We all know what the statistics tell us; that the lifespan for women is greater than that for men, with many of us expected to live into our late 80s and beyond. I was looking at the death notices in the SMH yesterday and found a lot were for people who were over 80. This is an age group who, when they were born, did not have a life expectancy much beyond 70 or 75. So, if that age group is living well into their 80s, what about those of us now in our 40s and 50s? I think that we can expect to live well into the 90s and beyond.
The majority of women, especially those over 48 and single, will not have enough money when they retire to support themselves comfortably and will have to resort to a government payment. Currently, the average superannuation payout for women is a third of the payout for men.
Do you know how much you have in your super account? I had a look at mine a few months ago and have less than my current gross yearly income. Hmmmmm…I’m going to have to do something about that.
So if you are already over 48, where does that leave you? Are you planning on relying on the age pension as your main source of income? Did you know that if you were born after January 1957, you cannot access that payment until you are 67?
As it stands now, the payment for a single person on the aged pension is $712 a fortnight with an additional allowance of a pension supplement amount of $60.60 that is “paid as part of certain regular fortnightly income-support payments to help eligible people meet the costs of daily household and living expenses, including phone, internet, utilities and pharmaceutical costs”. This information is from the current Centrelink website dated 04/12/12.
Do you know how Centrelink describes the age pension?
“An income support payment that helps give older people a sufficient standard of living in retirement.” The bold and italics are my emphasis – “sufficient”? Are they serious? Who are they kidding?
Well, I don’t know about you but that wouldn’t even cover my rent. The maximum amount of rent assistance for a single person is $121 per fortnight. So if you were eligible for the maximum of everything you could get the sum of $893.60. If you owned your home outright you would still have to maintain your home and pay council rates etc. and you would only get the max. of $772.60. There is provision to be able to have some income from other sources but the limit before it affects the payment is not much.
Why are we in this position? The main reason is that for those of us who have children, we spent time out of the paid workforce, then working part-time or casual, and in jobs where the pay was lower than traditional male jobs. In addition, women are generally the ones who provide unpaid care for older family members who are experiencing ill-health, or age related problems, and may have to take time off work to do that.
So, that brings me to the headline of this blog – I don’t want to be a bag lady and I’d rather have Prada than plastic (bag) - well…that is a slight exaggeration – my latest purchase is a handmade fabric Fairtrade bag I got at the markets, but you know what I mean
My goal is to have the money I need to live the lifestyle I want, and stay away from the age pension. I want freedom and choices in my life, including where I live, where I holiday, access to health and dental care on my terms without having to submit to the public waiting list etc, etc,. What about you? How do you want the rest of your life to be?
P.S – your next move? Find your super account statements and check how much you have.