Retirement Income

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How much do you need to retire comfortably?

<p><span>Calculating how much money you’ll need for your retirement can be difficult because you need to take a number of factors into account including how much money you have now, how long it will last you and what your plans are for your future.</span></p> <p>The other factors you need to take into account include your lifestyle and the number of years you’ll spend retired.</p> <p>Additionally, estimating how much you’ll have when you plan to retire depends on factors such as your current salary, super balance and assets. With so many factors, it’s easy to see why you might need a retirement calculator to get an idea of your retirement savings needs.</p> <p>Companies such as AMP have <a href="https://www.amp.com.au/retirement/calculator/retirement-calculator">retirement calculators</a> on their sites and you can use these to get an indication of whether there’s a shortfall between how much you are estimated to have and how much you’ll need in retirement, and put a plan in place to address the situation.</p> <p><strong>How much is enough for retirement?</strong></p> <p>The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) estimates that Australians aged around 65 who own their own home and are in relatively good health, will need between $535 and $837 per week for one person and between $774 and $1186 per week for a couple.</p> <p>The lower amount will be for a more modest lifestyle but this is still better than living on the <a href="https://www.amp.com.au/retirement/prepare-to-retire/retirement-pension-types">age pension</a>. While the higher amount would be for a more comfortable lifestyle with a broad range of leisure and recreational activities – including domestic and international travel.</p> <p>For Australians on above-average incomes, another rule of thumb to estimate how much money you’ll need in retirement is to assume you will require 67% (two-thirds) of your pre-retirement income to maintain the same standard of living.</p> <p><strong>What are your retirement lifestyle expectations?</strong></p> <p>Ultimately, how much money you'll need for your own retirement is very personal, and will depend on your own situation, wants, needs and lifestyle expectations. It may help to factor in your day-to-day spending habits, your recreational activities and hobbies and whether you’ll be entering retirement debt-free.</p> <p><strong>How long will you work for?</strong></p> <p>The age at which you retire can have a significant impact on how much money you have and how much money you need in retirement. It can depend on factors such as your health, debts, super balance, age you can access your super, whether you have dependants and your partner’s retirement plans (if you have one).</p> <p><strong>How long will you be retired?</strong></p> <p>Keep in mind if you're planning to retire at around the age of 65, it’s likely you’ll live for another 20 years or so. Men aged 65 can expect to live to 84.6 years, while women can expect to live to 87.3 years.</p> <p><strong>How much money will you have in retirement?</strong></p> <p>The money you use to fund your life in retirement will likely come from a range of different sources including the following:</p> <p><strong>Superannuation</strong></p> <p>Knowing your super balance is a crucial part of planning for retirement because it's likely to form a substantial part of your retirement savings.</p> <p><strong>The age pension</strong></p> <p>Depending on your circumstances and assets, you could be eligible for a full or part age pension or alternatively, you may not be eligible for government assistance at all. Check up on this by <a href="http://www.yourpension.com.au/APCalc/">visiting this age pension site</a> which has a calculator and you can ascertain your eligibility.</p> <p><strong>Investments, savings and inheritance</strong></p> <p>You may be planning to downsize your house, sell shares or an investment property, or use money you’ve saved in a savings account or term deposit to contribute to your retirement. Or perhaps an inheritance or the proceeds from your family’s estate may help you out in your later years. So these will all need to be taken into account.</p> <p><strong>How retirement calculators can help</strong></p> <p>If you use one of the <a href="https://secure.amp.com.au/ddc/public/ui/retirement-needs/">retirement calculators</a> available online, you can work out how much you’ll need in your retirement.</p> <p>Often when you go through all the steps of using a retirement calculator, it shows you how much you’ll need to fund your entire retirement and sometimes this points to a shortfall.</p> <p>While this news may seem scary, it’s not an uncommon situation. Luckily, finding out about the possible shortfall now means there may still be ways to boost your savings before retirement.</p> <p><span><strong>What do you do if you won’t have enough to retire?</strong></span></p> <p>If you find you’re facing a shortfall in retirement, there are several things you can do to get your retirement on track. You could consider boosting your super through additional contributions, delaying your retirement, adjusting your retirement lifestyle expectations, or selling other assets.</p> <p>Simply by having an idea of your current and projected retirement savings, thanks to using retirement calculators, you can work out a plan to improve your situation. The earlier you start, the easier it may be for you to reach your retirement goals.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

Retirement Income

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The biggest rip offs in retirement and how to avoid them

<p>Despite millions of Australians having super in their savings, it also means that there are scammers eager to take your fortune away.</p> <p>Superannuation has revolutionised the way people retire.  Many ordinary, working Australians are finding themselves entering retirement with more than a million dollars in retirement savings.</p> <p>While this should set them up for a long and happy life, living with financial security, sadly it means many will become the victims of various rip-off schemes. Rip off schemes that can be easily avoided with a little bit of knowledge.</p> <p><strong> Online Scams</strong></p> <p>The most obvious are on-line scams. ASIC estimates Australians lose some $30 million to online scams every year and sadly, once your money is lost, there is very little that can be done to get it back.</p> <p>Online scams come in many forms, from bogus emails just appearing on your computer requesting you to send money to clear a tax debt or outstanding judgement, to the infamous on-line love affair scams.</p> <p>The best advice is just don’t. Don’t send money to an online bank account and never give your bank account details or identification documents like your driver’s license to anyone online without knowing exactly who you are dealing with.</p> <p><strong>Simplistic Investments</strong></p> <p>The next biggest scam to avoid is investments that are simply too good to be true. The most common, are companies promoting investments they describe as being like term deposits or secured against property, but which offer a much higher return.</p> <p>Typically, if you dive into these investments you will learn your funds are being used to provide ‘mezzanine’ finance to property developers and instead of being secure, usually, they are totally at risk should the development not prove profitable.</p> <p><strong>Watch out for family</strong></p> <p>Unfortunately, another keyway retirees end up losing money is at the hands of their family or loved ones. Too often on entering retirement, people will discuss with their loved ones just how much money they have in superannuation.</p> <p>In doing so, it is easy for family members to think you can or should spare just a little of it and give it to them. This can be as simple as making you feel guilty if you don’t, through to actually breaking the law to get their hands on your precious savings.</p> <p>The best way to avoid all of this is to never discuss your finances in detail with family members or loved ones. Unless you are very confident about your financial situation, you should keep every cent of retirement savings to provide for you in retirement.</p> <p>While many will argue this is not strictly a rip-off, I believe maintaining a self-managed super fund, or do-it-yourself super fund, in retirement is.</p> <p><strong>Self-managed super</strong></p> <p>Self-managed super funds can be a great vehicle for creating wealth but typically, they lose their reason for being in retirement and just become a time consuming and costly way of keeping your superannuation savings.</p> <p>They require your accountant to lodge reports and tax returns for the fund, which in turn means accounting and compliance bills of several thousand dollars each year.</p> <p>This money can be saved by simply closing the SMSF and moving your savings into a quality retail fund. Typically, you will have the same level of control over your savings as you do with an SMSF but at a fraction of the cost.</p> <p><strong>Be wary of retirement homes</strong></p> <p>Finally, many people choose to move into retirement homes for the easier lifestyle they offer and for the support and comfort of having a strong community around them. However, this can often end in tears. Make sure you find a good solicitor to review any paperwork and ensure your financial rights and obligations are fully explained to you before you sign on the dotted line so you know exactly what you can expect in the future.</p> <p>Patricia Howard, author of <em>The No-Regrets Guide to Retirement: how to live well, invest wisely and make your money last (Wiley)</em>, is a licenced Australian financial adviser. She has a Commerce Degree from the University of Melbourne, holds her own Australian Financial Services Licence and recently passed the FASEA Financial Adviser exam. Find out more at <a href="http://www.patriciahoward.com.au">www.patriciahoward.com.au</a></p> <p><em>Note this is general advice only and you should seek advice specific to your circumstances.</em></p> <p><em>Written by Patricia Howard</em></p> <p><em>Image: Reader’s Digest</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on </em><a href="mailto:https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/money/the-biggest-rip-offs-in-retirement-and-how-to-avoid-them"><em>Reader’s Digest.</em></a></p> <p> </p>

Retirement Income

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How do you know when it’s time to retire?

<p>If you’ve been working hard for many years and you’d like a bit more time to yourself so you can do some of those things you’ve always wanted to but never had the time, then this could be a sign that it’s getting close to the right time for you to retire.</p> <p>Or you could be getting sick of constantly working on your family home and you’d like someone else to help with some maintenance for a change! If you’re thinking along these lines then that’s another sign it could be the right time to retire.</p> <p>We all used to think we’d retire at 65 but that’s all changed and these days, many people prefer to retire earlier. Recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the average retirement age of men and women is now 54.4 years old.</p> <p>So, it’s really an individual choice but if you give this life-changing decision the time it deserves, you can retire in the best way for you and achieve the retirement of your choice.</p> <p>To find out if it’s the right time for you to retire, here are some key things to consider:</p> <p><strong>Are you ready emotionally?</strong></p> <p>You need to feel emotionally ready if you’re going to retire. Take some time to think about how your life will change and how you can adjust to those changes.</p> <p>Before you retire, you should ask yourself three key questions: What do I want to do? Where do I want to do it? Who do I want to do it with? When you know the answers to these questions, you’ll have a plan for your life in retirement.</p> <p><strong>You're ready to relax and already making plans</strong></p> <p>If you’ve found yourself dreaming of relaxing and unwinding as you take part in a whole range of leisure activities, this is a good indication you’re ready to relax – and retire.</p> <p>As well, you could find yourself creating endless bucket lists of things you want to do and places you want to see. This is also a sign it could be a good time for you to retire. So, don’t ignore your wanderlust and your yearning to do some of those things you’ve always wanted to. As you plan for your retirement, write down a list of all the things you want to do with your time and this way, you’ll know what you want to do with your time as soon as you retire.</p> <p><strong>How’s your health?</strong></p> <p>If you’re in excellent health it’s still OK to retire because this will give you the time to enjoy those things you’ve always wanted to and you haven’t got round to them yet. But if you or your spouse are in poor health, then it’s important not to delay retirement because you don’t want to miss out on doing some of your exciting ‘bucket list’ items together.</p> <p>The best idea is to take an honest look at your health – and those close to you - and weigh this in to your decision about when’s the best time for you to retire.</p> <p><strong>Check in With Your Spouse and Friends</strong></p> <p>It’s interesting but many couples have different ideas about how they want to retire so this is definitely something you should talk about. Often one partner wants to stay working and the other wants to retire earlier. There’s really no problem with this because you can still move to a retirement village if one of you is working and the other one has stopped.</p> <p>But it’s a good idea to check in and see if you’re on the same page with your spouse. Make sure you do some planning together so you can work through any differences early and work it all out as a team.</p> <p>It also helps to check in with your friends who you might play sports with or do various activities with such as fishing. Find out what your friends’ plans are for their retirement. You’ll find if your friends are retiring around the same time as you it can make everything a lot easier and this will lead to a long and healthy retirement.</p> <p><strong>Your children are financially independent</strong></p> <p>You may want to retire but you feel you can’t because you still have children living at home. You could be worried if you sell the family home, they won’t be able to find other accommodation.</p> <p>The best thing to do is to sit down with your children and work out a plan where they can work towards becoming financially independent and you can work towards your retirement. It’s important to work on this together so in the end, everyone benefits.</p> <p><strong>Plan your retirement so it doesn’t take you by surprise!</strong></p> <p>Deciding when’s the best time to retire is all up to you but it’s a good idea to give this major decision the time and attention it deserves. Take some time out and consider all the factors we’ve listed and this way, you’ll set yourself up for a long and happy retirement.</p> <p><em>Photo: Shutterstock</em></p>

Retirement Income

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The biggest rip offs in retirement and how to avoid them

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Superannuation has revolutionised the way people retire, as many ordinary, working Australians are finding themselves entering retirement with more than a million dollars in retirement savings.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While this should set them up for a long and happy life, living with financial security, sadly it means many will become the victims of various rip-off schemes. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rip off schemes that can be easily avoided with a little bit of knowledge.</span></p> <p><strong>Online Scams</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The most obvious are on-line scams. ASIC estimates Australians lose some $30 million to online scams every year and sadly, once your money is lost, there is very little that can be done to get it back.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Online scams come in many forms, from bogus emails just appearing on your computer requesting you to send money to clear a tax debt or outstanding judgement, to the infamous on-line love affair scams.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The best advice is just don’t. Don’t send money to an online bank account and never give your bank account details or identification documents like your driver’s license to anyone online without knowing exactly who you are dealing with.</span></p> <p><strong>Simplistic Investments</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The next biggest scam to avoid is investments that are simply too good to be true. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The most common are companies promoting investments they describe as being like term deposits or secured against property, but which offer a much higher return.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Typically, if you dive into these investments you will learn your funds are being used to provide ‘mezzanine’ finance to property developers and instead of being secure, usually, they are totally at risk should the development not prove profitable.</span></p> <p><strong>Watch out for family</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unfortunately, another keyway retirees end up losing money is at the hands of their family or loved ones. Too often on entering retirement, people will discuss with their loved ones just how much money they have in superannuation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In doing so, it is easy for family members to think you can or should spare just a little of it and give it to them. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The best way to avoid all of this is to never discuss your finances in detail with family members or loved ones. Unless you are very confident about your financial situation, you should keep every cent of retirement savings to provide for you in retirement.</span></p> <p><strong>Self-managed super</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Self-managed super funds can be a great vehicle for creating wealth but typically, they lose their reason for being in retirement and just become a time consuming and costly way of keeping your superannuation savings.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This money can be saved by simply closing the SMSF and moving your savings into a quality retail fund. Typically, you will have the same level of control over your savings as you do with an SMSF but at a fraction of the cost.</span></p> <p><strong>Be wary of retirement homes</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Finally, many people choose to move into retirement homes for the easier lifestyle they offer and for the support and comfort of having a strong community around them. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, this can often end in tears. Make sure you find a good solicitor to review any paperwork and ensure your financial rights and obligations are fully explained to you before you sign on the dotted line so you know exactly what you can expect in the future.</span></p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article first appeared in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/money/the-biggest-rip-offs-in-retirement-and-how-to-avoid-them" target="_blank">Reader’s Digest</a>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

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Aussies warned to start Christmas shopping early

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Australians are being urged to start preparing for the festive season earlier than ever before. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Retailers are encouraging Aussies to start purchasing Christmas gifts now to avoid disappointment this December. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the world of online shopping seeing an astronomical boom due to the pandemic, global retailers are struggling to get items to people on time. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This high demand has seen international supply chains experience massive delays in shipping goods around the country, as they battle to stay on top of the market.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Electronics and home goods are most likely to be affected by the ongoing backlog, with a slim chance of the issues being resolved by December.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Super Retail Group CEO Anthony Heraghty, whose company runs stores like Supercheap Auto, Rebel and BCF, says shoppers should be “getting in early” to guarantee their gifts arrive in time.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When speaking with the Sydney Morning Herald, he said large retailers have been forced to order stock eight to twelve months in advance to meet demand.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If it’s not in the shed or on the shelf today, for Christmas this year I think the chances of it being [in stock] come that peak time is incredibly remote,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The limited stock and shipping congestion is being blamed on border closures, COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, freighter scarcity and a surge in online shopping during the pandemic.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Shutterstock</span></em></p>

Retirement Income

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How I mastered baking a yeast bread from scratch, and saved money doing it

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">By Jeanne Sidner</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My introduction to baking started with the home-kitchen classic that cracks open the oven door for so many – chocolate chip cookies. It was the 1970s, and most of the mums in our largely Catholic neighbourhood were busy raising big families. For the girls in my house, that meant our mother made sure we knew our way around the kitchen. At the flour-dusted table, Mum taught eight-year-old me how to make the cookies perfectly chewy with a crispy exterior. (The big secret: Always chill your dough.)</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So from a young age, I was crystal clear on the power of a baked-to-perfection cookie to make people happy. Baking cookies – then brownies, cakes and pies – became my hobby and a tasty form of social currency. First I used my skills with butter and sugar to impress a series of teenage boyfriends. In time, the fresh goodies were left on doorsteps to welcome new neighbours and set out in the break room for co-workers. Baking was my superpower.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A few years ago, I became the content director for Taste of Home, Reader’s Digest’s sister magazine and website that celebrates the treasured recipes of home cooks. I’d never been more excited for a new job, but privately I worried that my baking chops wouldn’t measure up. Why? I had a secret as dark as an oven with a burned-out light bulb: While I had baked sweets my whole life, I’d never made a yeast bread from scratch.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Still, this was no time for excuses. I was a baker, now one with Taste of Home attached to my name. I may have been intimidated by bread, but it was time. I wanted in.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Getting started, I found Instagram to be a friend. A basic no-knead bread was the one I was seeing online overlaid with dreamy filters. People described it as easy, and to be honest, the thought of removing even one intimidating variable – kneading – was enough to get me to buy two kilograms of bread flour and dive in.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I gathered everything I’d need (“be prepared” is the first rule of any baking), including my mum’s trusty Pyrex. It had seen me through my first days as a baker, so I was counting on it to work its magic. I had an easy Taste of Home recipe all set on my iPad. I mixed the flour, salt, and yeast and made sure the water temperature was just right – 38 to 46 degrees – before pouring it in.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And then it happened – or didn’t happen. I followed the instructions to the letter, but my dough didn’t rise. Somehow, impossibly, it looked smaller. Sludgy, gooey, wet with a few bubbles. Sad.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Three hours later, after I’d resisted the urge to keep checking on it like a nervous mum with a newborn, a puffy dough filled the bowl. I hadn’t killed it; it was just … sleeping. A quick fold, a second rise, and then my bread went into my Dutch oven and off to bake.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Thirty minutes later, I took it out. Sure, it was slightly misshapen, but in my eyes, it was golden-brown, crusty perfection, right down to the yeasty-sweet hit of steam coming from its top.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Naturally, the first thing I did was grab my phone and hop on Instagram, positioning my beautiful bread just so in a shining stream of daylight on a wooden cutting board. No one needed to know it was my first yeast bread ever – or how close it came to getting scraped into the garbage can. The online reactions started almost immediately – heart emojis and comments like “This looks DELISH!” from my friends.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Finally I cut into that lovely brown crust and doled out slices to my husband and kids. Those slices led to seconds, then thirds, each piece slathered with softened butter and a little sprinkle of salt. I made my family perhaps happier with slices of warm, buttered homemade bread than I had with all the sweets combined. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At last, I was a bread baker – despite yeast’s best attempts to intimidate me on this first try. No more feeling inferior or afraid. Now I make bread and homemade pizza crust regularly. And I have enough confidence to start thinking (and stressing!) about my next difficult baking challenge: homemade croissants.</span></p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article first appeared in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/how-i-mastered-baking-a-yeast-bread-from-scratch-after-years-of-failure" target="_blank" title="Mastering yeast bread">Reader’s Digest</a>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

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5 surprising things that decrease property value

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After making a huge investment into your own property, it makes sense that you would want to keep your house in good condition. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are a lot of surprising ways that your property can decrease in value over time. Here are just five of them to look out for. </span></p> <p><strong>Poor exterior paint quality</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your home’s exterior is the first impression people get of your house. So exterior paint that’s faded, cracked or peeling is a big turnoff. Another negative is painting your home an offbeat colour. Buyers favour neutral colours like grey, white, cream and beige. So pick your colours with care and repaint the exterior when it starts to look bad.</span></p> <p><strong>Deferred maintenance</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Have a backlog of serious repairs, such as a leaky roof, damaged cladding, or drooping gutters? If so, it’s best to tackle them ASAP. Letting them languish on your to-do list will only chip away at your home’s property value. What’s more, it’s often more expensive to remedy these issues the longer you wait.</span></p> <p><strong>Neighbourhood foreclosures </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A foreclosure close to your home hurts your home’s property value. That’s because appraisers look at comparable selling prices in your neighbourhood when estimating your home’s value. What’s more, foreclosed homes may sit vacant without any maintenance for a long time. That also doesn’t bode well for your property value.</span></p> <p><strong>Proximity to certain facilities and businesses</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Studies show that living close to certain businesses and facilities can drag down property values. Being in close proximity to the following are associated with these drops in property value:</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bad school (22.2%)</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Strip club (14.7%)</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Homeless shelter (12.7%)</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cemetery (12.3%)</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Funeral home (6.5%)</span></p> <p><strong>An unsightly yard</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They call it curb appeal for a reason. If your yard is in poor condition or overrun with stuff, expect your property value to suffer. On the flip side, elaborate landscaping or a koi pond can also put a dent in your property value since many homeowners don’t want to handle the extra maintenance. A final yard-related turnoff: trees located too close (less than 6m) to your house.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Shutterstock</span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">This article first appeared on <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/money/10-surprising-things-that-decrease-property-value" target="_blank" title="Surprising things that decrease property value">Reader’s Digest</a>.</span></em></p>

Retirement Income

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How the pandemic forced Australians to assess their finances

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Australians are making the most of extended lockdown procedures, as a recent survey claims most of us are forming healthier spending habits. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The pandemic has forced us all inside and away from shopping in-person, impulse buying coffees, and daily public transport costs, leaving many with more money to save. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A survey conducted by ME Bank revealed that 40% of adults are taking this time to create new habits to achieve their financial goals. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The majority of those who took the survey said that time spent at home over the last year has been a prime opportunity to assess their future financial objectives.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New financial habits for many include creating an emergency fund, saving for a significant expense, and even starting a side hustle business. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">People have also noticed that their savings have increased through less everyday spending, creating budgets, tracking expenses more closely, and planning more extravagant purchases. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">ME's money expert, Matthew Read, says many people re-evaluating their finances is due to the extra time on their hands during lockdowns.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"It might be fair to say COVID lockdowns have, and may continue to, make many Australians more financially savvy."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite many Aussies claiming the lockdowns have positively impacted their spending, the pandemic has also seen a sharp increase in online shopping, as well as other negative habits. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Others have admitted to using their abundance of free time online browsing when they’re bored, or spending more free cash on alcohol and takeaway food deliveries. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Read said, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We all know the lockdowns aren’t easy, and we’re once again being tested, but it’s great to see so many Australians working towards a healthy financial future."</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Shutterstock</span></em></p>

Retirement Income

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Free, independent advice for your retirement

<p>The Financial Information Service (FIS) is a great government service which was set up as the ‘Financial Information Service for Pensioners’ 29 years ago.</p> <p>It’s been helping older Australians make better decisions about their finances for all of those years, giving them free, independent and confidential advice about retirement, aged care and any taxation implications.</p> <p>Because the FIS was so popular, in 1991, the Department of Human Services expanded it so now people of all ages and all walks of life are able to increase their financial knowledge by accessing the FIS, regardless of their age or income.</p> <p><strong>Anyone can access this free service</strong></p> <p>To access the FIS you simply call up the Department of Human Services on its FIS booking phone line – 132 300 – and ask to speak to an FIS Officer. They will be able to give you advice over the phone or if they are busy, they’ll be able to schedule a call back at a later time.</p> <p>If you’d rather talk with someone face-to-face you can make an appointment to see an FIS Officer and talk with them, asking your questions about your finances. You can also check out what FIS seminars are being held near you and attend one of these. FIS seminar topics include ‘Understanding your pension and your options’ and they also cover what government payments and services you’re eligible for if your financial situation changes.</p> <p><strong>The FIS informs people about matters such as:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Investing principles</li> <li>Superannuation</li> <li>Retirement planning</li> <li>Aged care costs and taxation implications</li> </ul> <p><strong>Once you have access to all of this information, you’ll be better able to:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Understand your own financial affairs and options</li> <li>Understand financial planners and how to use their advice</li> <li>Save and plan for the future through investing</li> <li>Plan for your retirement and increase your overall retirement income</li> <li>Understand what are the costs involved when you move into aged care</li> </ul> <p>It’s important to keep in mind that FIS Officers are not financial planners or counsellors and so they won’t sell you financial advice nor will they tell you how to invest your money. But they will teach you how to understand financial advisors and how to use their advice for your circumstances.</p> <p><strong>A free, impartial service</strong></p> <p>As Financial Information Service officer, Justin Bott explains: “The Financial Information Service is a free, impartial service to help people understand their financial situation and helps them make educated decisions about their finances.”</p> <p>“We listen to what seniors want to hear about and answer their questions on these accounts and in podcasts,” he adds.</p> <p>As well he adds: “The Seniors Update Facebook and Twitter accounts are a great way for us to stay in touch with seniors.”</p> <p><strong>To find out more about the FIS</strong></p> <p>To find out when an FIS seminar is being held in your local area, just head to the Department of Human Services’ website and you’ll find all the information you need <a href="https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/financial-information-service">here.</a></p> <p>The website will show all the upcoming FIS seminars by state on its website <a href="http://www.humanservices.gov.au/fis">humanservices.gov.au/fis </a></p> <p>Bookings are essential and people can book by emailing the department at <a href="mailto:fis.seminar.bookings@humanservices.gov.au">fis.seminar.bookings@humanservices.gov.au</a> or calling the FIS seminar booking phone line on 136 357.</p> <p>You can also phone 132 300 and ask to speak to a Financial Information Service Officer over the phone.</p> <p><strong> </strong></p>

Retirement Income

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Teen entrepreneur calls out the older generations

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An Australian high schooler who has become a multi-millionaire off of his online business ventures has called out older generations for labelling millennials as “lazy” and “entitled”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jack Bloomfield has become a successful ecommerce entrepreneur through a series of ventures.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 17-year-old has penned an open letter, saying young people are “doing incredible things”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If I had a dollar for every time I heard yet another insult about Millennials like me, I could probably actually afford to be every bit as lazy as we’re always accused of being,” he wrote in a </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/17yo-selfmade-millionaires-open-letter-to-adults/news-story/3ab4fd514b3aa838b14b5ca12f96ca40" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> piece.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Honestly, it feels like kids my age should all be walking round with helmets on given just how much of a beating we take from older generations.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BxrT1FTl-Kg/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BxrT1FTl-Kg/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Jack Bloomfield (@jackbloomfield)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“All we get told is how lazy and entitled we are.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“But you know what? We’re not listening.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We don’t want to spend 40 years chained to a desk taking a pay cheque like you did.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We want to be in charge of our own future.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“And we’re making it happen whether you like it or not.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since starting his first business at the age of 12, Jack has gone on to become a multi-millionaire and public speaker.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He told </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Today Extra</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> last year that schools needed to do more to support aspiring entrepreneurs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It all comes back down to support of kids like myself who want to go out there and start something really big with their lives,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“No one’s really talking about starting a business, especially teachers and schools around the country, so it was all self-education.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Instead of watching Minecraft or whatever I watched at the time, I started typing up how to start your own online business just on YouTube, just spending hours and hours educating myself trying to figure out how this whole thing’s going to work.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bloomfield concluded his piece by praising the achievements of other young people who are "trying to launch the next revolutionary business that will change the way we live or work".</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We want to be in charge of our own future," he said. "And we're making it happen whether you like it or not."</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Jack Bloomfield / Instagram</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p>

Retirement Income

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Oldest woman makes it to space 60 years after training

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">60 years after she first completed astronaut training, Wally Funk has become the oldest person to reach space.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ms Funk was one of the so-called Mercury 13 - a group of women who trained to become NASA astronauts in the 1960s.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite her training, she was denied the opportunity to go to space because of her gender.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She was 21 at the time, and the youngest of the women who passed the same testing as the Mercury Seven male astronauts in NASA’s program that sent Americans into space between 1961 and 1963.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I didn’t think I’d ever get to go up,” Ms Funk said in a video interview on NASA’s website.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, the 82-year-old was finally able to make the journey as one of Jeff Bezos’ three co-passengers aboard the Blue Origin’s New Shepard launch vehicle during its historic suborbital flight.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">"Guess what: It doesn't matter what you are. You can still do it if you want to do it. And I like to do things that nobody has ever done." ~Wally Funk ❤️✈️🚀 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FlyWallyFly?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FlyWallyFly</a> <a href="https://t.co/zispvzshnm">pic.twitter.com/zispvzshnm</a></p> — Dr. Tanya Harrison (@tanyaofmars) <a href="https://twitter.com/tanyaofmars/status/1417460508731523085?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 20, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She also set the new record as the oldest person to launch into space, a title previously held by the late John Glenn, who was 77 when he flew aboard the Discovery space shuttle in 1998.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’ve been waiting a long time,” Ms Funk said afterward.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The four of us, we had a great time. I want to go again – fast.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ms Funk was a passenger alongside Mr Bezos’ brother Mark, and Oliver Daemon, the 18-year-old who became the youngest person to fly to space.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The vehicle reached an altitude of about 106 kilometres during the 10 minute flight.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I felt like I was just laying down. I was just laying down and I was going to space,” Ms Funk said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It isn’t the first time Ms Funk has set a record, having been both the first female flight instructor at a US military base and the first woman to become an air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’ve done a lot of astronaut training through the world, Russia, America. And I could always beat the guys on what they were doing because I was always stronger and I’ve always done everything on my own,” Ms Funk said after the flight.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“And I didn’t do dolls … I did outside stuff. I flew airplanes, 19,000 some hours. I loved it and I loved being here with all of you, your family,” she told Mr Bezos.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She added that she would “cherish that forever”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Footage from the flight showed the weightless passengers floating, doing somersaults, tossing Skittles and throwing balls.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Blue Origin video from inside the New Shepard capsule in space:<br /><br />Jeff Bezos: “Who wants a Skittle?” <a href="https://t.co/SUO6sAYZAE">pic.twitter.com/SUO6sAYZAE</a></p> — Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) <a href="https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1417522168078893056?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 20, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The crew also took a number of mementos with them on the trip, including a piece of fabric from the Wright brothers’ first place and a pair of goggles belonging to Amelia Earhart.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: IWASM / Twitter</span></em></p>

Retirement Income

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“Miraculous” lotto win saves Sydney man’s livelihood

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Sydney man will be able to stay in business after a “miracle” lotto win saw him receive more than $1 million.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 50-year-old said he was on the brink of losing his business and one of thousands struggling during Sydney’s extended COVID-19 lockdown.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I have been in business for almost 30 years but due to the devastating impact of COVID-19, I was about to go under,” he told lotto officials after his win.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I feel like this win is an absolute miracle that has saved my life, and I won’t let this opportunity go to waste.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I will put the money towards paying off debts and saving my business.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The winner took part in The Lottery Office’s USA Power Lotto via The Lottery Office app, taking home a division two prize.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After accidentally selecting a multiplayer game for an extra $3.25, the man’s prize was doubled and came to a total of $1.6 million.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lottery Office chief executive Jacyln Wood said the man struggled to sleep after he received the news.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The player said the recent lockdowns had been a massive blow to his hospitality business and he had suffered numerous sleepless nights figuring out how he could continue to support his family and staff,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“He emailed us straight after the app notified him of the win, he knew he had won a big prize, but he wasn’t ready to believe it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“When I called him this morning, he was in tears from the moment I confirmed how much he had won.”</span></p>

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New report predicts Australians will be older, smaller and more in debt

<p>Australia will be smaller and older than previously expected in 40 years time after the first downward revision of official projections in an intergenerational report in 20 years.</p> <p>The much lower projections in Monday’s fifth five-yearly intergenerational report will mean indefinite budget deficits with no surplus projected for 40 years, only 2.7 Australians of traditional working age for each Australian over 65 (down from four) and average annual economic growth of 2.6%, down from 3%.</p> <p>“Intergenerational reports always deliver sobering news, that is their role,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will say launching the report Monday morning. “The economic impact of COVID-19 is not short lived.”</p> <p>The report says the pandemic has slowed both Australia’s birth rate and inflow of migrants.</p> <p>The <a rel="noopener" href="https://treasury.gov.au/publication/2015-igr" target="_blank">2015 intergenerational report</a> projected an Australian population of almost 40 million by 2054-55. The 2021 update projects 38.8 million by 2060-61.</p> <p>As a result in 2060-61, about 23% of the population is projected to be over 65, up from 16% at present and 13% in 2002.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/408519/original/file-20210627-22-f8hva7.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/408519/original/file-20210627-22-f8hva7.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span></p> <p>Although in the future increased superannuation would take pressure off the age pension, superannuation attracts favourable tax treatment which cuts government revenue.</p> <p>The combined total of age pension spending and superannuation tax concessions was projected to grow from around 4.5% of gross domestic product to 5% by 2061.</p> <p><strong>Health, aged care spending to soar</strong></p> <p>Real per person health spending is projected to more than double over the next 40 years, largely due to the costs of new health technologies.</p> <p>By 2060-61 health is expected to be the largest component of government spending, eclipsing social security and accounting for 26% of all spending.</p> <p>Aged care spending is projected to nearly double as a share of the economy, largely due to population ageing.</p> <p>Mr Frydenberg will say that even in the face of these demands the government remains committed to its promise to limit the tax take to 23.9% of GDP. Tax receipts are not expected to reach this level until 2035-36.</p> <p>“Growing the economy is Australia’s pathway to budget repair, not austerity or higher taxes. This is why we remain committed to our tax to GDP cap, ensuring our COVID support is temporary and persuing productivity-enhancing reforms.”</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/408513/original/file-20210627-15-s05d00.PNG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/408513/original/file-20210627-15-s05d00.PNG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span></p> <p>Net debt is projected to peak at 40.9% of GDP in 2024-25, before falling to 28.2% in 2044-45 and then climbing again to 34.4% by 2060-61.</p> <p>While Australia’s population will be smaller and older, and debt levels higher as a result of the pandemic, had the government not spent at unprecedented levels to support the economy a generation of Australians might have been condemned to long term unemployment, seriously damaging the budget longer-term.</p> <p>Other projections have real GDP per person a measure of living standards, growing at an annual average of 1.5%, down from an earlier-projected 1.6%</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/408514/original/file-20210627-19-o5he25.PNG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/408514/original/file-20210627-19-o5he25.PNG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span></p> <p>The result will still be a near-doubling of real GDP per person, from $76,700 in today’s dollars to $140,900 in today’s dollars in 2060-61.</p> <p>Behind that projection lies an assumed lift in annual labour productivity growth to 1.5%. In the decades before the pandemic, annual productivity growth had been averaging 1.2% and had slumped to 0.4% in the year leading up to the pandemic?</p> <p>The lift in productivity assisted by government policies that will help individuals and businesses “take advantage of new innovations and technologies” is expected to take ten years.</p> <p>Not included in the extracts from Monday’s report released by the treasurer late Sunday are the closely-watched projections for net overseas migration and for spending on the national disability insurance scheme.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/163474/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709" target="_blank">Peter Martin</a>, Visiting Fellow, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292" target="_blank">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/intergenerational-report-to-show-australia-older-smaller-and-more-in-debt-163474" target="_blank">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Nobel laureate delays retirement to help combat COVID

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Peter Doherty was preparing to retire in early 2020, but the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic saw him meeting with leading coronavirus experts and working on a new book about the pandemic instead.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I thought I was going to retire,” the laureate professor said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I was 79 years old, I’d just finished our last big NHMRC grant, and I was also working on a book that I’ve been working on for ages.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Professor Doherty won a Nobel Prize in 1996 after discovering how our immune cells destroy viruses, and has since revolutionised the field of immunology.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last year, he joined conference calls with senior researchers from The Doherty Institute - named in his honour - to discuss the latest findings about the deadly disease.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I haven’t been running a lab for a while, but I joined in on that, and suddenly got a sense [COVID-19] was pretty dangerous,” Professor Doherty said of the early meetings.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“My sense was I could help by being in the discussion because I’d been working on this kind of stuff for years so I have got some sort of understanding of it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Sitting on these morning discussions, I’m hearing details of what people who are running the diagnostics, evaluating the tests and so forth are doing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“And though I knew superficially about the challenge, I had no idea about the actual detail that was involved.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But his scientific work isn’t the only reason why he came to prominence during the pandemic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In April 2020, the 80-year-old gave the internet a well-needed laugh when he accidentally asked his Twitter followers when Dan Murphys was open, mistaking the platform for Google.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Dan Murphy opening hours</p> — Prof. Peter Doherty (@ProfPCDoherty) <a href="https://twitter.com/ProfPCDoherty/status/1254616358479966209?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 27, 2020</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I love it. Scientists (even Nobel laureates) are human first,” one follower commented.</span></p> <p><strong>Predicting the pandemic</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Scientists like Professor Doherty have been warning about the threat of a pandemic for decades.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2013, he wrote a book he jokingly described as “pandemics for dummies”, called </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Pandemics: What Everyone Needs to Know</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It didn’t sell well because who wants to read about disease and death?”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the science in his book still holds up, Professor Doherty said he and other experts mistakenly believed a flu pandemic would be a threat.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If I’d been thinking more clearly, I would have thought about coronaviruses, and what happened with SARS,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While he did predict the economic cost of the pandemic, the use of social media, and the transition to working from home, he said COVID-19 has proved to be a “steep learning curve”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Both on the science side - we didn’t understand the virus to begin with, it’s much more complicated than we thought,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“And also the social dimension of it - I think we’ve all been grappling with that one.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I had no real understanding of the social dimension of [a pandemic], and I think you have to live through it to really understand that.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Based in Melbourne, Professor Doherty and his wife Penny joined other Melbournians in the city’s 112-day lockdown during the second wave of the virus.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s pretty scary because we’re both old,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He tried to stay cautious and still take regular walks, including some in his own backyard to avoid needing to wear a mask, where he would “stride up and down like on the deck of a ship”.</span></p> <p><strong>Looking to the future</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Thinking about the next 12 months, Professor Doherty’s biggest concern is a possibility of a new variant emerging that vaccines won’t be able to protect against.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Current variants such as Delta appear to dilute the effectiveness of the vaccines but don’t prevent the immune response triggered by vaccination.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He worries that the virus could mutate in such a way that it “subverts the vaccine”, requiring scientists to modify the vaccines.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Apart from that concern, I think we’re now really on the right track,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“What we absolutely need is for people to get vaccinated.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“[Herd immunity] is incremental. If you get 50 percent of the people vaccinated, you’d worry a lot less about locking down and all that sort of stuff.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“But if we can get to 80 percent vaccinated, I think we’d be in pretty good shape.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: The Doherty Institute / Instagram</span></em></p>

Retirement Income

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Four-day working week trial found to be ‘an overwhelming success’

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Trials of a four-day working week in Iceland have been an “overwhelming success” that led many workers to move to shorter hours, researchers have said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Taking place between 2015 and 2019, workers were paid the same amount but worked fewer hours.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Researchers said productivity levels stayed the same or increased in the majority of workplaces involved in the trial.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The trials run by Reykjav</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">í</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">k City Council and the Icelandic government eventually included upwards of 2,500 workers, accounting for about one percent of Iceland’s working population.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many of the various workplaces, including preschools, offices, social service providers, and hospitals, moved from a 40 hour week to a 35 or 36 hours week, according to researchers from UK think tank Autonomy and the Association for Sustainable Democracy (Alda) in Iceland.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The trials also led unions to renegotiate working patterns, and 86 percent of Iceland’s workforce have now moved or will gain the right to move to shorter hours for the same pay, the researchers said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Workers reported feeling less stressed, having a lower risk of burnout, and said their health and work-life balance had improved. They also said they had more time to spend with family, do hobbies, and complete chores around the house.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This study shows that the world’s largest ever trial of a shorter working week in the public sector was by all measures an overwhelming success,” said Will Stronge, director of research at Autonomy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It shows that the public sector is ripe for being a pioneer of shorter working weeks - and lessons can be learned for other governments.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gudmundur Haraldsson, a researcher at Alda, said: “The Icelandic shorter working week journey tells us that not only is it possible to work less in modern times, but that progressive change is possible too.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A number of other trials are now being run around the world, with Spain pivoting to a four-day working week for companies and Unilever in New Zealand trialling a 20 percent reduction in work without affecting pay.</span></p>

Retirement Income

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Three tricks scammers use

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With a recent uptick in potentially fraudulent texts, emails, and phone calls during the pandemic, the field of psychology has analysed these deceptions to reveal some simple tricks scammers use.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Using trusted logos and brands</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fraudsters will often use familiar elements, such as the name or logo of well-known brands, to gain immediate trust from their victims.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This will tend to be paired with a message that aims to elicit a strong emotional response to stop the victim from thinking logically. That could take the form of a promise of a reward or a potential threat that victims need to provide their personal or financial information to receive or avoid.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Posing as a professional</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In other more devious schemes, scammers pose as lawyers or doctors representing a family member or colleague needing financial help.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Often negative emotions are most effective,” said Cleotilde Gonzalez, a professor of decision science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Setting a timer</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Finally, most scams will present their victims with a “time-limited” situation that requires an immediate response.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This works to increase the chance that you will act before you engage your critical thinking skills to either not miss the opportunity or avoid potential threats and forget the possibility of deceit.</span></p> <p><strong>A mix of all three</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most scams rely on a mix of all three tricks to ensure success.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Think of the calls claiming to come from the tax office, warning that you could face a fine if you don’t take action immediately, which usually involves sharing bank account details. With an immediate threat to deal with, it can be incredibly difficult to think clearly.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Your guard automatically drops in those situations and your emotions will override rational decision making,” said Garth Norris, a psychologist at Aberystwyth University in the UK.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though there isn’t a single fool-proof way of protecting ourselves from scams, both Norris and Gonzalez suggest not responding immediately to every single message we receive.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Just give yourself the time and think, is this real?” said Norris.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And if the message includes a link, typing it out manually instead of clicking on it can help us spot any anomalies.</span></p>

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Record losses to scammers during COVID-19 pandemic

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Australians have lost a whopping $851 million to scams in 2020, according to new data released from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Having analysed 444,000 reports from scam victims provided by banks, government agencies, and financial intermediaries, the ACCC found that investment scams and romance scams were two of the most financially damaging, costing Aussies $328 million and $131 million respectively.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Payment redirection scams came a close third, resulting in $128 million of losses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said the most shocking fact was that the total figure only included the scams that were reported by victims.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Last year, scam victims reported the biggest losses we have seen, but worse, we expect the real losses will be even higher, as many people don’t report these scams,” Ms Rickard said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Unfortunately scammers continue to become more sophisticated and last year used the COVID-19 pandemic to scam and take advantage of people from all walks of life during the crisis.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kate Browne, personal finance expert at Finder, said scammers have also had greater opportunities to target Australians at their most vulnerable during the current financial crisis.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Fraudsters are increasingly seeking to take advantage of those experiencing uncertainty and financial instability,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Scammers are quick to capitalise on major events such as a pandemic so it’s important to be extra vigilant over the coming years.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the ACCC’s analysis of the demographics of scam victims, it found those aged 65 or older accounted for 18 percent of reports and 23 percent of the losses.</span></p> <p><strong>COVID-19 scams</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since the start of the pandemic, Scamwatch has received over 6400 scam reports mentioning coronavirus with more than $9.8 million in reported losses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some of these include vaccination scams, where scammers may try to obtain personal or financial information by claiming you will need to provide it in order to get the COVID-19 vaccine.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Be sure to book your <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a> vaccine through the Eligibility Checker on the Australian Government website.<br />We will never ask you for bank, credit card or other payment details.<br />Vaccination is FREE and voluntary. To book safely and securely, visit: <a href="https://t.co/62OZ8zWiK3">https://t.co/62OZ8zWiK3</a> <a href="https://t.co/ZZ8Cefv9Xm">pic.twitter.com/ZZ8Cefv9Xm</a></p> — NSW Health (@NSWHealth) <a href="https://twitter.com/NSWHealth/status/1410382464044789760?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 30, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some scammers include links in emails or texts they send, which can contain malware that could give your personal information to the scammer. Scamwatch recommends not clicking on any links in emails or texts you receive about the vaccine that you aren’t expecting.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Scamwatch is also aware of other vaccine scams that include offers to pay money as an investment opportunity in the Pfizer vaccine, as well as fake surveys that offer a prize or early access to the vaccine when completed. In reality, these surveys are used to obtain your personal or financial information.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Outside of Australia, scammers have been selling fake vaccine appointments, administering fake vaccines door-to-door for money, and asking for payment to ship vaccines to consumers, among other scams.</span></p>

Retirement Income

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4 tips that could save you thousands

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it comes to our finances, there are plenty of monetary pitfalls that can have costly consequences.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are four financial tips that could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Choose who you take advice from</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though looking to family and friends for advice can be helpful in other circumstances, you can run into problems when it comes to money advice.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Unless your loved one is qualified and an expert in this field, they are unlikely to know everything there is to know,” says Helen Baker, a financial advisor, author and public speaker. “Those who speak from their own experience are not aware of the details that make everyone’s situation different.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Being more picky about where and who you take financial advice from is the best way to go, according to Baker.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Make sure they are licensed to practice and have a good reputation,” she says. “Beware of vested interests pushing you a certain way. Consider professional advice only on matters they are qualified to discuss: accountants aren’t licensed to give financial advice, and financial advisors are limited with their tax advice.”</span></p> <p><strong>2. Be smart about your super accounts</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While most advice tells us to roll all our superannuation accounts into one to save money, it might not be so simple</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If you consolidate low-fee super accounts into a high-fee one, you’re actually losing money,” Baker explains. “Low cost funds don’t necessarily offer the same investments found in other funds.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Claims that having two funds will mean you pay double the fees aren’t necessarily true either.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Fees are generally calculated as a percentage of your super, so one percent of, say, $200,000 is the same as one percent of two $100,000 balances.” she says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Instead, the biggest super mistake relates to life insurance.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Life, disability, and income protection insurances can all be paid out of your super,” Baker says. “If you close an account, the policies attached to that account in almost all cases are terminated. Policies also differ between providers - you’re unlikely to get exactly the same policy in each one.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Many people only discover their mistake when they need to make a claim but are no longer covered.”</span></p> <p><strong>3. Put away the crystal ball</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the unpredictable nature of life, Baker says calculators meant to determine how much super you will need for retirement should be treated with caution.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“How is that calculated? How can it factor in things such as future tax rule changes, Centrelink changes, spontaneous withdrawals, changes in employment or market fluctuations? They can provide false hope that you have enough so you needn’t do anything, or scare you into taking unnecessary risks.”</span></p> <p><strong>4. Get involved</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For couples, the common pattern of one partner leaving financial matters to the other and not getting involved can be detrimental.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Baker says this can become an especially thorny issue following divorce or death.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Nobody gets married expecting to divorce or be widowed early,” she says. “But sadly, this can and does happen. If your partner dies suddenly or becomes your ex, it’s difficult to unpick where the funds have gone if you weren’t involved - especially at a time when you’re grieving and becoming accustomed to living on your own.”</span></p>

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How a Sydney mum spent her $107 million lotto win

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After winning Australia’s largest ever individual lotto prize, a Sydney nurse has revealed just how she has spent the money and its effect on her life so far.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In January 2019, the woman was the only person with a division one winning entry in a massive Powerball jacket, seeing her take home $107 million.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though most might consider quitting their jobs with that much cash to their name, at the time the Sydney mum said she would still go to work the next day.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She has continued to work and has been enjoying “little luxuries” in the two and a half years since her win.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’m still working and my husband is also still working. We both love our jobs!” she told </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.thelott.com/real-winners/powerball/what-its-like-to-tell-your-family-youve-won-107-million" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Lott</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Having always been passionate about giving back to the community, the woman said she and her husband have been using the prize to do just that.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In those weeks after our win, I walked down the street and I knew that just about every second person bought a ticket into the draw, and I know that I won their $10 or $15 and that really resonated with me,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Paying it forward is really important to us because if you change one person’s life, you have the potential to change the whole community.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We have already made some really important donations, and we’re always thinking a lot about what we want to support next.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We watch the news and we read the papers, and we literally keep a notebook of causes we know we want to help on a grassroots level.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It makes you feel incredibly privileged, and it is what we’ve always done anyway, but now we can just do so much more.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The couple have been using some of their funds to purchase a new home, which the woman says will become a family home for generations to come.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Every time I walk into my beautiful home is a pinch-me moment,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Every time I come home and I remember that this is my house and I never have to move my family is something that I will never take for granted.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“And seeing the relief on my husband’s face. We’ve both worked so hard for so long, and to never have that financial stress, to be able to take that away from him, that is just priceless.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The woman added that she’s now enjoying the little luxuries in life, such as buying fresh flowers and nicer bottles of wine.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“And having the ability to travel with the children is incredible,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We never thought we’d be able to afford to do that.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It was always out of reach for us, so to have those memories is priceless!”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: The Lott</span></em></p>

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