When lack of confidence costs you money
When it comes to retirement income, there is no better way to learn what retirees want and need than to ask them directly. And this is exactly what Retirement Essentials did in a recent survey designed to better understand how we can best meet your needs.
Some responses were unsurprising, but there were a couple which did surprise – and concern – us, as they mean that people are losing money because they don’t know what to do next.
First up, some background and aspects of retirement funding that are consistent with what we had already learned:
You too may have answered our survey in March. We were delighted to receive 900 responses from our members, of whom 90% were aged over 66 and 48% were receiving an Age Pension. So these retirees are familiar with the Age Pension application process and how the system works – or doesn’t.
A clear majority of our members want financial support, in particular, 83% want help to maximise their Age Pension and Centrelink entitlements.
Three quarters (75%) are willing to pay for help and support.
The most surprising responses relate to the reason why many prospective Age Pensioners might be missing out on their entitlements. This is directly linked to confidence. Only half of the respondents felt confident in handling an Age Pension application on their own.
Which led to more than half, (56%) delaying applying rather than applying as soon as they were eligible. In fact almost a third (32%) applied a year or more later.
If these applicants were entitled to a full Age Pension, this equals a loss of nearly $26,000 for singles and $39,000 (combined) for couples over that 12-month period, as well as the significant benefits of the Pension Concession Card.
Even if the same applicants were to receive a lower amount in a part Age Pension, with concession card and supplements included, they still suffered a loss of thousands of dollars.
As we have noted previously, whilst debt owed by you to Centrelink must be back paid in full, it doesn’t work in reverse. Any pension you would have been entitled to before you finally submit a full application (and all related documents) is not required to be back paid. You will simply miss out.
Lack of confidence about applying can be due to a number of factors, including uncertainty about eligibility, hesitation with dealing with Centrelink, uncertainty about how to start and even a reluctance to accept benefits.
Yet when we discuss the concept of a Universal Age Pension, the overwhelming sentiments of our members is that those who have worked and paid taxes have every right to expect such support in their later years.
Retirement Essentials makes it easy for you to overcome a lack of confidence and any concerns that may be attached to such uncertainty. It makes sense, if you are likely to be eligible for an Age Pension, to ease financial pressure by applying as soon as you can (i.e. up to 13 weeks before you turn the eligible age). Our easy-to-use Age Pension Entitlement Calculator does the sums quickly so any uncertainty about your entitlement can easily be tested. We can also process your application to save you the work. And you can speak to an experienced adviser in a tailored one-on-one consultation if you need extra support managing the income or assets test requirements.
And one more thing – Finding #4
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. So why not benefit from the respondents’ feedback which confirmed that a significant 62%, in hindsight, wished that they had sought help with their Age Pension application?