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National Seniors addresses Post Retirement Conference

By National Seniors Australia Chief Advocate, Ian Henschke

It was a great honour to speak on behalf of National Seniors at the sixth annual Post Retirement Australia Conference in Sydney this week.

I was part of the opening session featuring Jeremy Duffield, Chair of SuperEd and Dr. Teagan Altschwager from the Melbourne Business School.

We challenged those in the room to work together to present a unified message to government on the key issues.

Fixing pension poverty, and making deeming rates and the pension taper rate fairer, were among the issues discussed.

It was great to see a growing consensus around the unfairness of the pension taper rate, in particular.

I’m having meetings in Canberra this week, where I’ll be driving that message home to the government, opposition, minor parties and treasury. 

World class research

At the conference, the work of our National Seniors research team (led by CEO, Professor John McCallum) was highlighted.

Our research comes from you, our members, and give us brilliant insights into the minds of older Australians.

Among the findings I shared with the room was the statistic that one in six of us worry frequently about outliving our finances in retirement, and more than half of us worry about our finances not being enough to fund our longevity.

This insight was invaluable as it reminded the financial planners and Canberra bureaucrats why we want the following principles featured in a review of the retirement income system:

  • adequacy
  • sustainability
  • certainty
  • fairness. 

At the conference, we learned that formal submissions to the retirement income review will need to be completed by January.

Many in the room joked they would be busy over the Christmas holidays with homework!

But we’re already making our voice heard.

National Seniors Australia has already put in a submission via the Alliance for a Fairer Retirement System, of which we are a founding member.

You can read the submission here

Key findings from the conference

One highlight was learning about the new retirement products, including those which, in effect, guarantee a defined benefit pension.

Another highlight was learning more about the various options available to release home equity.

I was also able to meet the head of Household Capital, Joshua Funder and Chair Nick Sherry.

National Seniors has formed a partnership with Household Capital to assist those looking for a reverse mortgage product. 

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