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.”

Interest rate cut bad news for retirees

This week’s interest rate cut is bad news for retirees, says the consumer lobby for older Australians.

The Reserve Bank has decided to lower the official cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.50 per cent.

National Seniors chief advocate Sarah Saunders said the decision was bad news for retirees.

“This cut will be a blow to anyone living off simple, low-risk investments”.

Saunders called on the Government to now adjust the social security deeming rates accordingly.

“Having fallen steadily since 2011, interest rates are sitting at all-time lows”.

Tax office cracks down on tax avoidance schemes

The Tax Office (ATO) has launched an initiative aimed at educating individuals about the potential pitfalls of retirement planning schemes.

Project Super Scheme Smart – which forms part of the ATO’s broader focus on tax avoidance schemes – provides information on what to look out for, and what to do if you fall prey to a risky scheme.

ATO deputy commissioner, Michael Cranston, says the initiative aims to keep Australians safe from risking their retirement nest egg.

Super changes are fair but confusing, say seniors

Superannuation changes are broadly fair but have been poorly communicated, National Seniors says.

Australians are still grappling with what the changes – from the $1.6 million tax-free limit to the $10,000 reduction in the concessional cap - will mean to them.

“National Seniors believes the super changes are fair,” said National Seniors’ chief advocate Sarah Saunders.

“Generous top-end concessions represent money better spent in areas like health and aged care.

Changes to super will hit women hard

New research shows women over 50 will be the worst hit as a result of the Federal Government’s proposed changes to superannuation.

The University of Canberra’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) said the plans announced in the budget to cut the superannuation pre-tax contribution cap from $30,000 (and $35,000 for over 50s) to $25,000  will have a larger impact on women aged 50-64 than on men.

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