Retirement income

Welfare system shake-up must invest in older people

National Seniors says any reform of the welfare system needs to ensure that assistance for older people is maintained.

The federal government this week announced the first stage in a new Australian Priority Investment Approach to Welfare that uses new data to identify and target groups most at risk of long-term welfare dependency.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter said that for the first time, government had evidence of exactly what was happening to people in the welfare system, down to very small groups.

More hits to retirees as budget repair gets underway

The Coalition Government has struck a deal with Labor this week to progress the Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill, with the payment of the energy supplement to end for some older people.

National Seniors Chief Executive Dagmar Parsons said that in the rush towards Budget repair, low income retirees had been forgotten again.

“Obviously, we welcome the announcement that the energy supplement will be retained for all existing and new recipients of the Age Pension,” Parsons said.

Age Pension inadequate, research shows

New research has supported what most people living on the Age Pension already know - that it is inadequate for their needs.

Everald Compton, chairman of the Longevity Innovation Hub, which helped compile The Adequacy of the Age Pension in Australia, said the report was the first scientific assessment of the day-to-day living costs of pensioners.

Revised Pension Assets Test limits from 1 January 2017

The long awaited confirmation of the assets test cut-out amounts that will apply from 1 January 2017 for Government Income Support pensions have been released and are slightly lower than previously reported by the Department (see below).

Eligibility for the Age Pension will cut out for a single home-owner when they have more than $542,500 worth of assessable assets from 1 January 2017.

For a home-owning couple the cut-off will be $816,000.

Older people not keeping cash for kids’ inheritance, survey shows

A new report has dispelled a common belief that older people are hoarding their wealth so they can pass it on to their children.

The National Seniors’ Australia Social Survey, in conjunction with Challenger, asked seniors about their current financial situations and what they expected in the future.

National Seniors’ Director of Research, Professor Philip Taylor, said nearly 3,000 seniors responded to the survey, with the results contained in the report Over 50s: Still not confident about their retirement income.

Over 50s: still not confident about their retirement income

A recent survey of approximately 3,000 Australians over the age of 50 conducted by National Seniors Australia asked about their current and expected financial situations, planning behaviours and strategies for managing financial uncertainty in retirement. In the context of the maturation of the superannuation system, older Australians are changing how they think about generating income in retirement. Super is now Australians’ main expected source of income in retirement.

Women closing the gap on super

Women are catching up with men when it comes to their super, new figures out this week show.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows the number of people with no superannuation coverage has been falling over the past decade for both men and women and the difference has halved to five percentage points.

In 2013-14, 25 per cent of women and 20 per cent of men had no superannuation coverage – in contrast to 10 years earlier when 34 per cent of women and 25 per cent of men had no coverage.

Retirees not big spenders

New research on Australian retirees shows that they have only modest levels of spending, regardless of income.

The research, based on 12 years of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics (HILDA) survey of about 8000 households, found 80 per cent of retired households reported spending only $23,797 for singles and $43,226 for couples, per year.

The study was commissioned by the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST)and conducted by Monash Business School’s Australian Centre of Financial Studies (ACFS).

Claiming your lost super

With $11.7 billion sitting in lost super accounts, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is encouraging Australians to reconnect with their super using its online services.

According to the latest ATO data the postcode with the highest amount of lost super, totalling $49 million, is the 4740 postcode in Queensland, which covers Mackay and the surrounding suburbs.

ATO Deputy Commissioner James O’Halloran said the figure was just a small slice of the super lost across the country.

How super is our system?

In a draft report, the Productivity Commission has released its proposed framework to assess the efficiency and competitiveness of Australia's $2 trillion superannuation system.

Commissioner Angela MacRae said that a framework would allow an assessment of the super system in achieving its primary purpose, that is, to provide retirement income.

“Our superannuation system is large, complex and has broad reach. This means even small system improvements can offer significant financial benefits to Australian workers, particularly in their retirement.”

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