Finance

Seniors want simpler electricity pricing

Deregulation of retail electricity prices has led to a proliferation of offers that is confusing and misleading, especially to older consumers, according to National Seniors Australia.

National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said many consumers had lost faith in the current system, given major retailers had been fined for false and misleading discount offers.

Taxing times for the unsuspecting

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has warned of a scam that has cost older Australians more than $1 million since January.

The scam involves people impersonating ATO staff and demanding gift cards as a form of tax debt payment. It was first detected last year, but has grown in frequency in the past few months.

According to the ATO, the scammers are targeting people aged over 55, but with an emphasis on those aged 65 plus.

They warned that everyone should be cautious of emails, faxes, SMS and phone calls claiming to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Federal Budget 2017-18: Summary of budget measures

Downsizing

National Seniors believes the government’s initiative is more about enabling contributions into superannuation than downsizing.

The government introduced the initiative to allow people aged 65 and over to sell the family home and roll up to $300,000 ($600,000 couples) into superannuation.

The policy is scheduled to come into effect from 1 July 2018.

Financial advisers to meet new standards

National Seniors has welcomed a new authority set up to oversee the standards and ethics of financial advisers.

Former Chief Executive of National Seniors, Michael O’Neill, is one of three directors with consumer advocacy experience who have been appointed to the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA).

The other five directors include three with financial services experience, an ethicist and an academic.

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