Retirement income

Australia's super system ranked second

Australia has the world’s second best retirement savings system after that of Denmark, according to the findings of a new report.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index showed Australia’s ability to fund the lifestyles of retirees had climbed one place in the index compared to a year ago.

Australia’s position rose thanks to recent increases in compulsory superannuation payments from nine per cent of wages to 9.5 per cent from 1 July this year.

Assault on financial advice protections continues

Older Australians have welcomed continued resistance from Green, Labor and two crossbench senators to the Abbott Government’s assault on financial advice protections.

Last night, opposition senators failed a second time in their bid to disallow the amended FoFA regulations after Palmer United, Motoring Enthusiasts, Family First and Liberal Democrat senators voted with the Government to retain them.

National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill said the dilution of these protections heightened distrust of a perversely structured financial advice industry.

ATO approved education program to support SMSF Trustees

People who administer their own Self-Managed Super Funds (SMSFs) now have a free on-line tool to help them understand their role and responsibilities.

CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand said the updated Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) Trustee Education Program had been recently approved by the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

It was designed to help SMSF trustees gain the skills needed to comply with legislative requirements.

Lifespans outstrip retirement savings

Seniors are underestimating their own lifespans, leaving many with a shortfall of retirement funds for their later years, according to new research.

More than 2000 seniors over 50 were quizzed about the average estimated life expectancy of a 65-year-old Australian as well as their own life expectancy estimation based on factors such as their health, lifestyle habits and parents’ life expectancy.

The general level of knowledge about life expectancies was quite low.

How realistic are senior Australians’ retirement plans?

In this report, co-authored by National Seniors Australia and Challenger, the retirement plans of senior Australians are examined, in particular their understanding about their own life expectancy, likely spending patterns in retirement and plans to cover future aged care costs.

The study, based on a survey of 2,000 Australians aged 50 years and over, finds that seniors under-estimate their own likely longevity when compared with actuarial estimates.

Furthermore, only a minority of seniors base their estimates of life expectancy on professional sources of information.

Pension age increase must be matched with job initiatives

Treasurer Joe Hockey’s announcement last week that the pension age will rise to 70 by 2035 must be complemented with innovative initiatives that tackle the employment barriers currently facing older workers, says National Seniors.

Hockey’s announcement came a day after the National Commission of Audit report recommended increasing the pension age to 70 by around 2053. The pension age is currently 65 and rising to 67 by 2023.

Audit Commission targets the family home

Older Australians have described the Commission of Audit’s targeting of the family home in pension and aged care means tests and new or increased health co-payments as ‘extreme’.

Including the family home in the age pension and aged care means tests; a $15 co-payment for all Medicare funded health services; and increased PBS co-payments are only four of 86, often controversial, Commission of Audit recommendations released publically today.

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