Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves just how lucky we are. A friend’s note did that for me the other day. Brian Jones runs a business based in the Philippines from Australia and he shared how grateful he is to be living here, particularly during the Covid pandemic. He particularly mentioned the strength of our health system and his gratitude for those working in it. And then he asked, ‘What are you grateful for?’
It’s a good question isn’t it? Well, I’m grateful for a lot about living here – after living out of the country for all my 20s and 30s. Brian cites the health care system and I’d point to the retirement system as another real strength. It’s not perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot better than most of the world’s retirement systems. The Keating Government introduced compulsory superannuation in the early ‘90s and both sides of politics have supported its growth and development – always with a lot of argy-bargy about the details. There’s now $3.4 trillion in super, ready to fund Australians in retirement.
And the other major pillar of the system, the Age Pension has been around since 1908. Australia was an innovator with that too. It’s become the most important source of income for more than 50% of people over 66. By age 80, 80% of people are on at least a partial Age Pension, with all the other benefits that go along with that.
So, these are really good foundations for our older years. As I said, it’s not a perfect system and if I was to single something out to have a good old Australian whinge about it I’d point to C-O-M-P-L-E-X-I-T-Y!
Just about everything in the system is complex. The rules about super contributions and withdrawals. Eligibility rules and the means-testing for the Age Pension. The residency requirements. And then to work out how much you can earn or spend in retirement taking into account the age pension rules. Phew!
In essence, that’s what Retirement Essentials is here to help with. We’re trying to take the complexity out of retirement for you. Make help available and affordable without blowing your mental gearbox.
Here are some ways we continue to help:
People love our Age Pension eligibility calculator for a quick take on whether they’re eligible for the pension or for an update on the estimate as things change.
We demystify the Age Pension application process and minimise the challenge of dealing with Centrelink by helping you through the Age Pension or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) application and becoming your Centrelink nominee. Our easy online application with webchat, email and telephone support from our experts really helps.
We send weekly emails which explain all the rules and regulations of retirement income in plain English. Call it our way of tackling the C-O-M-P-L-E-X-I-T-Y if you like! Either way, our members are very grateful.
Our Entitlements Consultation services can also give you some solutions to curly questions about the Age Pension or Health Card.
We can make working out your retirement prospects and your big questions about retirement much easier and less stressful with help from our experienced and independent financial advisers. People ask us all kinds of questions and we have some really good tools to help you work out how much you can spend in retirement and how long your money will last. If you need any assistance you can book an appointment.
It’s great to live in the Lucky Country but as J K Rowling said, ‘luck can only get you so far.’ For the rest you need to do it yourself – or get some good help. A good start is to check your entitlements on our free eligibility calculator.
So, what do you think?
Is Australia still the Lucky Country?
And is our retirement income system working well for you?
If not, how would you change it?