Our say || The minefield that is retirement and beyond

I suppose I am one of the lucky ones, when it comes to my retirement, because I have a Superannuation account.

I have had one ever since I started work (all those years ago) and I have been able to ferret away a little bit of cash to boot. So I am better off than some who are staring down the barrel of retirement on the old age pension.

We hear a lot about the struggles of our pensioners. The struggle to afford basic necessities like electricity for heating and cooling, food and even in some cases, medication. It’s hardly easy street. Now pensioners want the right to work longer without penalty. Please explain!

National Seniors Australia is calling on the Federal Government to allow age pensioners to earn up to $10,000 a year ($385 a fortnight) without losing any of their benefits. The current cap is $6,500 a year or $250 per fortnight. According to Seniors Australia with the single Age Pension, including supplements, set at $894.40 a fortnight, the increase would mean pensioners would be earning $540 more than the minimum wage a year, or an extra $21 a fortnight. Their research suggests that one in three pensioners would continue in paid employment part time – if the work bonus was increased to $10,000.

Now maths is not my strong point, some would say that’s why I became a journalist, but to me it adds up. Australia has an ageing population. The proportion of older people (aged 65 years and over) has been steadily increasing over the last century, and by all accounts that’s a trend that is expected to continue. Coupled with increased life expectancy we’re in for a rude awakening, if we’re not prepared to plan ahead.

If someone wants to continue working – why not allow them to? Let’s not forget a lot of the people we’re talking about here don’t have a Super stockpile. The rise of the gig economy – where people aren’t paid compulsory superannuation because they’re not deemed to be employees – is a contributing factor, and something that we will need to take into account regardless of where you stand on the superannuation debate. 

In the end we will all pay. And I don’t say that out of spite, I say it because it’s true. If people want the capacity to work on for a few more years to give them something extra in the kitty – why not! We will get it back threefold.

Where will the money come from? You and me – but I am prepared to put my shoulder to the wheel and so should you be.

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