically.
heemskerk99
9th Feb 2018
6:20pm
quick where is my violin and hanky, to think I once lived in Australia with real Australians instead of the now-a-days wingers and crying poor me, me's
Old Geezer
9th Feb 2018
6:56pm
I had mine out earlier too.
Tib
9th Feb 2018
8:14pm
It's only women winging because they spent their rent money on shoes. Ignore it I do.
OnlyGenuineRainey
10th Feb 2018
8:53am
More likely the women who married arsehole men who drank and gambled all the money, spent it on their girlfriends, or deserted their family.
OnlyGenuineRainey
10th Feb 2018
8:55am
Stop being so sexist, Tib. There are just as many men wasting money as women, and just as many women earning as men now. And in the past, there were millions of men who owed their success to the women who ran their home, cared for the family, and supported their men in a thousand -often unseen - ways.
Rae
10th Feb 2018
9:53am
You mean like our hero Barnaby. I can't believe they haven't sacked him yet. Hitting on junior staff members is not nice.
Tib
10th Feb 2018
8:45pm
Ok Rainey my comment was only there to stir you up :)
Tib
10th Feb 2018
8:48pm
Rae you would be shocked at the number of young women that hit on older men. It happens all the time. Trust me sometimes it's embarrassing. And if you think I'm just making this up I'm not it even shocked me.
OnlyGenuineRainey
13th Feb 2018
9:29am
I wouldn't be shocked, Tib. I am well aware that young women frequently hit on older men.

I read an article once by a sociologist who claimed young women should always marry older men because they offer financial security and less demanding and more ''fatherly'' care during the challenging periods of pregnancy and when children are infants. Then they conveniently die off and leave their money to their widow who, with her children grown, is free to ''frolick'' with younger men - providing them with a financial ''kick start'' and catering to their higher sex needs.

Interesting theory! I was never inclined to test it in any way.
patti
10th Feb 2018
9:35am
I would suggest that single women who are retired and still paying off a mortgage are worse off than renters. We get no rent assistance, and also have the costs of home ownership, rates, insurance, home maintenance, body corporate fees as well as normal living costs. I think the pension works for those who own their homes, but for others it is really hard. So sorry, East of Toowoomba, I find it hard enough to live on the pension. I simply could not survive on Newstart and don't know how anyone is expected to do it. I am also not ready to give up my car as it represents freedom and independence, about all I have left these days.I have to say that I am happy to no longer be in the workforce, with all the expectations these days. I don't wish to be available to my employer 24/7 as seems to be the requirement of many.
Mr Bent
10th Feb 2018
11:31am
Offering the young a bigger benefit is fraught with danger if you ask me. There's too many now that wont work and in the meantime fruit growers up north are tossing their fruit out because they cant get workers. Make every case an individual and make the payment to suit the case! there is work available because I have been there and done that!
Rae
10th Feb 2018
3:28pm
Fruit farmers up north are throwing fruit away because the foreign owned juice and tinning factory won't process it over Christmas.

Get a few factories tinning our sweet and juicy fruit and we could export it easily. The foreign owners want to bring in fruit from their own countries. Tasteless by the time it's shipped here and full of chemicals.

Don't blame workers. There are 400 working holiday makers willing to work but word gets around as to who has the best work practises and supplies quality food, drinks and fun. Those who have abused or who don't do the right thing are now being shown up on social media.

It's a whole new world out there. Farmers I know who have clean accommodation, good food and drinks and don't bully or over stretch the relationship are having no trouble getting workers for bed and board.

The employment agencies should be placing the young in their areas jobs. It's what we pay them for after all.
Justsane
10th Feb 2018
4:21pm
Yes, increase the Pension and Newstart. Giving the most poorly paid people more money is good for the economy because they spend just about all they get, thus creating jobs for the providers of the goods and services to them. This is the very best way to help the economy, not giving billions and billions of dollars to big companies and hope that it 'trickles down'. Whoever invented the 'trickle down' theory that Malcolm Turnbull so espouses, didn't know much either about economics or about science. I assume that the theory was based on gravity where all objects fall 'down'. But with gravity, smaller objects fall towards the larger object - the Earth. The same thing happens with money - most of it falls towards the wealthiest people. Giving it to the wealthiest people just exacerbates this and doesn't do much for ordinary people. There are numerous examples throughout the world of where the 'trickle down' theory has failed. Britain let wealthy people from Russia and the Middle East buy up the houses in London, asserting that their wealth would 'trickle down'. But in the end, this just meant that the cost of housing increased and ordinary people were locked out of the housing market.
musicveg
10th Feb 2018
9:30pm
Spot on Justsane. I am spending less and my local businesses are getting less.
Geminiwoman
10th Feb 2018
7:14pm
I believe there is definitely merit in increasing the pension, many pensioners are living below the poverty line, these are people who have worked all of their lives and paid their taxes before compulsory superranuation came in. That way, pensioners who are forced to pay private rent would benefit with all other pensioners. I have a huge problem with compuslory superranuation in that, whilst I think it's a wonderful idea, there are some unscrupulous companies out there and as the government has made it compulsory, the government should guarantee it. It is about time our government started thinking about the disadvantaged and to that end, I feel that every person elected to parliament should, as a matter of necessity, be forced to live on the pension for a minimum of 3 months so that they can get an idea of how difficult (i.e. impossible) it can be. I also agree that it is impossible, even for a single person with no debts, to live on the Newstart.
musicveg
10th Feb 2018
9:32pm
Every member of parliament needs to be asset tested in retirement just like everyone else and we could save billions of hand-out money they pay to the pollies who are already rich.
musicveg
10th Feb 2018
9:40pm
More money for Newstart would see people be able to rise above poverty. More money for education so everyone has a chance. More money for mental health so people can access support when they want to get off drugs, overcome depression and hopelessness. More education for young at school to plan for their retirement, I never knew anything about it when I was at school. And more money for those pensioners like my mum who worked hard supporting a family, is now in her 80's, owns her own house but struggles to pay for maintenance and rates and is already living very frugal. She has friends around her that are doing very well because their husbands who died had a good superannuation nest egg but they still get the pension even if it is only a part-pension. Her friends can afford holidays, helping family out, renovations on their houses and going out to eat. My mum cannot join them. My dad unfortunately never had superannuation.
baza18
11th Feb 2018
2:39pm
If the Government had the money these illegal refugees have cost this country we could all probably be getting double the pension we are now ( $60 million awarded just the other day to 1447 ex Munus Island internees )$60 million damage caused to establishment on Naru, plus how many of the 50,000 Labor let in are still on benefits. If it was all added up it would run into billions of dollars
Adrianus
12th Feb 2018
4:03pm
In some ways, the superannuation guarantee contribution has been like a tax that has taken a considerable amount of money out of the control of consumers. And probably out of the country as young workers opt for growth portfolios with a strong mix of overseas shares.
Grateful
13th Feb 2018
10:28am
Jim hit it right on the head with these words.

I"t's hard not to agree to most of the comments on this subject, I don't think there is a simple answer, from a compassionate point of view the pensioners that are struggling the most should be given the most support, but how do you identify the ones that are in the most need".

Jim, that is exactly the problem for age pensioners who depend entirely on the age pension for all of their needs. That's why the government pays scant attention to age pensioners and how much they are paid.

There are simply too many who do receive the age pension that don't even spend any of it and just leave it in the bank.
There are also age pensioners who have over half a million dollars plus their own home, who receive part of the age pension.

And reading these forums whenever the rate of age pension is the topic, we see an outpouring of resentment, bias, racism, dissatisfaction, selfishness, greed, even hate from the variety of people who are involved with the age pension in any way. There are clearly two classes of "age pensioners"!!! MILES apart in thinking and in wealth.

The answer to you Jim is that they CAN very simply identify the ones in the most need, they are, by definition, those that are already deemed to be the most in need by being paid the full rate of pension as their ONLY source of income. THEY are the one's who NEED it.

That is where the lines are smudged in defining whether the age pension is welfare or an entitlement.
Until that is clarified absolutely, we will continue to have the confusion that makes it so easy for governments to ignore age pensioners.

Age Pensioners are massively DIVIDED, yes, united they stand divided they fall is exactly the acronym that keeps genuine age pensioners under the poverty line.
No responsible government nowayadys will be increasing the age pension when it must flow through to thousands of people who don't NEED it and claim it as a "right" or an "entitlement".

So, either fight to have the full rate of age pension as the basic guideline in determining who are those in most NEED or cop it sweet. We cannot have it both ways and never will.
Until we do, we will have huge sums of money being paid to extremely well off people while thousands live in poverty. Greed is great rules again!!!
OnlyGenuineRainey
13th Feb 2018
1:49pm
Grateful, it's your attitude that is causing the problem here. If we keep basing handouts on claimed ''need'', we will end up with a needy society and nobody looking after themselves. When there's no point to striving, because you are just beaten down to benefit those who didn't, anyone who did strive and succeed marginally will manipulate (like BigBear) to disguise or shed their assets.

The ''needy'' have a warped view of reality, because $500K and a home doesn't make someone with maybe 30 years to live and potentially high health and care needs ''wealthy''. It certainly doesn't justify denial of a part pension. Even couples with $900,000 are struggling to maintain the same standard of living as pensioners in some cases. Sure, they can drain their savings, but why bother to save if the only beneficiaries are those who didn't?

United we stand, and we need to stand united - not be bickering over who is neediest in a way that creates incentives to manipulate to feign need. If you are concerned for the genuinely needy, the absolute WORST thing you can do is support a ''needs-based'' system that encourages everyone to create the appearance of need. Far better to stand up for those who worked hard and demand fair recognition and reward, because then their number will increase - with an accompanying decrease in the numbers claiming full pensions and additional benefit, and with an accompanying lobby to give the strugglers more.

Need is subjective. Nobody can assess it accurately. A person can be needier with $500K and a house than someone renting with nothing, depending entirely on personal circumstances that are not in any way measurable by looking at assets or a bank balance. Just one factor that is never considered is age. $500K is a fortune for a 90-year-old, but not nearly so much for someone with another 3 decades of retirement to get through.

Your claims are highly offensive to people who worked their guts out and compromised their health to accrue a little personal nest egg, and now face higher health and care costs than others who have nothing. And I think it's extremely presumptuous and rude to suggest that you can determine other people's needs and entitlements.

I would venture to say that at leats 60% of those on full pensions were irresponsible or manipulative. I'd be surprised if the percentage isn't very much higher. I struggle to find any full pensioner who had it harder than I did in their working life, but they squandered their money - by choice. So why the hell should people who saved now suffer a reduced standard of living to hand out to them?

The current system offers a reward of up to $1 million (more in some cases) for being irresponsible or manipulative. And you are asserting we should make it worse. You are not helping your own cause, nor that of anyone in real need, by suggesting that we should continue a discriminatory and unfair system that encourages and rewards dependency.
AlbertC
15th Feb 2018
8:28am
yes it should be increased but not polatitions they do not deserve it when i was in my 30 40 and 50s our tax was high now the tax is low however we of those yrs paid more than they dotoday and the dole blugers should should not get pensions they don,t pay tax and polatitions should not get a pension as they don,t work long enough to deserve it
Adrianus
15th Feb 2018
8:40am
Good point AlbertC.
There are 870,000 on newstart who are not Australian citizens. Who knows what assets they have hidden in their country? If they were removed from the taxpayers teat then maybe your pension could increase?
AlbertC
15th Feb 2018
8:50am
not woried as long as i get a little more than i get now this is only to bring us up to standerd so i and my partner can live a better life and a far as the people who come to aus after 6 months here they should not be geting any other payments because most of them have jobs thats is why others cant get a job no one keeps an eye on them like they do on us cut them off and make them get work. going now have a great day .
musicveg
15th Feb 2018
1:23pm
Here we go again, expecting everyone to work when it is impossible when the jobs are not available. The Government should spend more money on training and creating real jobs before they can expect all people to work. You are out of touch with the real world. The Government can afford to pay welfare and pensions to everyone if they just allocated their money better. Here is a petition that might interest some people, the Government is handing out funding to companies that help others avoid paying tax!!: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/stop-funding-the-masterminds-of-tax-avoidance
Justsane
15th Feb 2018
3:23pm
I hate the term 'dole bludger'. Newstart pays very little anyway and necessitates recipients living a very frugal lifestyle. It has been found that there is no evidence that Newstart recipients are avoiding work, only that there are not so many jobs around as there used to be, particularly entry level jobs. This was all reported in the media recently. Australia must be the only country in the world that blames the unemployed themselves for being unemployed - not the lack of Government intervention in supporting Australian industries such as car making, not the economy, not the privatised, expensive and sometimes dodgy TAFE system, not the lack of apprenticeships, not the advent of technology. No, blame the victims instead, pay them a pittance, subject them to the most stringent requirements to get even that, and demonise them as dole bludgers. If the Government treats them as blameworthy, soon the public will see them in the same light, and there will be no support in the community for the amelioration of their circumstances, which suits this so-called government down to the ground, because they now have more tax payers' money to spend on tax cuts for their mates in big business, which they know, or should know by now, will NOT 'trickle down' to ordinary people or help the economy in any way.
musicveg
15th Feb 2018
6:31pm
Agree, well said. It is a deliberate way to hide the truth of what they are really doing with taxpayers money and they love to blame those who are struggling instead of doing something concrete. No one can better themselves if they are continually being put down, struggling to pay bills, keep a roof over their heads and eat proper nutritional food instead of the junk they can only afford. Check out the waste of money going to the masterminds of tax avoidance by our Government:
https://actions.sumofus.org/a/stop-funding-the-masterminds-of-tax-avoidance
AlbertC
15th Feb 2018
7:42pm
iwould say you not being rubished by me i went through that many years ago i could not work for about 18 m0nths but only got half of what was then a pension i had done my back but i got a pitance i to had a house i was payingand 6 kids later i had total 8 kidsi cut back on every thing inc smokting did not drink beer so that was no problem.i am now 74 and as i said early this morning our taxes wer a lot higher than nowbut we got by it washed but we did it.if you are willing to leave the good things out of your life you can surive 'best of luck albert.


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