Hope for the best, plan for the worst? Insights into our planning for a longer life.

Australians are enjoying among the longest life expectancies in the world, a trend which is expected to continue.
They are also being asked to do something not previously required of their parents and grandparents, namely, to save for a longer life than expected. However, there is limited availability and take-up of financial products that can assist individuals to efficiently manage the risk of outliving their savings. The growing fear that Australians’ saving behaviour is not keeping pace with increasing life expectancy is also now a major issue around the world.

Australians struggle under credit card burden

Australians considering a credit card balance transfer have an average of $12,067 of debt.

Figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) put the average credit card debt in Australia at $3,069.

But a survey by comparison site finder.com.au revealed those considering a balance transfer were struggling under a debt burden almost four times this amount.

The site examined data from 9,500 users trying to shift debt to a zero per cent balance transfer credit card and uncovered the average balance on their existing cards.

CBA abolishes reverse mortgage fee

National Seniors Australia has welcomed the Commonwealth Bank’s announcement earlier this week that it is removing monthly account fees for thousands of seniors who unlock the equity in their home after retirement.

Commonwealth Bank customers who have the Equity Unlock for Seniors (EQFS) loan will have their monthly account fee of $12 removed, effective immediately.

Learn how to better fund your retirement

New South Wales members of National Seniors can ramp up their financial knowledge at two seminars in Sydney on Monday, 30 October, and one in Albury on 8 November.

National Seniors Financial Information Desk senior officer Basil La Brooy will be presenting information aimed at helping people understand their own situation and resources.

Topics include opportunities for those who will be fully self-funded in retirement, Government Income Support (GIS) and equity release products.

A Q&A session will follow the presentations.

Gold Opal fares a bright spot in otherwise dull NSW budget

The New South Wales budget has held public transport fares at $2.50 but added little to help older people cope with ever-increasing living costs, National Seniors Australia says.

The cost of Gold Opal travel for pensioners and Seniors Card holders will stay at $2.50 for the 2017-18 financial year.

“This is good news but we can only hope the government restricts fare increases in the future,” National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said.

WA concessions change to aid budget repair

The Western Australian Government has announced increases to household fees and charges, including seniors’ concessions, to help the state with ‘budget repair’.

Consumers will be slugged an average of 7.7 per cent, which represents a basket of household fees and charges.

For seniors' households with Commonwealth concessions cards, the government will continue to provide the 50 per cent rebates for water service charges capped at $600 and local government rates capped at $750, and a 50 per cent rebate on the underground electricity connection charge.

SA budget has little joy for seniors

Seniors say the South Australian budget is a mixed bag that contains little cause for joy.

The budget papers revealed a total allocation of $11.4 million to “place South Australia at the forefront of the Ageing Well sector”.

The funding is intended to drive innovation and growth in the emerging sector, and will cover the establishment of a coordinating body to connect people with education, training, research, networks, business development and international pathways to the market.

Seniors welcome Queensland budget social housing commitment

National Seniors has welcomed the Queensland Government’s budget commitment this week to invest in new social housing.

The Chair of National Seniors’ Queensland Policy Advisory Group, Vera Somerwil, said the government’s allocation of $1.8 billion over 10 years to build more than 5,500 social and affordable homes, along with a boost to electricity concessions, would go some way towards helping older Queenslanders cope with the rising cost of living.

Seniors welcome improved access to public transport

National Seniors has welcomed the ACT government's budget commitment to increase access for seniors to public transport.

The government will continue to offer free off-peak travel on bus services for seniors and concession card holders. It will also conduct a six-month trial in the inner north of flexible bus services for people with mobility impairment.

National Seniors’ ACT Policy Advisory Group member Dr Bill Donovan said the lobby group for over 50s was a strong advocate for better access to public transport.

Tasmanian seniors welcome budget health focus

Tasmanian seniors have welcomed record health spending announced in the 2017-18 state budget, but they were disappointed that ageing was overlooked again for a ministerial portfolio.

National Seniors’ Tasmanian Policy Advisory Group’s Mary Parsissons said $7 billion in health spending over the next four years would help deliver 106 new hospital beds, construct and upgrade health facilities, and employ more doctors, nurses and health professionals.

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