Retirement income

Early release of super on compassionate grounds

People may be able to get quicker access to their superannuation in times of need from next month.

Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer said from 1 July 2018, responsibility for the administration of the early release of superannuation benefits on compassionate grounds will be transferred from the Department of Human Services (DHS) to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Longer lives demand super rethink

Australians have among the longest lifespans in the world, but are failing to plan financially for their later years, National Seniors Interim CEO Professor John McCallum said today.

National Seniors surveys over many years had consistently shown older Australians wanted regular, low-risk incomes in retirement.

“They want the equivalent of a ‘wage’ that gives them security and predictability,” Prof. McCallum told the Committee for Sustainable Retirement Incomes conference in Canberra.

New alliance seeking fairer retirement outcomes

National Seniors has joined an alliance to explore ways of fixing problems with existing superannuation taxation, Age Pension means test, and broader retirement income systems.

The formation of the Alliance for a Fairer Retirement System was made in response to Labor’s proposal to disallow refunds of excess franking credits for a range of retirees and shareholders.

Top Australian super funds

Just under two thirds of superannuation fund members are satisfied with the performance of their fund, new research shows.

The Roy Morgan Superannuation Satisfaction Report revealed that in the six months to March 2018, average superannuation satisfaction was 61.1 per cent.

This was on par with the average satisfaction level for industry funds. Retail funds were below the average at 60.1 per cent and satisfaction with major retail funds ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac was lower again at 58.7 per cent. 

Seniors urged to seek financial advice before joining Airbnb

National Seniors Australia has voiced its support for a partnership announced yesterday between the NSW Government and Airbnb to encourage more seniors to sign up to the home sharing platform.

But Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said involvement as hosts could have some serious impacts for retirees and pensioners, who should seek detailed advice before opening their homes to paying guests.

“On the surface, this looks like a great way to meet new people and earn some extra income,” Mr Henschke said.

Credit to Shorten for listening, but more required

By Chief Advocate Ian Henschke

A week’s a long time in politics and a fortnight’s even longer. 

Bill Shorten spoke to reporters on 14 March and announced his policy to save $59 billion dollars over 10 years. He said he’d do it by ending tax credits to share-owning retirees with no taxable income. He was ready for a “tough debate”. He got one. It created so much anger and concern among those affected he’s now “improved” his policy. 

Australians planning to work for longer

It will come as no surprise to most that new research shows Australians plan to work longer, with 61.9 years the average age of those intending to retire in the next 12 months, up from 58.2 years from 2014.

Roy Morgan Research said the number of intending retirees continued to grow and stood at 415,000, an increase from 392,000 in 2014 and 326,000 in 2008.

The results, covering the period 2008 to 2017, were from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey of more than 50,000 people, including 500 intending retirees.

Labor not budging on dividend imputation tax plan

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is refusing to back down on the dividend imputation policy despite a widespread backlash against Labor’s plans to abolish franking credit cash rebates for retiree investors.

The Labor leader last week rejected calls to water down the proposed policy, or exempt pensioners or those with modest self-managed superannuation funds.

Mr Shorten said Labor was braced for “a tough debate” and it was unfair that “a few people” could claim a tax refund when they had paid no tax.

ALP dividend changes need more consideration

National Seniors Australia has warned proposed ALP changes that would end cash refunds to retirees claimed through share dividend imputation could backfire.

Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said this week that the plan, designed to claw back $59 billion over 10 years from wealthy retirees, could hurt many full and part age pensioners who had been encouraged to diversify by including shares in their retirement portfolios.

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