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Aussies hit with "hidden fees" for using common payment method

<p>Millions of Aussies have copped up to $1 billion in "hidden fees" for choosing to use one common payment method. </p> <p>Many are unaware about the secret extra charges that come with using the tap-and-go payment method, as millions of customers use it as the preferred way to pay and go. </p> <p>However, according to financial counsellor Scott Pape, also known as The Barefoot Investor, while tapping your card may be easier, it might not be great for your bank account.</p> <p>“What most people don’t know is that, when they tap, their bank generally defaults that payment through Visa or MasterCard, who pays them a fee — instead of defaulting that payment through the much cheaper bank-owned EFTPOS,” Pape said in his column for the <em><a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/barefoot-investor/the-common-smartphone-app-thats-ripping-you-off/news-story/0b71afa29c86faf2b938c44f93bbc8d6?amp" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline">Daily Telegraph</a></em>.</p> <p>While some businesses choose to absorb the cost, others pass it on to the customer as a surcharge, as Pape says, “Talk about a rort.”</p> <p>According to the Royal Bank of Australia (RBA), Visa and Mastercard are generally more expensive for merchants than the EFTPOS network.</p> <p>Payments through EFTPOS are generally about 0.3 per cent of the transaction value, while Debit Mastercard and Visa Debit may cost many some people about 0.5 per cent.</p> <p>Mastercard and Visa credit could cost customers more than 0.75 per cent of the transaction, while American Express card payments are even more, charging merchants 1 to 1.5 per cent.</p> <p>Thankfully, according to Pape, there are ways to avoid paying the extra fees. </p> <p>If your bank card is attached to your smartphone, you can change the default payment setting.</p> <p>“On an iPhone, open ‘Settings’, go to ‘Wallet & Apple Pay’, then tap your debit card,” Pape said.</p> <p>“Then look for ‘Payment Option’. It will generally have ‘MasterCard’ or ‘Visa’ preselected, but instead you should select ‘EFTPOS SAV’.”</p> <p>This is not allowed on all cards, however, and those who use Android will need to check with their bank if a possible solution exists.</p> <div> </div> <p>The other way to avoid paying the surcharges is to just start inserting or swiping your card again.</p> <p>“I know it’s annoying, but if you swipe and insert your card you can choose ‘cheque’ or ‘savings’ and it’ll go through the EFTPOS system, which at the bigger retailers means you’ll be less likely to be charged,” Pape said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Money & Banking

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10 ways to cruise as a senior

<p>Just because you’re older, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience all that a cruising holiday has to offer. Follow our simple tips for a fun filled holiday on the water.</p> <p><strong>1. Choose the right ship</strong></p> <p>Cruise ships today carry anywhere from six to 6,000 people. The larger megaliners tend to be geared towards families with plenty of crazy rides and high-energy activities. They’ll also probably be crowded with kids. Smaller boutique ships operate at a slower pace and are generally stocked with an older crowd. Do your research and find one to suit you.</p> <p><strong>2. And the right cabin</strong></p> <p>Do you need an accessible cabin? Do you want to reduce walking with a cabin close to the elevators? Is it important for you to have some outside space of your own? These are all important questions that you’ll need to answer when you book. The right cabin can make or break a cruise.</p> <p><strong>3. Pick an appropriate itinerary</strong></p> <p>You’ll need to decide if you want to visit new places every day or spend more time onboard the ship. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Port heavy itineraries, where you’re stopping at a new destination every day, can be tiring. On the other hand, you might get bored with too many days at sea.  Think realistically about your needs and make the right choice for you.</p> <p><strong>4. Research your dates</strong></p> <p>One of the best things about being a senior traveller is that you are (generally) no longer bound by things like school holidays. By avoiding these times you’ll not only save money, you won’t be on a ship with an unusually high proportion of children. When cruising in the Caribbean, you’ll also need to keep in mind the US college holidays so you’re not trapped with a bunch of boozy spring breakers.</p> <p><strong>5. Allow extra time</strong></p> <p>It’s a sad fact of ageing that you’re not as quick on your feet as you used to be. That means you’ll need to factor in extra time for just about everything. Ships can be huge, so you don’t want to be rushing to make a dinner reservation or spa appointment. This applies on shore too. If you’re really late, the ship will leave without you so don’t cut it too fine.</p> <p><strong>6. Choose the right shore excursions</strong></p> <p>Before you book, have a chat with the shore excursions team and get a good idea of the physical requirements. What they consider minimal walking might not be the same as what you consider minimal walking. These tours aren’t cheap, so you want to be sure that you can enjoy everything it involves.</p> <p><strong>7. Look at onboard activities</strong></p> <p>You might not want to get off at every port (which can be exhausting) but still want to be entertained onboard. And adventurous activities like skydiving simulators and giant waterslides may not be your thing any more. Many cruise lines offer fantastic enrichment programs onboard where you can listen to world-class lecturers, learn new skills or watch performances from the likes of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts or the Lincoln Centre.</p> <p><strong>8. Give yourself time to relax</strong></p> <p>You’re on holiday! If you want to spend a day in bed, watching movies and ordering room service then do exactly that. Don’t feel any pressure to be up and about every day.</p> <p><strong>9. Travel with the right companions</strong></p> <p>Solo, couple, friends or family, there’s a cruise for every group. Cruising is hugely popular with multi-generational groups as there something for everyone to do, but it might not make for the most relaxing holiday. If you’re a solo traveller, you can book a single cabin all to yourself or find a room mate with any number of matching services. Just think carefully – because once you’re onboard with your travel buddy, there’s no getting off.</p> <p><strong>10. Think about medical care</strong></p> <p>Be realistic about any medical needs you may have. Most ships have a decent medical centre, but if you are spending multiple days at sea or cruising to very remote destinations and something happens it might not be enough to help you. If you are concerned, choose cruises that stay close to shore or visit developed countries where you can get proper treatment quickly.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Cruising

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Senior changes will to leave fortune to pets instead of family

<p>An elderly woman in China has decided to leave her $A4.3 million fortune to her pets instead of her three children, after she claims they never visited or took care of her when she was sick. </p> <p>The Shanghai woman, known by her last name Liu, drafted the will a few years ago according to the <a href="https://www.scmp.com/news/people-culture/trending-china/article/3248592/elderly-china-woman-leaves-us28-million-assets-beloved-pets-instead-children-who-never-visited-even" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>South China Morning Post</em></a>. </p> <p>However, as her three children rarely contacted her, and left her on her own while she was sick, Liu decided her cats and dogs were more deserving of her multi-million dollar fortune, and changed her will. </p> <p>Chen Kai, an official from the China’s Will Registration Centre headquarters, told her that leaving her entire inheritance to animals is illegal in China, but there is a way for her to ensure her pets get taken care of. </p> <p>“Liu’s current will is one way, and we would have advised her to appoint a person she trusts to supervise the vet clinic to ensure the pets are properly cared for,” he told the <em>South China Morning Post</em>. </p> <p>Another official added that Liu could always change her mind, if her children changed their attitude. </p> <p>“We told Auntie Liu that if her children change their attitude towards her, she could always alter her will again,” the official said. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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Two senior royals undergo surgery

<p>King Charles and Kate Middleton have postponed their public duties following news that they are both being admitted to hospital for surgery. </p> <p>The news of both procedures were announced within hours of each other, with the Princess of Wales first announcing that had been admitted into hospital for a planned surgery. </p> <p>“Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales was admitted to The London Clinic yesterday for planned abdominal surgery,” the statement from Kensington Palace read. </p> <p>The surgery was successful and the princess is expected to remain in hospital for 10 to 14 days before returning home to recover. </p> <p>No other details regarding the surgery were given, but a palace spokesmen has revealed that the condition was non-cancerous. </p> <p>“The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate,” the statement added. </p> <p>“She hopes that the public will understand her desire to maintain as much normality for her children as possible; and her wish that her personal medical information remains private.” </p> <p>The palace added that they will “only provide updates on Her Royal Highness’ progress when there is significant new information to share.”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C2NDoYrN-9r/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C2NDoYrN-9r/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Prince and Princess of Wales (@princeandprincessofwales)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Based on the medical advice, the royal will be out of public duty until after easter, which falls on the 31st of March. </p> <p>They also added that Prince William will also postpone several engagements while his wife is recovering. </p> <p>Less than two hours after the shock announcement, Buckingham Palace revealed that King Charles will also head to hospital next week for a “corrective procedure” on an enlarged prostate. </p> <p>“His Majesty’s condition is benign and he will attend hospital next week for a corrective procedure," the statement read. </p> <p>“The King’s public engagements will be postponed for a short period of recuperation.”</p> <p>Benign prostate enlargement is not a sign of a cancer or a risk of cancer occurring, with one in three men over the age of 50 having symptoms of an enlarged prostate. </p> <p>While few details of Kate's condition were made public, His Royal Highness was keen to share information and encourage other men experiencing symptoms to get their conditions checked. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

Caring

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Body language expert breaks down royal family's Christmas card

<p>A body language expert has broken down the subtle meanings and messages hidden in the royal family's Christmas card. </p> <p>On Monday, Prince William and Kate Middleton shared their 2023 Christmas card portrait, which features the Prince and Princess of Wales and their three children in a charming black and white photo. </p> <p>While their family portrait was met with <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/blah-brutal-reactions-to-royal-family-s-2023-christmas-card" target="_blank" rel="noopener">mixed reactions</a>, royal fans wasted no time in praising the family for their charming photo. </p> <p>Now, body language experts have dived deep into the real meaning behind almost unnoticeable actions taken by the royals in the pic. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pf0IXNv15/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pf0IXNv15/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Prince and Princess of Wales (@princeandprincessofwales)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Body language analyst Judi James told <em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/royals/24997829/kate-william-christmas-card-body-language-signal/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener" data-ylk="slk:The Sun;elm:context_link;itc:0" data-rapid_p="26" data-v9y="1">The Sun</a></em> that, "The strong sense of tight, loving ‘uniformed’ grouping and the stark monochrome, plus the relaxed and confident body language looks like the emotional equivalent of them having a moat and drawbridge around them."</p> <p>Judi went on to say that their choice of relaxed outfits - jeans and white button-up shirts - would be an intentional choice as they show "the strength and total confidence of the pared-down family brand here, without all the trimmings and trappings of their royal status."</p> <p>As she notes, "We know they look superb in formalwear and royal regalia but this is the casual and much more relatable version."</p> <p>Judi also claims that Prince William's slight head tilt "suggests a desire to be liked", while "Kate leans into William’s torso to make this a subtly romantic pose too."</p> <p>Meanwhile, according to Judi, the position of Princess Charlotte right in the middle of the family could be intentional, who says "Charlotte looks so much like the late Queen and this central status-rich pose and beautiful smile are like echoes of Elizabeth when she was young."</p> <p>"This effect doesn’t look deliberate but it is still a rather moving message from this family Christmas card."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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“Privileged inbreds”: The Project host slams Charles and Camilla

<p dir="ltr">King Charles and Queen Camilla have been slammed by a co-host of <em>The Project</em>, who labelled them as “privileged inbreds” in the wake of their Christmas card. </p> <p dir="ltr">Nick Cody and the panel reacted to the royal family’s Christmas card, which shows Charles and Camilla posing in their royal regalia. </p> <p dir="ltr">The King and Queen stood in a stoic pose wearing their robes and towering crowns, with the message inside reading, “Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and New Year”.</p> <p dir="ltr">The monarch’s choice of attire didn’t go down well with Cody, who made his disdain for the couple clear on Monday night’s show. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C0upAphhvLF/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C0upAphhvLF/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Project (@theprojecttv)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“I just need a moment here because, guys – I have some huge news from the weekend,” Cody began sarcastically. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Yes, the rumours are true. King Charles and Queen Camilla released their official Christmas card. I just want to say what everyone in Australia is thinking right now, thank you.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Thanks very much, guys. It’s a wonderful festive treat that absolutely nobody asked for, and yet you delivered,” he continued, eliciting laughs from the panel and audience members. </p> <p dir="ltr">“You two look like a randy couple approaching me at a bar at 3am to say that you’ve been watching me and really ‘dig my vibe’.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Cody then went on to highlight the ongoing cost of living crisis in both Australia and the UK, and how out of touch the card seemed to many people who are struggling. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pagR3M5fD/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pagR3M5fD/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“I love the brazenness of the card statement too,” he continued. “Sure, people in Australia and the UK are struggling to pay bills and put food on the table this Christmas. They’re doing it tough. But despite all that external noise and the fact you gave yourself a massive 45% pay rise this year, you still found the courage to pose for this picture while wearing a $9.5 million hat. Your family jewels must be epically large, mate. Respect.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>The Project</em> presenter then went on to double down on his criticism, and revealed that he’d made his very own Christmas card just for the royal couple.</p> <p dir="ltr">“So, as a small gesture, I have made this Christmas card for you,” said the star, before showing a picture of himself sitting on the toilet giving the King and Queen the middle finger. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I hope you enjoy it. Like you, I also shot it in May while sitting in my personal throne room. To Charles and Camilla, from me, Nick, the colony’s other privileged inbred, Merry Christmas!”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: The Project</em></p>

TV

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Why "Grey Divorce" is on the rise in Australia

<p>It seems that the older generation is taking a page out of the millennial playbook and saying, "Thanks, but no thanks" to marriage.</p> <p>According to a recent report by <a href="https://www.seniors.com.au/documents/australian-seniors-series-love-after-50-report-whitepaper.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Australian Seniors</a>, the trend of "Grey Divorce" has become so prevalent that one in three couples in Australia decide to call it quits after hitting the big 5-0.</p> <p>It turns out that once the kids have flown the nest, some couples find themselves facing a conundrum. And no, it's not a midlife crisis involving sports cars and questionable hair dye choices. It's the dreaded "empty nest syndrome" – t<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">he sadness and upheaval that parents experience when their adult children finally leave the family home. </span></p> <p>The report clearly highlights that almost half of these later-in-life divorces are triggered by the empty nest syndrome, followed closely by increased financial pressures (35 per cent) and retirement adjustments (34 per cent).</p> <p>But the report also reveals a silver lining. Many singles over 50 are discovering greater happiness and fulfilment in their solo acts. It's like they've found the secret formula for joy, and it doesn't involve a partner – just personal space, independence, financial control, peace and quiet, and less stress. Who needs a spouse when you can have tranquillity and control over the TV remote?</p> <p>In fact, more than half of single people over 50 reported being content without a committed partner, and almost one-third claimed that their relationship status was a positive influence on their happiness. Move over, relationship goals; it's time for solo satisfaction to take centre stage.</p> <p>And for those still treading the murky waters of late-life love, there's hope yet. The report offers some sage advice from those who've managed to keep the spark alive, including open and honest communication about changing needs, supporting personal growth, and maintaining independence.</p> <p>While the report concludes that overall divorce rates in Australia have actually hit an all-time low in recent years, the over-50 crowd appear to be shaking things up and going their own way. So, whether you're contemplating marriage or dealing with an unexpected guest cancellation at your wedding, just remember – there's a 50/50 chance you'll be navigating the exciting world of "Grey Divorce" someday.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Legal

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"Blah": Brutal reactions to royal family's 2023 Christmas card

<p>Royal fans have shared their mixed reviews of the 2023 Christmas card portrait, featuring Prince William, Kate Middleton and their three children. </p> <p>The Prince and Princess of Wales shared their family photo to their Instagram account on Sunday, with the snap showing the royal family of five all dressed in similar outfits: simple black pants or jeans, and white button up tops.</p> <p>The photo, taken in black and white, shows Kate and William standing behind their three kids, while Prince George and Prince Louis standing around Princess Charlotte, who was seated for the photo. </p> <p>The post of their family Christmas card picture has racked up over 2 million likes, with thousands of people sharing their thoughts on the snap in the comments. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pf0IXNv15/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pf0IXNv15/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Prince and Princess of Wales (@princeandprincessofwales)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Many were quick to comment on the similarities between the younger royals and their predecessors, with many stating that "Princess Charlotte looks like a young Queen Elizabeth", while others shared their thoughts on how much Prince Louis is looking like his mother. </p> <p>Despite many royal fans delighting over the card, there were some mixed reactions from others. </p> <p>Royal commentators online were quick to point out how this year's card, all in black and white, is a stark contrast to last year's photo, which shows the family walking hand-in-hand in the sunshine. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CmH_qcOtUx_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CmH_qcOtUx_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Prince and Princess of Wales (@princeandprincessofwales)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>While acknowledging that the photo is objectively lovely of the family, some wish that the portrait had a bit more Christmas spirit. </p> <p>One person wrote on X, "This doesn’t look like a Christmas Card. Looks like a Vogue edit’s choice cover from the 90s. Beautiful but not Xmassy!"</p> <p>Another added that the image looked like it was "taken at a photo studio in a shopping mall," while another disappointed fan said it was "Kind of... Well, blah."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Family & Pets

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How risky is it to give card details over the phone and how do I reduce the chance of fraud?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paul-haskell-dowland-382903">Paul Haskell-Dowland</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ismini-vasileiou-1031778">Ismini Vasileiou</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/de-montfort-university-1254">De Montfort University</a></em></p> <p>Paying for things digitally is so common, most of us think nothing of swiping or tapping our card, or using mobile payments. While doing so is second nature, we may be more reluctant to provide card details over the phone.</p> <p>Merchants are allowed to ask us for credit card details over the phone – this is perfectly legal. But there are minimum standards they must comply with and safeguards to protect consumer data.</p> <p>So is giving your card details over the phone any more risky than other transactions and how can you minimise the risks?</p> <h2>How is my card data protected?</h2> <p>For a merchant to process card transactions, they are expected to comply with the <a href="https://docs-prv.pcisecuritystandards.org/PCI%20DSS/Standard/PCI-DSS-v4_0.pdf">Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard</a>. This is a set of security requirements designed to protect cardholder data and the trillions of dollars of transactions each year.</p> <p>Compliance involves various security measures (such as encryption and access controls) together with strong governance and regular security assessments.</p> <p>If the information stored by the merchant is accessed by an unauthorised party, encryption ensures it is not readable. That means stealing the data would not let the criminals use the card details. Meanwhile, access controls ensure only authorised individuals have access to cardholder data.</p> <p>Though all companies processing cards are expected to meet the compliance standards, only those processing large volumes are subject to mandatory regular audits. Should a subsequent data leak or misuse occur that can be attributed to a compliance failure, a <a href="https://www.csoonline.com/article/569591/pci-dss-explained-requirements-fines-and-steps-to-compliance.html">company can be penalised</a> at levels that can escalate into millions of dollars.</p> <p>These requirements apply to all card transactions, whether in person, online or over the phone. Phone transactions are likely to involve a human collecting the card details and either entering them into computer systems, or processing the payment through paper forms. The payment card Security Standards Council has <a href="https://docs-prv.pcisecuritystandards.org/Guidance%20Document/Telephone-Based%20Payments/Protecting_Telephone_Based_Payment_Card_Data_v3-0_nov_2018.pdf">detailed guides for best practice</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>A policy should be in place to ensure that payment card data is protected against unauthorised viewing, copying, or scanning, in particular on desks.</p> </blockquote> <p>Although these measures can help to protect your card data, there are still risks in case the details are misplaced or the person on the phone aren’t who they say they are.</p> <h2>Basic tips for safe credit card use over the phone</h2> <p>If you provide card details over the phone, there are steps you can take to minimise the chance you’ll become the victim of fraud, or get your details leaked.</p> <p><strong>1. Verify the caller</strong></p> <p>If you didn’t initiate the call, hang up and call the company directly using details you’ve verified yourself. Scammers will often masquerade as a well-known company (for example, an online retailer or a courier) and convince you a payment failed or payment is needed to release a delivery.</p> <p>Before you provide any information, confirm the caller is legitimate and the purpose of the call is genuine.</p> <p><strong>2. Be sceptical</strong></p> <p>If you are being offered a deal that’s too good to be true, have concerns about the person you’re dealing with, or just feel something is not quite right, hang up. You can always call them back later if the caller turns out to be legitimate.</p> <p><strong>3. Use secure payment methods</strong></p> <p>If you’ve previously paid the company with other (more secure) methods, ask to use that same method.</p> <p><strong>4. Keep records</strong></p> <p>Make sure you record details of the company, the representative you are speaking to and the amount being charged. You should also ask for an order or transaction reference. Don’t forget to ask for the receipt to be sent to you.</p> <p>Check the transaction against your card matches the receipt – use your banking app, don’t wait for the statement to come through.</p> <h2>Virtual credit cards</h2> <p>In addition to the safeguards mentioned above, a <a href="https://www.forbes.com/advisor/credit-cards/virtual-credit-card-numbers-guide/">virtual credit card</a> can help reduce the risk of card fraud.</p> <p>You probably already have a form of virtual card if you’ve added a credit card to your phone for mobile payments. Depending on the financial institution, you can create a new credit card number linked to your physical card.</p> <p>Some banks extend this functionality to allow you to generate unique card numbers and/or CVV numbers (the three digits at the back of your card). With this approach you can easily separate transactions and cancel a virtual card/number if you have any concerns.</p> <h2>What to do if you think your card details have been compromised or stolen?</h2> <p>It’s important not to panic, but quick action is essential:</p> <ul> <li> <p>call your bank and get the card blocked so you won’t lose any more money. Depending on your situation, you can also block/cancel the card through your banking app or website</p> </li> <li> <p>report the issue to the police or other relevant body</p> </li> <li> <p>monitor your account(s) for any unusual transactions</p> </li> <li> <p>explore card settings in your banking app or website – many providers allow you to limit transactions based on value, restrict transaction types or enable alerts</p> </li> <li> <p>you may want to consider registering for <a href="https://theconversation.com/your-credit-report-is-a-key-part-of-your-privacy-heres-how-to-find-and-check-it-116999">credit monitoring services</a> and to enable fraud alerts.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>So, should I give my card details over the phone?</h2> <p>If you want to minimise risk, it’s best to avoid giving card details over the phone if you can. Providing your card details via a website still has risks, but at least it removes the human element.</p> <p>The best solution currently available is to use virtual cards – if anything goes wrong you can cancel just that unique card identity, rather than your entire card.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/216833/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/paul-haskell-dowland-382903">Paul Haskell-Dowland</a>, Professor of Cyber Security Practice, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ismini-vasileiou-1031778">Ismini Vasileiou</a>, Associate Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/de-montfort-university-1254">De Montfort University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from </em><a style="font-style: italic;" href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a><em> under a Creative Commons license. Read the </em><a style="font-style: italic;" href="https://theconversation.com/how-risky-is-it-to-give-card-details-over-the-phone-and-how-do-i-reduce-the-chance-of-fraud-216833">original article</a><em>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Why these dog breeds are ideal for seniors

<p><strong>Reasons why dogs are good for seniors </strong></p> <p>Affectionate, loyal, nurturing: There are lots of reasons why dogs make great companions for seniors. Not only do dogs provide comfort and friendship, but they also help keep seniors healthy and encourage sociability. In fact, a 2019 study found that people who owned dogs were more likely to maintain better heart health and be more active, than those without pets. “Dogs give seniors a reason to get up and move – and walking a dog keeps them fit,” explains veterinarian Dr Anita Kinscher-Juran. Another plus: When you get out of the house for that walk, you have more chances to be social, too, from greeting neighbours on the street to impromptu conversations with fellow dog owners.</p> <p>But adopting a dog is a big decision. Just like with a human companion, you need to understand what you’re looking for in a dog before committing to a long-term living arrangement.</p> <p>Some important points to think about as you search for the best dogs for seniors are energy levels (vets often recommend calm dog breeds for older folks), the size of your home (<a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/pets/13-best-apartment-dogs" target="_blank" rel="noopener">these are the best apartment dogs</a>) and the size of the dog, the breed’s socialness (some breeds, like Pomeranians, make the best emotional support dogs) and a dog’s age and temperament. Health and grooming needs and maintenance requirements (i.e. how often dogs need to be brushed, for instance) are also important considerations. Cocker spaniels, while super cute with their big, long ears, are also known for having frequent ear infections, for instance. And while Havanese, one of the cutest white dog breeds, are very portable, they also require a lot of grooming.</p> <p>The decision to adopt a pet is not one that should be taken lightly. “Bringing a pet into the household is a lifelong decision for that animal,” says Dr Kinscher-Juran. But after thoroughly considering your situation and needs, it’s comforting to know, as Dr Kinscher-Juran says “that there is a dog for everyone and every age.”</p> <p>Here are the top 15 best dogs for seniors.</p> <p><strong>Best overall: Bichon Frise </strong></p> <p>These white powder puffs of a dog are known for their sweet and friendly nature and are perfect for seniors seeking easy companionship – they also make <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/15-best-dogs-for-first-time-owners" target="_blank" rel="noopener">great pets for first-time dog owners</a>. These low-maintenance pups aren’t difficult to potty train and don’t shed much, which is why they are one of the best dogs for older people, Dr Kinscher-Juran says. (But to keep their snow-white hair looking fluffy, they do require grooming every five or so weeks.)</p> <p>Bichons are gentle and playful and they get along well with other pets and children, so you don’t need to put them in another room if the grandkids stop by! At an average of 5 to 8 kilograms, they are also super portable. Not to mention smart. “One of my favourite bichons knew how to give a kiss in three different languages, one of which was Portuguese,” says Dr Kinscher-Juran.</p> <p>Like the best toy dogs, they are perfectly content to sit on your lap for hours every morning, as you read the paper or watch the news. Bichon Frise’s don’t require long, five kilometre hikes to keep them happy, rather they’re fine with 20- to 30-minute leisurely strolls. What they crave most is attention, something seniors often have time to give.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 24 to 30 cms  </p> <p>Weight: 5 to 8 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 14 to 15 years</p> <p><strong>Best lap dog: Cavalier King Charles spaniel</strong></p> <p>If you are looking for one of the best dogs for older people, cavalier King Charles spaniels should be high on your list. It’s easy to fall in love with their big eyes and long ears. And Cavalier King Charles spaniels, in turn, like nothing more than to kiss and cuddle with their owners. Cavalier King Charles spaniels have an eager to please personality, which makes them easier to train.</p> <p>They also only require a moderate amount of exercise, which can be good for less active seniors. Beauty, of course, requires attention. Dr Kinscher-Juran suggests brushing their long luxurious coats once a day, which isn’t hard to do, considering they’re one of the best lap dog breeds!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 3.5 to 33 cms</p> <p>Weight: 5.8 to 8 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years</p> <p><strong>Best apartment dog: Pug</strong></p> <p>If you are looking for one of the best dogs for older people, cavalier King Charles spaniels should be high on your list. It’s easy to fall in love with their big eyes and long ears. And Cavalier King Charles spaniels, in turn, like nothing more than to kiss and cuddle with their owners. Cavalier King Charles spaniels have an eager to please personality, which makes them easier to train.</p> <p>They also only require a moderate amount of exercise, which can be good for less active seniors. Beauty, of course, requires attention. Dr Kinscher-Juran suggests brushing their long luxurious coats once a day, which isn’t hard to do, considering they’re one of the best lap dog breeds!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 3.5 to 33 cms</p> <p>Weight: 5.8 to 8 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years</p> <p><strong>Best small dog: Maltese</strong></p> <p>One of the best small dogs for seniors is the Maltese. These adorable white toy dogs were specifically bred to be companions. Loyal, sweet-natured, calm and adaptable, it’s not hard for a Maltese to quickly become seniors’ best four-legged friend. Though they love following their owners around, all they really need for health is short easy walks. At an average of 2 kilograms, Malteses are also easily transportable (which is a good thing since Malteses don’t like to be left alone too long).</p> <p>Their small size also makes them well suited for apartments or homes with limited space. You can’t mention a Maltese without mentioning their long, silky, white mane, which can be braided or put into a bun. “For the person who wants a living Barbie doll, and loves playing with hair, Malteses are your dog,” Dr. Kinscher-Juran says. But if all that grooming becomes too much, you can have the hair trimmed or shaped down.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 17 to 22 cms</p> <p>Weight: Under 3 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years</p> <p><strong>Most social dog: Havanese</strong></p> <p>Sweet, friendly and eager for attention: Havanese make great companions for seniors who find themselves at home more. As a breed, Haveneses don’t like to be alone for very long. (There’s a reason they’re called Velcro dogs). These super social dogs crave affection and get along well with other breeds and strangers.</p> <p>Their high intelligence makes them easier to train and potty train. And at about 5 kgs, they are easy to carry. Walks might take a bit longer with Haveneses because they will want to try to say hi to everyone. But for seniors, looking for sociability, this is not such a bad thing! That’s why Havaneses are one of the best dogs for seniors.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 22 to 30 cms</p> <p>Weight: 3 to 6 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 14 to 16 years</p> <p><strong>Best house dog: Miniature schnauzers</strong></p> <p>Miniature schnauzers are one of the most adaptable breeds of dogs. Originally bred as a farm dog in Germany, miniature schnauzers are just as content living in an assisted living facility as they are roaming outdoors. Small, sturdy, hypoallergenic and affectionate, miniature schnauzers are great with, say, rambunctious grandchildren.</p> <p>And their calmness – and attunement to the moods of humans – make them excellent therapy animals. Miniature schnauzers both play hard and relax hard. They need a moderate amount of daily exercise but are also good at simply lounging around, while their owners watch TV or make dinner.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 30.5 to 36 cms</p> <p>Weight: 5 to 9 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years</p> <p><strong>Best large dog: Greyhound</strong></p> <p>With their lean bodies, flexible spines, and long legs, greyhounds are known for their athletic ability and for being the fastest dog breed. What is not as well-known is that their gentle and sensitive temperament and minimal grooming needs make them one of the best dogs for seniors. Older, retired racing greyhounds are often the best choice for seniors,. “As racing dogs, they often live on a track without much positive human and social interaction,” Dr Kinscher-Juran says. “When they’re adopted, they’re far more appreciative of the loving home you are providing, and don’t seem to take that for granted.”</p> <p>And though they do need daily exercise, greyhounds – perhaps surprisingly! – are renowned for their laziness. Weighing anywhere from 27 to 31.7 kgs, these gentle giants, are content to lounge around the house, accepting pets and back rubs.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 67 to 76 cms</p> <p>Weight: 27 to 31.7 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 10 to 13 years</p> <p><strong>Best with grandkids: Golden Retrievers</strong></p> <p>Golden retrievers are a large breed with an even larger heart. For seniors looking for gentle dog breeds, golden retrievers are loyal, friendly, intelligent, people-pleasers. They are easy to train, famous for their patience and great with the grandkids. Golden retrievers do require consistent, hard exercise every day, but they are more than content for part of that exercise to consist of finding and retrieving balls in the backyard.</p> <p>Though golden retrievers can weigh up to 34 kgs and more, they still think of themselves as lap dogs. “Golden retrievers are happy to sit with you on the patio at the end of the day, with their head on your lap, watching the sunset,” Dr Kinscher-Juran says.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 54.5 to 61 cms</p> <p>Weight: 25 to 34 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years</p> <p><strong>Best hypoallergenic: Toy Poodle</strong></p> <p>For seniors with allergies or respiratory issues, poodles are one of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds. Poodles have a single-layer coat that doesn’t shed (though all that beautiful, naturally curly hair requires a lot of brushing and grooming!).</p> <p>They come in multiple sizes, from tiny teacup poodles, that weigh between 1.8 to 2.7 kgs to small toy poodles that weigh between 2.7 to 4 kgs to miniature poodles that weigh between 6.8 to 7.7 kgs to standard poodles that weigh between 20.4 to 31.75 kgs. Like the best sort of human companion, poodles are known for both their beauty and their brains. Their high intelligence makes them easy to train (helpful for seniors) and their affectionate personality makes them easy to love. The smaller toy poodle is a top choice for seniors.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 25 cms max</p> <p>Weight: 1.8 to 2.7 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 10 to 18 years</p> <p><strong>Best dog for those who like a clean house: Groodle</strong></p> <p>A cross between poodles and golden retrievers, groodles (or goldendoodles), which weigh between 22.6 to 40 kgs, are known for possessing the best traits of both breeds. They’re loyal, obedient and loving. For seniors with allergies, or those who prefer to avoid daily vacuuming, groodles, who mostly don’t shed and are hypoallergenic, make great companions.</p> <p>You don’t need to have been an experienced pet owner to adopt one: Groodle’s intelligence and easy-going temperament make them easy to train. Groodles do love exercise though, especially swimming. Bonus points if you’re a senior that lives by a body of water!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 48 to 61 cms</p> <p>Weight: 13.6 to 20 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 10 to 15 years</p> <p><strong>Best for active seniors: Westies </strong></p> <p>Recognisable by their white mane and dark, almond-shaped eyes, the West Highland white terrier (aka Westie) are friendly, loving companions for active seniors. At 5.8 to 9 kgs, Westies are still small enough to handle and make good apartment dogs – as long as they get in their long, daily walks.</p> <p>Westies really, really like to play. Westies are no softies though: beneath their coat is a well-muscled body. Bred to be rodent killers, Westies require little pampering and they rarely shed. For seniors looking for a little bit of excitement in their days, westies will be sure to keep you on your toes.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 25.5 to 28 cms</p> <p>Weight: 6.8 to 9 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 13 to 15 years</p> <p><strong>Best dog that doesn't bark: Shih Tzu</strong></p> <p>The name Shih Tzu means little lion, but the most fierce thing about this breed is their love for the owner. Shih Tzus bond very quickly with humans, making them great choices for seniors looking for a close canine companion. Weighing an of average 4 to 7 kgs, Shih Tzus, known for their long coats, pack a lot of personality in their small frame.</p> <p>They are a confident, happy-go-lucky breed with a bit of a stubborn streak. But they are less demanding and less yappy than other smaller toy dogs, making them a good choice for seniors who live in apartments. They are also not very energetic and only need a couple of short walks a day, making them perfect for non-active seniors.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 23 to 26.5 cms</p> <p>Weight: 4 to 7 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 10 to 18 years</p> <p><strong>Easiest dog to care for: French bulldog</strong></p> <p>With their big eyes, adorable scrunchy faces, and short legs, there’s a reason why French bulldogs are increasing popular today and one of the easiest dog breeds. Their gentle personality and low energy make them one of the best dogs for seniors with a less active lifestyle. These dogs are not big athletes, a walk around the block is all the exercise they need for the day.</p> <p>French bulldogs’ small size (they weigh about 8.5 to 12.5 kgs) and the fact that they are not big barkers or yappers also make them one of the best apartment dogs. As an additional bonus, they are also excellent cuddlers and incredibly loyal.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 28 to 33 cms</p> <p>Weight: Under 12 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years</p> <p><strong>Best guard dog: Pomeranian </strong></p> <p>At 1.4 to 3 kgs, Pomeranians look like tiny puffballs. Their small size and affectionate personality make them easy to love. And their ability to remain calm in busy situations also makes them one of the best emotional support dogs, Dr Kinscher-Juran says. Pomeranians – whose hair comes in a variety of colours from white to black to cream – don’t seem to realise their small size.</p> <p>They are very alert, with a tendency to bark, making them excellent guard dogs for seniors. Though Pomeranians are lap dogs, they also have an independent streak, so active seniors don’t need to worry about Pomeranians clinging, like a barnacle, to them all day. Sometimes it’s good to have space!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 15 to 17.5 cms</p> <p>Weight: 1.4 to 3 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 12 to 16 years</p> <p><strong>Best dog for seniors with a backyard: Beagle </strong></p> <p>For seniors who love being outdoors and would like an impetus to exercise more, beagles are a good choice. Energetic, active and sociable, beagles love to play and take long walks. And unlike other smaller dogs, they don’t require a ton of babysitting. They’re fine – content even – being left alone for a while. For seniors who don’t love playing beautician, beagles, with their short, dense, wash-and-wear coat, are a good choice.</p> <p>They are pretty low maintenance when it comes to grooming. Younger beagles require consistent exercise – so seniors might find adopting an older beagle a less physically demanding choice, Dr Kinscher-Juran says.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Breed Overview</em></span></p> <p>Height: 33 to 38 cms</p> <p>Weight: 9 to 13.6 kgs</p> <p>Life expectancy: 10 to 15 years</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/15-best-dogs-for-seniors?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Family & Pets

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1 in 6 older adults fall victim to impersonation scams

<p>More older adults are likely to fall victim to scams than are currently recognised according to new US research. The problems are global. </p> <div class="copy"> <p>A research team from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, US, says older Americans who aren’t cognitively impeded, are also at risk.  </p> <p>In their study <a href="https://10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.35319" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">published</a> today in <em>JAMA Network Open</em>, the group reports on a behavioural experiment where they targeted 644 adults aged 64-104 in Rush’s Memory and Aging Project – a local scheme that draws on participants from metropolitan Chicago to participate in research – with a pitch mimicking a real-world impersonation scam. </p> <p>The study’s fictitious ‘US Retirement Protection Task Force’ pitched itself to participants as a government social security initiative.  </p> <p>This USRPTF told participants via either post, email or a telephone call there’d been irregular activity on their Medicare or social security file and the inquiry was a routine account security check. As part of this, the fake agency asked participants to call a telephone hotline or login to a provided website to provide their details.  </p> <p>Over two-thirds of the study failed to respond to any attempts to obtain information by the phoney scheme.  </p> <p>The remainder were evenly split by either responding to requests for contact, but expressing scepticism at the authenticity of the USRPTF, or by responding and engaging with the request for information.  </p> <p>Those who were engaged with the request for information, but expressed doubts, were also those with the highest cognitive performance, and lowest proportion of dementia. They were also the most financially literate participants, while those who provided their details had the lowest literacy. </p> <p>Those who provided details were also found to have the lowest scam awareness of all participants.  </p> <p>Among this group, 1 in 10 willingly provided personal information and 1 in 5 provided details of their social security number.  </p> <p>“If extrapolated to a population level, these numbers are astounding and suggest that a very large number of older adults are at risk of victimisation,” the authors say. </p> <p>They also note that, given the use of a fictitious US government organisation name, the number of people vulnerable to well-organised scams is likely much higher.  </p> <p>Last year, the US National Council on Aging reported 92,371 older Americans were defrauded of a total of US$1.7 billion. Most were victims of government department impersonation, sweepstakes and robocall scams. Often such scams will simply demand payment while ‘spoofing’ the phone number of a government agency to add the veil of legitimacy. </p> <p>It’s a similar story around the world. This year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found Australians lost a record $3.1 billion last year, mostly via phone scams. Australians over 65 years of age accounted for a quarter of losses and reports.  </p> <p>The UK’s Action Fraud initiative found Britons lost about ₤2.35 billion in the 2020/21 financial year, with those aged 50-69 most susceptible to falling victim.  </p> <div> <p align="center"><noscript data-spai="1">&amp;lt;img decoding="async" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-198773" src="https://cdn.shortpixel.ai/spai/q_lossy+ret_img+to_auto/cosmosmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Issue-100-embed.jpg" data-spai-egr="1" alt="Subscribe to our quarterly print magazine" width="600" height="154" title="1 in 6 older adults fall victim to impersonation scams 2"&amp;gt;</noscript></p> </div> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/society/1-in-6-older-adults-fall-victim-to-impersonation-scams/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="null">Cosmos</a>. </em></p> </div>

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My Royal Melbourne Seniors Classic Adventure: A day on the greens (and in the bunkers!)

<p dir="ltr">G'day to all past, present, and emerging golf enthusiasts!</p> <p dir="ltr">If you're a senior golfer like me, hunting for inspiration, adventure, and authentic golf yarns — this is for you.</p> <p dir="ltr">Picture this: a crisp August morning, and sixty-two senior golfers gathered on Royal Melbourne's West Course for the Vic Seniors Classic 2023. Here's the story of how it all went down...</p> <p dir="ltr">Before anything else, I mustered the guts to jump in. Ever heard of "imposter syndrome"? Trust me, I was its best mate. But the requirements were clear: age 55+ (I'm a proud 65-year-old), GA Handicap under 24.5 (18.5), and a $225 entry fee. Wait, $225? Given that Royal Melbourne's green fees dance around $1000, caddy fee included, it was a no-brainer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Fueled by the temptation of playing a top-notch course for a quarter of the fee, I submitted my application without hesitation. Before I knew it, my name adorned the list of players.</p> <p dir="ltr">As the day approached, I was geared up to tackle the Royal Melbourne challenge.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 8 am shotgun start meant groups teed off from various holes. I found myself at the 11th tee, flanked by two fierce competitors: Peter (Daily Handicap 1) and Damian (12). Yours truly? A modest 20.</p> <p dir="ltr">Standing over the ball, knees a tad wobbly, I swung that driver. The ball sailed gracefully, landing centre fairway, while their shots had taken a wilder route into the rough. The lesson? 'How near,' not 'how far'.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now, let's talk about those Royal Melbourne greens. Rumour had it, they were "super fast". Super fast? Imagine sliding a ball across your kitchen's polished tiles — yep, that rapid.</p> <p dir="ltr">Around the course, bunkers became my stern mentors — big, deep, and oh-so unforgiving.</p> <p dir="ltr">Post 18 holes, scorecards were in, followed by the triumphant crowning of winners over lunch.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rodney Ware (75 gross) and Kevin Naismith (81 gross) led in men's gross, while Wayne Moon (72 net) and Craig Lonsdale (73 net) dominated the net division. Melinda Crawford (16, scratch stableford) and Louise Yuen (29 handicap points) shone in the women's.</p> <p dir="ltr">Kudos to winners, fellow players, Royal Melbourne and Golf Australia for the unforgettable day.</p> <p dir="ltr">By the way, can you see yourself on those hallowed Royal Melbourne greens? If your inner golfer nods, I'm your cheerleader. Consider joining me for the 2024 Royal Melbourne Seniors Classic.</p> <p dir="ltr">And as I wrap up, let me leave you with the timeless words of the legendary Peter Thomson: "Golf is a game of how near, not how far".</p> <p dir="ltr">Until next time, keep those swings buttery, putts steadfast, and steer clear of those tricky bunkers.</p> <p dir="ltr">PS: My result? T43rd (net) among the 48 male players. Next time I'll be swinging even better.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong><em>About the Writer: Mike Searles is a Melbourne retiree who's living the golfing dream.</em></strong></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Major fuel savings for seniors

<p>Major fuel savings are now on offer for over 1.6 million seniors over the age of 60 across New South Wales, as the government adds fuel discounts to the list of benefits for NSW Seniors Card and Senior Savers Card holders. </p> <p>Senior card holders will be eligible for the new United Discount Fuel Card, which offers savings of 4c per litre at participating service stations, which can be used once daily for single transactions up to 150 litres. </p> <p>Anyone over 60 can become cardholders of the Seniors Card and Senior Savers Card, which allows them to save on fuel, energy, insurance, cybersecurity, pet adoption and vet services, and groceries.</p> <p>United Petrol head of loyalty Judith Russell said that after they've signed up for the card, “members then need to show and scan this United fuel discount card at the time of purchase at participating United service stations to save the four cents per litre.”</p> <p>The Minister for Seniors Jodie Harrison shared their excitement to launch this discount. </p> <p>"We’re excited to launch the program’s first fuel discount with United Petroleum, an Australian-owned business offering discounts to members at the bowser.”</p> <p>“This brand-new discount has been added to the wealth of Seniors Card savings to help keep more money in seniors’ pockets and ease price pressure at the pump.”</p> <p>For those who want to apply for the fuel card, they can <a href="https://www.unitedpetroleum.com.au/fuel-discount-cards/our-partners/nsw-seniors-card/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sign up here </a>for a digital or plastic card, and find out the participating service stations here. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Concerns for seniors in shift to cashless society

<p>Experts have voiced their concerns that senior Aussies will be left behind as the banking industry continues to move away from using cash.</p> <p>National Seniors Australia chief operating officer Chris Grice said there has been a "big shift to getting people off cash", as many financial institutions favour digital transactions. </p> <p>While this shift is geared towards leaning into technological and advancements and making things as convenient as possible, there are worries that older Aussies will be left struggling with the change. </p> <p>"The feedback we're getting it is not as easy as, you know, just tap and go and away you go," Mr Grice told <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/today/commonwealth-bank-statement-on-claims-of-cashless-branches/63ed8948-8dbc-40a9-a2cc-a58b2b94255e" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Today</em></a>.</p> <p>"Some of these regional communities in particular, have challenges around internet access."</p> <p>While cash will still be readily available, Mr Grice warned that people trying to access their cash could face increasing transaction fees at ATMs. </p> <p>Meanwhile,  Commonwealth Bank has responded to reports that it has increased the number of "cashless" branches, where a general banking teller is not provided to service customers, saying Cash withdrawals and deposits are available at all Commonwealth Bank branches and Specialist Centres."</p> <p>They went on to say that Specialist Centres, for people who require a face-to-face service, will remain in "major metropolitan locations".</p> <p>There are fears that a growing number of cashless branches across the entire banking industry would disadvantage older Australians who rely on cash as their primary form of banking, leaving many wonder how they will access their money given the limitations. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Three centenarians share their secret to longevity

<p>Reaching 100 years old is quite an achievement, especially for anyone hitting the milestone now. Back in 1916 the average lifespan for a man was 55, the average lifespan for a woman was 59 and the likelihood of making it to 100 was one per cent.</p> <p>Times have changed and now we have a raft of seniors around Australia hitting triple digits. To celebrate this incredible milestone, a group of centenarians have been honoured to a special morning tea at Government House in Melbourne.</p> <p>In an interview with <em>ABC Online</em> they shared some of their secrets to longevity. Follow this advice and we reckon anyone has a chance of making it to 100 years old.</p> <p>Jean Hills believes family is the key to success, telling <em>ABC Online</em>, "[I'm] thankful that I had so many marvellous relatives. Often people say they don't have anything to do with their relatives. It was the relatives that saved me and my family during the depression and gave us the opportunity to really achieve something."</p> <p>Jean also adds, “Don't go near the TV.”</p> <p>Stasys Eimutis on the other hand attributes his longevity to his passions and insistence to cut out drinking and smoking, “I have a workshop and I'm doing many things. I'm not going to bed in the night time, [I'm] always doing something. Mostly woodwork. I make musical instruments and organise a music group and I'm still playing. I'm the leader."</p> <p>For Annie Bernstein however, it all comes down to hard work, "I'm getting all the pleasure now from my daughter, my granddaughter and my grandsons and my great granddaughter.</p> <p>"They're lovely."</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Cash could be almost gone in Australia in a decade – but like cheques, who’ll miss it?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>Late last year, the Reserve Bank gave 1,000 Australians diaries and asked them to record every payment they made over the course of a week. Of the 13,000 payments, only <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/consumer-payment-behaviour-in-australia.html">17</a> were with cheques.</p> <p>It’s been an astounding collapse. Back in 1980 at the start of the credit card era, <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/1996/oct/pdf/bu-1096-2.pdf">85%</a> of non-cash payments were made with cheques. Today it’s less than <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/consumer-payment-behaviour-in-australia.html">0.1%</a>.</p> <p>Earlier this month, the government announced it was following <a href="https://www.justice.govt.nz/about/news-and-media/news/the-ministry-is-phasing-out-payment-by-cheque/">New Zealand</a>, Denmark, the Netherlands and <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/the-death-of-the-cheque-book-australia-to-phase-out-cheques/qu0e4xf55">others</a>, closing our cheque system down by <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/jim-chalmers-2022/media-releases/modernising-payments-infrastructure-phasing-out-cheques">2030</a>.</p> <p>Meanwhile, New Zealand is already on to the next thing. Having <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/300011579/bnz-anz-westpac-to-phase-out-cheque-use">phased out cheques</a>, it’s now looking at winding down the use of <a href="https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/-/media/project/sites/rbnz/files/research/future-of-cash-issues-paper.pdf">cash</a>.</p> <p>So how close is Australia now to becoming a cash-free nation?</p> <h2>The hidden costs of cheques and cash</h2> <p>Cheques are horrendously expensive to process. The average cost of everything that had to happen to process a cheque exceeds <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2014/pdf/rdp2014-14.pdf">$5</a> per payment, mostly borne by banks.</p> <p>But cash is expensive in its own way. The average cost of creating, sorting and trucking all those sheets of plastic and coins exceeds <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2014/pdf/rdp2014-14.pdf">50 cents</a> per payment, mostly passed on to banks and retailers, and it is soaring as the number of payments plummets.</p> <p>As recently as 2007, the vast bulk of consumer payments – 69% – were in cash. By 2019 only 27% were in cash. By 2022, after two years of COVID, it was only <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/consumer-payment-behaviour-in-australia.html">13%</a>.</p> <p>At this rate, it’s hard to be certain how long cash will last.</p> <h2>What made cheques so slow and costly</h2> <p>For those who’ve never had to write one, cheques are bank-issued pieces of paper on which the owner writes the name of the person they want the bank to pay and the amount. They they hand it to that person, who then hands it to their bank, which then tries to get the money from the payer’s bank.</p> <figure class="align-right "><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>Behind the scenes, until recently when the electronic transmission of digital images changed things, each bank would collect all the cheques that had been presented to its branches each day and sort them into bags, one for each originating bank.</p> <p>Then, late at night, its “bag man” would travel to a nondescript city location with a bag for each bank, hand the correct one to each of the other bagmen, and be given bags in return, which the bagman would take back to the bank for signature checking.</p> <p>When each bank worked out what it owed the other bank, they would usually discover the flows largely cancelled each other out, and then make net payments which would be reflected in the cheque-writer’s account, up to five business days later.</p> <p>Always expensive, the cost per cheque grew and grew as the number of Australians paying with cheques dwindled to a fraction of what it had been.</p> <h2>How moving cash became a loss-making business</h2> <p>It’s the same sort of story with cash. Although we don’t often think about it, cash costs an awful lot to move, sort and restock.</p> <p>Printing the notes still makes money – it costs about 32 cents to make each note, whether it’s worth $5 or $100, although making some coins now <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-mint-and-note-printing-australia-make-billions-for-australia-but-it-could-be-at-risk-190901">loses money</a>.</p> <p>The real expense is in moving notes and coins around, keeping them nearby and restocking banks and cash registers. Aside from payments the Reserve Bank makes to banks for returning damaged notes, the banks (and, through them, the retailers) are expected to pay for the lot.</p> <p>Until recently that gave the two firms that dominate the business (Linfox Armaguard, and Prosegur, which owns Chubb Security) a pretty good deal.</p> <p>Except that the volume of cash they’ve carried has dived <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/public-registers/documents/Application%20for%20merger%20authorisation%20-%2027.09.22%20-%20PR%20VERSION%20-%20MA1000022%20Armaguard%20Prosegur.pdf">47%</a> over the past ten years, 30% of it during COVID.</p> <p>Both firms say their money-moving arms are incurring “heavy financial losses” and that if they increase their prices much more, retailers might move even <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/532829/original/file-20230620-48940-4a5amn.PNG">further away from cash</a>, pushing their costs even higher.</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>Last week, the Competition and Consumer Commission allowed them to <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/public-registers/mergers-registers/merger-authorisations-register/linfox-armaguard-pty-ltd-and-prosegur-australia-holdings-pty-ltd-proposed-merger">merge</a> on the condition that they limit their price increases to the consumer index plus 7.5% per year. That increase is so steep as to suggest a <a href="https://www.energynetworks.com.au/news/energy-insider/the-death-spiral/">death spiral</a>: the more they charge, the less retailers will use cash, the more they’ll have to charge.</p> <p>The only way out, unless they can make really big efficiencies, or unless the decline in the use of cash stops, would be for the government to return to subsidising the use of cash. It’s hard to see how it could make the case to do that when there are cheaper emerging technologies.</p> <p>Bank transfers cost a <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2014/pdf/rdp2014-14.pdf">mere fraction</a> of using cash, and pretty soon we’ll be able to use them for everything, via things such as <a href="https://www.mobiletransaction.org/qr-code-payment-works/">QR codes</a>.</p> <h2>So when will cash go the way of cheques?</h2> <p>A previous federal government has already tried to eliminate the use of cash for transactions worth more than $10,000, as part of its attack on the black economy.</p> <p>Announced in 2016 by the Turnbull Coalition government, the ban was due to come into force in <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/kelly-odwyer-2016/media-releases/tackling-illegal-behaviour-black-economy">2019</a>. But, after delays, in 2020 the Morrison-led Coalition government <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-07/cash-ban-law-10000-dollars-abandoned-amid-covid-crisis/12951720">backed down</a>.</p> <p>If Australia wants to ban cash (and ban it for small transactions too – cash is now used less than cards for transactions <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/cash-use-and-attitudes-in-australia.html">of all sizes</a>) the easiest solution might be simply to wait.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="HykMF" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/HykMF/10/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Cards are now the dominant means of exchanging money, and electronic transfers are growing from a small base.</p> <p>Pure extrapolation would suggest cash has less than a decade to go, but it will probably hang around for longer as an (expensive, little-used) backup that maintains privacy.</p> <p>Like cheques, cash will probably die <a href="https://quoteinvestigator.com/2018/08/06/bankrupt/">gradually, then suddenly</a>. By the time it does, there will be few users left who care.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/208020/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/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, Visiting Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</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/cash-could-be-almost-gone-in-australia-in-a-decade-but-like-cheques-wholl-miss-it-208020">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Big changes for Bunnings Warehouse snags

<p>There’s nothing quite like a weekend shop at Bunnings, largely because it means there’ll be a fresh snag waiting for you post-shop, and with the hardware store’s latest announcement, it will be even easier to get your hands on one.</p> <p>Bunnings Warehouse has announced it is rolling out mobile payment options for customers who aren’t carrying cash or coins on them.</p> <p>Until now, most Bunnings sausage sizzles largely relied on cash payments, at the discretion of each community group that hosts their sausage sizzle, but the cardless concept proved difficult in a largely cashless economy.</p> <p>The Bunnings website states, "Not-for-profit organisations are able to book a sizzle with their local store - they need to bring volunteers and adequate supplies and Bunnings helps with the rest.”</p> <p>"The rest" being the addition of free mobile payment facilities.</p> <p>"We offer a free mobile payment option to community groups fundraising through sausage sizzles at our stores, providing an easy way for them to maximise fundraising and offering customers a cashless way to pay for their snag and support their local community group," said Bunnings General Manager Operations Matt Tyler in a statement.</p> <p>There will be no additional cost to customers or community groups, who previously had to bring their own EFT machine if they wanted to pay by card.</p> <p>Bunnings Warehouse will be incurring all the transaction fees to ensure community groups get 100 per cent of all the money raised.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock / Instagram</em></p>

Food & Wine

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Lisa Wilkinson denies turning to senior politicians over Higgins’ rape allegations

<p>Channel 10 personality and former <em>The Project </em>host Lisa Wilkinson has denied claims that she approached senior level politicians with a request to pose questions about Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations against Bruce Lehrmann during Question Time. </p> <p>The dismissal came in the wake of Channel 7’s <em>Spotlight </em>episode featuring the formerly accused, where a recording of a phone call between Wilkinson, her producer Angus Llewellyn, Higgins, and Higgins’ partner David Sharaz was exposed.</p> <p>During the conversation, which was recorded in January 2021, they were reportedly discussing which politicians they might be able to work with to steer the conversation in parliament, with Wilkinson telling Higgins that she wanted to see her “enunciate the fact that this place [Parliament House] is all about suppression of people’s natural sense of justice”. </p> <p>Sharaz noted that he had a “friend in Labor”, and that Senator Katy Gallagher could “probe and continue it [the conversation] going”. At one stage, Wilkinson went so far as to claim that “certainly Albo” should be considered, though she later went on to retract that, and suggested “Tanya Plibersek, definitely”. </p> <p>And while Sharaz had questioned what Wilkinson hoped to gain from the conversation, Wilkinson assured them that that wasn’t the case. </p> <p>“No. Whether it’s white privilege, male domination, whether it’s, you know, criminal activity. I am from the western suburbs of Sydney. I have always been motivated by exactly the same thing, people who deserve to be heard not being heard,” she explained. </p> <p>Wilkinson had more to say on the matter when it came to the likes of former deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop, sharing her frustration about the “many opportunities” she had to “speak out against the culture”. </p> <p>“The minute she was out of there [she said], ‘oh it’s really sexist’,” Wilkinson added. “I tried to get her on the record with that so many times when she could’ve actually effected change, and she wouldn’t.”</p> <p>And now, despite the leaked recording - which was handed over by Channel 10 under subpoena during the criminal trial, with more shared on TV than in court - Wilkinson has released a statement to declare that she did not approach the politicians in question. </p> <p>“Nor did I speak to any other politicians, their minders or apparatchiks,” she said.</p> <p>The audio came up during Sunrise as well, when Natalie Barr asked their entertainment commentator, Peter Ford, whether or not the recording might be a problem down the line. </p> <p>“Was that coaching?” she asked. “Or was that a journalist talking before the interview?”</p> <p>Ford agreed that it was a fine line, then added, “but I generally think when someone says, ‘I don’t want to put words in your mouth,’ that is exactly what they want to do.”</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

News

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Back on course: overcoming low back pain for senior golfers

<p>As a retiree and avid golfer, I experienced the debilitating pain of a herniated disc in my lower back. I never thought golf could cause such agony, but I was determined to overcome it and return to the game I love.</p> <p>Low back pain is a common condition among senior-aged golfers, with reported prevalence rates of up to 50%. Which means if you're playing in a foursome with fellow seniors it's likely two of you have low back pain. </p> <p>Why? Because we are more prone to back pain due to age-related changes in the spine, such as disc degeneration, and arthritis. Additionally, poor swing mechanics, lack of flexibility, or poor physical conditioning increase the risk.</p> <p>The golf swing involves a complex sequence of movements that can sometimes place significant stress on the lower back, particularly the lumbar spine. The repetitive twisting, bending, and rotational forces can lead to various types of back injuries, including herniated discs, muscle strains, and degenerative disc disease.</p> <p>After being diagnosed with a herniated disc six weeks ago, my doctor recommended physical therapy treatments with a chiropractor and physiotherapist. I also found relief through regular massage and daily use of a TENS machine. Stretching and strengthening exercises can improve flexibility and core stability. I found simple Qi Gong exercises easy. Qi Gong has been described as like high-powered Tai Chi. The standing exercises appealed to me as I'm stubbornly averse to any exercise requiring laying on the floor.  </p> <p>Within weeks of therapy and home exercises, the pain had subsided enough for me to consider a gentle swing in the backyard. A few easy swings with the 7-iron and all felt good. No added discomfort.</p> <p>To prepare for a game, I enrolled in an online course called 'Pain Free Golf' by Croker Golf System. The course helped me adjust my swing to avoid re-injury.</p> <p>To further protect my lower back, I purchased two helpful devices. A ball pick-up device which attaches to the handle end of the putter ($10 approx. from the local pro shop) to enable retrieving my ball from the cup without bending forward. A second device I found was the 'easy tee-up' ($130 approx. - search “Easy Tee Up” online) which helps me tee up the ball without bending down to the ground.</p> <p>Now, six weeks after my herniated disc incident, I'm playing almost painless golf again, and my game has even improved. I never would have thought that a herniated disc would ultimately improve my golf game, but the experience taught me the importance of taking better care of my body and using the right resources to get back in the swing.</p> <p>To all fellow golfers, take care of yourselves and don't give up hope if you ever find yourself in the same situation. There are plenty of people and resources available to help you get back to playing the game you love - with no or low back pain.</p> <p><em>About the writer: Mike Searles is a Melbourne retiree who loves playing golf.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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