‘Life’ savings falling short

WA SENIORS WEEK November 6 – 13

WATCH out Generation-Xers. If you thought your parents were stashing cash in order to shower you with gifts, think again; a new survey shows seniors are hoarding their savings because they’re worried they won’t last through their retirement.

And they’ve got reason to be worried, as the survey, by National Seniors Australia and Challenger bank, found that less than half or respondents were confident their super would last until retirement.

Jeremy Cooper from Challenger says it’s a wake-up call to many older Australians.

“Unfortunately for many Australian retirees there is a limited availability of suitable tools, help and guidance for them to manage their retirement income,” Mr Cooper said.

Philip Taylor, the NSA’s director of research, says the image of retirees sitting on a pot of gold is mostly a myth.

• Only half the seniors surveyed by National Seniors Australia had enough monoey to last their retirement.

• Only half the seniors surveyed by National Seniors Australia had enough monoey to last their retirement.

“Most older people are saving for a rainy day, and in their later years these tend to strike more frequently,” Prof Taylor says.

In the Chook’s office alone, one staffer groaned that her 78-year-old dad had recently (and reluctantly) returned to work because his super had run out – and he’d worked all his adult life as a merchant seaman. His dreams of drawing the shot down at his local bowling club have been shattered by a 1.5 hour commute each day to a tedious job painting houses.

Lisa Gavranich, financial planner from Cherry Tree Financial Planning in Fremantle, says the key is to get advice early and start preparing long before retirement.

“People are spending longer in retirement now than previous generations which means they need to be more prepared,” she says.

“They forget to factor in things like car upgrades, house renovations and other expenses that continue to pop up throughout retirement.

“Retirees tend to spend on big ticket items when they first retire such as extensive holidays, new cars and new houses when there is not enough money in the fund to do so,” she said.

It is extremely important to get help early for planning and budgeting through retirement to ensure the fund doesn’t run out sooner rather than later. Some seniors who have not invested in super in their lifetime rely on the sale of a business or home to contribute to their retirement fund and in the current economic climate it could take longer than expected to come into contact with that money.

And the economic outlook for about 300,000 seniors is positively gloomy, with pension cuts introduced by the Turnbull government set to take effect in January next year. It will see 100,000 pensioners with assets over $816,000 completely cut off, while the rest will have to grin and bear losing some feathers from their nest egg. To compound the pain, the government initially told everyone the cut-off would be $823,000, but it was a stuff-up.

by HOLLY COOMEY

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