Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Calls mount for health insurers to suspend April price hikes

<p>Calls have mounted for private health insurers to cancel premium increases scheduled for April 1 amidst economic pressure from the new coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p>Consumer advocate CHOICE said health funds should relieve customers from more financial burden by freezing the increases.</p> <p>The demand came as non-urgent elective surgeries such as hip replacements and cataract surgery were postponed indefinitely by the government.</p> <p>“If people can’t use the normal services that would allow them to claim on their private health insurance, then insurers’ costs will be going down,” said CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.</p> <p>He said health fund premiums have gone up by 61 per cent over the past decade. “Their justification is that the amount they pay out to cover your treatment is going up. But that doesn’t hold up this year. We don’t think people should be paying full price when they won't be able to access a full service,” he said.</p> <p>“There is no way they can justify increasing premiums in this context. Health funds should scrap their April 1 premium increases.”</p> <p>The first fund in Australia to commit to axe premium rises is Perth-based HBF, which was due to implement a 1.98 per cent increase.</p> <p>HBF’s CEO John Van Der Wielen said many of its one million members were affected by “extraordinary” financial circumstances.</p> <p>“Now more than ever access to the best healthcare is more important than ever,” he said. “We want to do everything we can to keep health insurance affordable for our members.”</p> <p>Other major health funds are yet to follow suit in cancelling the premium increases. The average increase across the industry this year is <a href="https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/privatehealth-average-premium-round">2.92 per cent</a>.</p> <p>Medibank and AHM announced a support package of more than $50 million on Thursday, allowing customers to suspend their policy or access reliefs on their premiums. Members would also receive benefits for coronavirus-related chest, heart, lung and kidney hospital admissions.</p> <p>Bupa also announced an assistance package of more than $50 million to help customers experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic. The insurer also confirmed all members with any hospital policy would be covered for COVID-19 related claims.</p> <p>GMHBA and HCF have also introduced financial hardship measures, encouraging customers who are struggling to pay premiums to reach out to discuss their options.</p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

How super could soften the financial blow of coronavirus

<p>With Australia now facing a severe economic (and health) crisis, there are calls to allow people to access their superannuation to obtain cash.</p> <p>That makes a lot of sense. Why have assets tied up to get a slightly better retirement outcome if the misery of current life can be softened by accessing those assets now?</p> <p>But allowing that could make the economic situation even worse. If super funds were to provide cash to their members, they have to get that cash.</p> <p>If they sell the assets they hold (shares, bonds and so on) that will further depress already depressed asset prices. The last thing we need is such sales solely for the purpose of obtaining cash, particularly if the assets have long term value.</p> <p>How to overcome it?</p> <p>It’s simple in principle, if a bit complicated in practice.</p> <p><strong>A loan, rather than early access</strong></p> <p>We could let people borrow against their super assets at a zero interest rate with repayments (to the super fund) only needing to be made after their income has returned to “normal”.</p> <p>Those repayments could be via a marginally higher tax rate on future earnings (much like we do in the case of higher education) or by voluntary contributions.</p> <p>But where would the super funds get the cash to distribute to members? Simple, via a novel form of <a href="https://theconversation.com/below-zero-is-reverse-how-the-reserve-bank-would-make-quantitative-easing-work-118843">quantitative easing</a>.</p> <p>The super funds could borrow from the Reserve Bank, using super fund assets as collateral (a practice known as repurchase agreements or repos).</p> <p>These specific repos would need to be at a zero interest rate, to match the zero interest rate being paid by members.</p> <p><strong>The loans could be at a zero interest rate</strong></p> <p>Given the current ultra-low level of interest rates, and with strong collateral making the repo loans virtually risk free, that is not unreasonable in the current troubled times.</p> <p>This solution has the advantage that super funds would not be dumping assets into already depressed markets. It would be no more costly to the government than giving cash hand-outs, and the money would be repaid.</p> <p>It should be able to be quickly implemented and would be targeted to those who needed it (albeit not to those with no super balances).</p> <p>It would enable the government to separately more directly help those without access to super balances.</p> <p>Importantly, while it would require temporary, crisis, adjustments to the super framework, it wouldn’t undermine the system.</p> <p><strong>It’s doable, quickly…</strong></p> <p>One problem is getting bipartisan support for enabling legislation – but one hopes that should be possible given the current crisis.</p> <p>At an operational level, what would super funds and the Reserve Bank need to do?</p> <p>First, super funds could give a special designation to those members receiving the interest free loans – switching their accounts into “drawdown mode” of the kind used for accounts in the the retirement phase, but with special conditions (involving the loan agreement) attached.</p> <p>That would enable cash to be withdrawn.</p> <p>Second, the Tax Office would be notified of those members and accounts so as to be able to implement repayments via annual tax calculations or via advising employers to withhold and transfer a larger sum as regular pay as you go tax amounts.</p> <p>The bank would need to introduce a new special form of zero interest rate, long term, repurchase agreement for super funds using super funds as collateral (up to a limit equal to amounts distributed to members).</p> <p><strong>..and better than borrowing against homes</strong></p> <p>There are other ways for Australians to get cash by drawing on other assets, particularly equity in their homes.</p> <p>But at the current time, with uncertainty about what the crisis will do to housing prices, increasing indebtedness in this way with an interest cost doesn’t seem to be as good an option as borrowing against super.</p> <p>Desperate times call for innovative solutions.</p> <p>A “Super Access” scheme of the kind outlined here is worth considering.</p> <p>There would undoubtedly be practical complications involved in its implementation, but there do not appear to be obvious ones that would derail it.</p> <p>It wouldn’t help everyone, but it would help some people and enable government to target cash handouts and other strategies towards those unable to take advantage of it.<!-- 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/134134/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 href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kevin-davis-3497">Kevin Davis</a>, Professor of Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722">University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-super-could-soften-the-financial-blow-of-coronavirus-134134">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Inside the mind of the online scammer

<p>When Dame Helen Mirren revealed she had been the victim of a <a href="https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1199903/Dame-Helen-Mirren-latest-telephone-scam-warning-BBC-Radio-4-news">“humiliating” scam</a> on the press junket for her latest movie (in which, coincidentally, she also plays the victim of a hoax), it highlighted how everyone needs to be on their guard against fraudsters. Even members of the royal family are not immune, as was illustrated when Prince Charles was dragged into a <a href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/prince-charles-hit-counterfeit-art-20799908">major counterfeit art scandal</a>. But what motives scammers, other than greed? I believe the answer can be gleaned by investigating why humans lie in the first place.</p> <p>Online fraudsters carry out a sophisticated and well-planned array of deceiving strategies to con people. These include <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49825888">romance scams</a> in which the victim is enticed to contribute cash to foster a fake romantic relationship, fraudulent lotteries, prize draws, sweepstake games and auction sites. Substantial winnings are offered if the victim can send in some cash.</p> <p>The fraudsters are <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/scammers-have-upped-their-game-former-conman-shares-tips-protecting-ncna1057631">constantly building better mousetraps</a> in order to lure in increasingly sophisticated mice. For example, scams are being personalised to the victim by including references to familiar people or by targeting the victim’s occupation.</p> <p><strong>What’s behind the deception?</strong></p> <p>Scams are carried out using almost untraceable methods, so the criminals are often unknown, despite concerted efforts by law enforcement to identify and prosecute them. But the knowledge from several disciplines (<a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/ethology">ethology</a>, social psychology and criminology) can help us to understand them.</p> <p><strong>Deception to ensure survival</strong></p> <p>Ethologists study animal behaviour. They have observed that species, including humans, have developed a complex means of deceiving their prey in order <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1745691614535936">to ensure their survival</a>. For example, ethologists have identified complex forms of deceptions in other species, such as the jumping spider, which uses behavioural and chemical mimicry. This allows them to coexist with ants and feed on them. This is regarded as comparable to humans engaging in embezzlement by which they use their privileged access to resources and reputation for illegally extracting finances from other people.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vAS3kahu76k?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>Altruistic lies?</strong></p> <p>Social psychologists have found that when humans lie for altruistic purposes or advancement of the group, the lie is often praised rather than denigrated. For example, even young children (aged between five and seven) show a willingness to tell “white lies” in order <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bjdp.12083">to make others feel better</a>. Meanwhile other research shows that adults perceive lying that benefits others (because sometimes the truth hurts) <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022103114000328?via%3Dihub">as more “ethical”</a> than honest statements.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wJCRzgAPwE4?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>Typical and serious lies</strong></p> <p>Social psychological research shows that <a href="https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781351035743">lying is part of normal life</a>. Frequently, people tell everyday lies that are rather benign. Most of these lies are self-serving, but many are designed to benefit others.</p> <p>People most often tell <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=uC1NDwAAQBAJ&amp;pg=PT116&amp;lpg=PT116&amp;dq=doi:+http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15324834basp2602%263_4&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=b4Yp7Aw_WK&amp;sig=ACfU3U1sEhUyv82mQ4iTYFaGTKveIwdjpQ&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwijj9Dhq8HmAhWJa8AKHRFiB08Q6AEwAHoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=doi%3A%20http%3A%2F%2Fdx.doi.org%2F10.1207%2Fs15324834basp2602%263_4&amp;f=false">“serious lies”</a> to their closest relationship partners. They tell serious lies in order to avoid punishment, protect themselves from confrontation, appear a highly desirable person, to protect others and also to hurt their partner. Common serious lies tend to involve affairs and taking money from others without their knowledge.</p> <p><strong>Liars, fraudsters and corruption</strong></p> <p>Frauds represent a complex array of deceptive behaviour that originates in species and arises, in part, from some of the typical motivations for deception. It is, of course, a criminal activity that is well understood by criminologists. Most criminals are typically male and have parents with criminal records, delinquent peer friends, arrests at a young age and come from poor areas with <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5892438/">higher crime rates</a>.</p> <p>Today’s most common online scams are often carried out by people from poor countries. These countries and their government officials are generally regarded as corrupt by <a href="https://www.transparency.org/files/content/pages/2018_CPI_Executive_Summary.pdf">international corruption indexes</a>. Such corruption conveys the message that deception is a desirable strategy. Poverty combined with high corruption contributes to a heightened motivation to deceive others for survival.</p> <p>The criminals in question tend to have traits of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047235217301897">psychopathic and antisocial personality disorders</a>. Research has investigated illegal downloading and hacking in adolescents from 30 countries. It was found that “<a href="https://www.cybercrimejournal.com/Udrisvol10issue2IJCC2016.pdf">cyber deviance</a>” was mostly carried out by males and by people who experienced “school disorganisation” (stealing and vandalism) and “neighbourhood disorganisation” (having untrustworthy or criminal neighbours).</p> <p>These “cyber deviants” tend to have <a href="https://www.cybercrimejournal.com/Udrisvol10issue2IJCC2016.pdf">elevated cognitive ability</a> and, of course, have access to computers and technology. This type of fraud is often well planned and the fraudsters employ a range of deceptive tactics.</p> <p>The law tries to keep these criminals at bay. In September 2019, Operation reWired in the US succeeded in prosecuting <a href="https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/281-arrested-worldwide-coordinated-international-enforcement-operation-targeting-hundreds">281 email scammers</a> from several countries.</p> <p>But the large numbers of fraudsters who combine deceptive and complex strategies make it extremely difficult to keep these crimes under control. So an understanding of how their minds work and their modus operandi is vital if one is to avoid becoming a victim.<!-- 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/127471/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 href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ken-rotenberg-272715">Ken Rotenberg</a>, Professor in Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/keele-university-1012">Keele University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/inside-the-mind-of-the-online-scammer-127471">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

How will coronavirus affect property prices?

<p>It’s a commonly searched question since the coronavirus and COVID-19 outbreak: how will coronavirus affect house prices?</p> <p>The bottom line is it will be negative - prices will go down. People, up until now, have been talking about the property market developing a bit of momentum, with the interest cuts we had last year and the easing in credit conditions.</p> <p>But coronavirus has changed the story for 2020.</p> <p><strong>Rate cuts and stimulus packages can only do so much</strong></p> <p>The Reserve Bank cut rates soon after news broke of the developing coronavirus outbreak. On its own, that’s positive for the housing market (meaning prices stabilise or go up).</p> <p>But the reason the bank is cutting is coronavirus is negatively impacting the economy as a whole – there’s no escaping that fact. Yes, the government has released its stimulus package and there may be more fiscal stimulus on the way, but there are limits to what any government can do. There will be negative effects on employment. It will be a short, sharp shock to the economy.</p> <p>I fully expect a strong rebound by 2021 but in the short term, it will hurt. There are sectors in the economy where people will lose jobs and it’s fair to say coronavirus is generating uncertainty more broadly in the community and, in turn, in the economy.</p> <p>In the housing market, the bottom line is there will be a pullback by buyers and that will take momentum out of the market, and we could see some price falls.</p> <p>The other element is you can look at what it’s done to other asset prices. Yes, interest rates are lower but other assets, notably equities, are being hit.</p> <p>For a lot of people with wealth tied up in the share market, their wealth has been diminished. So capacity for many people to use that wealth to buy into the housing market has been reduced.</p> <p><strong>I’m looking to buy. What do I need to know?</strong></p> <p>In this environment, buyers who are in very secure jobs are actually in an improved position because the overall market is weaker. Coronavirus will take out a group of buyers – those adopting a wait-and-see approach or who are simply unable to buy due to reduced income.</p> <p>But there’s another group of buyers: those who are in jobs but who face uncertainty about how coronavirus will affect their pay or whether they will keep their job at all.</p> <p>Many of these types of buyers will be taken out of the housing market for now.</p> <p><strong>I’m looking to sell. What do I need to know?</strong></p> <p>If you’re a seller, you need to appreciate things are going to be weaker. Those would-be sellers who have flexibility will be able to defer and that could cushion prices falls.</p> <p>There will still be people who need to sell for whatever reason. The turnover will decline but there will still be properties coming into the market.</p> <p><strong>I’m a property investor. What do I need to know?</strong></p> <p>The market has been getting more difficult for the investor. The market in, for example, Sydney is oversupplied at the moment and there’s already been some downward pressure on rents. Yes, investors can benefit somewhat from the decline in rates but that benefit is offset by declining rents.</p> <p>Then, along comes coronavirus.</p> <p>The weakness it is causing in the economy will accentuate the downward pressure on rents in the short term and that’s something investors need to be cognisant of.</p> <p>If prices come down, investors could be in a better position to buy (to create or add to an existing property portfolio) but that weakness in rents is a real factor – it has been for some time and is unlikely to go away any time soon.</p> <p><strong>No matter your state, the overall picture is broadly the same</strong></p> <p>From state to state, each of the markets are doing slightly different things but the broad point would apply across all markets. Coronavirus is everywhere. Its impacts on the property market will be everywhere too.</p> <p>The Western Australian market has been weak for some time, and rents have fallen fairly drastically for quite a while now. There appear to be signs it could be stabilising but coronavirus won’t exactly encourage that.</p> <p>The Melbourne market has been strong and the vacancy rates aren’t as high, but there’s no doubt coronavirus will increase caution among many buyers and encourage a lot of sellers to defer.</p> <p><strong>A rebound in 2021</strong></p> <p>2020 will, in many ways, be a hard year for the economy. Talk of a recession is growing and while the big companies may not lay off a lot of people, a lot of small businesses are facing the prospect of low to no revenue. They may have no choice.</p> <p>The financial capacity of small and medium sized business will be harshly affected. If you’re a restaurant and nobody is coming in, you may have no option but to reduce staff or close. The stimulus package is well targeted but there’s no stimulus package in the world that could stop some of these effects happening.</p> <p>The RBA has talked about a rebound in the second half of this year. Hopefully they are right but I expect at least by 2021. Either way, it’s important to remember the rebound will happen.</p> <p>People will recover. People will go back to restaurants. People will go to football games. Things will eventually bounce back. Things will go back to normal eventually - but there will be some business casualties along the way.<!-- 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 href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nigel-stapledon-269708">Nigel Stapledon</a>, Research Fellow in Real Estate, Centre for Applied Economic Research, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-1414">UNSW</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-will-coronavirus-affect-property-prices-133761">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

When your house has a disturbing history, what should buyers be told about its ‘past’?

<p>Imagine you have just bought a home. You have moved in and, during a friendly chat with the neighbours, you find out the property had been the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-07/what-is-stigmatised-property-and-what-are-your-rights/9911608">scene of a serious crime</a> or <a href="https://www.aicnsw.com.au/our-dream-house-was-a-meth-lab/">used to manufacture</a> methamphetamine.</p> <p>How would you react? Is this something you would want to have known prior to the sale? If you had known, would this have affected you decision to buy the property? And was the real estate agent or vendor <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/news/what-do-agents-have-to-reveal-about-a-home8217s-history-20170810-gxcm5k/">under any obligation</a> to let you know?</p> <p>In most cases, the answer is (somewhat surprisingly to buyers) “no”. However, amendments to Victoria’s Sale of Land Act 1962 <a href="https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/latest-news/sale-of-land-changes-in-effect-legislation-update">have now broadened the matters</a> that must be disclosed to buyers prior to a sale, including where a serious crime has occurred. Renters who find they have entered into a stigmatised property must resort to the consumer protection laws discussed below.</p> <p><strong>Why were the laws required?</strong></p> <p>The ancient doctrine of <em>caveat emptor</em> (let the buyer beware) still impacts on real estate transactions. It means the buyer bears the responsibility of making their own enquiries about the property.</p> <p>Property inspections are usually confined to the physical condition of the property. While it would be possible, at least theoretically, to arrange for a person to investigate its “background”, this can be a difficult process, especially if such information is concealed or hard to come by.</p> <p>As a result, each state and territory has introduced laws that provide for some level of disclosure to the buyer during the conveyancing process. The extent of disclosure required and the nature of matters that must be disclosed varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.</p> <p>Furthermore, section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law <a href="http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/caca2010265/sch2.html#_Toc32223214">considers conduct</a> as misleading or deceptive where a matter is not disclosed but, in the circumstances, there is a reasonable expectation it would be.</p> <p>The problem is that while disclosure may be required in matters involving, for example, a structural fault or a road-widening proposal, such information is confined to physical issues affecting the property.</p> <p>However, what happens when the matter involves not a physical defect but a psychological or stigmatising one, such as a murder, for example? Such information may be of considerable importance to potential buyers who, for personal or religious reasons, would find living in a property where such an event occurred intolerable. On a more mercenary note, the impact on resale value of the property <a href="http://journalarticle.ukm.my/7237/1/115-293-1-PB.pdf">could be significant</a>.</p> <p><strong>The nature of ‘stigmatised’ property</strong></p> <p>Concern about the effect of stigma on property is not a recent phenomenon. Courts in several jurisdictions, including Australia, <a href="https://api.research-repository.uwa.edu.au/portalfiles/portal/1218611/3632_3632.pdf">have had to grapple</a> with buyers who had discovered, after purchase, that the property had been the scene of a serious crime or criminal activity, a suicide had occurred, persons had been suffering from certain illnesses, or a sex offender lived nearby.</p> <p>In one case a young man had murdered his parents and sister in their Sydney home. The property was later sold to a young couple. After discovering the tragic events that had occurred in the home, they sought to withdraw from the sale on religious grounds.</p> <p>There was a <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/estate-agents-fined-over-triple-murder-house-20041220-gdz86g.html">significant amount of criticism</a> of the real estate agent for not informing the buyers about what had occurred there. After considerable public pressure and an investigation by the NSW Office of Fair Trading, the contract was set aside.</p> <p>On a more ethereal note, there have been a series of cases in the United States where buyers have sought, in some cases successfully, to have a sale rescinded <a href="http://zillow.mediaroom.com/2019-10-29-Selling-a-Haunted-House-Heres-What-You-Need-to-Know">because the house</a> was (allegedly) haunted or the subject of <a href="https://casetext.com/case/stambovsky-v-ackley">paranormal activity</a>.</p> <p><strong>Disclosure laws regarding stigma</strong></p> <p>The Victorian legislation clarifies obligations for estate agents and vendors regarding <a href="https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/latest-news/sale-of-land-changes-in-effect-legislation-update">the disclosure of “material facts”</a>.</p> <p>In summary, an estate agent or vendor cannot knowingly conceal any material facts about a property when selling land. The legislation is supported by guidelines that clarify the nature of a material fact. This includes circumstances where, during the current or previous occupation, the property was the scene of a serious crime or an event that may create long-term potential risks to the health and safety of occupiers of the land.</p> <p>Specific examples include extreme violence such as a homicide, the use of the property for the manufacture of substances such as methylamphetamine, or a defence or fire brigade training site involving the use of hazardous materials. Relevant factors can include the reaction of other potential buyers to the fact, including their willingness to buy in light of the revelation.</p> <p>Significant penalties and even imprisonment await vendors and real estate agents who do not comply.</p> <p><strong>Will the laws work?</strong></p> <p>As with any new legislation, we will have to wait and see how this plays out. However, some preliminary comments can be made.</p> <p>First, it will be interesting to see how the term “knowingly” is interpreted. Could an agent or vendor avoid the provisions if they merely suspect an issue but do not look further into it? The term “wilful blindness” comes to mind.</p> <p>Second, a fact can be material in either a general or a specific sense. The general sense seems straightforward, as it refers to information most people would consider when deciding whether to buy a property.</p> <p>However, how serious must a crime be to be material? What if the situation involves cultivation of marijuana rather than a more egregious substance?</p> <p>More complex is where a material fact may be of importance to a specific buyer but not buyers generally. For example, in the case discussed above, the buyers’ religion made it impossible for them to live in a home where a violent murder had occurred. In this case, the onus seems to be on the prospective buyer to ask questions about matters of concern to them.</p> <p><strong>What now?</strong></p> <p>Although one suspects that buyers of an allegedly haunted house might not succeed under this legislation, the laws address a significant gap regarding disclosure of psychological considerations in the purchase of a property rather than the traditional physical ones.<!-- 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/132766/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 href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/eileen-webb-95332">Eileen Webb</a>, Professor of Law and Ageing, School of Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/when-your-house-has-a-disturbing-history-what-should-buyers-be-told-about-its-past-132766">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Scott Morrison slammed for “pathetic” coronavirus address

<p>Scott Morrison has been lambasted for his address to the nation about the coronavirus, with viewers accusing the Prime Minister of “bending the truth” and putting a “marketing spin” over the health crisis.</p> <p>Speaking on a rare television address on Thursday night, Morrison said the government has a “clear plan” to deal with the impacts of the pandemic.</p> <p>“I want to assure you and your family tonight that while Australia cannot and is not immune from this virus, we are well prepared and are well equipped to deal with it,” he said.</p> <p>“We do have a clear plan to see Australia through.”</p> <p>He said the three priorities in the government’s strategy consisted of: protecting the health of Australians through travel restrictions; providing economic stimulus to protect jobs and livelihoods, and; ensuring industries can “bounce back” after the crisis.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">WATCH: Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivered a rare address to the nation about coronavirus tonight <a href="https://t.co/m4AY5t5Km1">pic.twitter.com/m4AY5t5Km1</a></p> — The Age (@theage) <a href="https://twitter.com/theage/status/1238017427436220416?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 12, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>The address came hours after Morrison announced a $17.6 billion stimulus package, including $750 one-off payments for up to 6.5 million welfare recipients and assistance of up to $25,000 for small and medium-sized businesses.</p> <p>Many Australians have expressed lack of confidence in Morrison following the address, with some accusing the PM of “spinning” the address to promote the Coalition.</p> <p>“It’s a campaign ad masquerading as a public health notice,” one wrote on Twitter.</p> <p>“Scott Morrison’s address sounded like an infomercial,” another commented.</p> <p>“The worst address to the nation I have ever witnessed. No information, just throw money here and there and let’s keep calm. Sooo SMUG! We’re not idiots, we need a leader!” one said.</p> <p>“This $750 stimulus payment is literally just the government trying to avoid a recession thanks to their pathetic economic handling - and here is ScoMo acting like it’s to help businesses cause of the Coronavirus,” one wrote.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">I can see <a href="https://twitter.com/ScottMorrisonMP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ScottMorrisonMP</a>'s <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/coronavirus?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#coronavirus</a> address becoming meme fuel for years to come, what with the faint smirk, peppy tone and rapid blinking. It's a campaign ad masquerading as a public health notice. <a href="https://t.co/cuVoDRFsIB">https://t.co/cuVoDRFsIB</a></p> — Henry Chen (@hcnyre) <a href="https://twitter.com/hcnyre/status/1238064204495482881?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 12, 2020</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Having ScoMo address the nation sitting at a desk in front of a giant bookcase does not actually make him appear more trustworthy or knowledgeable about COVID-19. He should have had a small press conference where our top medical and scientific folk gave us facts and direction.</p> — Cᴀʀᴅiɴᴀʟ Ciᴘʜᴇʀ (@Cardinal_Cipher) <a href="https://twitter.com/Cardinal_Cipher/status/1238070253550108672?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 12, 2020</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Surprised in his address to the nation by <a href="https://twitter.com/ScottMorrisonMP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ScottMorrisonMP</a> didn’t give people advice on what to do to prevent the spread of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/covid19?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#covid19</a>, and how to access government support. I feel like practical measures are so important why not use every opportunity to send the message?</p> — Stephanie March (@steph_march) <a href="https://twitter.com/steph_march/status/1238013869064220674?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 12, 2020</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Such an underwhelming address by Scott Morrison. At a time when our nation needs strong, decisive, compassionate and emotionally intelligent leadership- we get a pitch from the marketing team <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/leadership?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#leadership</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/coronavirusaustralia?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#coronavirusaustralia</a> <a href="https://t.co/3NsmrBIXKt">https://t.co/3NsmrBIXKt</a></p> — TheRealVoter (@TheOG1) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheOG1/status/1238019856009551873?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 12, 2020</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none"> <p dir="ltr">And how the hell did Morrison last night not address the panic buying?</p> — Greg Jericho (@GrogsGamut) <a href="https://twitter.com/GrogsGamut/status/1238210210201665536?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 12, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>However, others believed the address was effective in reassuring Australians.</p> <p><em>The Australian</em>’s editor-at-large Paul Kelly said Scott Morrison’s address was an “effective performance” which “sold a message of reassurance”.</p> <p>One wrote, “Thank you ScoMo. Great address to us tonight.  Good to know you and your team are looking after us.”</p> <p>More than 126,000 people around the world have been infected with COVID-19.</p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

The amazing chart showing the ticking housing time bomb caused by Australians delaying major decisions

<p dir="ltr"><strong>Australians are carrying significant mortgage debt into retirement because they are increasingly delaying major life decisions such as marriage, home purchases and even getting a full-time job.</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday, 18 November the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR)<span> </span><a href="http://cepar.edu.au/resources-videos/research-briefs/housing-ageing-australia-nest-and-nest-egg">released a new report<span> </span></a>which seeks to explain why so many Australians are now entering retirement with housing debt. In 2016, about 36% of homeowning households still had a mortgage at the point of retirement (age 60-64), up from 23% a decade earlier.</p> <p>The report finds that the situation can be explained by the fact that Australians are practising bulk procrastination and making practically every major decision later in life.</p> <p>The report finds that, between 1971 and 2011, the median age at which Australians:</p> <ul> <li>Started their first full-time job increased from 16 to 25</li> <li>Finishing education increased from 17 to 22</li> <li>Had their first child increased from 24 to 31</li> <li>Married increased from 23 to 31</li> <li>Bought their first home increased from 27 to 33.</li> </ul> <p>According to the report, these delayed decisions mean that the median age that Australians had paid off their mortgage has increased from 52 in 1971 to 62 in 2011 (and is likely to have increased since 2011).</p> <p dir="ltr">In addition, the delayed decisions are continuing well into retirement.</p> <p>For instance, the median Australian is now leaving the labour force at 64, rather than 61 in 1971, and entering aged care at 85, rather than 81 in 1971. Here's the data in chart form:</p> <p><img src="https://img.seniorshousingonline.com.au/787cb58b6bac427d7cfab89e067d4a131f172e1b" alt="" width="650" height="298" /></p> <p>Rafal Chomik, a CEPAR senior research fellow at UNSW Sydney, said that while high house prices and overall reduced affordability was a factor in delayed home purchase decisions, people needed to be wary about taking forever to get into the market.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Lifetime homeownership rates will decline if some people postpone purchasing a home indefinitely,” said Rafal Chomik. “Banks may be reluctant to lend past a certain age given retirement ages are increasing more slowly.”</p> <p>Centre Director John Piggott, Scientia Professor of Economics at UNSW Business School, said that with the Australian retirement system built on the premise of homeownership, excessive or indefinite deferral of home purchase can have consequences.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There is the potential that in the future more older people end up renting, and if so, we need a safety net to support them as the current retirement income system is failing renters,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>The Downsizing.com.au view</strong></p> <p>This research brings a different perspective to the national debate about retirement incomes and indicates part of the problem is an emerging national psychology against taking early, hard decisions.</p> <p>As the old saying goes ‘there is no time like the present’.</p> <p>Australians need to be alert to, and wary of, this growing life decision deferral trend.</p> <p>While it’s a bad move to delay buying your first home, it is an equally bad move to delay making a decision to move from the family home into more suitable and more lifestyle-rich downsizing-friendly accommodation.</p> <p>Many Australians delay making a downsizing decision, and then find they are too old to move into a retirement village or land lease community and need to go straight into aged care. In doing this, they have missed the opportunity to live among a supportive community and access great lifestyle features and age-appropriate accommodation. </p> <p>Indeed, research shows that moving into a<span> </span><a href="https://www.cityam.com/retirement-villages-extend-life-expectancy-women/">retirement village community can extend life by five years.</a></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Mark Skelsey</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/626/The-amazing-chart-showing-the-ticking-housing-time-bomb-caused-by-Australians-delaying-major-decisions" target="_blank"><em>Downsizing.com.au</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Most couples are less satisfied when the woman earns more

<p>Women are now the main earners in about <a href="http://www.ncsehe.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Families-Incomes-and-Jobs-Vol-9.pdf#page=66">one in four</a> Australian households. This increase in female “breadwinner” households challenges traditional expectations of men and women and their roles in family life.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jomf.12653">research</a> shows those expectations remain strong, with both men’s and women’s satisfaction with their relationship dropping when the woman becomes the primary breadwinner, earning 60% or more of household income.</p> <p><strong>Examining relationship satisfaction</strong></p> <p>We examined what happened when couples experienced change in their household breadwinning arrangements using data from the <a href="https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/hilda">Households Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia</a> (HILDA) Survey. Our study used detailed information collected from about 12,000 Australians over a maximum of 17 years.</p> <p>Our analysis took into account the level of economic prosperity of the household as well as health, number of children, marital status, the division of household labour and gender role attitudes. We did this to ensure any changes we found in relationship satisfaction by breadwinner status were irrespective of other characteristics.</p> <p>For example, it would be unsurprising for both partners to feel dissatisfaction if the reason for a woman being the main income provider was her partner’s unemployment. Even when both partners were employed, our findings show both men and women were less satisfied when she earned more.</p> <p><strong>Conditions make a difference</strong></p> <p>It is true, though, that a woman earning more because her partner is unable to work due to unemployment or illness has different implications for relationship satisfaction than her having a better-paying job.</p> <p>Women on average were least satisfied with the relationship when she became the primary breadwinner due to her partner being unable to work due to illness or disability.</p> <p>The reverse is not the case; the woman being unable to work does not, on average, affect the man’s relationship satisfaction.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="jCLwV" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/jCLwV/7/" height="400px" width="100%" style="border: none;" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Both men and women were generally more satisfied with their relationship when the woman became the homemaker. This is similar to international research that finds women who are homemakers <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/41682634">are slightly happier</a> than full-time working women.</p> <p>This change in satisfaction may be explained by most women becoming homemakers after having a child. Many new mothers want to stay home with their infant. It also helps working families manage the time pressures of having young children. It is usually short-term. About three-quarters of women return to work by <a href="https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/programmes-services/paid-parental-leave-scheme/paid-parental-leave-evaluation-phase-4-report">their child’s first birthday</a>.</p> <p>Employed women were most satisfied with the relationship when they became “equal” earners – contributing between 40% and 60% of household income. Men were most satisfied as the main or equal earner.</p> <p><strong>Gender Equality - still a long way to go?</strong></p> <p>Our research suggests gendered expectations about who earns income persist despite the changing reality of the labour market.</p> <p>Women are increasingly <a href="https://www.employment.gov.au/newsroom/statistical-snapshot-women-australian-workforce">obtaining university qualifications</a> and entering occupations that are in demand and on the rise. Meanwhile some traditionally well-paid <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Game_Changers_Web.pdf">male-dominated industries</a> are subject to uncertain boom-and-bust cycles (such as mining) or long-term decline (such as manufacturing).</p> <p>Yet men’s identity – the way they see themselves and are perceived by others – is more tied to employment and being the breadwinner than women’s. Women often expect their male partner to contribute at least equally to the household finances, <a href="https://newprairiepress.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1147&amp;context=jft">or to be the primary earner</a>.</p> <p>Another factor that might partly explain the greater dissatisfaction when she is the main earner is how couples <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0192513X14522246">share household labour</a>.</p> <p>Research shows Australian women do, on average, about 70% of <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1440783315579527">unpaid domestic labour</a> in couple households. Previous Australian research, also using HILDA, shows women who earn 75% or more of household income spend 40 minutes <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13545701.2012.744138">longer doing domestic labour</a> than women who were more equal earners.</p> <p>If a woman continues to do more housework as the main or sole earner, this may well decrease her relationship satisfaction.</p> <p>That both women and men are generally less satisfied in relationships when she earns more shows the issue is complicated. Personal expectations and values sit in tension with both changing economic reality and social ambitions for gender equality.<!-- 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/131659/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: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/belinda-hewitt-311407">Belinda Hewitt</a>, Professor of Sociology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722">University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/niels-blom-964159">Niels Blom</a>, Research fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southampton-1093">University of Southampton</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/most-couples-are-less-satisfied-when-the-woman-earns-more-131659">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Harris Scarfe saved from collapse as Spotlight acquires retail icon

<p><span>Australian discount department store Harris Scarfe has been rescued from receivership after fabric and home fittings store Spotlight agreed to buy the 170-year-old business.</span></p> <p><span>The future of the retailer’s 44 stores and about 1,300 staff is yet to be determined as Spotlight and receivers at Deloitte continue discussing the details of the transaction. According to the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/spotlight-set-to-save-harris-scarfe-from-collapse-20200303-p546bm.html"><em>Sydney Morning Herald</em></a>, the settlement could be finalised by <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/spotlight-set-to-save-harris-scarfe-from-collapse-20200303-p546bm.html">mid-April</a>.</span></p> <p><span>“There is still a lot of work we need to do together to finalise the transaction and we will be working with the Spotlight Group and the Harris Scarfe leadership team to make this happen,” said Vaughan Strawbridge, partner at Deloitte Restructuring Services.</span></p> <p><span>“We are hopeful all of the 44 stores will be retained under the sale but ultimately, this will be dependent on how the transaction progresses over the next couple of weeks.”</span></p> <p><span>The retail chain <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/retirement-income/harris-scarfe-to-close-21-stores-across-australia">fell into receivership in December</a> and closed down 21 stores in early January as receivers at Deloitte sought a buyer.</span></p> <p><span>Harris Scarfe is one of the <a href="https://www.smartcompany.com.au/industries/retail/gerry-harvey-retailers-collapse/">many brands which have collapsed in recent months</a>, with Ishka, Colette by Colette Hayman, Jeanswest, Curious Planet and Bardot entering voluntary administration.</span></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Why seniors need to think carefully before leaping into the Pension Loans Scheme

<p dir="ltr"><strong>At first glance, it seems like a good idea – supercharge an existing Australian Government scheme to make it easier for retirees to turn the equity in their home into regular cash payments.</strong></p> <p>The expanded<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/pension-loans-scheme/who-can-get-it" target="_blank">Pensions Loans Scheme</a>, which came into effect on 1 July 2019, allows retirees to access a fortnightly amount representing 150 per cent of the maximum pension payment, via a government loan secured against their home.</p> <p>A 5.25 per cent interest rate will apply to the loan, which will need to be paid back to the government when the home is eventually sold.</p> <p>The government expanded the scheme by making it available to self-funded retirees as well as pension recipients and increasing the amount which could be borrowed from 100 per cent to 150 per cent of the maximum fortnightly pension rate.</p> <p>The scheme does look particularly attractive in a low interest rate environment, where retirees are struggling to create a strong and safe income stream from their savings. </p> <p>However, retirees will need to think carefully before they sign up to the scheme, as it does have a number of potential pitfalls. We’ve laid them out for you here:</p> <p><strong><em>Doesn’t promote ‘fit for purpose’ housing for seniors</em></strong></p> <p>Many pensioners are living in older-style homes, which were designed for active and young families. These homes are less suitable for elderly people, often because they contain stairs, trip hazards and don’t cater for people with reduced mobility.</p> <p>This government scheme will encourage pensioners to stay in these unsuitable homes, when it is perhaps preferable to be providing incentives for them to move to newer, safer and more comfortable housing stock.</p> <p>For instance, many newer homes are built to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.livablehousingaustralia.org.au/" target="_blank">Livable Housing Australia</a><span> </span>standards, which includes requirements for level pathways to the front door, easy-access shower cubicles, slip-resistant flooring and electrical powerpoints elevated from the skirting board. </p> <p><strong><em>This scheme won’t help with housing affordability</em></strong></p> <p>Across Australia, there are estimated to be<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/347/Empty-bedrooms-in-the-homes-of-over-50s-could-help-solve-Australias-affordable-housing-crisis" target="_blank">millions of empty bedrooms</a>, largely due to ‘empty nesters’ living in homes well after the children have left home. These bedrooms are going to waste when they could be providing housing for those who need it.</p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/347/Empty-bedrooms-in-the-homes-of-over-50s-could-help-solve-Australias-affordable-housing-crisis" target="_blank">A survey by Downsizing.com.au and LJ Hooker in 2017</a><span> </span>revealed the extent of the problem.</p> <p>Just under 90% of survey respondents said they had a spare bedroom available in their current home which no-one regularly occupies. Incredibly, one in five respondents said they had three spare bedrooms and four out of ten said they had two spare bedrooms.</p> <p>Encouraging pensioners to stay in their home will continue and exacerbate this national empty bedrooms problem, by locking up older, larger homes which could be better occupied by younger and growing families.</p> <p><strong><em>It could lead to loneliness</em></strong></p> <p>Like many other developed countries, Australia has an acute loneliness problem.<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/one-in-four-australians-are-lonely-which-affects-their-physical-and-mental-health-106231" target="_blank">A major study released last year<span> </span></a>found one in two (50.5%) Australians feel lonely for at least one day in a week, while more than one in four (27.6%) feel lonely for three or more days. The UK Government has even launched its own<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-launches-governments-first-loneliness-strategy" target="_blank">Loneliness Strategy</a>, arguing that it is one of the greatest public health challenges of our time.</p> <p>As mentioned above, there are millions of empty bedrooms in homes occupied by elderly people across Australia. </p> <p>These bedrooms are empty for a very good reason – the family (and sometimes also a partner) are no longer living there. This can be a very lonely experience and also not a safe one during times of ill-health.</p> <p>Retirees may be better moving into retirement communities, where they can be part of a vibrant and supportive community, rather than utilising the Pension Loans Scheme and staying alone in their homes.</p> <p><strong><em>Scheme doesn’t help people with large mortgages</em></strong></p> <p>This scheme also may not help the increasing numbers of seniors who are arriving into retirement with a large mortgage and are struggling with repayments.</p> <p>The<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.pc.gov.au/research/completed/housing-decisions-older-australians" target="_blank"><span> </span>Housing Decisions of Older Australians</a><span> </span>report by the Productivity Commission, shows that around 30 per cent of Australians aged more than 55 in 2011 had an outstanding mortgage on their home, compared to around 15 per cent in 2001. </p> <p>Recent economic data has shown this<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/566/How-downsizing-is-a-growing-mortgage-busting-option-in-retirement" target="_blank">problem has worsened since 2011</a>.</p> <p>Although it is possible to utilise the Pension Loans Scheme when there is an existing mortgage on the property, this may not be the best solution.</p> <p>This is particularly the case if the ongoing mortgage payments eat up the increased income which will come from the scheme. </p> <p>The best way to deal with this problem<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/566/How-downsizing-is-a-growing-mortgage-busting-option-in-retirement" target="_blank">may be to sell the property to allow the mortgage to be removed, or to find other ways to get rid of the mortgage debt</a>.</p> <p><em>Using the scheme for a long period could cut into your home value</em></p> <p>The Pension Loans Scheme is based on a 5.25 per cent interest rate, that compounds fortnightly on the outstanding loan balance. </p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/pension-loans-scheme/how-much-you-can-get/interest-rate" target="_blank">As the government’s website explains</a>, this means that if you use the loan to get a fortnightly payment of $750, after 15 years you will have a total loan balance of $445,000 (of which some $152,000 represents interest).</p> <p>That sort of amount is likely to represent a pretty big whack on any inheritance which goes to the children.</p> <p>As<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://corporate.amp.com.au/newsroom/2019/june/changes-to-pensioners-loan-scheme-set-to-boost-retiree-bank-bala" target="_blank">AMP Technical Strategy Manager John Perri</a><span> </span>explains: “When the family home is sold, the amount owed will be deducted from the sale price of the home.”</p> <p>“For retirees the Pensioners Loan Scheme provides an opportunity to free up some equity that they have in their home. This may help bridge the funding gap while looking to secure aged care or while they await an<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/assessment/prepare-your-assessment" target="_blank">ACAT assessment</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The downside is that their estate often will be left to pay the outstanding loan, potentially leaving less inheritance to the kids. Retirees should carefully consider their personal situation to work out if this is a viable option for them.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Conclusion</strong></p> <p>There is no question that government intervention is required to help support ‘asset rich cash poor’ retirees to fund living expenses in later years.</p> <p>The government’s reverse mortgage scheme may offer a helpful temporary solution for some people. This could be after a sudden financial change, ill-health or the death of a partner, or while pensioners are transitioning into alternative accommodation.</p> <p>But in the longer-term, it may not be the best solution. </p> <p>In fact, it could encourage people to stay in large unsuitable homes and be increasingly housebound, lonely and socially isolated, while at the same time being in a scheme which may eat into the inheritance they want to give their children or doesn’t help them remove an unwanted mortgage.</p> <p>The early evidence is that seniors are not convinced about the scheme.<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://issuu.com/yourlifechoices/docs/retirement_affordability_index_june?fr=xKAEwAT3_NTU1" target="_blank">A recent survey by website YourLifeChoices</a><span> </span>found that 87 per cent of seniors would not borrow through the Pension Loans Scheme, compared to 13 per cent who would.</p> <p>To this end, it would be helpful if the Federal and State Governments offered incentives for retirees to unlock equity by selling the family home and downsizing into a more suitable property. This would help retirees to access funds from their property, and at the same time enjoy the many benefits of downsizing.</p> <p>These incentives could include changes to the pensions asset test, increasing housing supply for retirees and stamp duty reductions or waivers.</p> <div class="body-container"> <div> <p><em>Written by Mark Skelsey. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/573/Why-seniors-need-to-think-carefully-before-leaping-into-the-Pension-Loans-Scheme" target="_blank"><em>Downsizing.com.au</em></a><em>.</em></p> </div> </div>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

5 ways you can use your home to overcome low interest rates

<p dir="ltr"><strong>While record low interest rates may be great news for home buyers, they are generally horrible news for Australian retirees who rely on their savings income.</strong></p> <p>The good news is that the family home - whether it is owned or rented - does provide a number of significant opportunities to generate income for retirees in a low interest rate environment.</p> <p>We’ve outlined five ways this could be the case:</p> <p><strong>1. Downsizing from the home</strong></p> <p>Just over half of the 40 people who responded to a<span> </span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/downsizing.com.au/">poll on our Facebook page</a>, stated they were considering downsizing from the family home, so they can release home equity to boost their retirement savings, because of low interest rates. </p> <p>Fortunately, it is these very same low interest rates that are also making it easier for downsizers to sell the home, because they are<span> </span><a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/bubble-fears-are-back-property-prices-threatening-to-get-out-of-control-20191001-p52wia.html">breathing life into the property market.</a></p> <p>As we have reported previously, the Australian Government has a downsizing superannuation incentive. Australians aged over 65 are using this incentive to boost their super by, on average, around $200,000. </p> <p>Using the incentive, a 65-year-old adding $220,000 to their super would be able to draw an additional tax-free income of $15,000 per year until age 88 - a pretty handy amount when interest rates are as rubbish as they currently are.</p> <p><a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/602/How-much-money-you-can-make-from-downsizing">Find out more about the government’s incentive here</a>.</p> <p>Downsizing has a number of benefits, including allowing people to move into alternative, age-appropriate accommodation, often located within a supportive community. </p> <p>Downsizing from the family home however may come with costs, in particular stamp duty on the new home and agent’s costs when selling the old home. </p> <p>The stamp duty impost can usually be avoided however by moving into a lease or licence retirement village unit or a land lease community.</p> <p>In addition, downsizers need to consider the fact that the released equity does count towards the pension assets and income tests, which could impact on eligibility for a part or full pension.</p> <p><strong>2. Unlocking the equity in the home</strong></p> <p>There are both commercial and government ‘reverse mortgage’ schemes in place to help retirees to unlock the equity in their home, while still living in the home.</p> <p>The government’s expanded<span> </span><a href="https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/pension-loans-scheme/who-can-get-it">Pensions Loans Scheme</a>, came into effect on 1 July 2019 and allows retirees to access a fortnightly amount representing 150 per cent of the maximum pension payment, via a government loan secured against their home.</p> <p dir="ltr">A 5.25 per cent interest rate will apply to the loan, which will need to be paid back to the government when the home is eventually sold.</p> <p dir="ltr">However,<span> </span><a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/573/Why-seniors-need-to-think-carefully-before-leaping-into-the-Pension-Loans-Scheme">as outlined in this story</a>, there are downsides to this scheme. </p> <p>One of the biggest downsides is that it encourages elderly people to stay in their existing home, when this home may not have the necessary ageing-in-place safety features that a newer home may have. It could also lead to loneliness, as older people are left isolated in their home.</p> <p><strong>3. Working from home</strong></p> <p>OK - this is a bit of a controversial one... but stay with us.</p> <p>There is clear evidence that an increasing percentage of older Australians are staying in, or re-entering the workforce, because they either need the money or the mental stimulation.</p> <p>In August 2019, around 15 per cent of Australians over 65 were still working part-time or full-time, up from 10 per cent in August 2009 and just 5.4 per cent in August 1999.</p> <p>Part-time work is the most popular option for Australians aged over 65 (compared to the 1990s when there were more elderly Australians in full-time work). In July 2019, there were 345,000 Australians aged over 65 undertaking part-time work, compared to 256,300 in full-time work. </p> <div><img src="https://img.seniorshousingonline.com.au/50b860f80fa8f41d56d22b98bba15a203a26c5f8" alt="" width="800" height="475" /><em>Chart showing increasing number of Australians over 65 still working</em></div> <p>These seniors are no doubt taking advantage of a number of tax incentives to supplement their retirement or pension income.</p> <p>For instance, the Australian Government’s Age Pension<span> </span><a href="https://www.dss.gov.au/seniors/programmes-services/work-bonus">Work Bonus</a><span> </span>increases the amount an eligible pensioner can earn from work before it affects their pension rate. </p> <p>From 1 July 2019, the amount fortnightly income from work that is not assessed and is not counted under the pension income test, increased from $250 to $300.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the<span> </span><a href="https://www.superguide.com.au/smsfs/no-tax-retirement-sapto">Seniors and Pensioners Tax Offset</a><span> </span>(SAPTO) allows Australians over 65 to take advantage of a $2,230 tax offset for annual incomes up to $32,279 (in 2017/18) and then a lower offset amount which extinguishes at an income level of $50,119.</p> <p>These helpful tax breaks mean that seniors may be able to undertake part-time work at home, to overcome the low interest rates, but at the same time minimise their tax burden and keep access to the pension.</p> <p><strong>4. Move to a rental community</strong></p> <p>There are potential benefits in moving to a rental community, including the possibility that you can claim<span> </span><a href="https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/rent-assistance">Commonwealth Rental Assistance</a> and also don't have to pay stamp duty to move in.</p> <p>For instance, an increasing number of Australians are deciding to move to senior-specific rental communities in regional areas, where the living costs are lower. </p> <p>Often, the rents in these villages are low enough to allow pensioners to be able to pay for both their accommodation and other living expenses. This means you may no longer be need to be reliant on savings income, in a low interest rate environment.</p> <p>The downside, of course, is that senior Australians may not want to have to move some distance to get into a village.</p> <p>This story explains more about the<span> </span><a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/543/Are-rental-villages-a-solution-for-Australias-pension-problem">increasing popularity of rental villages</a>.</p> <p>Other forms of seniors rental housing includes land lease communities (where you own the dwelling and rent the land underneath it) and leasehold retirement villages.</p> <p><strong>5. Use your garage for a profitable hobby</strong></p> <p>A number of land lease communities are now offering<span> </span><a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/530/Homes-with-a-dream-garage-how-grey-nomads-are-transforming-retirement-communities">super-sized garages</a>, which can be used for any number of potentially profitable hobbies, including arts and crafts, collectables or your unique brand of home-made food.</p> <p>Of course, the danger is that you'll end up spending more money on your hobby, than you ever get back at the markets or online!</p> <p><em>Written by Mark Skelsey. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/606/Five-ways-you-can-use-your-home-to-overcome-low-interest-rates" target="_blank"><em>Downsizing.com.au</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Do you need a retirement coach?

<p><span>As the economy and lifestyles change, so too does the path of retirement. What worked for your parents’ generation may not work for you; you may want to navigate a new way. There are a number of different sources of help that you could turn to along your journey, so how do you know where to start? Here are the important questions to consider.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Do you need help with your budget?</span></strong></p> <p><span>If you have had clear, long-term goals for your money and you have stayed on track, then you might not need help with your <a href="https://retirementnow.com.au/money">retirement budget</a>. Otherwise, you may want to turn to a financial adviser or broker (rather than a retirement coach), bearing in mind that advisory fees typically apply.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.31416837782336px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7834899/retirement-now.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/4e5eee84b7a7418dac09b3fae6f47195" /></p> <p><strong><span>Do you know what you value?</span></strong></p> <p><span>Life after work can be disorienting. You may have spent a large portion of your life following career goals and not giving as much attention to other goals. If this is the case for you, when you stop working, you’ll need to re-envision your ideal day and revisit your other goals, which may lead to you reassessing what you value and which activities bring you a sense of meaning, satisfaction and affirmation in life. Things that dropped down in your priority list during your career--health, family, leisure, giving--can now rise to the fore. A retirement coach can help you with this process.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.31416837782336px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7834894/retirement-now-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/327db65cc84c4db8998ef1daa6523b1d" /></p> <p><strong><span>Do you have health concerns?</span></strong></p> <p><span>If you have significant health concerns it’s best to book an appointment with your GP and go for the necessary tests or get onto a treatment plan. If your health concern is simply to reprioritise taking care of your body then a retirement coach can guide you through the basics of healthy exercise, diet and sleep, and other lifestyle changes. </span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.31416837782336px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7834895/retirement-now-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/2368f909231e478b9f5bb81c94ad8ce2" /></p> <p><strong><span>Do you have support and accountability?</span></strong></p> <p><span>Whether you still have some time to plan your retirement, or the time has arrived sooner than you expected, or you are well into retirement and feeling bored or concerned, having somebody to talk to can help you feel less overwhelmed by the change. A retirement coach’s value is not only having somebody to talk to, but somebody who motivates you by keeping you accountable to your goals. A combination of support and accountability could be found in other places too though, like in a walking club, book club or other community club that you are a member of.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.31416837782336px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7834896/retirement-now-3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/1a149dfbfbb14678a0da6198fe790214" /></p> <p><strong><span>Picking a retirement coach</span></strong></p> <p><span>If you decide that a retirement coach is what you need, take the time to pick the one who is right for you. You will need to do a little bit of research on that, but one word of advice right off the bat: Even if you don’t feel you need help with your budget but you answered ‘yes’ to either of the next two questions, it’s a good idea to go to a retirement coach who does have some financial background--if you don’t yourself. If you are on a health treatment plan from your GP you will be able to tell your retirement coach what capacity you have for various other health, family, leisure and giving activities. But if neither you nor your retirement coach has a financial background you may not accurately calculate how your new life and health goals will affect your budget in the long-term.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.31416837782336px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7834897/retirement-now-4.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/027c239ab819408697d124970d1d87d6" /></p> <p><span>Sometimes just having somebody to talk to can be enough, whether it’s a family member, friend, or a like-minded individual or group in a similar stage of life. Other times it’s important to call in the professionals, whether financial or medical. The right retirement coach can be a solution that fits somewhere in between the other two and, even if your parents’ generation didn’t have retirement coaches, there’s no shame in navigating a new way in new times.</span></p> <p><em><span>This article has been made in partnership with Retirement Now.</span></em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Shoppers furious over Coles' policy

<p>Coles has been criticised over its heavy use of plastic bags for one of its grocery delivery options.</p> <p>The supermarket giant offers unattended delivery, where customers can have their order left at a specified location even if no one is available to sign for it.</p> <p>However, the option does not allow customers to opt out of using plastic bags, with every item being bagged.</p> <p>“One of the major prerequisites for [unattended delivery] is all goods must be bagged, so rather than trying to move away from plastic bags Coles is actively encouraging its customers to have more of them,” a customer said, as reported by <em><a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/shopper-furious-at-coles-unattended-delivery-policy-093152700.html">Yahoo News Australia</a></em>.</p> <p>“Clearly there is no vision or care for the bigger picture in their pursuit of sales at any cost.”</p> <p>A Coles spokesperson told the outlet the bagging helps ensure the customers’ safety and security.</p> <p>“The safety and security of customers who place an unattended delivery order is important to us, and as such their groceries are delivered bagged as we can’t guarantee the customer will be home at the time of delivery,” the spokesperson said.</p> <p>The criticism follows the backlash over Coles’ use of individual plastic container to package its hot cross bun.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fphoto.php%3Ffbid%3D10156513771202202%26set%3Da.470327362201%26type%3D3&amp;width=500" width="500" height="654" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>“Remove single use plastic bags and then come up with brilliant ideas like this instead… Really?” a shopper wrote.</p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Why cashless welfare cards do more harm than good

<p>The Australian government touts compulsory income management as a way to stop welfare payments being spent on alcohol, drugs or gambling.</p> <p>The Howard government introduced the <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/basicscard">BasicsCard</a> more than a decade ago. About 22,500 welfare recipients now use it, mostly in the Northern Territory. Now the Coalition government has big plans for a more versatile <a href="https://www.dss.gov.au/families-and-children/programmes-services/welfare-conditionality/cashless-debit-card-overview">Cashless Debit Card</a>, trialled on about 12,700 people in four regional communities in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.</p> <p>These trials aren’t complete, nor the findings compiled, but a string of senior ministers, including <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/scott-morrison-eyes-long-term-cashless-debit-card-roll-out-20190907-p52oxb.html">Prime Minister Scott Morrison</a>, have indicated they are already sold on expanding the program.</p> <p><a href="https://www.incomemanagementstudy.com/blog/hiddencosts">Our research</a>, however, <a href="https://theconversation.com/theres-mounting-evidence-against-cashless-debit-cards-but-the-government-is-ploughing-on-regardless-123763">adds to the evidence</a> that compulsory income-management policies do as much harm as good.</p> <p><strong>Financial (in)stability</strong></p> <p>Over the past year we have conducted the first <a href="https://www.incomemanagementstudy.com/">independent, multisite study</a> of compulsory income management in Australia. It has involved 114 in-depth interviews at four sites: Playford (BasicsCard) and Ceduna (Cashless Debit Card) in South Australia; Shepparton (BasicsCard) in Victoria; and the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region (Cashless Debit Card) in Queensland. We also collected 199 survey responses from around Australia.</p> <p>Proponents of compulsory income management champion its potential to “provide a stabilising factor in the lives of families with regard to financial management and to encourage safe and healthy expenditure of welfare dollars”, as the then social services minister, Paul Fletcher, <a href="https://www.paulfletcher.com.au/portfolio-speeches/speech-to-sydney-institute-welfare-personal-responsibility-and-the-cashless">said in March</a> last year.</p> <p>Our study found some individuals experience these benefits. But most face extra financial challenges. These include not having enough cash for essential items, being unable to shop at preferred outlets, being unable to buy second-hand goods, and cards being declined even when they are supposed to work.</p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/316964/original/file-20200224-24690-153xr6u.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/316964/original/file-20200224-24690-153xr6u.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Survey respondents reported a range of challenges related to compulsory income management.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Hidden Costs: An Independent Study into Income Management in Australia</span></span></p> <hr /> <p>In Playford, Jacob* told us about being on the BasicsCard, which can only be used with merchants that have agreed to not allow cardholders to buy excluded goods.</p> <p>The limits on where he could shop made it harder for him to manage his finances.</p> <p>“I couldn’t make decisions about saving money,” he told us. He and his wife used to catch the train to shop at the Adelaide markets, for example, but vendors there couldn’t take the BasicsCard.</p> <p>The Cashless Debit Card is intended to overcome the limitations of the BasicsCard. It’s like a debit card except it can’t be used to withdraw cash or at businesses that sell prohibited items.</p> <p>But Emma*, a single mother in the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay area, told of her struggles to make basic purchases using the card. It often failed – even at businesses that purportedly accepted it – and her family went without. She also felt excluded from the markets and second-hand retailers where she used to shop.</p> <p>Her greatest stress, however, was rent. Emma* said she had always been on time with rental payments until the Cashless Debit Card. She described one occasion when, two days after paying the rent, the money “bounced back” into her account. When she rang the card’s administrator (card payment company <a href="https://www2.indue.com.au/">Indue</a>), she was told: “It’s just a minor teething issue, just keep trying.”</p> <p>The extra stress from “worrying about which payments were going to get paid” was considerable. Others shared similar experiences.</p> <p><strong>Social (dis)integration</strong></p> <p>Supporters of compulsory income management claim it brings people back into the community by combating addiction and encouraging pro-social behaviour and economic contribution. As federal Attorney-General <a href="https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;db=CHAMBER;id=chamber%2Fhansardr%2F5d1aabc6-2984-42d1-bf5e-3f493db56d60%2F0048;orderBy=customrank;page=0;query=Cashless%20debit%20card%20SearchCategory_Phrase%3A%22house%20of%20representatives%22%20Dataset_Phrase%3A%22hansardr%22%20Speaker_Phrase%3A%22pitt,%20keith,%20mp%22;rec=1;resCount=Default">Christian Porter said in 2018</a>: “The cashless debit card can help to stabilise the lives of young people in the new trial locations by limiting spending on alcohol, drugs and gambling and thus improving the chances of young Australians finding employment or successfully completing education or training.”</p> <p>However, our study found the card can also stigmatise and infantilise users – pushing people without these problems further to the margins.</p> <p>One of the problems is that compulsory income management is routinely applied based on where a person lives and their payment type, and not on any history of problem behaviour. The large majority of our respondents indicated they did not have alcohol, drug or gambling issues.</p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/316963/original/file-20200224-24676-1jamv1d.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/316963/original/file-20200224-24676-1jamv1d.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">The majority of survey respondents had been managing finances well before compulsory income management.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Hidden Costs: An Independent Study into Income Management in Australia</span></span></p> <hr /> <p>But as Ray* in Ceduna explained, having the card meant others viewed him as a problem citizen.</p> <blockquote> <p>I’m embarrassed every time I have to use it at the supermarket, which is about the only place I do use it. I sort of look around and see who’s behind me in the queue. I don’t want anybody to see me using it.</p> </blockquote> <p>This was a common experience across the interview sites.</p> <p>Maryanne* in Shepparton told about being judged for shopping for groceries with her BasicsCard.</p> <blockquote> <p>I got called a junkie and I said: ‘I’m not a junkie, do you see any marks or anything?’ They were like: ‘No, but you have a BasicsCard.’ I said: ‘What’s that got to do with it? Centrelink gave it to me. I can’t do nothing.’</p> </blockquote> <hr /> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/316965/original/file-20200224-24664-asok53.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">Stigma was a common concern among survey participants.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Hidden Costs: An Independent Study into Income Management in Australia</span></span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>A path forward</strong></p> <p>The overwhelming finding from our study is that compulsory income management is having a disabling, not an enabling, impact on many users’ lives. As the policy has been extended, more and more Australians <a href="https://www.vinnies.org.au/page/Publications/National/Factsheets_and_policy_briefings/The_Cashless_Debit_Card/">with no pre-existing problems</a> have been caught up in its path.</p> <p>This does not mean a genuine voluntary scheme could not be maintained, but it would need to sit alongside evidence-based measures to tackle poverty.</p> <p>Addressing the <a href="https://raisetherate.org.au/">inadequacy of income support payments</a>, ensuring <a href="https://theconversation.com/these-job-snob-claims-dont-match-the-evidence-121429">decent employment and training opportunities</a>, and providing accessible social services and secure and affordable <a href="https://theconversation.com/supportive-housing-is-cheaper-than-chronic-homelessness-67539">housing</a> would be a better starting point for creating healthy lives and flourishing communities.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Names have been changed to protect individuals’ privacy.</em><!-- 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/132341/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: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/greg-marston-737150">Greg Marston</a>, Head of School, School of Social Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-peterie-564209">Michelle Peterie</a>, Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/phillip-mendes-101820">Phillip Mendes</a>, Associate Professor, Director Social Inclusion and Social Policy Research Unit, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/zoe-staines-426110">Zoe Staines</a>, Research fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/i-dont-want-anybody-to-see-me-using-it-cashless-welfare-cards-do-more-harm-than-good-132341">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Pre-planning funeral: What you need to know

<p><span>Preparing for a funeral is a stressful experience – especially for friends and families, who are often tasked with the duty when they are still dealing with grief. To help relieve some responsibilities of their loved ones later, many Australians are now opting to have their affairs in order early on. </span></p> <p><span>If you’re interested in planning a funeral for yourself or other people, here are the things you might need to know.</span></p> <p><strong><span>What is involved?</span></strong></p> <p><span>Making funeral arrangements is akin to wedding planning, said Wendy Goy, human resources manager at Tobin Brothers Funerals.</span></p> <p><span>“A wedding has all the elements of a funeral – selecting a venue, meeting a clergy or celebrant, arranging the service, printing items, music, catering, flowers, invitations or letting people know, audio visuals, viewings, vehicles and more,” Goy told <em>Over60</em>. </span></p> <p><span>The difference often lies in the timeframe. “A wedding is usually about a year in the planning, while a funeral is usually planned within five days or a week of a death, at a time when grief and possibly lack of sleep make thinking and planning very difficult.”</span></p> <p><span>Most funeral companies offer pre-planned options, including pre-paid funerals, where clients enter into a contract where the funeral is paid in advance, and pre-arranged funerals, which are planned and recorded with the company but yet to be paid. Some also offer a blank form on which clients can write down their preferences and instructions without obligation.</span></p> <p><span>Goy said essential information for death certificates would be recorded in this pre-planning stage. The details needed include the client’s full name, occupation, date and place of birth as well as those of their parents and children among others. “Our clients are often surprised at the level of detail of family history information required,” Goy said. </span></p> <p><span>“Ensuring that family members either know or have access to that information saves much additional stress.”</span></p> <p><strong><span>When to start planning</span></strong></p> <p><span>Asha Dooley, general manager at Grace Funerals said it is never too early to start planning. “There are benefits to paying for a funeral now as it locks the prices in, but even just meeting with a funeral director and writing down the information is helpful,” Dooley said. </span></p> <p><span>She said the client’s wishes will be looked after and fulfilled more easily with prior discussions.</span></p> <p><span>“I would advise that you sit down with the people that love you and explain your wishes,” Dooley said. “If there is a chance to discuss these decisions then everyone can be on the same page, which is helpful when you are grieving.”</span></p> <p><span>Goy is more circumspect in her advice. “If we think about what we may plan when younger, it may be different to what we may plan when older,” she said. “[But] many clients who are facing a terminal illness find some comfort in being involved in planning their own funerals.”</span></p> <p><span>According to <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/paying-for-your-funeral"><em>Moneysmart</em></a>, prepaid funeral plans can be cheaper than funeral insurance or funeral bonds – but they might not be transferable if you move to another state. Due to lower protections in the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Western Australia, people in these states might benefit more from funeral bonds, a deposit with regular payments over time.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Different funerals, different strokes</span></strong></p> <p><span>Both Goy and Dooley emphasised that each funeral is different, and there are no strict rules. </span></p> <p><span>“Well trained and sympathetic funeral staff will give permission for clients not only to take their time, but permission to explore and consider the rituals that will enable them to create a funeral event that is relevant and meaningful,” Goy said.</span></p> <p><span>“It is not the funeral director’s funeral nor the celebrant’s funeral. The funeral content and rituals need to be meaningful to that family and that deceased person.”</span></p> <p><span>Some custom requests might include having a funeral at home, personalising coffins and tribute items, webcasting and more.</span></p> <p><span>“By working closely with the client family and their wishes, we source and book the most suitable funeral venue, celebrant and all other details,” said Dooley.</span></p> <p><span>“Some client families prefer to take the reins and do a lot of the planning and organizing themselves, in these cases we can provide advice and support the family as they would like us to. Each client's family is different, and it is important that we are flexible to fit what each family needs.”</span></p> <p><span>Goy also advised against rushing, saying her clients are often surprised when the staff encourage them to “slow down, take their time”. </span></p> <p><span>“There is no requirement to have a funeral in a specific timeframe.”</span></p> <p><strong><span>What to look out for</span></strong></p> <p><span>Price is undoubtedly one of the top considerations for many – but Goy and Dooley encourage customers to take other factors into account.</span></p> <p><span>Calling the businesses and asking questions is a good idea to help you gain more information as well as get a feel for the businesses you’re interested in. The way costs are discussed can be as important as the numbers themselves.</span></p> <p><span>“I believe that you should be given the best price the first time and that this should be transparent,” Dooley said.</span></p> <p><span>“I personally wouldn’t be selecting a funeral business based on price alone ... Different businesses have different overheads so that price can vary a lot, but what is really important is how your loved one and your family will be treated during the funeral process.”</span></p> <p><span>Dooley also advised taking time to choose a funeral director that will suit you and your family. “When selecting a funeral director, I think that it is important that they are caring, kind and transparent,” she said. </span></p> <p><span>“The funeral director plays a prominent role with your family at a difficult time. It is important to select someone that you are comfortable with, who gives you all the necessary information and who is fully transparent and upfront.”</span></p> <p><span>Goy agreed. “When seeking a funeral director, questions about the service and care clients and the deceased will be given will help to locate the right provider rather than just ‘how much is a funeral’ questions.”</span></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Why Australians fell out of love with Holdens

<p>The jingle used to tell us we loved “football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars”.</p> <p>These days we <a href="https://www.caradvice.com.au/817278/vfacts-2019-new-car-sales-results/">love</a> Japanese utes and small Toyotas, Hyundais and Mazdas more.</p> <p>Monday’s <a href="https://media.gm.com/media/au/en/holden/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/au/en/2020/feb/0217_Holden.html">announcement</a> from General Motors, Holden’s US parent, that the brand will be “retired” and local design and engineering operations cease is doubtless based on strong financial reasoning, but poor brand management is also part of it.</p> <p><strong>The numbers didn’t stack up</strong></p> <p>Sales of Holden vehicles and a <a href="https://www.budgetdirect.com.au/car-insurance/research/australian-car-sales-statistics.html">shift</a> from large sedans to small and medium sized cars and sportscars and SUVs didn’t help.</p> <p>At its peak, between 2002 and 2005, Holden sold more than <a href="https://www.whichcar.com.au/news/the-decline-of-holden-and-the-commodore-in-numbers">170,000</a> vehicles a year. By 2019 it sold less than 40,000; none of them made here.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VGW-WX77zjY?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span class="caption">Holden ad, 1970s.</span></p> <p>In November, it sold just 2,668 cars, down from 5,125 the previous November.</p> <p>Global competition from Japan, Korea and Thailand for brands like Kia and Hyundai, <a href="https://www.carsguide.com.au/car-advice/australian-car-market-car-sales-statistics-and-figures-70982">added to its woes</a>.</p> <p>Internationally, Holden was only present in two small markets, Australian and New Zealand, which between them don’t even account for 1% of global sales, and require steering columns on the right hand side of car. It has made Holdens hard to internationalise.</p> <p>Monday’s <a href="https://media.gm.com/media/au/en/holden/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/au/en/2020/feb/0217_Holden.html">press release</a> blamed “highly fragmented right-hand-drive markets”, the cost of growing the brand, and the unlikelihood of achieving a decent return on the investment if it tried.</p> <p>General Motors isn’t even going to bother to sell foreign-made sedans in Australia, although it will continue to sell speciality vehicles.</p> <p>Yet its brand is ingrained in Australian history.</p> <p><strong>Holden defined a brand</strong></p> <p>Brands are a combination of tangible and intangible elements. Among the tangible elements are visual design elements, like logos, colour, images and packaging, such as the Holden “Lion and Stone” and distinctive product features, such as the feel of the leather, the sound of a roaring V8 and the quality of the duco.</p> <p>But that is only part of what makes a brand. Tangible elements can be easily copied and are a feature of nearly all products. The challenge is to develop and leverage intangible qualities.</p> <p>These can include experiences (such as service) and feelings such as reputation, personality and <a href="http://www.ignytebrands.com/the-psychology-of-brand-personality/">values</a>.</p> <p>Nostalgia is a Holden value. Its rich history, dating back to 1856, has helped define the brand.</p> <p>Many of us who grew up in the 1970s remember family car trips to the beach in a Kingswood station wagon. In the 1980s, we watched <a href="https://www.mount-panorama.com.au/history/race-results/27-bathurst-1000-winners">Brock, Richards and Perkins</a> win Bathurst. Movies like <a href="https://www.imcdb.org/v589530.html">Puberty Blues</a> made the Holden Sandman panel van every young man’s dream, and every parent’s worse nightmare.</p> <p><strong>General Motors killed it</strong></p> <p>Being <a href="https://www.cmo.com.au/article/659053/marketing-professor-holden-brand-nostalgia-ain-t-what-it-used/">Australian</a> was at the core of that identity.</p> <p>General Motors took it away.</p> <p>On October 20, 2017 it stopped production of all Australian-made vehicles and began importing Commodores from Germany.</p> <p>Then in December last year it axed the Commodore, after 41 years.</p> <p>It killed the value that was left in the brand.</p> <p>We fell out of love with Holden because it fell out of love with us.<!-- 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/131907/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: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gary-mortimer-1322">Gary Mortimer</a>, Professor of Marketing and Consumer Behaviour, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-australians-fell-out-of-love-with-holdens-131907">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Age discrimination biggest barrier to job opportunity

<p>Nearly half of Baby Boomers believe their age is the biggest barrier to job opportunities, a new report has found.</p> <p><span>A <a href="https://www.afr.com/work-and-careers/careers/ok-boomer-is-age-stopping-you-from-getting-ahead-20200210-p53zbn">quarter of Australians</a> view age as the biggest barrier to opportunities, while 24 per cent feel most held back by their lack of financial resources, <a href="https://economicgraph.linkedin.com/research/opportunity-index-2020">LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2020</a> revealed. </span></p> <p><span>The survey discovered that under one in two (46 per cent) Aussie Baby Boomers, or those born from 1946 to 1964, believe their age is the main hurdle standing in their way of finding employment. Younger generations are less likely to feel inhibited by how old they are, with only 31 per cent of Gen X, 11 per cent of Millennials and 22 per cent of Gen Z sharing the sentiment.</span></p> <p><span>“While younger generations feel their age is a reflection of their lack of experience, more mature generations are struggling to adapt their skills for the changing workforce,” said Matt Tindale, country manager for LinkedIn in Australia and New Zealand.</span></p> <p><span>“Professionals are working well beyond their retirement years and we now have four generations working together for the very first time. </span></p> <p><span>“Embracing Australia’s multigenerational workforce and leveraging this diversity of talent will be imperative in order for businesses to remain successful.”</span></p> <p><span>Australians also have low confidence about accessing job opportunities, ranking 17 out of 22 countries.</span></p> <p><span>More than 30,000 people around the world, including 1,025 Australians, were polled for the index.</span></p> <p><span>LinkedIn’s index came months after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s call for <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-20/retraining-wont-keep-older-workers-from-choosing-to-retire/11720482">older workers to undergo more training or upskilling</a> to allow for their continued participation in the workforce.</span></p> <p><span>“This year, as the economic landscape and job market continues to evolve, it will be important that Australians adopt a growth mindset and embrace lifelong learning to ensure they are best placed to seek the opportunities they want,” Tindale said.</span></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Fancy working for the Queen? The Palace is now hiring

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>The Royal Family is hiring again and this time, they’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to numbers and spreadsheets.</p> <p>Buckingham Palace is looking to hire an accountant to join the Privy Purse and Treasurer’s Office.</p> <p>The role is based at Buckingham Palace and offers a whopping £40,000 ($AUD 77,000) a year salary while promising a job that’s “forecasting figures whilst surrounded by a priceless past”.</p> <p>"No two days will be the same and the deadlines we work to will stretch you," the job description reads.</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-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6fflJVn-oE/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <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/B6fflJVn-oE/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily)</a> on Dec 25, 2019 at 2:29am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"Yet in all that you do, you'll rise to the challenge and deliver faultless accuracy and a first class service to this unique organisation."</p> <p>The right candidate needs to be able to work well under pressure, and "feel comfortable with a high level of responsibility and variety in your work."</p> <p>"You'll produce management information and financial accounts for the official and private finances of a number of entities and account holders including both retail and charitable bodies."</p> <p>"You'll provide everything from annual reports and statements, to tax advice. Preparing budgets, forecasts and reconciliations, your timely financial planning and control will be vital."</p> <p>The right person also needs to be as “good with people as you are with numbers, which is crucial, given the customer faced nature of this role”.</p> <p>If you’re interested in relocating as well as working within the walls of Buckingham Palace, better get in quick as applications close at the end of February.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="post-action-bar-component-wrapper"> <div class="post-actions-component"> <div class="upper-row"></div> </div> </div>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

The main barriers to downsizing

<p>More than half of Australians over the age of 55 are open to downsizing, according to a <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/325">new report</a> based on a survey of 2,400 households. The main barrier to moving to a smaller home is a lack of housing that matches their needs and preferences. The rapid growth in the number of older Australians adds to the major challenge housing markets face in meeting their diverse housing needs.</p> <p>Downsizing, or rightsizing, is considered an essential component of meeting the <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/317">housing aspirations of older Australians</a>. At the same time, downsizing creates housing opportunities for younger households by freeing up family homes.</p> <p>The ageing population also creates fiscal challenges for government, in terms of delivering services to the home and providing residential care. Downsizing can enable older Australians to age well and age in place rather than potentially move prematurely into residential care.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/325">report</a> released today by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), for which 2,400 households over 55 were surveyed, found 26% of such households had downsized. Another third had thought about it. Overall, the findings point to a strong appetite among older Australians to downsize their dwellings.</p> <p>With about <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/Home/Census?OpenDocument&amp;ref=topBar">6.5 million Australians aged 55 or older</a>, living in about <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/6503.0Main+Features100002015-16?OpenDocument">4.3 million households</a>, our findings suggest downsizing could be relevant to 2.5 million households.</p> <p><strong>Why downsize? And what are the obstacles?</strong></p> <p>We know older Australians downsize in response to life events such as changes in health and relationship status, or children leaving the parental home. Lifestyle preferences and difficulties maintaining their garden or house also <a href="https://businesslaw.curtin.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2016/06/bcec-keeping-a-roof-over-our-heads-report.pdf">shape downsizing behaviour</a>.</p> <p>Barriers to downsizing include a lack of suitable housing and a <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/214">lack of financial incentives</a>. There are also emotional and physical barriers to moving. Financial factors, however, do not greatly impact the decision to move, nor does <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/321">perceived financial well-being increase</a> once they have downsized.</p> <p>Where those who had downsized were dissatisfied, this was most commonly related to the new dwelling, particularly its size, and the neighbourhood.</p> <p><strong>Is it actually downsizing?</strong></p> <p>One of the policy rationales for downsizing is to reduce the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-17/vacancy-tax-wont-solve-australias-empty-housing-problem/8709184">underutilisation of dwellings</a>. However, this is at odds with the attitude of many older Australians. They consider “spare” bedrooms necessary for use as permanent guest rooms (58%), studies (50%), or dedicated rooms for children or grandchildren (31%).</p> <p>Space remains important to Australian downsizers. Over half of them move to a dwelling with three or more bedrooms. A third move to an apartment.</p> <p>However, two-thirds of downsizers surveyed did move to a dwelling with fewer bedrooms. Three bedrooms was the preferred dwelling size for older Australians. Downsizing the garden was essential for most.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/314365/original/file-20200210-27560-1bsfxmt.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/314365/original/file-20200210-27560-1bsfxmt.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/314368/original/file-20200210-27548-6krfsn.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/314368/original/file-20200210-27548-6krfsn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>Older Australians aspire to attain or retain home ownership. Their preferred neighbourhood has shopping, medical, recreational and public transport services all within walking distance.</p> <p>Downsizers appear mobile. While under a quarter downsized within their original neighbourhood, 42% moved to a neighbourhood completely new to them.</p> <p>The survey finding of a lack of suitable housing options matching would-be downsizers’ preferences may explain why so few were able to downsize in their original neighbourhood.</p> <p><strong>Delivering what older Australians want</strong></p> <p>If the local market does not have enough options available to meet the needs of older households, it is very difficult to downsize within an existing community. Moving to another desired location can also be problematic.</p> <p>Meeting the needs of older Australians generally means an increase in medium-density housing. Developers are likely to require incentives to produce these medium-density products rather than potentially more profitable high-density development – although there is, of course, a downsizing market for well-located apartments.</p> <p>The retirement industry has begun responding to the aspirations of older Australians. It is developing larger dwellings and offering a growing range of options, from high-end to affordable — all of which are accessible and suitable for ageing in place.</p> <p>Equity-rich older Australians may wish to build a new dwelling in which to downsize. But they are often unable to borrow for this unless they have considerable capital available.</p> <p>To support this avenue, new development finance models could be created to allow older Australians to develop without first having to sell the primary home. This shift would allow more collaborative forms of development, such as a group of <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/294">like-minded individuals developing</a> a site as housing for a small community.</p> <p>For those <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-10/older-australians-who-own-home-more-than-20-times-better-off/11815006">vulnerable private renters</a> moving into retirement, more secure rental accommodation through the social housing sector and delivered privately is essential. The community housing sector has a key role to play.</p> <p><strong>Where next?</strong></p> <p>The Australian housing landscape must shift towards a model of dwelling diversity with secure tenures – ownership and rental – in neighbourhoods where residents can walk easily to weekly services and recreation facilities, participate socially and be close to public transport options.</p> <p>Design is equally important. Australians need <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-need-more-flexible-housing-for-21st-century-lives-102636">adaptable dwellings</a> that can change to meet housing needs.</p> <p>Such a landscape will provide effective downsizing options in which households can age well in the places that best meet their needs and aspirations.</p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amity-james-272922"><em>Amity James</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer, School of Economics, Finance and Property, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/steven-rowley-201914">Steven Rowley</a>, Head of School, Economics, Finance and Property, Curtin University. Director, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, Curtin Research Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wendy-stone-9804">Wendy Stone</a>, Associate Professor, Centre for Urban Transitions and Director, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Swinburne Research Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></span></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/half-of-over-55s-are-open-to-downsizing-if-only-they-could-find-homes-that-suit-them-130531">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income