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Read this before choosing a retirement village

<p>Making the move from your own home into a retirement village is a huge decision. And with more than 2,000 villages around the country there’s a world of choice. These are some of the things you need to know before you make the move.</p> <p><strong>Get your priorities straight</strong></p> <p>Think about the kind of village you can see yourself living in. Make a list of features that you absolutely must have and a list of those that are desirable but not essential. Don’t be tempted to compromise on the first list because you could end up very unhappy in the long run.</p> <p>Do your research and find a village that meets your requirements. Don’t rush into somewhere that you aren’t completely sure about.</p> <p><strong>Money, money, money</strong></p> <p>Retirement villages aren’t cheap so you’ll need to be realistic about what it’s going to cost and how much you have to spend. It’s a good idea to see a professional financial adviser to get a complete picture of your financial situation, including things like selling your current home, super and any shares you own.</p> <p>You will have to sign a contract with the village before you move in, so get your financial adviser or a lawyer to go over it with you and make sure you understand all your obligations.</p> <p><strong>Location is key</strong></p> <p>As with any move, you need to think carefully about location. If the village is a long way from your current residence it can drastically alter your social life and connections with friends and family.</p> <p>You also need to think about proximity to public transport, shops, health services and community activities.</p> <p><strong>Choose your style</strong></p> <p>Retirement villages range from self-contained independent living to serviced accommodation and residential aged care. They also vary greatly in size from just a handful of units to villages with hundreds of residents. Larger villages tend to have more facilities, so if you’re an active person who loves to swim or play tennis then this could be the choice for you.</p> <p>However, extra facilities come with extra costs so if these aren’t important to you then you could find a cheaper option. You’ll also want to find out about communal dining options and social activities or groups within the village.</p> <p><strong>Get the help you need</strong></p> <p>As with accommodation styles, there is a wide range in the levels of assistance available. This can be as basic as having a cleaner come once a week right up to full nursing care. Some villages have the option to raise your level of care as you age or become unwell, which can be a better option than moving into a new village.</p> <p><strong>Stick to the rules</strong></p> <p>Can visitors stay the night? Can I have a pet? Is there a system for resolving disputes? You’ll want to be familiar with the rules and regulations of the village so read the fine print in your contract or ask questions before you commit.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Retirement Life

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The one thing you must do before retirement

<p>When you think about planning for retirement, the standard advice is to take a thorough look at your superannuation and finances. Although money is undoubtedly an important aspect of retirement planning, making a plan for your emotion and physical wellbeing is just as crucial.</p> <p>New research from the UK has found that retirement can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health. The study, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs, looked at the impact of retirement on 7,000 people aged 50 to 70, and found that while retirement gives most people a small health booth, over the medium to long-term it causes a “drastic decline in health”.</p> <p>For both men and women, retirement decreases the likelihood of "very good” or "excellent" self-reported health by 40 per cent, increases risk for depression by 40 per cent, and diagnosis of a physical illness by 60 per cent. The study’s lead author, Gabriel Sahlgren, noted: "Work, especially paid work, gives many people a sense of purpose. Losing that may lead to declines in health."</p> <p>The lesson: Make a plan for your emotional and physical health.</p> <p>“Don't wait until you retire to decide how you're going to keep busy,” Dave Bernard, retirement blogger and author of Are You Just Existing and Calling it a Life?, told Prevention, adding, “And you need to look well beyond the first six months.”</p> <p>Just as it’s necessary to make sure your finances are in order before retirement, it’s crucial to ask yourself: What will my new sense of purpose in retirement be?</p> <p>“Many times, adults might not think about what it actually means to be retired, or they think about retirement in abstract terms,” says Angela Curl, an assistant professor in the University of Missouri School of Social Work.</p> <p>She says you need to make concrete plans for retirement. “If you want to volunteer when you are retired, ask yourself where and how often. Having specific plans and steps to follow will help you enter retirement more easily,” says Curl.</p> <p>Creating a plan of how you’ll spend your time when you retire will keep you mentally and physically strong, ensuring that you’ll be healthy enough to enjoy your well-deserved retirement.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Retirement Life

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"Lost everything": Retirees left homeless after houseboat destroyed

<p>Two grandparents from South Australia have lost everything after a tree fell on their houseboat during a wild storm. </p> <p>Pam, 77, and David, 82, moved into their two-bedroom houseboat on the Murray River when they first retired over 20 years ago, after finally living out their dream of living on the water. </p> <p>During a storm on February 13th, when their houseboat was moored about 700m from the Renmark boat ramp, their lives were changed forever when a tree fell through their roof. </p> <p>Their granddaughter Shenay Harris said it was a miracle the pair escaped with only minor injuries.</p> <p>“They’re both sitting in their armchairs next to each other. My nan was actually stuck. Her legs were pinned from all the rubble of the roof caving in, and my pop managed to be able to stand up and reach for the phone to call emergency services,” Harris told <a href="https://7news.com.au/news/south-australian-grandparents-lose-everything-after-tree-falls-on-houseboat-in-murray-river-during-storm--c-13615764" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>7News</em></a>.</p> <p>“Looking at the boat and where they were sitting and everything, we have no idea how they are still with us. It’s just absolutely amazing that they’re still here, and they’re OK.”</p> <p>Shenay said her grandparents were now feeling lost about their future, while also grieving the loss of their retirement home. </p> <p>“My pop, he’s absolutely shattered. He’s said to us ‘it’s all over now’ ... (we’re) trying to reassure him (that) ‘no, it’s just a new beginning’,” Harris said.</p> <p>“They’ve been on that boat for 23 years, so it’s been my whole childhood and life with them living on the boat."</p> <p>The houseboat was not insured at the time of the accident, leaving both of the retirees homeless, with no hope for a replacement boat or a payout to get them back on their feet. </p> <p>“They’ve literally just lost everything they’ve got, you know, no assets, nowhere to go, no money,” Shenay said.</p> <p>An <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/riverland-houseboat-tragedy-pamelas-joy?cdn-cache=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">online fundraiser</a> has been set up to support the couple as they figure out the next stage of their life, so far raising $3,000.</p> <p>“They’re both pensioners, they’ve really got nothing to their name now, having lost the boat. So really just to get them back on their feet.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: GoFundMe / 7News</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Most expensive countries to retire in revealed

<p dir="ltr">Australia has become one of the most expensive countries in the world to spend your retirement, with experts sharing how much we need to retire comfortably. </p> <p dir="ltr">Australia is now regarded as the world's seventh most expensive place to retire, and is also a major target for scammers, given the country’s superannuation initiative. </p> <p dir="ltr">Swedish loan broking group Sambla calculated Australians need at least $640,911 to retire comfortably, with this hefty amount one of the biggest in the world. </p> <p dir="ltr">Australia's 4.1 per cent inflation rate is also higher than most of the rich world, which means a retiree would need $34,221 a year to survive, provided they aren't renting.</p> <p dir="ltr">Australia is also a target for scammers, having $3.6trillion in superannuation savings, or the fourth highest pool in the world.</p> <p dir="ltr">In comparison, Switzerland has been named the most expensive place in the world to retire, requiring $927,034 in retirement savings to grow old in the Alps, translating into annual costs of $46,632.</p> <p dir="ltr">Check out the entire top ten list of most expensive countries to retire below. </p> <p dir="ltr">10. France. $583,950 in retirement savings required</p> <p dir="ltr">9. Austria. $598,434 in retirement savings required</p> <p dir="ltr">8. Iceland. $607,558 in retirement savings required</p> <p dir="ltr">7. Australia. $640,911 in retirement savings required</p> <p dir="ltr">6. Canada. $665,752 in retirement savings required</p> <p dir="ltr">5. Liechtenstein. $772,984 in retirement savings required</p> <p dir="ltr">4. Singapore. $773,456 in retirement savings required</p> <p dir="ltr">3. Qatar. $791,029 in retirement savings required</p> <p dir="ltr">2. Monaco. $795,431 in retirement savings required</p> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">1. Switzerland. $927,035 in retirement savings required</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Retirement Life

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Monty Python star's candid financial admission

<p>Monty Python star Eric Idle has made a candid admission about the state of his finances, revealing why he still has to work at the age of 80. </p> <p>The comic legend admitted he receives only a fraction of the millions the Python team have made in the past because the finances are a “disaster”.</p> <p>In messages on X, formerly Twitter, Idle wrote: “I don’t know why people always assume we’re loaded”.</p> <p>“I have to work for my living. I never dreamed that at this age the income streams would tail off so disastrously."</p> <p>“I have been working and earning for Pythons since 1995. And now no more.”</p> <p>Idle also took aim at TV lawyer Holly Gilliam, the daughter of fellow Python member Terry Gilliam, who took over the Python brand in 2013 as part of HDG Projects Ltd. </p> <p>He said, “I guess if you put a Gilliam child in as your manager you should not be so surprised”.</p> <p>“One Gilliam is bad enough. Two can take out any company.”</p> <p>Daughter Lily Idle backed him, writing online, “I’m so proud of my dad for finally finally finally starting to share the truth.”</p> <p>The Pythons, who also included John Cleese, 84, Michael Palin, 80, and the late Terry Jones — made a fortune thanks to their iconic cult films, including <em>Life of Brian</em>, hit stage show <em>Spamalot</em>, which Idle co-wrote, and the original <em>Flying Circus</em> BBC TV series.</p> <p>They were back in the limelight in 2014 with <em>Monty Python Live (Mostly) — One Down, Five to Go</em>: a reference to former member Graham Chapman who died in 1989 aged just 48.</p> <p>It featured interpretations of some of their famous sketches, and reportedly earned the surviving members at least £2 million ($3.87m AUD) each.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Retirement Income

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How do I handle it if my parent is refusing aged care? 4 things to consider

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lee-fay-low-98311">Lee-Fay Low</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>It’s a shock when we realise our parents aren’t managing well at home.</p> <p>Perhaps the house and garden are looking more chaotic, and Mum or Dad are relying more on snacks than nutritious meals. Maybe their grooming or hygiene has declined markedly, they are socially isolated or not doing the things they used to enjoy. They may be losing weight, have had a fall, aren’t managing their medications correctly, and are at risk of getting scammed.</p> <p>You’re worried and you want them to be safe and healthy. You’ve tried to talk to them about aged care but been met with swift refusal and an indignant declaration “I don’t need help – everything is fine!” Now what?</p> <p>Here are four things to consider.</p> <h2>1. Start with more help at home</h2> <p>Getting help and support at home can help keep Mum or Dad well and comfortable without them needing to move.</p> <p>Consider drawing up a roster of family and friends visiting to help with shopping, cleaning and outings. You can also use home aged care services – or a combination of both.</p> <p>Government subsidised home care services provide from one to 13 hours of care a week. You can get more help if you are a veteran or are able to pay privately. You can take advantage of things like rehabilitation, fall risk-reduction programs, personal alarms, stove automatic switch-offs and other technology aimed at increasing safety.</p> <p>Call <a href="https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/">My Aged Care</a> to discuss your options.</p> <h2>2. Be prepared for multiple conversations</h2> <p>Getting Mum or Dad to accept paid help can be tricky. Many families often have multiple conversations around aged care before a decision is made.</p> <p>Ideally, the older person feels supported rather than attacked during these conversations.</p> <p>Some families have a meeting, so everyone is coming together to help. In other families, certain family members or friends might be better placed to have these conversations – perhaps the daughter with the health background, or the auntie or GP who Mum trusts more to provide good advice.</p> <p>Mum or Dad’s main emotional support person should try to maintain their relationship. It’s OK to get someone else (like the GP, the hospital or an adult child) to play “bad cop”, while a different person (such as the older person’s spouse, or a different adult child) plays “good cop”.</p> <h2>3. Understand the options when help at home isn’t enough</h2> <p>If you have maximised home support and it’s not enough, or if the hospital won’t discharge Mum or Dad without extensive supports, then you may be <a href="https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article/60/8/1504/5863160">considering a nursing home</a> (also known as residential aged care in Australia).</p> <p>Every person has a legal right to <a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/9-your-right-choose-where-you-live">choose where we live</a> (unless they have lost capacity to make that decision).</p> <p>This means families can’t put Mum or Dad into residential aged care against their will. Every person also has the right to choose to take risks. People can choose to continue to live at home, even if it means they might not get help immediately if they fall, or eat poorly. We should respect Mum or Dad’s decisions, even if we disagree with them. Researchers call this “dignity of risk”.</p> <p>It’s important to understand Mum or Dad’s point of view. Listen to them. Try to figure out what they are feeling, and what they are worried might happen (which might not be rational).</p> <p>Try to understand what’s really important to their quality of life. Is it the dog, having privacy in their safe space, seeing grandchildren and friends, or something else?</p> <p>Older people are often understandably concerned about losing independence, losing control, and having strangers in their personal space.</p> <p>Sometimes families prioritise physical health over psychological wellbeing. But we need to consider both when considering nursing home admission.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9826495/">Research</a> suggests going into a nursing home temporarily increases loneliness, risk of depression and anxiety, and sense of losing control.</p> <p>Mum and Dad should be involved in the decision-making process about where they live, and when they might move.</p> <p>Some families start looking “just in case” as it often takes some time to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/questions-to-ask-when-choosing-an-aged-care-home-for-a-loved-one/10302590">find the right nursing home</a> and there can be a wait.</p> <p>After you have your top two or three choices, take Mum or Dad to visit them. If this is not possible, take pictures of the rooms, the public areas in the nursing home, the menu and the activities schedule.</p> <p>We should give Mum or Dad information about their options and risks so they can make informed (and hopefully better) decisions.</p> <p>For instance, if they visit a nursing home and the manager says they can go on outings whenever they want, this might dispel a belief they are “locked up”.</p> <p>Having one or two weeks “respite” in a home may let them try it out before making the big decision about staying permanently. And if they find the place unacceptable, they can try another nursing home instead.</p> <h2>4. Understand the options if a parent has lost capacity to make decisions</h2> <p>If Mum or Dad have lost capacity to choose where they live, family may be able to make that decision in their best interests.</p> <p>If it’s not clear whether a person has capacity to make a particular decision, a medical practitioner can assess for that capacity.</p> <p>Mum or Dad may have appointed an <a href="https://www.tag.nsw.gov.au/wills/appoint-enduring-guardian/what-enduring-guardian">enduring guardian</a> to make decisions about their health and lifestyle decisions when they are not able to.</p> <p>An enduring guardian can make the decision that the person should live in residential aged care, if the person no longer has the capacity to make that decision themselves.</p> <p>If Mum or Dad didn’t appoint an enduring guardian, and have lost capacity, then a court or tribunal can <a href="https://www.tag.nsw.gov.au/guardianship/information-about-guardianship">appoint</a> that person a private guardian (usually a family member, close friend or unpaid carer).</p> <p>If no such person is available to act as private guardian, a public official may be appointed as public guardian.</p> <h2>Deal with your own feelings</h2> <p>Families often feel <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12144-023-04538-9">guilt and grief</a> during the decision-making and transition process.</p> <p>Families need to act in the best interest of Mum or Dad, but also balance other caring responsibilities, financial priorities and their own wellbeing.<!-- 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/221210/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/lee-fay-low-98311"><em>Lee-Fay Low</em></a><em>, Professor in Ageing and Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</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/how-do-i-handle-it-if-my-parent-is-refusing-aged-care-4-things-to-consider-221210">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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After a lifetime studying superannuation, here are 5 things I wish I knew earlier

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-thorp-214">Susan Thorp</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Amassing the wealth needed to support retirement by regular saving is a monumental test of personal planning and discipline. Fortunately for most Australian workers, the superannuation system can help.</p> <p>Superannuation uses the carrot of tax incentives, and the sticks of compulsion and limited access, to make us save for retirement.</p> <p>There are benefits to paying timely attention to your super early in your working life to get the most from this publicly mandated form of financial self-discipline.</p> <p>I’ve been researching and thinking about superannuation for most of my career. Here’s what I wish I knew at the beginning of my working life.</p> <h2>1. Check you’re actually getting paid super</h2> <p>First, make sure you are getting your dues.</p> <p>If you are working, your employer must contribute <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/businesses-and-organisations/super-for-employers/paying-super-contributions/how-much-super-to-pay">11% of your earnings</a> into your superannuation account. By July 2025 the rate will increase to 12%.</p> <p>This mandatory payment (the “<a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/tax-rates-and-codes/key-superannuation-rates-and-thresholds/super-guarantee">superannuation guarantee</a>”) may look like yet another tax but it is an important part of your earnings (would you take an 11% pay cut?).</p> <p>It is worth checking on, and worth <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/calculators-and-tools/super-report-unpaid-super-contributions-from-my-employer">reporting</a> if it is not being paid.</p> <p>The Australian Tax Office <a href="https://oia.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/posts/2023/05/Impact%20Analysis%20-%20Unpaid%20Superannuation%20Guarantee%20package.pdf">estimates</a> there is a gap between the superannuation employers should pay and what they do pay of around 5% (or $A3.3 billion) every year.</p> <p>Failing to pay is <a href="https://oia.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/posts/2023/05/Impact%20Analysis%20-%20Unpaid%20Superannuation%20Guarantee%20package.pdf">more common</a> among the accommodation, food service and construction industries, as well as small businesses.</p> <p>Don’t take your payslip at face value; cross-check your super account balance and the annual statement from your fund.</p> <h2>2. Have just one super account</h2> <p>Don’t make personal donations to the finance sector by having more than one superannuation account.</p> <p>Two super accounts mean you are donating unnecessary administration fees, possibly redundant insurance premiums and suffering two times the confusion to manage your accounts.</p> <p>The superannuation sector does not need your charity. If you have more than one super account, please consolidate them into just one today. You can do that <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/how-super-works/consolidating-super-funds">relatively easily</a>.</p> <h2>3. Be patient, and appreciate the power of compound interest</h2> <p>If you’re young now, retirement may feel a very distant problem not worth worrying about until later. But in a few decades you’re probably going to appreciate the way superannuation works.</p> <p>As a person closing in on retirement, I admit I had no idea in my 20s how much my future, and the futures of those close to me, would depend on my superannuation savings.</p> <p>Now I get it! <a href="https://www.nber.org/papers/w27459">Research</a> <a href="https://economics.mit.edu/sites/default/files/publications/pandp.20221022.pdf">shows</a> the strict rules preventing us from withdrawing superannuation earlier are definitely costly to some people in preventing them from spending on things they really need. For many, however, it stops them spending on things that, in retrospect, they would rate as less important.</p> <p>But each dollar we contribute in our 30s is worth around three times the dollars we contribute in our 50s. This is because of the advantages of time and <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/saving/compound-interest">compound interest</a> (which is where you earn interest not just on the money initially invested, but on the interest as well; it’s where you earn “interest on your interest”).</p> <p>For some, adding extra “voluntary” savings can build up retirement savings as a buffer against the periods of unemployment, disability or carer’s leave that most of us experience at some stage.</p> <h2>4. Count your blessings</h2> <p>If you are building superannuation savings, try to remember you’re among the lucky ones.</p> <p>The benefits of super aren’t available to those who can’t work much (or at all). They face a more precarious reliance on public safety nets, like the Age Pension.</p> <p>So aim to maintain your earning capacity, and pay particular attention to staying employable if you take breaks from work.</p> <p>What’s more, superannuation savings are invested by (usually) skilled professionals at rates of return hard for individual investors to achieve outside the system.</p> <p>Many larger superannuation funds offer members types of investments – such as infrastructure projects and commodities – that retail investors can’t access.</p> <p>The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) also <a href="https://www.apra.gov.au/industries/superannuation">checks</a> on large funds’ investment strategies and performance.</p> <h2>5. Tough decisions lie ahead</h2> <p>The really hard work is ahead of you. The saving or “accumulation” phase of superannuation is mainly automatic for most workers. Even a series of non-decisions (defaults) will usually achieve a satisfactory outcome. A little intelligent activity will do even better.</p> <p>However, at retirement we face the challenge of making that accumulated wealth cover our needs and wants over an uncertain number of remaining years. We also face variable returns on investments, a likely need for aged care and, in many cases, declining cognitive capacity.</p> <p>It’s helpful to frame your early thinking about superannuation as a means to support these critical decades of consumption in later life.</p> <p>At any age, when we review our financial management and think about what we wish we had known in the past, we should be realistic. Careful and conscientious people still make mistakes, procrastinate and suffer from bad luck. So if your super isn’t where you had hoped it would be by now, don’t beat yourself up about it. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/217922/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/susan-thorp-214">Susan Thorp</a>, Professor of Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</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/after-a-lifetime-studying-superannuation-here-are-5-things-i-wish-i-knew-earlier-217922">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Nick Kyrgios admits tennis career "may be over"

<p>Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios is seriously considering retirement as he revealed that he is "at a crossroads" in his career. </p> <p>In a column written for <em>The Sydney Morning Herald, </em>the <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">28-year-old </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> said that despite his desire to compete at the highest level, he might never make it back to playing professional tennis. </span></p> <p>He also said that he has enjoyed being away from the courts doing the media rounds.</p> <p>"I sat down with my agent, Stuart Duguid, a couple of days ago to talk about my future," he wrote.</p> <p>"The reality is, there is a part of me that knows my time in the sport may be over. And I'm OK with that.</p> <p>"It's a conversation that needed to be had. I'm at a crossroads in my career and have reached a point where life after tennis is a prospect that excites me."</p> <p>He also added that despite knowing he can still compete for titles, his body is letting him down, as he continues to recover from his <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/nick-kyrgios-pulls-out-of-australian-open-a-day-before-first-match" target="_blank" rel="noopener">knee injury</a> in January 2023.</p> <p>"I sit there and watch some of the players on tour and know within myself that this generation is not as strong as some of the players I have gone up against," he wrote. </p> <p>"I know I can be one of the best in the world and win major tournaments -- if my body lets me. The fire still burns, but it's not my everything."</p> <p>The <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">2022 Wimbledon finalist</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> also confirmed that he won't be making himself available for this year's </span>Paris<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> Olympics, saying that the </span>treatment he got from the Australian Olympic Committee in the lead-up to the 2016 Rio Games was one of the key factors. </p> <p>"I was No. 13 at the time and had a genuine chance at winning a medal. For them to forbid me from representing my country for behavioural reasons is something that I just can't forget," he said.</p> <p>He added that his "mentality has changed", and despite still having the desire to play for his country, his decision is final. </p> <p>Kyrgios has barely been on court after withdrawing from last year's Australian Open, but he has been commentating on the tournament for Eurosport, adding that his future may be in the box, rather than on the court.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Meet the grandmothers pushing boundaries with their New Year's resolutions

<p>Each year, millions of people around the world decide it is their year to try new things and push boundaries. </p> <p>For many, these New Year's resolutions include getting fit and eating healthy, travelling, or saving money for a big purchase. </p> <p>But for these Aussie seniors, they are pushing their resolutions even further, taking part in activities that will keep them young. </p> <p>For Gold Coast great-grandmother Hilda Wren, she knew she wanted to make a change after she had never been on a plane before. </p> <p>So, naturally, she decided to make her first trip in a plane one to remember, by jumping out of the aircraft and skydiving over the coast. </p> <p>"I've done sort of kickboxing, tennis, dancing, everything and I thought skydiving would be something different," Hilda told <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/today/rise-of-granfluencers-and-why-more-aussies-over-60-are-living-their-best-life/741432b9-4e3d-4831-a1c0-1134d66ac949" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Today</em></a>.</p> <p>"The grandkids think I'm absolutely marvellous."</p> <p>The 90-year-old admitted her first skydive was a little nerve-wracking, but after going up in the plane and jumping out another two times, she admitted it gets easier each time. </p> <p>"If anybody wants to do something different, do it while you can," she said.</p> <p>"I mean, I'm 90 now, and I'm glad I've done it three times - if I could do it again, I would."</p> <p>Melbourne pensioners Carmen and Ginger took up interesting resolutions last year, and this year have decided to try out pole dancing. </p> <p>"Take the opportunity to embrace whatever you want to embrace, more of what you love," Carmen said. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Today </em></p>

Retirement Life

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Boss slammed for demanding "insane" farewell gift contribution

<p>A boss in London has been slammed after asking his employees to chip in almost $100 each for an expensive farewell gift for a co-worker. </p> <p>In a TikTok, London-resident Ben Askins read out the anonymous submission from one of the employees who was fed up after his manager “forced” everyone in the team to contribute because it was "compulsory". </p> <p>“Hey, noticed you hadn’t paid into the leaving present for Josh yet. Can you send me the £50 (AU$95) today? I want to put the purchase in by the end of the day,” the boss said in the text.</p> <p>Shocked by the "insane" amount of money, the employee replied: “Can I ask why it is so expensive?</p> <p>“Money is a little tight right now and to be asked to put in so much feels like a lot.”</p> <p>However, the manager didn't take his employee's financial situation into consideration, and said: “Josh has led the company for three years now and I think it’s nice gesture to show our appreciation.” </p> <p>The employee hit back: “I appreciate that but he makes so much more money than me and for me to be asked to put in so much feels weird especially as I never really worked with him”.</p> <p>But, the manager insisted that the employee needed to make a contribution. </p> <p>“This is compulsory I am afraid, it is not fair for me to ask some people and not others. Besides it isn’t that much all things considered," he said, and the employee conceded. </p> <p>It is unclear what happened after, but the texts have gone viral with over 2.2 million views thanks to Askins' <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@ben.askins/video/7307322849407028513" target="_blank" rel="noopener">video</a>.</p> <p>Askins, who’s a managing director and co-founder of a digital agency, weighed in on the ordeal. </p> <p>“I don’t like this at all. I don’t mind leaving presents as a concept, right? But companies should pay it,” he said.</p> <p>“Companies should take responsibility, set a budget and they should pay for themselves. If you want to get something small for your best mate at work, that’s totally different, that’s well within your right.</p> <p>“But this sort of compulsory, ‘everyone’s got to chip in’, I absolutely hate," he added. </p> <p>He also said that the manager's actions are "really poor" and asking for that amount "is just ridiculous, it’s an insane amount". </p> <p>“It might not be much money for him but it is clearly a lot for this person so it’s just not fair what he’s doing,” he concluded. </p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

Retirement Life

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It’s not just about accumulating super. Australians need to learn how to spend their retirement savings

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marc-olynyk-1493791">Marc Olynyk</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>Australia’s superannuation and retirement income system is complex and difficult to navigate.</p> <p>Retirees need to make decisions on numerous issues where they have less than full information and understanding, both financial and non-financial. They also require access to retirement products to help them manage and balance income needs against longevity risk.</p> <p>Recognising these issues, the government released a <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2023-441613">discussion paper</a> this month seeking views on three key issues:</p> <ol> <li> <p>helping super fund members navigate the retirement income system</p> </li> <li> <p>supporting superannuation funds to deliver better services</p> </li> <li> <p>making retirement income products more accessible.</p> </li> </ol> <p>Australia has one of the largest and most sophisticated pension systems in the world. Valued at more than <a href="https://www.apra.gov.au/quarterly-superannuation-statistics">A$3.5 trillion</a> as at September 2023, and is the <a href="https://www.thinkingaheadinstitute.org/research-papers/global-pension-assets-study-2023/">5th largest pension scheme</a> in terms of asset size.</p> <p>It is also the <a href="https://www.mercer.com/insights/investments/market-outlook-and-trends/mercer-cfa-global-pension-index/">5th most highly rated retirement income system</a> internationally behind the Netherlands, Iceland, Denmark and Israel.</p> <h2>What is wrong with the super system?</h2> <p>But while the super system ranks highly in terms of integrity and sustainability, the numbers are not as flattering when it comes to “adequacy”.</p> <p>Adequacy is the level of income available to retirees depending on their different circumstances. According to a recent <a href="https://www.mercer.com/insights/investments/market-outlook-and-trends/mercer-cfa-global-pension-index/">study</a>, Australia is ranked 20th out of 47 worldwide on the adequacy index.</p> <p><a href="https://www.investmentmagazine.com.au/2023/02/purpose-of-super-law-to-herald-tax-reform/">Reform</a> in the <em>pre-retirement</em> phase of Australia’s retirement income scheme is ongoing and designed to support accumulating wealth for retirement.</p> <p>These ongoing reforms have been designed to make superannuation easier to understand and to reduce much of the decision making required. They’ve been needed because of an apparent lack of skills, interest and financial literacy among Australians.</p> <p>While the message that we need to save to be comfortable in retirement is getting through, the lack of information about how to manage these savings once we retire means many retirees are left to navigate the complex system as best they can.</p> <p>Given the complexity and volatility of Australia’s financial system, it’s hardly surprising many of the decisions made by retirees don’t produce the best financial results. For example, more than <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2023-441613">84%</a> of retirement savings are held in account-based pensions which, if not properly managed, can run out. This is despite government and community awareness that outliving your savings is a real possibility.</p> <p>About 50% of retirees currently withdraw at the minimum pension rate, which means many people experience a lower standard of living than what would normally be expected with the super they have accumulated. This can result in wealth not being used and instead being passed on to the next generation.</p> <h2>Help is needed now because the retiree sector is booming</h2> <p>Over the next decade there is going to be a big increase in the number of people retiring and transitioning from the accumulation phase of their super to the pension phase. It’s estimated <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2023-441613">2.5 million</a> Australians will move to the retirement phase in this period.</p> <p>Following the 2014 <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/publication/c2014-fsi-final-report">Financial System Inquiry</a>, the government introduced the <a href="http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/sia1993473/s52.html">Retirement Income Covenant</a> in 2022 to force super fund trustees to develop a strategy that would provide better retirement outcomes for their members.</p> <p>The strategy is based on retirees maximising their expected retirement income, managing expected risks to their retirement income and having flexible access to super funds during their retirement.</p> <p>A 2022-23 review conducted by <a href="https://asic.gov.au/regulatory-resources/find-a-document/reports/rep-766-implementation-of-the-retirement-income-covenant-findings-from-the-apra-and-asic-thematic-review/">Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission</a> found while trustees were providing more help to retirees, overall there was a lack of progress and urgency among trustees to improve retirement outcomes.</p> <h2>How the system could be improved</h2> <p>Several proposals have been put forward to improve the experiences and decision-making of retirees. These have included:</p> <ul> <li> <p>improved support from and education by superannuation fund trustees</p> </li> <li> <p>changing how people view their super savings from an accumulation of wealth to a system that enables drawdown of retirement savings over time to fund expenses.</p> </li> <li> <p>providing an automatic rollover of retirement savings into an income-stream instead of allowing a lump sum withdrawal on retirement</p> </li> <li> <p>expanding existing income products (that are starting to be offered by several financial institutions) which combine providing investment choice with a pension for life</p> </li> <li> <p>setting up a MyRetire product that would run parallel to <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/programs-and-initiatives-superannuation/mysuper">MySuper</a> and provide a simple and cost-effective retirement income system for less engaged members. MySuper only applies to the accumulation phase. Once a member starts an income stream in retirement, their MySuper account ceases</p> </li> <li> <p>improving access to financial planning advice which is shown to play a significant role in preparing Australians for retirement.</p> </li> </ul> <p>The government, superannuation industry and the community all have a greater role to play in improving the financial outcomes and experiences of retirees.</p> <p>With Australia’s ageing population, the need to better support retirees to achieve a dignified retirement is becoming more urgent.</p> <p>All Australians expect and deserve a financially secure retirement.<!-- 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/219217/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/marc-olynyk-1493791"><em>Marc Olynyk</em></a><em>, Director of Financial Planning, Deakin Business School, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin 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/its-not-just-about-accumulating-super-australians-need-to-learn-how-to-spend-their-retirement-savings-219217">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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"The time's right": Neil Mitchell signs off

<p>After 34 years on the air, 3AW radio veteran Neil Mitchell is signing off. </p> <p>Neil Mitchell has been a staple of Australian radio for decades, growing a reputation for being fair, decent, honest and sometimes "a bit grumpy".</p> <p><em>A Current Affair</em>'s Ally Langdon joined the 3AW veteran to reflect on a stellar career that earned him a legion of loyal listeners.</p> <p>"I've always wanted to be a journalist from about age 14," he told Langdon.</p> <p>"But not for a moment did I think that I would end up doing something such as I have, editing a newspaper and doing this."</p> <p>His passion as a radio presenter lies in the "real people" who call in each morning, saying, "You can go from a person laughing and telling you jokes and carrying on to great stories."</p> <p>"And then a couple of calls later there's somebody in tears that you need to help. It is real people."</p> <p>"I regularly shed tears on air ... And if we can make a difference, I shed tears again because we've had success."</p> <p>Over his decades on air, Mitchell clashed with many Aussie politicians, sharing how he took it upon himself to be a spokesperson for everyday Australians. </p> <p>"They've established a system where they don't have to be accountable," he said.</p> <p>"And [if] anybody attempts to make them accountable ... they resented it. Accountability is disappearing I'm afraid."</p> <p>While he is stepping back from his flagship show, he has assured listeners he isn't signing off forever. </p> <p>"I'll still be here. I'll be doing podcasts and all sorts of things. I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be an interesting change."</p> <p>"I'm going to miss it, stepping away. But the time's right."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine </em></p>

Music

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Downsizing cost trap awaits retirees – five reasons to be wary

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erika-altmann-361218">Erika Altmann</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em></p> <p>It’s time to debunk the myth of zero housing costs in retirement if we want to understand why retirees resist downsizing. Retirees have at least five reasons to be wary of the costs of downsizing.</p> <p>Retirees living in middle-ring suburbs face frequent calls to downsize into apartments to free up larger allotments in these suburbs for redevelopment. Retirees who fail to downsize into smaller units and apartments are viewed as being a greedy, baby-boomer elite, stealing financial security from younger generations.</p> <p>It also makes sense to policymakers for retirees to move into less spacious accommodation and make way for high-density housing. Housing think-tank AHURI <a href="http://www.ahuri.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/14079/AHURI_Final_Report_No_286_Australian-demographic-trends-and-implications-for-housing-assistance-programs.pdf">fosters this view</a>. Yet seniors remain resistant to moving, in part because of the ongoing costs they would face.</p> <p>The concept of zero housing costs in retirement is based on a 1940s view of a well-maintained, single dwelling on a single allotment of land where the mortgage has been paid off. This concept is incompatible with medium- and high-density housing and refusing to acknowledge ongoing housing costs may cause significant poverty for retirees.</p> <h2>Reason 1 – upfront moving costs are high</h2> <p>When a house is sold the owner receives the sale funds minus the real estate and legal fees. When the same person then buys a different property to live in, they pay legal fees plus stamp duty.</p> <p>For cities such as Melbourne and Sydney, these costs are likely to exceed A$70,000.</p> <p>These high transfer costs may mean it is not cost-effective <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-older-australians-dont-downsize-and-the-limits-to-what-the-government-can-do-about-it-76931">for the person to move</a>.</p> <h2>Reason 2 – levies are high</h2> <p>Because apartment owners pay body corporate levies, people often assume this is just the same as periodic payment of rates, water, insurance and other costs. It is not.</p> <p>Fees remissions for low-income retirees for rates, power, insurance and water are difficult to apply within a body corporate environment. As a consequence, these are usually not applied to owners of apartments.</p> <p>The costs of maintaining essential services, such as mandatory fire-alarm testing, yearly engineering certification, lift and air-conditioning inspections, significantly increase ownership costs.</p> <p>When additional services are supplied, such as swimming pools, gyms and rooftop gardens, these also require periodic inspections. Garbage collection, cleaning, gardening, concierge and strata management services also <a href="https://eprints.utas.edu.au/cgi/users/home?screen=EPrint%3A%3AView&amp;eprintid=23322">must be paid</a>.</p> <p>Owners of standard suburban homes choose whether they want these services, with those on fixed incomes going without them.</p> <p>Annual levies for apartment buildings vary, but expect to pay between $10,000 and $15,000. They <a href="https://www.strata.community/understandingstrata/faqs">may be more than this</a>.</p> <h2>Reason 3 – costs of maintenance</h2> <figure class="align-right "><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>Apartments are often sold as a maintenance-free solution for older people. The maintenance is not free. It needs to be paid for.</p> <p>Maintenance costs are higher in an apartment than a standard suburban home because there are more items and services to be maintained and fixed. Lifts and air conditioning need periodic servicing and fixing. This is in addition to the mandatory inspections listed above.</p> <h2>Reason 4 – loss of financial security</h2> <p>It is a mistaken belief that the maintenance costs that form part of the body corporate fee include periodic property upgrades. This relates to items that are owned collectively with other apartment owners.</p> <p>Major servicing at the ten-year mark and usually each five-to-seven years after that include painting, floor-covering replacement, and lift and air-conditioning repair or replacement.</p> <p>Major upgrades may also include garden redesign or other external building enhancement including <a href="https://eprints.utas.edu.au/cgi/users/home?screen=EPrint%3A%3AView&amp;eprintid=23315">environmental upgrades</a>. All owners share these upgrade costs.</p> <p>Costs of upgrading the inside of an apartment (a bathroom disability upgrade, for example) are additional again.</p> <p>Once the body corporate committee members pledge funds towards an upgrade, all owners are required to raise their share of the funds, whether they can afford it or not. Communal choice outweighs an individual owner’s need to delay upgrade costs.</p> <p>Owners who buy apartments that are part of a body corporate effectively lose control of their future financial decisions.</p> <h2>Reason 5 – loss of security of tenure</h2> <p>Loss of security of tenure is usually associated with renters. However, the recent introduction of <a href="http://www.lpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/25965/Termination_of_a_strata_scheme_by_RG.pdf">termination legislation</a> in New South Wales gives other owners the right to vote to terminate a strata title scheme. When this occurs, all owners, including reluctant owners of apartments within that scheme, are compelled to sell.</p> <p>There are valid reasons why termination legislation is desirable, as many older apartment complexes are reaching the end of their useful life.</p> <p>Even so, as termination legislation is rolled out across the states, owner- occupiers effectively lose control of how long they will own a property for. They no longer have security of tenure, which means retirees may face an uncertain housing future in their old age.</p> <h2>Downsizing raises poverty risks</h2> <p>Because current data sets do not adequately take account of ongoing costs associated with apartment living, the effect of downsizing on individual households is masked.</p> <p>Downsizing retirees into the apartment sector creates ongoing financial stress for older people. Creating <a href="https://theconversation.com/it-will-take-more-than-piecemeal-reforms-to-convince-older-australians-to-downsize-51043">tax incentives to move</a> does not tackle these ongoing costs.</p> <p>Centrelink payments for of <a href="https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/age-pension">$404 per week</a> are well below <a href="http://acoss.wpengine.com/poverty-2/">the poverty line</a>. Yet we expect retirees to willingly downsize and to be able to cede most of their Centrelink payments to cover high body corporate costs.</p> <p>Requiring retirees to downsize for the greater urban good will shift poverty onto retirees who could barely manage in their previously owned standard suburban home.</p> <p>Failing to understand the effect of high ongoing costs associated with apartment living and reinforcing the myth of zero housing costs in retirement will continue to lead to poor policy outcomes.<!-- 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/80895/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/erika-altmann-361218"><em>Erika Altmann</em></a><em>, Property and Housing Management Researcher, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</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/downsizing-cost-trap-awaits-retirees-five-reasons-to-be-wary-80895">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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"32 years of safe landings": Pilot's surprise speech reduces passengers to tears

<p>A pilot has brought his passengers to tears with an emotional speech on his final flight after 32 years in the skies. </p> <p>Jeff Fell, an American Airlines pilot, took off from Chicago on his retirement flight as he stood in front of his passengers and delivered a heartfelt message. </p> <p>At first, his message seemed routine, informing travellers of the weather and and flight time, before acknowledging it was strange for him to deliver the address from outside the cockpit. </p> <p>“I normally don’t stand up in front of everybody like this, I usually just stay in the cockpit and talk on the PA. If I get a little emotional please forgive me for that,” he said in the speech, which was captured on video by a passenger. </p> <p>With passengers still unaware of what was to come, he pointed out a group of “very important people” to him sitting at the back of the plane.</p> <p>“They’re the majority of my family who have come along with me on my retirement flight,” Mr Fell said.</p> <p>The plane was filled with applause as the pilot's voice wavered with emotion.</p> <p>“They’re on-board with me on my retirement flight after 32 years with American,” he said.</p> <p>He continued, fighting back tears, “Thank you all for coming along with me tonight and celebrating this very memorable time in my life. I love all of you."</p> <p>With another round of applause from his passengers, Mr Fell added:, “I didn’t want to get emotional but goodness gracious.”</p> <p>“Finally, for my wonderful wife Julie who has been at my side for the majority of my 32 years at American. She has been the rock, the solid rock in the foundation in our lives and our marriage. Her faith in the Lord, wisdom, strength and love has guided our marriage and family throughout these years. I love you and look forward to the next chapter in our lives. And welcome aboard everybody.”</p> <p>The video was uploaded to TikTok and has since gone viral, raking up millions of views, and you can watch the full video <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@realjharrison/video/7299484162648509738" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. </p> <p>Thousands of social media users left comments of support, with many confessing the clip had brought them to tears.</p> <p>“As soon as he said retirement flight my tears came,” one person wrote, while another added, "32 years of safe landings also. God bless him and all pilots.”</p> <p>“To think of the amount of families, people, and cultures he has single-handedly connected throughout the world. Thank you!” penned a third person.</p> <p>“32 years of bringing people closer together. I’m crying!” agreed another.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

International Travel

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Women and low-income earners miss out in a superannuation system most Australians think is unfair

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/antonia-settle-1019551">Antonia Settle</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Most Australians think the superannuation system is unfair, with only one in three agreeing the retirement savings scheme is fair for most Australians, according to a survey conducted for the University of Melbourne.</p> <p>In fact, only about half of those <a href="https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/publications/research-insights/search/result?paper=4630688">surveyed</a> agreed superannuation works well for them.</p> <p>These results contradict a conventional view based on earlier studies and held by academics and many in the personal finance sector, that Australians give little thought to superannuation.</p> <p>A 2013 survey found Australians have <a href="https://search.informit.org/doi/abs/10.3316/INFORMIT.285049750322819">poor knowledge</a> of how the superannuation system works, while another study in 2022 highlighted <a href="https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/4382057/HILDA_Statistical_Report_2022.pdf">low financial literacy</a> in general.</p> <p>Australians also showed <a href="https://behaviouraleconomics.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/projects/retirement-planning-saving-attitudes_0_0.pdf">little interest in superannuation</a>, according to a 2020 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet survey, with few Australians showing interest in reading their superannuation statements, choosing their fund or making voluntary contributions.</p> <p>With Australian households seen as uninformed and uninterested, their opinions tend to be left out of the public debate. We hear much about the gender pension gap, for example, but little about what women actually think about superannuation.</p> <p>Similarly, the distribution of tax advantage in superannuation is hotly debated by economists but survey data tends to refrain from asking households what they think about equity in the superannuation system.</p> <p>The University of Melbourne survey of 1,003 Australians was undertaken by Roy Morgan Research in April.</p> <p>Its results show women and low-income households are widely seen as disadvantaged in the superannuation system.</p> <p>In fact, only one in five Australians see the superannuation system as well suited to the needs of women and of low-income households, while 70% believe super favours wealthy households.</p> <p><iframe id="5VX3K" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/5VX3K/1/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>This suggests although Australians may show little interest in the management of their super accounts and may report they find the system confusing or even <a href="https://www.professionalplanner.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Attitudes-to-Super-Report-May-2016.pdf">boring</a>, they are surprisingly aware of how superannuation is distributed.</p> <h2>Women, singles and low-income earners miss out</h2> <p>The federal government’s 2020 <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/publication/p2020-100554">Retirement Income Review</a> documents these gaps. Renters, women, uncoupled households and those on low-incomes fare poorly in the retirement income system.</p> <p>With little super to supplement the public pension, these groups are vastly over-represented in elderly poverty statistics, which are among the <a href="https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/d76e4fad-en/index.html?itemId=/content/component/d76e4fad-en">highest in the OECD</a>.</p> <p>Mirroring the gaps in the superannuation system reported by the review, the University of Melbourne survey shows that it is outright homeowners and those who are married who believe the superannuation system works well.</p> <p>Concerns the system works poorly for women and low-income households are strongest among women and low-income households. Only one in three renters believe the superannuation system meets their needs.</p> <p><iframe id="N9GO6" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/N9GO6/1/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>This suggests individuals’ concerns about fairness in the superannuation system are driven by their own experiences of disadvantage, regardless of financial literacy.</p> <p>This is consistent with my own <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13563467.2023.2195159">research</a> into household attitudes to superannuation, which showed some resentment among women who were well aware their male partners had substantially higher superannuation balances than them.</p> <p>This all matters for policymakers.</p> <h2>Why public perceptions are important</h2> <p>In the short term, these results suggest public support for making super fairer is likely to be stronger than previously thought. Recent government changes to tax concessions on large balances, for example, could have gone much further without losing support from the 70% of households that think the system favours the wealthy.</p> <p>But it matters for the longer term too.</p> <p>Public perceptions of fairness, effectiveness and efficiency are crucial to policy sustainability. This is well established in the academic literature from <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/spol.12683">B Ebbinghaus</a>, 2021 and <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1911-3838.12171">H Chung et al.</a>, and accepted by the Retirement Income Review.</p> <p>The review assessed the public’s confidence in the system to both “deliver an adequate retirement income for them(selves) and (to) generate adequate outcomes across society”.</p> <p>As the review makes clear, the system must avoid a loss of public confidence from perceptions of unfairness.</p> <p>Yet perceptions of unfairness are exactly what the University of Melbourne results suggest. This would have been clearer to policymakers if they asked earlier.<!-- 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/207633/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/antonia-settle-1019551">Antonia Settle</a>, Academic (McKenzie Postdoctoral Research Fellow), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</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/women-and-low-income-earners-miss-out-in-a-superannuation-system-most-australians-think-is-unfair-207633">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Unlocking the wealth in your home for a better retirement

<p>In an era where the cost of living continues to rise, Australian retirees are facing unique financial challenges. Many find themselves in a situation where the bulk of their wealth is tied up in their family homes, leaving them with limited options to fund their retirement comfortably.</p> <p>That’s where <a href="https://householdcapital.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Household Capital</a> steps in.</p> <p>As a specialist retirement funding provider, Household Capital offers a solution that empowers retirees to make the most of their home’s value.</p> <p>Through a helpful and enlightening Q&A session with Household Capital, we explore how their innovative approach allows retirees aged 60 and above to access their home wealth responsibly, providing flexible options such as regular income streams, lump sum payments, and even assistance for those still paying off mortgages!</p> <p>Whether you're looking to beat the cost-of-living crisis, help your children enter the property market, or simply secure a more comfortable retirement, Household Capital offers a pathway to a brighter financial future. Here’s how:</p> <h3>Q: What does Household Capital do?</h3> <p>A: Household Capital is a specialist retirement funding provider that provides responsible long-term access to your home wealth. Our approach aims to provide you with the best of both worlds – to continue living in your family home with the confidence to enjoy the retirement lifestyle you deserve.</p> <h3>Q: How does Household Capital help retired Australians?</h3> <p>A: If you’re like most Australian retirees, the majority of your wealth is probably tied up in your family home. This wealth is a valuable resource that could be used to improve your retirement funding and enhance your retirement lifestyle. Our Household Loan helps Australian homeowners aged 60 plus to unlock that wealth and put you in control of your retirement. Your home wealth can be drawn as a regular income, a lump sum payment to renovate your home, buy a new car or cover medical expenses, or both! Importantly, it provides flexibility and choice, so you can look to the future with confidence.</p> <h3>Q: How can Household Capital help me beat the cost-of-living crisis?</h3> <p>A: Many Australians are grappling with the rising cost of living. Food, medical costs, insurance premiums, petrol prices – it seems never ending. How do retired Australians manage this on a fixed income? In many cases, they don’t. Some give up doing things they love – other forgo necessities. Unlocking the wealth in your home can provide a regular income to supplement that received from your superannuation or government pension. You don’t have to go without. You can enjoy the lifestyle you deserve.</p> <h3>Q: I’m over 60 and still paying a mortgage – can you help me?</h3> <p>A: You may be one of the millions of Australians aged over 60 still paying off their home loan. Those principal and interest repayments can really stress budgets, especially as the interest rate for ‘old loans’ may be much higher than current rates for younger borrowers.<br />For some over 60s, it means they can’t retire when they want to. For others, it’s having to find that monthly repayment from a fixed income that’s already been stretched by increasing rates and inflation. There is a better way. Many of our customers use a Household Loan to refinance their bank loan. Because a Household Loan does not require regular repayments, your retirement income is freed up. Notably, there is no risk of foreclosure if you miss repayments – because regular repayments are not required. You can stay in your home as long as you want with guaranteed lifetime occupancy and retain 100 percent ownership, meaning you benefit fully from any growth in your home’s value.</p> <h3>Q: How can I help my kids get onto the property ladder?</h3> <p>A: Did you know the ‘bank of mum and dad’ is consistently ranked among Australia’s top ten lenders? Typically, funds are drawn from retirement savings, which can have a detrimental impact on the ‘bank’ over the longer term. If your retirement funding needs are in hand, you can use your home wealth to contribute to a first home buyers deposit or help children with mortgage expenses. This enables you to help children and grandchildren when they need it most and use your home wealth to help the next generation build theirs.</p> <h3>Q: How much home wealth could I unlock?</h3> <p>A: The amount of home wealth you could unlock is dependent on the Loan to Value ratio (LVR). The calculation takes multiple factors into account including the age of the youngest borrower and the value of your property. The LVR for a Household Loan starts at 20 percent of the agreed property value for those aged 60 and increases one percent per year thereafter.</p> <p>To see how much home wealth you could unlock, check out Household Capital’s <a href="https://householdcapital.com.au/home-equity-calculators/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">online calculator</a> or call and speak to one of their Australian-based retirement specialists on 1300 734 720.</p> <p><em>Applications for credit are subject to eligibility and lending criteria. Fees and charges are payable, and terms and conditions apply (available upon request). Household Capital Pty Limited ACN 618 068 214, Australian Credit Licence 545906, is the Servicer for the credit provider Household Capital Services Pty Limited ACN 625 860 764</em></p> <p><em>Image: Supplied.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Household Capital.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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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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Santas needed! Surprising Christmas shortage spells job openings for Aussie grandads

<p>A nationwide Santa shortage has many shopping centres hoping for a Christmas miracle, before festive families line up in droves for a snap with Father Christmas. </p> <p>According to talent agency <a href="https://scenetobelieve.com.au/santa-jobs/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Scene to Believe</a>, who are responsible for hiring Santas in over 180 around Australia, there are not have enough applicants for Santa roles this December. </p> <p>The agency's head Christmas recruiter, Viviana Diaz, told <a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/careers/santa-jobs-go-unfilled-despite-fall-in-aussie-job-ads/news-story/de7f3c5b6d95c6f78f9718d1bb60a099" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a> that the seasonal shortfall was nationwide, but the situation was more pronounced in Sydney.</p> <p>The company said issue has been growing over the last three years, with the problem believed to have stemmed from the Covid pandemic. </p> <p>Ms Diaz said that contrary to popular belief, Santas can come in all shapes, sizes and ages, and that women are also eligible to apply. </p> <p>“Sometimes they think they have to look like Santa,” Ms Diaz said.</p> <p>“But we provide a full Santa suit and they don’t have to have a real beard.”</p> <p>Previous experience is also not required, as Scene to Believe runs a dedicated Santa School where new incoming Santas can learn tips from experienced Santas.</p> <p>The company states that Santas “need to be jolly, have a great HOHOHO and enjoy working with children”, while a genuine love of the festive season, patience and compassion, and good communication skills.</p> <p> A current Working with Children Check and Police Check, or willingness to get these, are also important.</p> <p>Ms Diaz added, “Being a shopping centre Santa is a perfect job for Aussies looking to help their hip pocket come Christmas time, with flexible working arrangements and casual rates.”</p> <p>Experienced Santa Tony Hooper said it’s “perfect for older Australians wanting to dip their toe back into the workforce”. </p> <p>“Being a Santa is by far the best work I’ve ever done. It’s flexible, I work when I want and I spend my days talking to young families and getting in the festive spirit.”</p> <p>“It’s also a great way to earn extra cash right before Christmas, which is when I need it most. And the best part is, I can still receive my pension!” </p> <p>Ms Diaz said failing to fill its Santa positions was not an option, and they would do everything in their power to have a flock of Santas ready to spread Christmas cheer on December 1st.</p> <p>“We have to find a lot of people because Santa has to be there. We will perform a Christmas miracle!”</p> <div> </div> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Happy ending after company's awful retirement send-off

<p>An elderly gentleman in the United States, who had faithfully served as an "extremely dependable" employee for 42 years, recently experienced a remarkable change in his fortunes, thanks in large part to the generosity of individuals from Australia.</p> <p>John Bartlett, the dedicated worker in question, had received <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/retirement-life/you-deserve-more-company-slammed-over-measly-send-off-party" target="_blank" rel="noopener">underwhelming recognition from an unnamed company</a> for his decades of commitment. His daily 40-minute commute on public transportation to a job paying only the minimum wage went largely unnoticed until recently, causing widespread consternation.</p> <p>Sonia, one of his colleagues, was deeply moved by the perceived injustice and decided to share a video clip of Bartlett's story online. In her post, she expressed her wish that his hard work had been better acknowledged and thanked him for his unwavering loyalty. She noted that Bartlett loved his job so much that he was reluctant to retire, receiving nothing more than a barbecue and a certificate as a token of appreciation.</p> <p>After sharing Bartlett's story on social media, Sonia was inundated with messages from people eager to contribute to his well-deserved retirement. Responding to this outpouring of support, she set up a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/happy-retirement-john#xd_co_f=YjM1NWNiYzAtN2QwYS00MDc2LTgzZWEtNzRiYzE2ZjczZDU2~" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> campaign, inviting the public to contribute "a little something for a better retirement" for him.</p> <p>Within a matter of days, the fundraiser received an overwhelming response, with donations and messages pouring in from around the world, including numerous contributions from Australians. The campaign was eventually closed after more than 1,900 individuals contributed, resulting in a total of A$57,454 for Bartlett's retirement fund.</p> <p>In his 70s, Bartlett was left speechless when Sonia shared this incredible news with him. She conveyed the global impact of his story and the messages of support he had received from people across the globe. Overwhelmed by the gesture, Bartlett could only smile and nod in response.</p> <p>“They left messages for you," said Sonia in the video. "So I’m going to print it out and go ahead and make something nice for you so you can read it on your own time. We started the GoFundMe because they wanted to give you something for your retirement on their part and it just blew up overnight. You deserve it, OK? I’m going to make sure everything goes to your account, just for you.”</p> <p>Supporters encouraged Bartlett to use the funds for special treats, like a grand holiday or for spending time with loved ones. Messages from donors expressed their heartfelt wishes for his retirement and new beginnings.</p> <p>Sonia expressed her gratitude to the donors, assuring them that every cent raised would be placed directly into Bartlett's account. In her final update to the GoFundMe account, she thanked donors for their kindness and reaffirmed her commitment to ensuring Bartlett received every penny, attributing the success of the campaign to their collective efforts.</p> <p>In the end, the power of community and compassion won out, as people from all walks of life came together to make a meaningful difference in the life of an individual who had dedicated so much to his job.</p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

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Kids dressing up as older people is harmless fun, right? No, it’s ageist, whatever Bluey says

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lisa-mitchell-1143692">Lisa Mitchell</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>A child once approached me, hunched over, carrying a vacuum cleaner like a walking stick. In a wobbly voice, he asked: "Do you want to play grannies?"</p> <p>The idea came from the children’s TV show Bluey, which <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ABCKidsCommunity/videos/bluey-grannies/468144817266668/">has</a> <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ABCKidsCommunity/videos/new-bluey-episodes-the-grannies-are-back-abc-kids/371436135028190/">episodes</a>, <a href="https://www.bluey.tv/products/grannies-book/">a book</a>, <a href="https://www.discountmags.com/magazine/bluey-september-1-2023-digital">magazine</a> editions and an <a href="https://www.facebook.com/OfficialBlueyTV/videos/grannies-filter-bluey/5728362390510269/">image filter</a> about dressing up as “grannies”.</p> <p>Children are also dressing up as 100-year-olds to mark their first “100 days of school”, an idea <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/old-people-s-home-for-five-year-olds-prep-students-don-senior-citizen-attire-20230801-p5dszb.html">gaining popularity</a> <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/education/cardigans-wigs-and-canes-why-kindy-students-are-dressing-up-as-100-year-olds-20230720-p5dpu8.html">in Australia</a>.</p> <p>Is this all just harmless fun?</p> <h2>How stereotypes take hold</h2> <p>When I look at the older people in my life, or the patients I see as a geriatrician, I cannot imagine how to suck out the individual to formulate a “look”.</p> <p>But Google “older person dress-ups” and you will find <a href="https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/dress-up-like-youre-100-years-old-100thdayofschool--15199717464361356/">Pinterests</a> and <a href="https://www.wikihow.com/Dress-Up-Like-an-Old-Person#:%7E:text=Dress%20in%20comfortable%2C%20loose%2Dfitting,older%20people%20may%20wear%20include%3A&amp;text=Oversized%20sweatshirts">Wikihow pages</a> doing just that.</p> <p>Waistcoats, walking sticks, glasses and hunched backs are the key. If you’re a “granny”, don’t forget a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/OfficialBlueyTV/videos/games-you-can-play-at-home-grannies-bluey/645964056227345/">shawl and tinned beans</a>. You can buy “old lady” <a href="https://www.spotlightstores.com/party/costumes-and-accessories/costume-accessories/wigs-hair-accessories/wigs/spartys-kids-old-lady-wig-with-curlers/80578132?gclsrc=aw.ds&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQjw0vWnBhC6ARIsAJpJM6emZHoNxO72pUa80Wc8ihYYiq3AohZ_w72jmuWBBDlficdCMy_rsK8aAj47EALw_wcB">wigs</a> or an “old man” <a href="https://www.bigw.com.au/product/facial-hair-set-old-man-3-pieces/p/305026">moustache and bushy eyebrows</a>.</p> <p>This depiction of how older people look and behave is a stereotype. And if dressing up as an older person is an example, such stereotypes are all around us.</p> <h2>What’s the harm?</h2> <p>There is <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/hypa.12170">some debate</a> about whether stereotyping is intrinsically wrong, and if it is, why. But there is plenty of research about the harms of <em>age</em> stereotypes or ageism. That’s harm to current older people and harm to future older people.</p> <p>The World Health Organization <a href="https://www.who.int/health-topics/ageism#tab=tab_1">defines ageism</a> as: "the stereotypes (how we think), prejudice (how we feel) and discrimination (how we act) towards others or ourselves based on age."</p> <p>Ageism <a href="https://www.who.int/health-topics/ageism#tab=tab_1">contributes to</a> social isolation, reduced health and life expectancy and costs economies <a href="https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article/60/1/174/5166947">billions of dollars</a> globally.</p> <p>When it comes to health, the impact of negative stereotypes and beliefs about ageing may be even <a href="https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article/60/1/174/5166947">more harmful</a> than the discrimination itself.</p> <p>In laboratory studies, older people perform <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4360754/">worse</a> than expected on tasks such as memory or thinking after being shown negative stereotypes about ageing. This may be due to a “<a href="https://www.simplypsychology.org/stereotype-threat.html">stereotype threat</a>”. This is when a person’s performance is impaired because they are worried about confirming a negative stereotype about the group they belong to. In other words, they perform less well because they’re worried about acting “old”.</p> <p>Another theory is “stereotype embodiment”. This is where people absorb negative stereotypes throughout their life and come to believe decline is an inevitable consequence of ageing. This leads to biological, psychological and physiological changes that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2927354/">create</a> a self-fulfilling prophecy.</p> <p>I have seen this in my clinic with people who do well, until they realise they’re an older person – a birthday, a fall, a revelation when they look in the mirror. Then, they stop going out, stop exercising, stop seeing their friends.</p> <p>Evidence for “stereotype embodiment” comes from studies that show people with more negative views about ageing are more likely to have higher levels of stress hormones (such as cortisol and C-reactive protein) and are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7182003/">less likely</a> to engage in health behaviours, such as exercising and eating healthy foods.</p> <p>Younger adults with negative views about ageing are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2666386/">more likely</a> to have a heart attack up to about 40 years later. People with the most negative attitudes towards ageing have a lower life expectancy by as much as <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12150226/">7.5 years</a>.</p> <p>Children are particularly susceptible to absorbing stereotypes, a process <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2007-09385-010">that starts</a> in early childhood.</p> <h2>Ageism is all around us</h2> <p><a href="https://www.who.int/health-topics/ageism#tab=tab_1">One in two people</a> have ageist views, so tackling ageism is complicated given it is socially acceptable and normalised.</p> <p>Think of all the birthday cards and jokes about ageing or phrases like “geezer” and “old duck”. Assuming a person (including yourself) is “too old” for something. Older people say it is harder to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-07-06/senior-job-seekers-struggle-to-get-a-foot-in-the-door/102563144">find work</a> and they face discrimination in <a href="https://www.hcnsw.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Ageism-in-Health-Care_final.pdf">health care</a>.</p> <h2>How can we reduce ageism?</h2> <p>We can reduce ageism through laws, policies and education. But we can also reduce it via <a href="https://www.who.int/health-topics/ageism#tab=tab_1">intergenerational contact</a>, where older people and younger people come together. This helps break down the segregation that allows stereotypes to fester. Think of the TV series <a href="https://iview.abc.net.au/show/old-people-s-home-for-4-year-olds">Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds</a> or the follow-up <a href="https://iview.abc.net.au/show/old-people-s-home-for-teenagers">Old People’s Home for Teenagers</a>. More simply, children can hang out with their older relatives, neighbours and friends.</p> <p>We can also challenge a negative view of ageing. What if we allowed kids to imagine their lives as grandparents and 100-year-olds as freely as they view their current selves? What would be the harm in that?<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/212607/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lisa-mitchell-1143692"><em>Lisa Mitchell</em></a><em>, Geriatrician working in clinical practice. PhD Candidate at The University of Melbourne studying ethics and ageism in health care. Affiliate lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</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/kids-dressing-up-as-older-people-is-harmless-fun-right-no-its-ageist-whatever-bluey-says-212607">original article</a>.</em></p>

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