The Australian Federal Government Treasurer Joe Hockey reckons Australia’s aging population is going to run out of cash and have to live on the cheap… funded by the government.
“Australians to live longer and be poorer in 2055, Intergenerational Report shows“
I hope it’s simply a cack-handed way of encouraging people to contribute to superannuation, responsibly consider their future, and the country’s budget. A message well meant [albeit for political effect]. Poorly expressed.
Worries me not, if it did I’d stay chained to my desk rather than actively nurturing plans to move to Taylors Arm and live simply & creatively as it’s likely we’ll be less well off financially than we are living and working in the city.
Apparently to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle you need “$42,158 a year, or $57,665 for a couple… and according to the ASFA Retirement Standard, a comfortable lifestyle enables an older, healthy retiree to be involved in a broad range of leisure and recreational activities and to have a good standard of living through the purchase of such things as; household goods, private health insurance, a reasonable car, good clothes, a range of electronic equipment, and domestic and occasionally international holiday travel.”
Some people, like our friend, have certain priorities, in this case to have sufficient superannuation to drink bottled wine rather than cask…
I’m going to say this quietly, so Joe Hockey doesn’t hear me letting the cat out of the bag, but we’re acquainted with quite a few people who have a good life living on the pension (“As at September 2014, the maximum rate for an age pension is $776.70 for a single person per fortnight. If you are a couple, the rate is $585.50 each per fortnight”) or modest self-funded income.
They don’t dine at fancy restaurants, take overseas holidays or buy new cars annually but were they wealthier, they wouldn’t anyway. They own their homes. They have pastimes, gardens, take walks, cook nice meals, drink bottled beer & wine(!), travel domestically and spend time with family & friends. They spend money on goods and services when required but they don’t update their smartphone every time a new one is released… if indeed they own a smartphone… most don’t.
Even in the city the G.O. and I have had a bit of practice living simply, creatively and economically… on our level of income if you want to pay off your house quickly, that’s what you need to do.
My MiL, an age pensioner, isn’t convinced – she thinks we’re a bit extravagant, and assures us when we make the sea-tree-change she’ll give us lessons how to live frugally. She wastes nothing, accounts for every cent, has a nice home and enviable bank balance. Most importantly she is happy with her life.
How do we plan to live viably at Taylors Arm, a rural area where employment and financial earning opportunities are less than the city’s?
- Own our house.
- Have no debt.
- Utilise our space to grow food.
- Cook our own food.
- Re-use, recycle, up-cycle.
- Utilise the resources of our own time, skills and energy.
- Amuse ourselves.
- Forgo consumerism.
- Think of wealth in terms other than monetary.
Do we think we’ll be missing out on good things in life?
No. On the contrary. We believe our realistic expectations and our ability to live within them is every bit as important as our superanuation balances.
I agree it makes sense for employed people to contribute superannuation funds they will access at the end of their working life. What doesn’t make any sense to me is the mandatory contributions unless invested in a cash fund at negligible interest are subject to the vagaries of the share market… essentially a gamble, as was proven during past GFCs when many people lost considerable amounts not just from their superannuation earnings but from their original investment.
The current system doesn’t adequately cater for self-employed whose contributions are not regulated, and also begs the question of fairness to non-paid-work contributors to our society.
Australian superannuation reminds me of The Cat in the Hat…
“And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We cannot pick it up.
There is no way at all!” ― Dr. Seuss