Top articles 2023

How we’ve helped most

To say that the rules of retirement income are dynamic is an understatement. In compiling this ‘Top-5’ list, the first thing that jumped out was how often rules, terms and conditions can change. Over the course of the past year we’ve reported on two Age Pension increases, two increases to asset and income limits, the extended freeze on deeming rates, new concession card and superannuation rules, the Work Bonus credit and a whole lot more. We’re delighted that you value the weekly Retirement Essentials enewsletter so much (awarding it an 83% satisfaction rate according to the most recent Retirement Pulse).

Here’s the articles that you’ve rated the best this year:

Are you missing out?

In March we ran the sums on how many self-funded retirees have not yet applied for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. We calculated that this would be about 800,000 older Australians missing out. Depending upon the state in which you reside, this concession card can deliver very helpful discounts. This now includes energy rebates as well. Since we wrote this article, the income limits have also become more generous. (There is no assets test.) So read on for the benefits and ways to reduce bureaucratic to and fro, so that you can obtain your card as soon as possible. 

Demystifying assets and income limits

In April we took on the challenge of demystifying the Age Pension means test. Many of our members found this article very helpful. It explained the way the means test is applied to both your income and your assets. Applicants who meet both requirements are eligible for an Age Pension. But whether it is a full Age Pension or a part-Age Pension depends upon the extent to which you exceed the lower limits. In this article we explained how the taper rate works when applied to the assets of Eloise, a single homeowner and how the taper rate affects Sue and Ian as they are above the lower income limit. Read more here.

Five ways retirees run through their savings

With fear of running out (of money) the number one concern for Australian retirees, in May we explored the ways this might happen. As it happens, most people don’t run out. The Age Pension provides a very dependable safety net, so that at least basic costs can be covered, albeit with precious little spare change for most renters. But running down savings too quickly remains a very real fear. There are many practical ways to measure your own performance and adjust if you feel you are sailing too close to the wind.

Very avoidable mistakes

The beginning of the new financial year on 1 July encouraged us to turn our attention to superannuation. This coincided with the 31st anniversary of the Superannuation Guarantee legislation. With 30+ years of compulsory super in place, most Australians are now approaching retirement with a reasonable nest egg. It’s how we manage our next stage – that of starting to access these funds, post Preservation Age – that really determines how long our savings will last. Maximising our super balances depends upon knowing the key strategies and options available to older Australians. That’s probably why this list of the five worst super mistakes was so popular.

Working without losing your Age Pension

Contemporary retirement bears little resemblance to what our parents did. Back then they were in work one day, retired the next. Today’s concept of retirement is far more flexible, with many of us transitioning out of work and then heading back quite a few times over the years. One example is how many retirees worked during the October Referendum. How does this work, then, for those who receive (or hope to) an Age Pension? Once you’ve declared your nil income, will you automatically lose all entitlements if this situation changes due to one-off work projects or more part-time work? Not necessarily is the answer. With the Work Bonus credit set to become permanently higher and more generous rules regarding concession cards, this article proved that there can be good news from the government from time to time.

We trust that this snapshot of your favourite articles over the past year is helpful. We love receiving your comments and our team really enjoys the opportunity to learn more about your concerns and the information you need.

Retirement Essentials offers very affordable advice consultations for those who feel in need of more support. Here are some of the ways we can work with you to give you the guidance and reassurance to help you make your own best decisions;

Safe spending simulator (Compare two scenarios of  how your assets and income will look during your retirement journey)
Understanding more about super (Assess the options to help make your super work better for you).
Maximising your entitlements (Assess any changes you might be able to make to maximise your Centrelink entitlements)
Understanding impacts of your home (look at the benefits of repaying or maintaining your mortgage in retirement)

Was this helpful?

Did this brief ‘best-of’ reminder help you? If so, which information do you think other retirees would benefit from knowing? Or if we’ve missed something obvious, we’d love to hear that too!