Where in Australia do retirees have the most disposable income?

Does where you live have an impact on the amount of disposable income you have in retirement? Are some Australians enjoying a better retirement based on where they live?

How much disposable income you have for a holiday or new car depends not just on what you’ve saved but also on your living expenses. And no matter where you live, the cost of living has been rising.

According to the YourLifeChoices Older Australians Insights Survey 2021, more than 52 per cent of retirees don’t believe they have enough in the bank to cover their expenses in retirement.

Read: Claims Retirement Income Covenant overlooks majority of retirees

It’s no secret that different parts of the country have different living costs. Life in Sydney or Melbourne is always going to be more expensive than living in rural South Australia or far north Queensland.

Not only are rent and property prices greater in the cities but so are the costs of groceries, fuel, tolls and everything else. It’s not just an urban/rural divide either, there are also differences between the states. Living on the eastern seaboard will cost you more than living in Western Australia, which is more expensive than Tasmania.

But it’s also true that the most expensive parts of the country are those with the highest wages. Your earning (and saving) potential in NSW generally outpaces what you can earn in the Northern Territory.

So taking all that into account, which part of Australia has the highest level of disposable income in retirement? According to Finder, retirees in the NT have the most money left over at the end of the month. The full list is:

  1. Northern Territory ($2062)
  2. Western Australia ($1979)
  3. Queensland ($1703)
  4. New South Wales ($1656)
  5. South Australia ($1633)
  6. Victoria ($1428)
  7. Tasmania ($1305)
  8. Australian Capital Territory ($1252).

Monthly living costs for retirees in the Top End are the lowest in the country at $1407. Coupled with the NT’s mid-table monthly retirement earnings ($3469), retirees in the Territory have the most disposable income of all Australian retirees.

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At the other end of the scale, the nation’s capital did not fare as well. Despite a plethora of high-paying government jobs in the region, and the highest monthly retirement income in the country at $3648, Canberra also has the highest average retirement cost-of-living expenses ($2396).

High living costs also had a big impact on retirees in Australia’s two most populous states. Monthly expenses in NSW and Victoria are among the highest in the country and average retirees there have less cash to spare compared with retirees in other regions.

So, should you consider moving for your retirement? There’s certainly an argument to be made for relocating from expensive capital cities to lower living costs and free up some disposable cash.

“Taking the plunge and moving from a city when you retire is a big leap. The reasons are many for retirees wanting to escape to the country or the coast,” says Money.

Read: Soaring house costs pushing retirees into disaster areas

“For some, the chance to escape the pollution, congestion, crime and a noisy or changed neighbourhood are motivating factors.”

But such a move would come at the expense of the life you’ve already built. It might mean moving away from family and friends and the social connections that make life, and retirement, worth living.

Would you consider moving somewhere else for your retirement? Would the cost savings be worth it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyerhttps://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/bradlockyer/
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.
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