Will your home fund your retirement?

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Recent research by global bank HSBC suggests that Australians are overly optimistic about their ability to leverage their homes to fund their retirements. But is this really the case?

HSBC’s Generations and journeys report is the 13th instalment in a longitudinal series, the Future of Retirement, which benchmarks retirement aspirations and actualities.

And while it may be useful to compare Australian responses with those of 18,000 people across 17 countries and territories, as with all statistics, it’s important to dig down to the true reliability of these responses.

So, with 26 per cent of the 1003 Australians surveyed expecting to leverage property to fund their retirements, we need to understand that this high percentage – when compared with other nations – is likely linked to the higher rate of home ownership in Australia, compared with Europe, Asia and North America. If more people own homes, more might use their homes as an asset in retirement, right?

The ‘in country’ comparison between workers who say they may use their homes – the above-stated 26 per cent – with the 8 per cent of retirees who say they did, is also rather spurious, as we are most likely to be comparing very different lifestyles, financial histories and opportunities.

Younger retirees and those currently working may believe they have higher debt, a reduced chance of receiving an (increasingly restricted) Age Pension and may be more likely to view their property as an asset rather than the ‘home for life’, in the way older generations did.

HSBC’s findings are also distinctly at odds with the much more realistic ME Bank data reported by YourLifeChoices last week.

HSBC claims that 48 per cent of non-working Australians claim an Age Pension, however, last time we checked the most recent Intergenerational Report, it confirmed that recipients of a full or part Age Pension will remain at 80 per cent of retirees for the next 40-plus years. (To be fair to HSBC, it may have assumed full Age Pension entitlement, but it doesn’t state this.) In the ME Bank report, 64 per cent of respondents felt they would need a full or part Age Pension which is much more closely aligned with Federal Government projections, but still short of the mark by about 16 per cent.

So, it’s perhaps best to be wary of such top-line survey results, when planning your own retirement income. They may be inaccurate, or need more context to be properly understood and assessed.

But do be aware that if a higher proportion of retiring Australians do decide to downsize, this will have a profound effect on the real estate market in general, and house prices in particular. A flood of boomer properties may see prices plunge to a new low. And once again, when it comes to retirement planning, you may not get what you had anticipated.

What about you? Did you or will you access the wealth in your home for retirement? Do you feel this is a good move? And what effect will 25 per cent of retirees have on the housing market if they do downsize in the next 10 years?

If you are planning to downsize, check out our handy guide which tells you everything you need to know to make the decision and make it happen.

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Written by Kaye Fallick

64 Comments

Total Comments: 64
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    With us, although it is not a a possibility, to use our home to fund our retirement would be the VERY last thing we would do. This government can burn in hell before we would sell it to fund our remaining years. Where in hell is compassion for older people in this country? It certainly isn’t on any government agenda!

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      Agreed but they can have 11,000 dollars Budget celebrations wowowo and who pay for the party …. Yes the taxpayers

      Royal commission about gov. superfluous expenditure ??? or just an inquiry Why ?????

      No way will never happen

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      Dear Fast Eddie and Cranky,

      Where in this report is there a single comment about Government, or Government forcing anyone to sell their home.

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      Quite obviously you haven’t been keeping up with ideas the government has been toying with compensate for their ineptness in “governing” (term used VERY loosely), one of which is having Age Pensioners sell their homes in order to forfeit their hard earned entitlement to a government-funded pension. If you kept abreast of the foolish legislative changes the government is suggesting (much of which is printed on this site) you would have little need to comment as above, tams.

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      By muting that Australians are going to do that it is doing exactly that tams.

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      Hi, MICK, I tried to answer your question about Fetch in yesterday’s article. Hope it helps.

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      How come Australian’s happily sold their homes to give hundreds of thousands of dollars for nursing home providers to use?

      I don’t understand how it is different.

      Lucky we didn’t need those sot of bonds for schooling, shopping etc.

      The nursing homes are really only glorified hostels with minimum wage workers after all.

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      Nursing homes are also known for being the care facilities to which the most inept nursing staff gravitate.

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      Got it Eddie. Thanks.

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    I agree with fast Eddie, The Governments of the day don’t give a damn about the old people otherwise they would treat all pensioners the same. I cannot for the love of me see why a married couple should be treated differently that a single aged pensioner. In the end we are all aged pensioners and should be treated the same, no discrimination. Mad Max

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    Hey Cranky. How are single pensioners treated differently to a couple? I downsized as a single when I was about 55 to get “my ducks in order” ie get rid of my mortgage and go into a new place where I wont have maintenance issues for some time. As long as my posterior points to the ground I would never draw down on the equity in my home. Why should I? I worked hard for what I have so if the Government havent been smart enough to consider us in our retirement then grab some cool hard cash from those who are rorting or should I say stealing by sending profits overseas and get rid of family trusts and start paying tax honestly cos we all know the wife and kids dont get it!!

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    Everyone should be paid a pension if they want it and the value of their pension payments deducted from their estate when they die. House could then be used to fund one’s retirement.

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      Do you mean that NONE of the taxes we have been paying throughout our working lives has been set aside by the government to fund a rightfully (in theory) earned pension? I think you have been on the grog a bit this arvo, old boy.

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      old geezer,
      so why would people slave their butts off to pay off a house when they can just waste all their money on luxury overseas trips knowing full well they will get the pension whereas a person who works and saves gets nothing.
      i worked my butt off to raise 4 children on my own and paying my HECS. i retired from work due to being exhausted from driving 4hrs daily to work. so im living of my super. NOW i have a friend never worked a day in her life only had one child living in a 3 bedroom dept of housing on her own she is on disability because of being obese she eats to much. so what your saying is this is fair

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      Fast Eddie
      spot on

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      You got it exactly right, Marls.

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      yes Maris too may bludgers wanting it all for nothing or effort or saving

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      Good to see someone with the brains to understand how unfair the system is – and being made MORE unfair, and really very stupid in that it sends a strong message NOT to work, save and invest – but just to spend up big and bludge on the taxpayer later. No reward for being responsible, so why bother?

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    Ummm ….. how about funding your entry to aged care? The cost of entry is equivalent to the price of the average home now so if people expect to use their home value to fund their retirement then they are going to be disappointed when their time for aged care comes along.

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      Most of your age care deposit comes back to your estate so no problem there.

      I don’t want to get into a discussion about age care but let’s just say most people have it all wrong.

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      No, OG. YOU have it all wrong. So what if most of the deposit comes back to the estate. That’s no help when there IS no deposit because you had to borrow so heavily against the family home that it’s sold to pay back the loan. Your comments make no sense at all. You are the classic ASSUMER who pays no attention to fact or common sense.

      The fact is that aged care rips off 85% of the aged pension PLUS PLUS PLUS PLUS PLUS (Chemist bills are exorbitant and not able to be controlled. Aged people still need personal items and some little creature comforts.) And on top of that you either pay the cost of a house as a deposit (which you can’t do if you’ve already had to sell your house to survive your retirement years) OR pay a huge (and unaffordable if you only have a pension) accommodation cost OR you rely on the taxpayer – which WILL happen if the government keeps impoverishing retirees, and then the costs to the taxpayer will skyrocket.

      Retirees in the 60s today with $823,000 (for a couple) are being called ”WEALTHY” (by brainless fools!), when, if inflation continues as it did for the last 30 years, that $823,000 is likely to be worth about $82,300 in 30 years’ time – but having been eroded because of dumb politicians denying those retirees a small part pension, it will likely be down to less than $40,000. Take the house as well, as what funds aged care?

      And of course OG didn’t bother to consider that a couple might need aged care for TWO people – so need TWO houses to cover the bond. Or one goes into care and the other is left bankrupt and homeless.

      Some fools just don’t get economics and finance at all.

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      Spot on Rainey. The problem with so many retirees is that they are being conned into accepting the inevitable rather than revolting against attempts to fleece them.
      There needs to be a definition of “wealthy”. I agree that less than $1 million is not wealthy but rather comfortable. There is a difference.

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      Maybe subservience was flogged into us at school MICK.

      As I said above I don’t get the nursing home costs at all. It would be cheaper to just keep sailing around the planet on cruise ships.

      They at least have a nurse and doctor on board.

      Assuming a 10% return on the $600 000 they want for a bond and then 85% of a pension. That is a whole lot of money to supply a bed, meals and a minimum wage staff or two.

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      Rainey you really have no idea what really happens when a person goes into a nursing home. Yes they can ask those big sums you talk about but the majority don’t pay anywhere near that much. I had a lady recently that could of paid $500,000 but they only asked for $150,000. Next door to her was another lady who paid nothing. I know this because the lady I was helping out told me and asked why she had to pay. Yes they take 85% of your pension but chemist bills are the same as you normally pay. I have seen the bills and paid them etc. Lots of stuff like soap, toothpaste and other toiletries are supplied. Many people in nursing homes save money with the 15% of their pension that is left because they need very little as everything is supplied by the nursing home.

      It is being stupid to say things like you will need to houses to cover the bond if a couple goes into a nursing home together as all that is doing is making people fearful and being irresponsible.

      Please stop spreading all this nonsense and frightening people.

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      OG, what about aged care entry and exit fees, body corporate, insurance, and all the rest of the draining charges associated with YMCA (Your Money Cheerfully Accepted) accounting at these one-step-up-from-hospice facilities?

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      Are you talking nursing homes or aged care units? They are two very different kettles of fish. I for one would never go anywhere near those age care units or over 55s villages myself. They are definitely YMCA places.

      Then again I have no desire to lie in a nursing home either. If I got to that stage then it’s time to take those pills instead.

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      You will never stop Rainey peddling dribble, it’s in the DNA. Ask about the Taper Rate change.

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      It’s OG who peddles DRIBBLE. What a load of BS! I negotiated aggressively with my mother’s nursing home admin staff and get a whopping 10% discount – which I was reliably advised was more than 90% of the residents achieved. The average price paid per room was $350,000, and that is in a country area where prices are much lower than the city. I’ve checked with dozens of people whose parents are in aged care or died recently in care and NOT ONE paid less than $350,000 PER PERSON.

      Toiletries are certainly NOT supplied. And chemist bills are often huge because the doctor changes prescriptions regularly and stocks are discarded and replaced.

      Retired KNOW NOTHING knows NOTHING, and OG knows even less!

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      Rainey you really have no idea about aged care. I currently have two people that I have helped get a place and neither has paid anything like $350,000 even though both could afford it. There chemist bills are no more than they would be if they were still outside the nursing home. Most of their toothpaste, tissues, soap, continence needs, talc etc are supplied by the nursing home. I do their shopping for them if needed and I buy very little for them. All the seem to spend is a few dollars every other week on a few chockies from the lollie lady that comes round. One does have a subscription to a monthly mag which they swap for others.

  6. 0
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    Surprise, surprise, a Right wing government attacking the pensioners, after they (the government) misused the contributions paid in by the pensioners during their working life. Now they excuse their current attacks by trying to convince the young that the pensioners will be to blame for all future problems. Sadly it’s working.

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      Those who put the current bastards back in should hang their heads in shame. I always say that we get the government we deserve. The rusted ons should enjoy the pain they also will bear……….along with the rest of us.

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      Mick we got the best there was as the alternative was not an alternative.

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    In our working lives we paid tax which was used by the governments of the day to fund, health, welfare, infrastructure, foreign aid and immigration.
    Now, the generation that WE gave everything too, now want everything!
    One wonders how long before a ‘White Paper’ into compulsory euthanasia is tabled before parliament…….Just to make ends meet and the younger generation can continue to have EVERYTHING!

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      Sort of right. Boomers indulged their children with everything and now they blame their parents for not being able to afford a house and not being given one of those too.

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      Old people today has never had it so good. Those of yesterday had to rely upon thier families to support them in old age. I remember how my grandparents came to live wit us when I was a child. We also had great aunts and uncles as well.

      What you get in welfare ie pension has nothing to do with the taxes you paid. If you are on welfare it should only be that without it you would be living iin poverty. Not many pensioners live in poverty these days. Most live very well even going on cruises and other holidays. It seems that people of today as very greedy in that no matter how much they get it is never enough. Hopefully times are changing and we will all learn to live a more substaianable life and it will be a better place for evryone.

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      I read the other day that the average couple today spends $65,000 on their WEDDING. No wonder the selfish, over-indulged young can’t afford to pay decent pensions and treat their elders with respect.

      My mother’s generation were treated a thousand times better than my generation in old age. My grandmother boasted about being richer on the aged pension than she had ever been during her working life. Bonny is full of it! Conditions for retirees are deteriorating rapidly.

  8. 0
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    I agree with using the family home to fund retirement but I need to explain my reasoning. The family home, at present, is the only asset that doesn’t attract capital gains tax so selling for a profit means that more funds stay with the owner. It is necessary to keep upgrading the family home when working so that the initial purchase of, say, a two bedroom weatherboard and iron can end up being a five bedroom, two bathroom, three car brick and tile home which, on retirement, is far too big for the owners needs.

    This is the time to look around in an area, maybe the same suburb, for a smaller home. Maybe it’s a free standing house, maybe a unit, maybe a retirement complex but chances are it will be much cheaper than the home you have for sale. It takes planning over a very long period but then planning for retirement should always be a long term project.

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      My partner and I would go insane if we had to live in a smaller home. We have 4 – 5 children and up to 2 adults stay with us every school holiday – out of necessity because our grandchildren lost their mum when they were very, very young. After working like slaves for lousy wages and paying tax for a combined 100 years, getting no education, no first home buyer grant, no maternity leave, no child care assistance, no capital gains tax benefit, no superannuation tax concessions, no negative gearing benefits, no business tax deductions, and no assistance to pay for special care for a disabled child – who cost us the equivalent of 5 houses – WHY THE HELL SHOULD WE NOT ENJOY THE HOME WE KNOCKED OURSELVES OUT TO PAY FOR for as long as we damned well want to?

      Every young person I know is taking kids overseas for holidays and living in a new brick and tile 4+ bed/2+ bath/2+ living room house with landscaped gardens, a swimming pool and two expensive near new cars. It was recently reported that the average young couple are spending $65,000 on a wedding party.

      Don’t you DARE tell me I have to give up what I’ve worked and saved a lifetime for to indulge the greed of others.

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      The usual crap from you rich old man. Let them eat cake! And let’s leave the heirs nothing other than a funeral bill to remember us by. Your view is offensive and would be to most decent Australians.

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      It is not necessary to keep upgrading the family home at all old man. It makes much more sense to invest the money wasted upgrading for income production during retirement.

      Even Warren Buffett still lives in his first family home.

      Australians really do waste a lot of possibly productive capital on houses that are possibly a liability for far too long.

      It is also unnecessary to keep buying new cars to impress the neighbours either. Another huge waste of productive capital that could fund a decent retirement.

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      I only once had a mortgage on my home. I paid it back in full within six months. I have never had a mortgage on a home since as it is not a good investment.

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      Wow, what a response. I gave my opinion as to one way that a house could be used to fund retirement and immediately got attacked from all sides. It’s interesting that when you run out of logic in a discussion that you must turn to personal abuse.

      Rainey, it’s not my fault that you had a poor education and worked like a slave for lousy wages. My opinion was just an opinion, not a directive to have everybody rush out and sell the family home. Can I suggest that you widen your circle of friends because I know a lot of young people who don’t take kids overseas for holidays and live in a new brick and tile 4+ bed/2+ bath/2+ living room house with landscaped gardens, a swimming pool and two expensive near new cars.

      Mick, grow up! Your post, as usual, bears little resemblance to the topic but is your usual rant against someone you have labelled as one who votes opposite to you. If my post offends you then some good has come out of it but please don’t identify yourself with decent Australians. Decent Australians don’t troll around websites abusing people and calling them names.

      Rae, I agree. My point is that most investments attract a tax whereas the family home can be sold without a tax penalty.

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      Most people upsize rather than downsizing due to our current pension system. This simply stupid as I certainly wouldn’t want to be cleaning and looking after a big house when I could be doing better things in my retirement.

      It’s a good idea to downsize and use the extra money to cross off your bucket list. The sooner you do it the better too as it gets harder the older you get. I try to empty my bucket but it keeps overflowing as I add more things to it. I’d rather spend my money on me than leave it for my kids and I don’t feel one bit selfish about it.

      Old Man some people here seem to have very narrow thinking on a lot of things so I wouldn’t take much notice of outbursts. Some also think they know but haven’t really got a clue in reality.

      Only young people I know are struggling to make ends meet each week let alone even own a house. Very few young people would have anything like that Rainey let alone take their kids overseas for holidays.

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      Your response offends most people Old Man. Congratulations on being a silver tail but don’t rub it in mate. Further to that have a bit of empathy for others and thank the Lord that you were blessed.

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      Well Mick, you have made a fair leap by assuming that I bought and sold houses as I described. In fact we still live in the first house we bought. I was expressing a view on what could be achieved by careful planning. I wish we had done what I described. It’s typical of your posts in here that you make assumptions which are usually far removed from the facts. If you make future posts without assumptions as well as dropping the personal insults we might be spared a lot of your rubbish.

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      I’m no silver tail and in no way blessed. In fact I am offended by anyone who tells me I am blessed. I do however have lots of life experiences from helping others in many things so have a reasonable understanding of what is really happening. There is lots of mis-information around these days and if I offend others in my attempt correct this so be it.

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      Anyone who can pay out a mortgage on a home in 6 months is a ”silver-tail” OG. Super-privileged. Filthy rich. And wouldn’t have a clue what life is like in the real world.

      You don’t CORRECT any misinformation. You spread a pack of lies to justify the unjustifiable and try to make conditions worse for the people who most need and DESERVE a decent retirement.

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      Old Man, nobody said my hardship was your fault – but it’s your fault you support continued deprivation and unfairness for selfish reasons.

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    I agree with Bes who said, “In our working lives we paid tax which was used by the governments of the day to fund, health, welfare, infrastructure, foreign aid and immigration.” And the rest….much of it sadly mismanaged by government.
    But Bes you forgot to add that our taxes also paid for POLITICIANS pensions, expenses, other rorts and lifetime gold passes but this never enters their minds or their debates when it comes to budget savings. Today some political scandal hits the headlines and tomorrow it’s forgotten and on and on we go. Don’t get me started…..

  10. 0
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    Please be aware my friends that the comments from “Cranky” are not written by me…but another Cranky person…and there will be a few members raising their eyebrows in utter disbelief that there are two of us…lolol

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      I had this happening for a while and it appeared that one of the right wing posters (Frank?) was behind it. Report the comment. If it is the same person then perhaps ask Drew to block him for posting as this is not in the spirit of things. Cheers.

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