Retirement income

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.

Super reforms broadly fair but pension problem persists

Older Australians are broadly satisfied with the superannuation reform package in this year’s federal budget but are disappointed that the perverse outcomes of the 2015 pension changes remain unaddressed.

“The Turnbull Government has taken a measured but fairly comprehensive approach to superannuation reform,” said National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill.

“The mix, in terms of fairness and sustainability, appears pretty good.

Interest rate cut another low blow for seniors

The Reserve Bank’s decision to slash interest rates to 1.75 per cent is a further blow to older people on low, fixed incomes, National Seniors Australia said today.

The 0.25 percentage point drop is an all-time record low and the 11th consecutive cut.

“Many pensioners and self-funded retirees hold term deposits because of the security and peace of mind they represent,” National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill said.

Seniors baffled by delays in financial advice standards

Older Australians have labelled as ‘baffling’ the Federal Government’s proposal to delay raising the professional and ethical standards of financial advisers.

The new timetable, announced by Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer, shifts the education and exam requirements for new advisers from 1 July 2017 to 1 January 2019.

This means existing advisers now have until January 1, 2024 (5 years from 2019) to attain a degree or degree-equivalent qualification, and until January 1, 2021 (2 years from 2019) to pass an approved exam set by a yet-to-be-established standards body.

Seniors welcome chance to enshrine super objective

Older Australians have welcomed the first moves to enshrine into law the objective of superannuation.

Launching the public consultation process with a discussion paper yesterday, Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer said a legislated objective would guide policymakers, consumers and industry.

National Seniors chief executive, Michael O’Neill, agreed that the exercise, through greater clarity, would engender confidence in the system.

“Young Australians must have faith that what they sign up for now is what they’ll get thirty years down the track,” he said.

Feedback to the Fraser Review

National Seniors highlights the need for improved governance arrangements across the superannuation industry to build fund resilience and member confidence.

Life Insurance Reform Legislation

National Seniors is seeking stronger legislative provisions to prevent the current practice of advisers switching clients into new, less suitable life insurance products.

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