News and Articles

Centrelink 2023 holiday reporting and payment dates

Everything you need to know You may be one of the 70% of older Australians who receives a full or part Age Pension or a DVA payment. If so, here’s a handy summary of Centrelink availability over the coming Christmas and New Year holiday period, with all the main...

Age Pension mythbuster: Where will you end up?

This past week, a casual conversation with adviser, Megan Marshal, totally nailed the difficulty of managing retirement income.  ‘Understanding the rules is the hardest thing for most people’, Megan said, ‘Particularly making connections between the Australian Tax Office, Centrelink and superannuation. All the rules are so intertwined, it makes it close to impossible to understand what to do unless you work in financial services’. We agree. But the good news is that we take all our members’ feedback onboard and use it to create plain English explanations of all aspects of retirement income. This benefits members in two ways. Firstly it gives you the detail that you need to better understand your options and when to use them. And secondly, we subscribe to the belief that knowledge is power, so in sharing these frequent explainers, we hope to increase your confidence in your own decision-making powers. Today we tackle one of the commonest Age Pension myths – that where you start is about where you’ll end up. This is not usually the truth.

Centrelink benefits: Why retirees miss out

You don’t need all your ducks lined up to apply

It’s estimated that many retirees who have delayed applying for the Age Pension are missing out on an average total amount of $69,000. We highlighted how this had happened to Geoff in August. The reason that he had missed out was that he was initially a self funded retiree and thought he wouldn’t be eligible for the Age Pension for several years. He didn’t really know the rules and was caught out to the tune of $75,000 over a three-year period when he was actually eligible.

Not knowing the rules is probably the main reason that retirees miss out on this valuable income. But there are plenty more. Here’s a shortlist of five shared by our advisers and Customer Service Team for you to check, to ensure that you’re not missing out needlessly as well.

Step-by-step guide to starting and stopping an Account-Based Pension

How and when should you commence an income stream from your super as you move towards retirement?
Starting an Account-Based Pension (ABP) is a major step in anyone’s retirement journey. Getting the timing right is very important. So too is judging the appropriate amount of money you will withdraw. Knowing that this process is not set in stone comes as a great relief to many retirees. Hence today’s explainer on the four key questions to consider when starting an ABP. And the four key things that you will need to know if you wish to reverse this action at any time.

How do I get started? is a very common question. And the answer, of course, will vary based upon an individual’s situation. To help you understand the process, here are the four key steps when you move from accumulating super to drawing it down.

Overcoming the fear of running out

Our regular Retirement Pulse surveys never fail to surprise. Yes, they always deliver useful insights and help us understand your key concerns. But they also often deliver useful solutions to problems that plague retirees across the spectrum. The November 2023 Retirement Pulse responses were not different. We’ve now received more than 500 responses and are pleased to share the insights.

Rethinking the tax you pay on your retirement income

Your tax return is an invaluable summary of your current financial situation.

Not only can you review how much money you have earned, and how much tax you have paid, but you can also plan ahead for financial year 2023-2024 to ensure you are not paying tax unnecessarily. Here’s the main three ways your retirement savings are taxed.

Giving money to family: Will you lose your Age Pension?

Sharing money with your loved ones has to be one of life’s greatest joys. But being penalised for doing so seems a bit unfair. We’ve recently received many questions about gifting and loans. Maybe its associated with rising cost of living and general housing affordability? So how do you stand if you want to share your kids’ inheritance while you are still hale and hearty?

The most important thing to understand is that it matters how you manage this – and that your Age Pension entitlement could change depending upon whether you decide to give or loan money.

Deeming rates: Time to plan ahead?

Deeming rates are no longer such a hot topic of conversation amongst retirees. And there’s a good reason for that. 

Going back a couple of years, they were a constant source of frustration. This frustration has largely evaporated. That’s because, during the height of economic uncertainty in the early days of the Covid pandemic, the then-Morrison Government took the decision to freeze deeming rates until 30 June 2023, to give retirees some sense of stability. This ‘freeze’ was subsequently extended by the Albanese Government until 30 June 2024.

Before the freeze, many retirees described deeming rates as punitive. This is because interest rates were at all-time lows, and with many retirees invested in cash, they were earning little to no interest on their savings. But Centrelink was ‘deeming a higher rate than they actually earned.

It’s cheaper to live overseas. So should you consider a move?

Recent news reports that over-65s are better off living in New Zealand gained a lot of attention. And yes, in part, this is true. The freedom for older New Zealander to work as much as they like and not lose their pension is particularly appealing for many Australians confined by Centrelink rules to what seems like employment pocket money.

And then there’s the frequently repeated story of how retirees find it cheaper to just book end-to-end cruises rather than try to exist in Australia on an Age Pension. This one may be a bit less defensible! But what are the facts? Can retirees just up stakes and live a better life in another country? And if so, what are the traps? This question came to our attention this week when we received a call for help from Arthur.

Your assets: How to value and report them

Many older Australians would love to receive a Universal Pension – one that is simply paid to everyone above age 67 without the need to go through torturous income and asset reporting. But these two tests are the mainstay of Age Pension eligibility. Today we are sharing a refresher on the way the asset test is applied by Centrelink and how knowing the rules can help you to maximise your entitlements.