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Uber driver makes pensioner fork out thousands after minor accident

<p>In a distressing incident, 80-year-old pensioner Judy Libby has claimed that she was coerced into handing over $2,500 to an Uber driver following a minor car accident in Melbourne's CBD.</p> <p>Judy recounted her ordeal on Melbourne's 3AW Radio on Friday morning, describing the alarming sequence of events that unfolded after she accidentally hit the back of the Uber driver's car.</p> <p><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/motoring/motoring-news/an-absolute-nightmare-uber-drivers-sickening-act-to-80yo-pensioner/news-story/f77aa3e46c41532268a712cfc4764877" target="_blank" rel="noopener">According to News.com.au</a>, Judy explained that the driver was stationary when the accident occurred, causing a dent in the boot of his vehicle. The driver, claiming the damage had rendered him unable to work and support his family, demanded compensation. "He said, 'I’m an Uber driver, you’ve ruined the back of my car. I’ve got a wife and child to support; now I can’t work,'" Judy told the radio station.</p> <p>Initially, the driver demanded $4,000, allegedly stating he had obtained a quote from a friend who was a panel beater. When Judy expressed her inability to pay such a sum, the driver proposed a reduced amount of $2,500. They arranged to meet at her local bank, but when the teller grew suspicious and refused the transaction, the Uber driver reportedly drove her to another bank where she was made to withdraw the money.</p> <p>Judy described the driver's demeanour as very angry and the experience as a "nightmare". The situation took a further turn for the worse when she later received a legal letter demanding an additional $8,800 for the damage, with no mention of the $2,500 she had already handed over.</p> <p>Concerned and distressed, Judy informed her daughter, who then reported the incident to the police. The case is now being investigated by the fraud squad. "I wasn’t travelling at a speed to do huge damage. I had no damage on my car, just a few scratches," Judy said. "And he had an older car too, so $8,800; no. I didn’t write it off, I just hit his boot."</p> <p>3AW host Russel Howcroft condemned the incident as "disgraceful", particularly criticising the driver's actions of taking Judy to a bank against her will. "Fancy putting someone in their car and driving them to a bank branch," he remarked.</p> <p>The investigation by the fraud squad will hopefully bring clarity and justice to Judy Libby's troubling experience.</p> <p><em>Image: Lutsenko Oleksandr / Shutterstock</em></p>

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“What a legend”: Brave Aussie pensioner saves puppy from a snake

<p dir="ltr">An Aussie pensioner has gone the extra mile to save her terrified puppy from a carpet snake. </p> <p dir="ltr">Anne Murphy, a woman from NSW’s Lennox Head, captured the moment her 80-year-old mother went toe-to-toe with the slippery intruder who was terrorising her dog and shared the interaction on a Facebook page called Australian Country Memes. </p> <p dir="ltr">According to Anne, her mother bolted out the door one Monday evening when she heard her dog “screaming”, when she was confronted with the carpet snake. </p> <p dir="ltr">The non-venomous snake had wrapped around the small dog and bitten it on the chin, when the 80-year-old intervened. </p> <p dir="ltr">The woman was “bitten three times” by the snake, before she “caught the snake so it could be taken out to the bush and hopefully not make its way back to her place”. </p> <p dir="ltr">She then took her puppy to the vet, and got home three hours after the incident first happened.</p> <p dir="ltr">The post has since received over 2,000 likes and hundreds comments, hailing the 80-year-old as a “legend“, “gutsy” and a “wonderful woman.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“She is a true blue here. My hat is off to you, amazing lady,” one person wrote. </p> <p dir="ltr">Another added, “Way to go! That’s just what country people do. God love her, they don’t make them like that anymore.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Facebook</em></p>

Family & Pets

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"Stuff youse": Pensioner who's never owned a phone fights mobile detection camera fine

<p>A pensioner from New South Wales has disputed a fine he was issued for using his phone while driving, despite never owning a phone. </p> <p>Frank Singh, 77, was captured on a mobile phone detection camera while driving on the Pacific Motorway last September, and was issued a fine for $362. </p> <p>Mr Singh has refused to pay the fine, claiming that he was holding his wallet when the image was captured. </p> <p>He also claims to have never owned a mobile phone or a computer in his life, wondering how the camera made such a mistake. </p> <p>The senior man decided to appeal and take Revenue NSW to court, despite the risk of paying thousands in legal fees if he lost the case.</p> <p>"Looks like I'm guilty on it, but I'm not," he told <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <p>"I thought, what the bloody hell is this all about, I don't own a mobile phone. I've never used a mobile phone. What a load of s***."</p> <p>When questioned what the item could be, he said, "I think it could be my wallet."</p> <p>While Mr Singh admitted he can't specifically remember what he was doing at the time, he believes he was possibly placing his wallet on the passenger seat after paying for fuel. </p> <p>Unfortunately, the review of the fine was rejected and Frank was ordered to pay the $362, but he has not given up. </p> <p>"Then I thought stuff youse, I'm not guilty, I don't own a bloody phone," he said.</p> <p>While preparing to appeal the fine once more, Revenue NSW revoked the fine after issuing a letter to Mr Singh saying he would not be required in court following an investigation by the government body. </p> <p>"We have decided to cancel the fine," the letter read. </p> <p>"You little bloody beauty, how good's that," Mr Singh said on hearing the news, before planning to celebrate the win with a beer at his local pub. </p> <p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair </em></p>

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Carer allowance and disability pension set to increase

<p>Over 936,000 Aussies are set to see a cash boost in the new year, as indexation to government payments takes effect from January. </p> <p>Australians receiving youth, student or carer support will receive a 6 per cent boost to their payments, as additional support to help them navigate the rising cost of living. </p> <p>“Australia’s social security system is a safety net that is continually strengthened and improved to support all vulnerable Australians,” Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said.</p> <p>“Through regular indexation, our payments are adjusted in line with changes in the cost of living to retain their purchasing power.”</p> <p>For over 600,000 carers, the Carer Allowance is set to increase to  $153.50 a fortnight, while the Disability Support Pension for Australians under 21 will increase by $31.10 to $44.90 a fortnight. </p> <p>Youth Allowance payments are also set to increase between $22.40 and $45.60 a fortnight, while Austudy payments will increase by between $36.20 and $45.60. </p> <p>The new year increases are being set into motion after a $40 a fortnight increase to youth and student payment rates, which was effective from September 20. </p> <p>A complete list of the new payment increases can be found on the <a href="https://www.dss.gov.au/about-the-department/benefits-payments/previous-indexation-rates" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Department of Social Services website</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Pensioner's epic 600-mile journey from England to Scotland on a pony

<p>Jane Dotchin has completed an epic 600-mile (1000 km) journey from England to the Scottish Highlands with her pack pony Diamond, and disabled Jack Russell terrier Dinky.</p> <p>The 82-year-old has been making this seven-week trek every year since 1972, with nothing but her trusted pony, pet dog and a few belongings including a tent, food and water which she carries in a saddlebag.</p> <p>The pensioner travels between 15 and 20 miles a day from Hexham, Northumberland to Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. </p> <p>"I love camping and I love the countryside," she said, according to the <em><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-12735287/Pensioner-82-completes-600-mile-ride-England-Scotland-horse-Diamond-7-week-trip-shes-year-1972.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Daily Mail</a>.</em> </p> <p>Her dog Dinky, who deformed front legs,  is just as happy to go on the adventure, sitting comfortably in the saddlebag as the world passes by her. </p> <p>She lives on porridge, oatcakes and cheese, and carries an old mobile phone in case of emergencies. </p> <p>Dotchin does not let her eye-patch stop her either, as she is determined to continue the tradition for as long as possible.</p> <p>"I know the route so well, I don’t need to read maps. I can manage if I keep to the routes I know," she told the publication. </p> <p>Dotchin first started long-distance trekking 40 years ago when she rode to Somerset, which was around 300 miles from where she lived, to visit a friend. </p> <p>She has made the journey up north every autumn since, and is an inspiration to many, with those who have spotted her sharing photos and videos of the avid horse rider. </p> <p>"A personal hero passed by just now!" wrote one person, who spotted Dotchin riding her pony back in 2021. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">A personal hero passed by just now! <a href="https://t.co/vcwcdjxMOI">https://t.co/vcwcdjxMOI</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JaneDotchin?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#JaneDotchin</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/BBCScotland?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BBCScotland</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/TheScotsman?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheScotsman</a> <a href="https://t.co/8qegaOLA3P">pic.twitter.com/8qegaOLA3P</a></p> <p>— Robyn Woolston (@robynwoolston) <a href="https://twitter.com/robynwoolston/status/1441359649387671557?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 24, 2021</a></p></blockquote> <p>"Went to watch a bike race and instead discovered an amazing, adventurous and inspirational woman," wrote another person, who spotted Dotchin in 2022. </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/CiLfMCVMOOy/?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/CiLfMCVMOOy/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Eiger X (@eiger.x)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"What an absolute inspiration on a beautiful morning," wrote another, who spotted her a week later. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">When you’re struggling on a morning run and meet the incredible <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/janedotchin?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#janedotchin</a> on the path. This 82-year-old rides 600 miles across Scotland every autumn with her horse Diamond and disabled Jack Russell Dinky in her saddle bag. What an absolute inspiration on a beautiful morning. <a href="https://t.co/SuAvQug6dc">pic.twitter.com/SuAvQug6dc</a></p> <p>— 📚🕷Suzy A #CrowMoon 🖤❤️📚 (@writer_suzy) <a href="https://twitter.com/writer_suzy/status/1569965657629794306?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 14, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p><em>Images: Twitter/ Instagram</em></p>

International Travel

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If you’re 65 or over and want to work, you’re far better off in New Zealand than Australia

<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>Want to keep working after you’ve reached pension age?</p> <p>The Australian government has just made it a <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/jim-chalmers-2022/media-releases/getting-more-australians-back-work">little bit</a> easier, increasing the amount you can earn per year from work before losing some of your pension by A$4,000 on an ongoing basis.</p> <p>Late last year, it temporarily upped the so-called <a href="https://www.dss.gov.au/seniors/programmes-services/work-bonus">work bonus</a> from $7,800 per year to $11,800 to “<a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/555212/original/file-20231023-17-xduxan.PNG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip">incentivise pensioners into the workforce</a>”. It was part of the government’s response to its September jobs and skills summit.</p> <p>It meant pensioners could earn an underwhelming $227 per week from work without harming their pension, up from the previous $150.</p> <p>The rules for older workers are very different in New Zealand. In fact, if Australia adopted New Zealand’s approach, we could have an extra 500,000 willing workers – a fair chunk of them paying tax.</p> <h2>What’s NZ doing differently for older workers?</h2> <p>Last month, as part of his <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/employment-whitepaper/final-report">employment white paper</a>, Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers made the increase to $227 per week permanent.</p> <p>Chalmers headlined the announcement: <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/jim-chalmers-2022/media-releases/getting-more-australians-back-work">Getting more Australians back into work</a>.</p> <p>But it’s doing an underwhelming job. In Australia, <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/aug-2023">15.1%</a> of the population aged 65 and older are in some kind of paid work, up from 14.7% a year earlier.</p> <p>In contrast, in New Zealand the proportion has just hit <a href="https://www.stats.govt.nz/information-releases/labour-market-statistics-june-2023-quarter/">26%</a>. That’s right: more than one-quarter of New Zealanders aged 65 and older are employed.</p> <p>It’s a similar story if we look at how Australia and New Zealand compared to others internationally on labour force participation (which covers those in paid work plus people actively looking for it).</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="qjojO" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/qjojO/5/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>New Zealand wants to see that number rise further. It has been talking about <a href="https://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/what-we-can-do/seniorcitizens/older-workers-employment-action-plan/the-ageing-workforce-briefing-paper-future-of-work-governance-group-meeting-4-may-.pdf">33.1%</a> of its population aged 65 or more in paid work, which is what Iceland has.</p> <p>What is New Zealand doing for over-65s that Australia is not?</p> <p>You won’t find it mentioned in either treasury’s employment <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/employment-whitepaper/final-report">white paper</a> (released in September) or <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/publication/2023-intergenerational-report">intergenerational report</a> (released in August) – even though National Seniors Australia <a href="https://nationalseniors.com.au/uploads/NSA-Employment-White-Paper-Submission-Final-Web.pdf">pointed it out</a> in submissions.</p> <p>One crucial thing New Zealand is not doing is annoying pensioners who work.</p> <p>Australian pensioners in paid work get called in for discussions with Centrelink, if it looks as if they are at risk of doing too many hours and going over the $227 per week limit.</p> <h2>The more you work, the more your pension is cut</h2> <p>Pensioners who do go over the $227 per week limit lose half of every extra dollar they earn in a cut to their pension.</p> <p>Plus tax, this means they lose a total of <a href="https://ipa.org.au/publications-ipa/media-releases/employment-white-paper-cop-out">69%</a> of what they earn over the limit where their tax rate is 19%, and 82.5% on the portion of earnings taxed at 32.5%.</p> <p>And this is <em>after</em> the boost designed to “<a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/555212/original/file-20231023-17-xduxan.PNG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip">incentivise pensioners into the workforce</a>”.</p> <p>Last year’s jobs summit also set up a <a href="https://www.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/resource/download/womens-economic-equality-taskforce-final-report.pdf">Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce</a>. It reported this week, drawing attention to the “disincentive rates” facing second earners (usually women) who return to work after caring for children.</p> <p>It said that taking the loss of benefits, tax and childcare costs together, the penalty for returning to work was more than half of what was earned on the first three days of the week, and up to 110% of what was earned on the fourth and fifth days.</p> <p>My point here is that the losses facing age pensioners who attempt to work are of a similar order – in Australia but not in New Zealand.</p> <p>Australia’s rules aren’t just stopping pensioners from taking on extra hours. They seem to stop them taking up paid work at all.</p> <p>There were 2.6 million Australians on the age pension in June this year. Only <a href="https://data.gov.au/data/dataset/dss-payment-demographic-data/resource/7a6457a8-44a3-406c-b552-62eb0fef9d66">83,925</a> reported income from working. That’s just 3.2%.</p> <h2>NZ pensioners keep their pensions</h2> <p>What’s different about New Zealand is that New Zealand’s pensioners don’t face a penalty if they work. They simply face income tax.</p> <p>In New Zealand, the age pension (which is called <a href="https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/eligibility/seniors/superannuation/who-can-get-it.html">superannuation</a>, making it confusing for Australians) is paid to everyone of pension age. There’s no income test or assets test. You get it because you are a citizen or permanent resident.</p> <p>Australia wouldn’t need to go as far as New Zealand to get the same benefit. We would simply need to ditch the pension income test in cases where that income came from paid work, leaving the assets test in place.</p> <p>Then there would be no concern about working.</p> <h2>Half a million reasons for change</h2> <p>If we made that change – and if the same proportion of older Australians chose to work as New Zealanders – we would soon have an extra half a million older Australians able to step into fields such as teaching, where there are <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/jobs/job-vacancies-australia/latest-release">15,500 vacancies</a>, and health care and social assistance, where there are 68,100 vacancies.</p> <p>It would cost the federal government money because it’d put more Australians of pension age on the pension.</p> <p>But it’d cost less if we abolished the special tax concession for seniors and pensioners, known as the <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/income-deductions-offsets-and-records/tax-offsets/seniors-and-pensioners-tax-offset/">seniors and pensioners tax offset</a>. In New Zealand, senior citizens face the same tax rates as everyone else.</p> <p>And it would cost less as more pensioners earned wages and paid income tax.</p> <p>Calculations prepared for <a href="https://nationalseniors.com.au/uploads/NSA-Employment-White-Paper-Submission-Final-Web.pdf">National Seniors Australia</a> by Deloitte suggest that beyond a certain point, the change would become revenue-positive – actually boosting federal coffers – as the extra income tax revenue outweighed the cost of the extra pensions.</p> <p>National Seniors is calling its campaign <a href="https://nationalseniors.com.au/advocacy/fairer-retirement-income-system/let-pensioners-work">“let pensioners work”</a>.</p> <h2>Tapping into the cash economy</h2> <p>Importantly – and here’s where we get to a fact National Seniors might not like me mentioning – that would happen not only because more senior Australians were employed, but also because more senior Australians were employed <em>legitimately</em>.</p> <p>It’s hard to get a handle on how many senior Australians are working and being paid in cash, which they store rather than bank to avoid tripping the income test. But we do know this.</p> <p>At the end of March, there were <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/statistics/tables/xls/a06hist.xls?v=2021-04-05-19-23-58">18</a> Australian $100 notes in circulation for each Australian resident, an astonishingly high proportion given the use of cash for transactions is <a href="https://theconversation.com/cash-could-be-almost-gone-in-australia-in-a-decade-but-like-cheques-wholl-miss-it-208020">collapsing</a>.</p> <p>In New Zealand at the end of March, there were just <a href="https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/series/reserve-bank/bank-notes-in-the-hands-of-the-public">five</a> New Zealand $100 notes in circulation for each New Zealand resident.</p> <p>That may be just a coincidence.</p> <p>But New Zealand is certainly making it easier for retirees to work legitimately, rather than stay at home or accept cash in hand.<!-- 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/216260/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><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709"><em>Peter Martin</em></a><em>, 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/if-youre-65-or-over-and-want-to-work-youre-far-better-off-in-new-zealand-than-australia-216260">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Millions of Aussies set for a pension boost

<p>Millions of Australians are set to receive a generous cash increase when an imminent welfare payment indexation comes into effect. </p> <p>Those on age pension payments from Centrelink will see a boost to their payment from Tuesday. </p> <p>According to figures from the Department of Social Services, single pensioners will receive an increase of $32.70, taking their payments to $1096.70 a fortnight.</p> <p>Couples on the adult pension will have their fortnightly payments increase by $24.70 to $826.70.</p> <p>Those on Jobseeker will also receive a boost to their payments, as payments will increase by $56.10 a fortnight to $749.20 for single people aged 22 or more with no children, and by $57.30 a fortnight for those with children to $802.50.</p> <p>Single people aged 55 or over will also have payments increased to $802.50 after nine months.</p> <p>Partnered people on Jobseeker will get a $54.80 increase to $686 a fortnight. </p> <p>Centrelink recipients on rent assistance, youth allowance and Austudy payments will also receive a boost to their fortnightly payments. </p> <p>Despite the increases across many welfare recipient groups, the Australian Council of Social Services says the increases are not enough.</p> <p>ACOSS said people almost three quarters of people they had surveyed on income support were eating less or skipping meals as the ongoing cost of living criss worsens. </p> <p>Half of the respondents said the incoming increase would not help at all, prompting the ACOSS to call for income support to at least match the pension rate.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"Entitled" widow sparks outrage over age pension question

<p>An elderly widow has been slammed for writing in to a financial column asking for advice, despite being very well-off.</p> <p>The 88-year-old (NOT pictured here) wrote in to Nine newspapers’ columnist Noel Whittaker asking for advice on how to access a pension after the death of her husband. </p> <p>“My husband and I received a part pension but he passed away and I now have all the assets but no pension,” she wrote to Whittaker’s <a title="www.smh.com.au" href="https://www.smh.com.au/money/super-and-retirement/i-lost-my-pension-when-my-husband-died-can-i-get-it-back-20230718-p5dp2g.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ask Noel </a>column. </p> <p>“I am 88 and own my own home. I have $680,000 in savings and $180,000 in shares. My income is $25,000 p.a. is there anything I can do to get a part pension?”</p> <p>While the question seemed innocent enough, many Aussies were infuriated by the woman's query, sparking outrage on social media.</p> <p>One person pointed out how well off the woman was, mockingly saying, "We have $1m in assets. Can we get the age pension?”  </p> <p>Another person wrote, “Lady you’re 88, where are you getting 25k per year if not investments? You’ll be fine, Karen.”</p> <p>The pile-on continued, with plenty more slamming the woman for being “entitled”, greedy, and mocking her for wanting even more money than she already had to spend over her remaining years.</p> <p>One person added, “How much longer does this person think they’re going to live that they need more than $1 million …”</p> <p>Another person offered their own advice if the last needed more money, encouraging her to use her $680,000 savings, saying "That's what it's there for."</p> <p>Another person summed it up by writing, “The problem with old people these days is they’re too entitled. Back in my day, old people reused their tea bags and were grateful.”</p> <p>Many even commented that the question was the exact kind of “fake” submission dreamt up for columnists to “enrage readers”, and someone posed their own mock question to Whittaker to point out how ludicrous the woman's question was. </p> <p>“I own my own home, have 6 million ingots in assets, and my income is several gold bullion per month. I am 300 years old. I am a fire-breathing dragon. Can I claim the part pension?” they wrote.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Retirement Income

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“A little bit unfair”: Hard-working tradies blast age pension increase

<p dir="ltr">A group of tired tradies have rallied against the “unfair” decision to increase the age of eligibility for the age pension.</p> <p dir="ltr">The tradesmen, all in their 60s, simply said their bodies “can’t handle” working in manual labour until they’re 70, which may be in their future if the eligibility age continues to rise.</p> <p dir="ltr">The age to qualify for the pension was raised from 66 years and six months to 67 on July 1st with the move impacting any Australian born after December 31st, 1956.</p> <p dir="ltr">Experts predict the age could rise even further to 70 by the year 2050 with the news sparking backlash among hardworking Aussies.</p> <p dir="ltr">One man, a concreter in his mid-60s named Steve, said working the manual labour job was already taking a toll on his body and that the new retirement age was “unfair” on those working physically demanding jobs.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Now I'm starting to feel it more in my knees, I've got arthritis in my hands, I've had two back surgeries,” he told <em><a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/australian-tradies-outraged-over-decision-to-raise-pension-age-to-67/5b5c6dda-c995-44ad-bb29-98c625e9d276" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A Current Affair</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It does seem a little bit unfair that you have to work all your life.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Peter, who cuts down trees in the Gold Coast for a living, compared the raising of the pension age to the harsh realities of his job.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It's just like climbing a tree,” he said. “The injuries are just climbing all the time, it's getting harder, worse, sorer all the time.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He described what was happening as “very scary”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Unfortunately I thought 65 would be a nice time to retire and get on a pension but now we are talking 67,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Is it going to go up to 68, 69, 70?”</p> <p dir="ltr">Macquarie University Professor Hanlin Shang believes the pension age will need to rise to 70 or government spending will spiral out of control.</p> <p dir="ltr">He and other researchers estimate that the retirement age will rise to 68 by 2030, 69 in 2036 and 70 by 2050.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As Australians live longer than before, it presents a challenge to the government to fund retirees through a pension scheme,” Professor Shang said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite these challenges, Peter said politicians don't understand the burden that working physical jobs has on older bodies.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It would be nice to be a politician sitting on a nice comfortable chair all day in an air conditioned room or office,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They need to come out and see what it's like to do some physical work. That would make them change their mind in trying to stretch this pension out to 67, 68, 69, 70.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: A Current Affair</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Australia’s ‘retirement age’ just became 67. So why are the French so upset about working until 64?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-whiteford-2016">Peter Whiteford</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>Since Saturday, Australians have been required to wait until the age of 67 until they can get the age pension.</p> <p>The original so-called “retirement age” of 65 for men dated back to <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-02/p2020-100554-ud01_outline.pdf">1909</a>.</p> <p>Women had their pension age lifted from 60 to 65 between 1995 and <a href="https://insidestory.org.au/work-till-you-drop/">2013</a>. And all Australians have had it lifted in stages from July 2017, in a process that ended on <a href="https://www.dss.gov.au/seniors/benefits-payments/age-pension">July 1 2023</a>.</p> <p>It has happened with little protest – a stark contrast to the demonstrations and riots that rocked France earlier this year, when President Macron proposed and passed laws to lift the French pension age from 62 to 64.</p> <h2>What’s so special about French pensions?</h2> <p>French strikes and demonstrations over the retirement age aren’t new.</p> <p>There were nationwide protests when France increased its retirement age from 60 to 62 in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/nov/10/french-retirement-age-reform-62">2010</a>, before that in <a href="https://www.etui.org/covid-social-impact/france/pension-reform-in-france-background-summary-an-overview-of-pension-reforms-since-the-1990s-updated-july-2019">2003</a>, and in <a href="https://theconversation.com/pension-reform-in-france-macron-and-demonstrators-resume-epic-tussle-begun-over-30-years-ago-198354">1995</a>, when France tried to increase the pension age for public sector workers.</p> <p>Just about anything you could want to know about public pension schemes in high-income countries can be found in the <a href="https://www.oecd.org/about/">OECD</a> report <a href="https://www.oecd.org/publications/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-19991363.htm">Pensions at a Glance</a>, published every two years, most recently in 2021.</p> <p>Public pension spending in <a href="https://www.oecd.org/els/public-pensions/PAG2021-country-profile-France.pdf">France</a> is 13.6% of GDP, compared to 4% in <a href="https://www.oecd.org/els/public-pensions/PAG2021-country-profile-Australia.pdf">Australia</a>.</p> <p>In part, this is because France has an older population than Australia, but it is also because French pension payments are more generous than both Australia’s age pension and superannuation supports taken together.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="E0wpD" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/E0wpD/7/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>The OECD finding that Australia provides a replacement rate of about 40% and France of about 74% is “forward looking”, in that it is based on what a worker on average earnings is estimated to be entitled to under the system applying in 2020, if she or he works from age 22 until that country’s normal retirement age.</p> <p>For low-paid workers, Australia’s means-tested age pension makes the payments about as generous as those in France.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="rJpy5" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/rJpy5/4/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>A separate 2018 OECD calculation showed that the average after-tax income of a French household headed by someone 65 years or older was <a href="https://www.oecd.org/publications/oecd-pensions-at-a-glance-19991363.htm">99.8%</a> of the average income of all French households.</p> <p>In contrast, the average after-tax income of an Australian household headed by someone of that age was 75% of that of all households.</p> <p>Given that French households receive about the same disposable income while retired as working, it is easy to see why they are keen to retire.</p> <p>And the heavy tax contributions required to fund their retirement incomes give them little opportunity to save privately while working.</p> <p>The level of median private wealth in Australia (converted at prevailing exchange rates) is nearly <a href="https://www.credit-suisse.com/media/assets/corporate/docs/about-us/research/publications/global-wealth-databook-2022.pdf">twice</a> that in France.</p> <p>Yet French public pension wealth is substantial. Calculating the value of the future pension income streams using life expectancies, the net pension wealth of French retirees amounts to 14 years of average earnings, compared to just over seven in Australia.</p> <p>Because the value of these income streams is strongly influenced by how long the pensions are received, raising the French pension age by two years would cut the value of French pension wealth by around 8%.</p> <h2>Why was postponing pensions easier in Australia?</h2> <p>The phase-in of the Australian change after 2017 meant it didn’t affect the retirement incomes of Australian workers until many years after the change was first announced, and didn’t affect the incomes of those already retired at all.</p> <p>And the Australian change legislated in 2009 was part of a <a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/2738/2009_budget_pension_changes.pdf">broader program</a> of reforms that included the biggest single <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Newstartrelatedpayments/Report/section?id=committees%2Freportsen%2F024323%2F72678">increase in age and disability pensions and carer payments</a> in Australian history.</p> <p>Yet it will have losers. Those losing the most will be those with the shortest life expectancies. Indigenous men have life expectancies nearly <a href="https://www.niaa.gov.au/resource-centre/indigenous-affairs/commonwealth-closing-gap-annual-report-2022">nine</a> years lower than non-Indigenous men and Indigenous women nearly eight years lower.</p> <h2>Which Australians will pay the highest price?</h2> <p>And the change has pushed a substantial number of Australians aged 65 and over who would have once received the pension on to the <a href="https://theconversation.com/top-economists-want-jobseeker-boosted-100-per-week-tied-to-wages-150364">much-lower</a> Jobseeker unemployment payment.</p> <p>The number of people aged 65 years and over receiving JobSeeker climbed from zero in 2017 to <a href="https://www.data.gov.au/data/dataset/dss-income-support-recipients-monthly-time-series/resource/05f06c42-e027-43aa-b83e-28292f683ede">40,300</a> by May this year – and will climb further because of this month’s change.</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>These people are severely disadvantaged by this change, as the level of payment for an older unemployed person is more than $300 a fortnight less than the age pension, a gap that will only be slightly reduced by the increases announced in the most recent Commonwealth budget.</p> <p>Relatively little attention has been paid to these people, who because of the low level of payment are among the poorest in the Australian population – with very limited prospects of being able to improve their circumstances.</p> <p>In contrast, the idea of boosting tax on the earnings of superannuation balances over <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/feb/28/albanese-government-lifts-tax-rate-on-superannuation-balances-over-3m">A$3 million</a> attracted <a href="https://www.firstlinks.com.au/mechanics-3m-dollar-super-tax-must-fixed">widespread criticism</a>.</p> <p>The very different institutional environments of Australia and France have created different lobby groups, with different interests to protect.<!-- 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/208648/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-whiteford-2016">Peter Whiteford</a>, Professor, <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/australias-retirement-age-just-became-67-so-why-are-the-french-so-upset-about-working-until-64-208648">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Life

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"I've done enough": Hero tradie slams raising of retirement age

<p>Thousands of Australians are rallying behind one hard-working tradie, who is standing up in opposition to the proposed rising of the retirement age. </p> <p>On July 1st, the Aussie pension eligibility age will rise from 65 to 67, with research suggesting that it will rise again to the age of 70 by 2050.</p> <p>The tradie shared a photo holding a sign that reads, "Only a bloke who's worked in an office his whole life would think you can work until you're 70."</p> <p>Many have echoed his statement, particularly blue-collar workers who say it is asking too much of people approaching 70 to keep up physically demanding labour.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The LNP has been working for years to oppress &amp; dumb down the Australian population so that it has more power &amp; control over us. But insisting that the retirement age should be 70 is just wrong. This isn’t about ‘left’ or ‘right’ any more. It’s about the elite vs the rest of us <a href="https://t.co/yxIuAL75rm">pic.twitter.com/yxIuAL75rm</a></p> <p>— Bethany Williams 💙🇺🇦💛 (@BethanyinCBR) <a href="https://twitter.com/BethanyinCBR/status/1332236229077659651?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 27, 2020</a></p></blockquote> <p>"My body is just tired, as is my husband's, who is 66. We both need to just rest now. We had planned on retirement at 65. Then they changed the goal posts," one person shared in replying to the image.</p> <p>"I've worked 43 years as a butcher. I'm almost 65 yrs old, I think I've done enough, and my body agrees," a second added.</p> <p>"I spent many years in a quarry as well as a coal mine, my body is physically worn out, so I 110 per cent agree with his poster," a third agreed.</p> <p>Others shared that they thought it was simply unfair to ask older Aussies to keep working in manual labour in order to provide for their families, during a time when they should be resting and starting to plan their retirement years without stressing about finances.</p> <p>Many angered Aussies spoke out about the politicians who are responsible for raising the age pension number, saying they have no idea how physically taxing manual labour jobs can be.</p> <p>"The politicians all need to get out of their chairs and do a tradies' job for a week or two then they will know what a bad back is and realise that the body won't let you work until you are 70," one person wrote. </p> <p>A second added added, "I would like to see all politicians work a week as a bricklayer, a boilermaker, a plumber, or a builder - doing what we did to 65, they couldn't for a week."</p> <p>Currently, Australians are able to access a pension wage at 65 years and 6 months as long as they were born between July 1st 1952 and December 31st 1953.</p> <p>Those born after that date will be able to access their pension from the age of 66.</p> <p>However, from July 1st anyone born after January 1st 1957 will have to work even longer with the pension age increasing to 67-years-old. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Retirement Life

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“If I can work until 70 it'll be a miracle”: Outrage over rising Aussie retirement age

<p>People all across Australia have had a strong reaction to the news that they might have to keep working until they’re 70, if new modelling by Macquarie University’s Business School is anything to go by. </p> <p>According to the model  - which takes the nation’s ageing population and declining birth rate into consideration - more people are set to reach pension age, but with fewer people still of working age available to support pensions paid by the state. </p> <p>As Professor Shang explained, “less people in the working group and more in retirement will make the old age dependency ratio (OADR) higher. </p> <p>“What this means is there are less working people to support elderly people. And with more elderly people in the population, this will create a burden for the government pension system.”</p> <p>Results from the group’s study found that in order to maintain the OADR [of 23 per cent], Australia’s pension age should rise to 68 years by 2030, 69 years by 2036, and 70 years by 2050.</p> <p>The news went down like a lead balloon on social media, with one researcher sharing an article to his Twitter, alongside a scathing - and wholly sarcastic - caption of his own. </p> <p>“Hey Millennials. Why are you increasingly getting peeved off at the system? Don’t you know how good you have it?” he asked. “You get to spend your life in debt, experiencing life long housing insecurity, and get to retire when you get wheeled into an age care home.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Hey Millennials. Why are you increasingly getting peeved off at the system? Don’t you know how good you have it? You get to spend your life in debt, experiencing life long housing insecurity, and get to retire when you get wheeled into an age care home. (Sarcasm font needed). <a href="https://t.co/jHJUxyjHMH">pic.twitter.com/jHJUxyjHMH</a></p> <p>— Kos Samaras (@KosSamaras) <a href="https://twitter.com/KosSamaras/status/1663484016866246659?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 30, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>One user was quick to remark that those behind the big decision should “try and be a Tradie at 70”, with the original tweeter agreeing that “after 50 is a stretch”.</p> <p>“Successive Federal Governments (as well as the current one) don't seem to be doing much about this problem!” another wrote. </p> <p>“And we get told we need to re-train to change jobs every 5 years, from a generation who had a ‘Job 4 Life’, Free University and owns all the properties,” one lamented. “We’re also paying their pensions, but we’ll never get a pension, because Superannuation is taken out of our wage also.”</p> <p>Meanwhile, one pretended to look on ‘the bright side’, with the fed up take that “on the plus side, if we are going to be expected to work until 75 or 80, maybe we can get 45-year mortgages to own a home. And our time outside of work will feel much longer when our commutes are 2 hours each way.”</p> <p>​​“I'm turning 40 this year. If I can work until 70 it'll be a miracle,” someone admitted. “I work In a laborious job and have [had] many injuries and one major injury in the last two years.  </p> <p>“My body is already telling me it wants me to stop and find an easier job”.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Tragic end for pensioner struck by royal motorcade

<p dir="ltr">Helen Holland, the 81-year-old woman who was struck by a police motorcade escorting the Duchess of Edinburgh, has died. </p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/elderly-woman-hospitalised-by-royal-motorcycle-escort">Helen was hit on May 10 at the junction of West Cromwell Road and Warwick Road in west London’s Earl’s Court</a>, and was taken to hospital after receiving treatment from paramedics at the scene.</p> <p dir="ltr">Her family confirmed the news of her passing, telling the<em> BBC </em>that while she had fought "for her life for nearly two weeks”, tragically “irreversible damage to her brain finally ended the battle”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Helen had suffered “multiple broken bones and massive internal injuries” in the crash, despite using the “safe route of [a] pedestrian crossing”, according to her son, Martin Holland. </p> <p dir="ltr">In the wake of the devastating incident, her family had announced that Helen was in a coma, with the police later revealing that she remained in a critical condition. </p> <p dir="ltr">In a statement reportedly shared with <em>Sky News</em>, the family had described Helen as a "beautiful, loving, kind, and caring lady who would always put anyone before herself.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The family are deeply saddened and shocked at the news Helen was involved in such a tragic accident.”</p> <p dir="ltr">They went on to share that while she had been 81 years old, she was “sprightly for her age and nothing stopped her living life to the full, spending precious time with her family, muddy walks with the dogs and lunches with friends is what she enjoyed most”, before asking that everyone keep her in their thoughts and prayers. </p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace had announced that Sophie - the Duchess of Edinburgh - had offered her “heartfelt thoughts and prayers” to “the injured lady and her family”, and that she was “grateful for the swift response of emergency services and will keep abreast of developments".</p> <p dir="ltr">An investigation was launched by The Independent Office for Police Conduct soon after the event, and it remains ongoing, with the police watchdog assuring Helen’s family that they would keep them “regularly updated as the investigation progresses".</p> <p dir="ltr">That investigation involved examining footage from neary CCTV as well as footage from police body cameras. Additionally, officers who were present at the scene were to be interviewed, while the organisation sought other witnesses to come forward with any more information they might have.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the family waits for answers, they are also coming to terms with their difficult loss, with Helen’s grandson - Joe Strutter Holland - sharing on Facebook, “rest in peace Nanny (Helen) Holland. One of the kindest and most joyful souls you'll ever of had the pleasure of meeting. Taken before her time.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He went on to note that he was glad his grandmother and his son had gotten the chance to meet, writing 'I'll ensure he knows who you are, till we meet again”. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Facebook, Getty</em></p>

Caring

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"Get a grip": Retirees roasted over tone-deaf pension question

<p>A pair of retirees - and their significant others - have found themselves at the centre of a new online debate, all because of their submission to one financial advice column, and its circulation on social media.</p> <p>Both retirees - each with millions of dollars to their names - submitted their concerns to the <em>Sun Herald</em>’s George Cochrane, hoping for financial advice and a solid strategy moving forward with their respective retirements.</p> <p>The first request saw a 78-year-old man and his 79-year-old wife ask if they should look into selling some of their shares in order to stay below a threshold. </p> <p>The couple were receiving an account-based pension from their self-managed super fund, with a combined total of nearly $2.3 million - he had $1,5999,956 and she had $675,590 as of July 2017.</p> <p>Their combined funds were invested in Australian shares, they noted, and gave them a “healthy return which includes imputation credits”. They went on to share that since 2017, some of their shareholdings had “more than doubled in value”, and that the husband’s contribution to their fund had exceeded “the $3 million limit which the government intends to bring in.”</p> <p>“What will be the tax implications if my SMSF reaches $4 million and my wife’s $1.8 million?” they asked. “Should we sell some of our shares to stay below the $3 million threshold?”</p> <p>The second request came from a 60-year-old woman on behalf of herself and her 50-year-old husband, in which she revealed they had property valued at $4 million, and that they’d accessed her super to pay their $300,000 mortgage. His super, meanwhile, still contained half a million. </p> <p>Additionally, the two had plans to relocate to Europe to a “less expensive property” in order for them to spend more time - and have more funds to put towards - travelling. </p> <p>“We prefer not to work,” she shared, “have no children and intend to spend all our money. What would be a good strategy?”</p> <p>Advice was given, but the column’s wave of response came when The Guardian’s deputy news editor Josephine Tovey shared it to her Twitter, sharing her thoughts on the “generational inequality” it represented, and closing her take with the line “what problems to have”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Honestly if you want to get your blood up about generational inequality in Australia may I recommended the letters on the Money page of the Sun Herald? What problems to have. <a href="https://t.co/uka3EpbOOj">pic.twitter.com/uka3EpbOOj</a></p> <p>— Josephine Tovey (@Jo_Tovey) <a href="https://twitter.com/Jo_Tovey/status/1660073911944638464?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 21, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>Many - mostly those from younger generations, primarily millennials - were quick to side with Tovey, unable to wrap their heads around the idea that the couples’ problems were valid ones. </p> <p>“Oh no. I have TOO MUCH MONEY. What to do, what to do,” one user wrote.</p> <p>“‘I have more money than I know what to do with. Please help’,” another contributed. </p> <p>“I'd ‘prefer not to work’ too but here I am,” one quipped. </p> <p>And as someone else put it, “more than $4 million in assets but too cheap to pay for professional advice. Nothing could be more boomer than this.”</p> <p>“I think that there is huge inequity and variance among Boomers - often depending on the presence or absence of intergenerational wealth,” another user noted. “Ditto with millennials cos of [the] same reason”.</p> <p>However, for every person who was condemning them, another was prepped and ready to come to their defence. </p> <p>“Dear oh dear. Tall poppy syndrome strikes again - Australians are so good at trying to tear down the successful,” one said. “Seriously, get a grip everyone. Good luck to them and I hope they enjoy their respective retirements.”</p> <p>“My partner and I don’t have kids, we live in a modest house and save as much as we can so that we can retire early and travel, we are not landlords, we didn’t inherit any money but we should have about $2 million to retire on, we are working class,” one shared, “doesn’t seem wrong to me.”</p> <p>“They obviously worked hard and earnt it!! Haters going to hate - but good on them - I hope in 20 years when I retire, I have problems like this too,” another wrote. </p> <p>“So they have worked hard all their lives, they don’t have children and they want to travel - why is this an issue?” someone wanted to know, before adding that “they deserve to spend their twilight years in comfort.”</p> <p><em>Images: Twitter</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Streets on fire after controversial raising of retirement age

<p>French Emmanuel Macron has ignited a furious spark in the people of France with controversial new pension reforms - those that would see the country’s pension age raised from 62 to 64. </p> <p>The changes were reportedly pushed through their parliament without a proper voting process - it has been said that Macron employed “special constitutional powers” to see it through. </p> <p>Protesters flocked to the streets in response, with over 250 different protests organised nationwide, in a move that has been praised by union leaders. </p> <p>However, while hundreds of thousands of participants experienced peaceful marches through some of the country’s largest cities, tensions were high in Bordeaux, and the town hall felt the full brunt of it when it was set alight. </p> <p>While it is not known who was responsible for the fire, it was quickly extinguished. </p> <p>In Paris, where the majority took part in peaceful demonstrations, violence did rear its head, with a number of clashes between protestors and police officers breaking out - shop windows were broken, street furniture demolished, and fast food establishments attacked. </p> <p>It has also been reported that while police were the target of various projectiles, they made use of tear gas to push back those responsible for any rioting behaviour. And at Place de l’Opera, the location at which demonstrators concluded their march, the tear gas was back, covering a portion of the area in a haze of fumes.  </p> <p>The official demonstration in Paris - which had drawn people from all over the French social spectrum - was not the only one to take a violent turn, with the cities of Nantes, Rennes, Lorient, and Lyon facing similar fates. </p> <p>The protests, coupled with strikes and industrial action across the country, disrupted transport and prompted the cancellation of flights, with airport authorities claiming roll-on effects from the chaos. Protestors also succeeded in blocking off Terminal 1 of France’s largest international airport, the Charles de Gaulle airport. </p> <p>As to why the French had taken this approach to fighting the reforms, one demonstrator in Nantes summed it up by declaring “the street has a legitimacy in France. </p> <p>“If Mr Macron can't remember this historic reality, I don't know what he is doing here.”</p> <p>And as another told <em>Reuters</em>, "I oppose this reform and I really oppose the fact that democracy no longer means anything. We're not being represented, and so we're fed up."</p> <p>"It is by protesting that we will be able to make ourselves heard because all the other ways ... have not allowed us to withdraw this reform," another explained to <em>AFP</em>.</p> <p>The women on the streets were furious, seeing Macron’s move as one that targeted them in particular, especially those that had been forced to step away from their careers to dedicate their time to raising their children. </p> <p>As one social worker told <em>The Guardian</em>, “everyone is angry. Everyone thinks this law is unfair, but it particularly penalises women who are expected to produce future generations of the nation, and then find they are punished for doing so.”</p> <p>“They want to raise it to 64 today. Will it be 66, 67, 68 tomorrow?” a teacher implored. “They tell us life expectancy is longer but are we to work until we collapse and are carted off to the crematorium?”</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Major boost to pension and allowance just days away

<p>The federal government has announced big changes to government allowance, with nearly 5 million Aussies set to benefit from an increase to their pension payments. Read more:</p> <p>Almost 5 million Aussies will receive a major increase to their pension payments as they are indexed to inflation.</p> <p>Recipients of the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment can expect an increase of $37.50 a fortnight for singles and $56.40 a fortnight for couples combined.</p> <p>The maximum fortnightly rate of the pension is set to increase to $1,064 for singles and $1,604 for couples,  including the pension and energy supplements.</p> <p>Single, childless JobSeeker and ABSTUDY recipients over 22 will receive an extra $24.70 per fortnight.</p> <p>Each half of a couple receiving payments will receive a $22.50 increase per fortnight.</p> <p>Single parents receiving the parenting payment will benefit from an extra $33.90 a fortnight.</p> <p>Single parents on the parenting payment will also receive an additional $33.90 per fortnight, with the rate increasing to $967.90, including the Pension Supplement, Energy Supplement, and Pharmaceutical Allowance.</p> <p>Single, childless recipients of the maximum rate Common Rent Assistance will see an increase of $5.60, receiving $157.20 per fortnight.</p> <p>People who receive the maximum rate and have one or two children will see an increase of $6.58 to $184.94 per fortnight, while those with three or more children will receive an increase of $7.42 to $208.74 per fortnight.</p> <p>According to the federal government, the indexation of social security payments will bring cost-of-living relief for 4.7 million people.</p> <p>Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the government was supporting Australians most in need.</p> <p>"Australia's social security system exists to support our most vulnerable citizens, and we know they are feeling the pinch," she said.</p> <p>"Indexation is a pillar of our social security system and we want more money in the pockets of everyday Australians so they can better afford essentials.</p> <p>"The increase is an important part of the system and helps those doing it toughest.”</p> <p>The indexation of payments begins on March 20.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"I had better make sure I don’t have a heart attack!": Allison Langdon stuns pensioners on the verge of bankruptcy

<p>Left with a $25,000 legal bill after taking their retirement village to court over a broken air conditioning unit and losing the case, pensioners Walter and Carola Sadlo were on the verge of bankruptcy.</p> <p>In a heartwarming segment, Allison Langdon told the Sadlo’s that A Current Affair viewers had banded together to bail them out of their financial debt.</p> <p>Walter and Carola’s legal battle began in 2018 when their air conditioning unit broke. The couple had paid an extra $1,375 for air conditioning but maintenance wasn’t covered by the retirement village. Walter said he believed it would be covered, so he tried to fight it in the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).</p> <p>After taking the retirement village to court and losing the case, the couple were issued with a bankruptcy notice just two days before Christmas. “I could not believe that somebody could be so vicious and cruel,” Walter said.</p> <p>The couple had also sacrificed their savings to fight the case; $15,000 that Carola inherited from her mother. With this gone, they feared losing their home.</p> <p>Langdon then stunned the couple by telling them, “our viewers have paid your debt.”</p> <p>"I normally don't get emotional. I had better make sure I don't have a heart attack!" Walter said. </p> <p>Not only was their $25,000 legal bill covered, but viewers chipped in almost enough to cover the $15,000 they had to put toward their bill. </p> <p>"Hopefully, there will be village operators who see this story and will show a bit more heart," Walter said.</p> <p><em>Image: A Current Affair</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"Sheer terror": Pensioner slapped with five-figure government fine

<p>Pensioner Rosemary Gay opened up about the “sheer terror” she faced upon receiving a letter from the government demanding she pay back the $65,000 Robodebt bill they claimed she had been overpaid. </p> <p>Rosemary’s nightmare began on September 19, 2016, when the letter arrived, an event that Rosemary confesses “turned my life upside down and created an enormous emotional and mental strain on me."</p> <p>The letter detailed that she was required to pay the total of $64,999.17 in overpaid welfare benefits. Centrelink claimed this was because her declared amounts did not reflect what she actually earned during the period of July 9, 2010, to 6 October, 2016.</p> <p>“It turned my life upside down,” Rosemary told the Robodebt Royal Commission on Monday, “I’ve never earned that much money, how could I owe that much money? And the fact I was to come up with it within a matter of three or four weeks, it was sheer terror.”</p> <p>The emotional 76-year-old admitted that she feared she would have to sell her home to cover the debt, and detailed the bleak path she saw before her, “all I could see was that I may be faced with selling my home and losing everything that I had worked for in my 70 years, and I just saw it all going away instantly.”</p> <p>After contacting Centrelink, Rosemary confirmed that what she had reported was the same as what was on the paperwork. She admitted to assuming that would “be the end of it.”</p> <p>Officials at Centrelink eventually told Rosemary that it came down to a “glitch”, and after a review, the total of her debt was reduced to $6,600. </p> <p>Of her Robodebt experience, Rosemary said, “it was a very dark period of time for me and one that is very difficult to re-live. My mental health and physical health, at that stage, were at a very low ebb.”</p> <p>A second review brought a new letter to Rosemary in December 2016, this time stating that her debt had been reduced to $120. </p> <p>Finally in 2020, Rosemary was informed by Centrelink that she would be refunded the $120, with the Coalition government winding up the unlawful scheme - ruled as such by the Federal Court in 2019. It is suspected that more than 381,000 people were affected, and that over $750m was wrongfully recovered from the victims. </p> <p>“I was shocked and angry by this time to think they could initially cause such a traumatic experience to anybody accessing support from a pension,” Rosemary told the Royal Commission, “it will continue to remain with me forever. It’s just something I will never get over and it has had a huge impact on my physical and mental wellbeing … </p> <p>“That they could turn someone’s life upside down and still get it so wrong over and over again.”</p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Disability pensioner calls himself the "unluckiest" lotto winner

<p>When a disability pensioner struck gold playing the lotto, he thought his luck was starting to turn, until a harsh ruling from Centrelink put a swift end to his celebrations. </p> <p>Craig Hill had never won anything playing the lotto, until his numbers finally came up last month. </p> <p>While it wasn't "the big prize", Hill claimed the second division win in The Lott's "Set for Life" draw.</p> <p>"The main prize is $20,000 a month for 20 years. But this was second division, which is $5000 a month, for 12 months," Hill said.</p> <p>It was a tidy sum of $60,000 to help pay off the mortgage.</p> <p>"It's probably the dream of every Australian to win," Hill told <em>A Current Affair</em>.</p> <p>"I'm very disappointed. I mean, you only ever win the lottery once. It's not a big prize."</p> <p>After he was notified of his winnings, he thought he would do the right thing and tell Centrelink of the money he was soon coming in to. </p> <p>"Initially, they said 'it's a lottery win, so therefore it doesn't affect your pension'," he recalled.</p> <p>"I rang back later and (they) said, 'because you're a professional gambler now, you're getting paid monthly, it does affect your pension'."</p> <p>If The Lott had paid Hill his winnings as one lump sum, it wouldn't have affected his fortnightly pension payments.</p> <p> </p> <p>But because his winnings are being paid over 12 months, Centrelink considers it an income from professional gambling.</p> <p>As a result, his pension has now been slashed from around $820 a fortnight to just $328, with his wife's carer's payment has been affected too.</p> <p>"When I said I wanted it reviewed, they said are 'we going to apply the $5000 to your wife's carers allowance … because that's welfare as well'," Hill said.</p> <p>Because of the lotto win, the couple is losing around $2000 a month.</p> <p>The pensioner tried to ask The Lott to pay the money as a lump sum, but was told it didn't meet its criteria for an exceptional circumstance.</p> <p>Now he's hoping for changes to be made to the rules.</p> <p>"It has taken me 40 years to win a prize of the lottery … apart from $8 last week," Hill said.</p> <p>"At 61 I really haven't got another 40 years to wait to win another one."</p> <p>Craig's message to Centrelink is, "I'm not your enemy."</p> <p>"I'm just a bloke that's struggling to make a living," he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Jim Chalmers confronted by struggling pensioner over the cost of living crisis

<p>A struggling pensioner with just $20 in her bank account has quizzed treasurer Jim Chalmers on what essentials she should be forced to give up in order to keep up with the surge in cost of living prices. </p> <p>The Treasurer appeared on ABC's <em>Q+A</em> on Thursday night for a post-budget breakdown, when Fiona got her chance to ask him a question. </p> <p>“With non-discretionary items rising faster than CPI indexation, welfare recipients like myself are meant to be grateful for (the rise to indexation). What essentials should I be cutting from my budget?” she said. </p> <p>Age, Carer and Disability Support Pensioners will receive a rise of $38.90 a fortnight for singles and $58.80 for couples as part of routine indexation, but Fiona said it was still not enough.</p> <p>“It’s all falling behind, I’m playing catch up,” she said.</p> <p>Her desperate plea left Chalmers struggling to offer her any hope, as he warned inflation would continue to rise, forcing the government to make difficult decisions. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Jim Chalmers spruiked the simplicity of his first budget, but as the price of items rises faster than the rate of welfare - is it really ‘bread and butter’ for struggling households? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/QandA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#QandA</a> <a href="https://t.co/p0eECVajlR">pic.twitter.com/p0eECVajlR</a></p> <p>— QandA (@QandA) <a href="https://twitter.com/QandA/status/1588105528353296384?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 3, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p>“The best thing we can do is try and address inflation. That’s what the budget was about,” he said. </p> <div id="indie-campaign-DifJheZrCrms7j4pmefw-0" data-campaign-name="NCA FINANCE Cashed Up Newsletter OneClick SignUp" data-campaign-indie="newsletter-signup" data-jira="TSN-268" data-from="1645448400000" data-to="1680181200000"></div> <p>“But I don’t want to pretend to Fiona or to anyone in Fiona’s position that the budget nine nights ago fixed all of these challenges. "</p> <p>“I do need to be upfront with all of you about the nature of this challenge that we are confronting right now."</p> <p>And our best contribution to this problem is being restrained in our spending.”</p> <p>Dr Chalmers was called up by host Stan Grant, who said Fiona’s question had been more about hard decisions she was having to make. </p> <p>For example, she said she had to make the choice to go for an eye scan rather than go to a doctors appointment because her GP no longer bulk bills. </p> <p>Dr Chalmers was unable to give Fiona a straight answer, rather saying he understood how difficult it was for people in a similar position.</p> <p>“The cost of living is going through the roof, and that has a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable amongst us, and we understand that,” Dr Chalmers said. </p> <p>“My responsibility to you, Fiona, and to the whole country, is to try and take the right economic decisions, to make sure we are not making inflation worse.”</p> <p>“The main thing I can do here – the worst thing that could happen for Fiona and for people around Australia – is if we let this inflation get out of control … That’s what I’m trying to avoid.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Q+A / Getty Images </em></p>

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