In the 1980’s when Paul Keating changed government policy to encourage us all to save enough money for our eventual retirement, we did so with an expectation of mastering our own destiny to enjoy a wonderful and carefree retirement. The idea was to reduce the dependence upon government funds for the old-age pension.
There has been a tremendous change in the social culture of Australia in the 25 years or so since superannuation commenced. Consumerism and household debt have risen to enormous levels. Almost every householder draws upon the equity in their homes to afford luxury “lifestyle” items such as the latest big-screen home theatre systems. Credit cards and high levels of debt are common. The levels of average household savings (apart from superannuation) are non-existent, and most super funds are invested in Australian equities (shares) and therefore vulnerable to share-market contractions, such as at present.
These and related factors have left us Baby Boomers with a substantial shortfall (on average) in our projected savings for retirement.
This is why You’re On Your Own. The government absolutely won’t have enough funds to provide full pensions and ever-more-expensive health-care for the enormous numbers of Baby Boomers about to leave the workforce and head into the twilight years. There simply are not enough replacement workers coming into the workforce behind us to pay for everything through current taxes. It is no coincidence that in the same era as superannuation began in Australia the GST (Goods & Services Tax) was introduced (also by Paul Keating) to reduce reliance upon workers’ incomes as the main source of government revenue.
In order to secure a comfortable retirement, Boomers may need to consider some sort of supplemental retirement income. This is why the Australian government is actively encouraging older workers to delay their retirement, and remain in some form of paid employment after the age of 65. Part time consulting work is being promoted as an excellent way of “easing back”, but continuing to “keep your hand in”. This helps the country by retaining much-needed skills and experience within the workforce, helping to train younger workers, and also supplementing the Boomer’s income without wholly relying upon Centrelink & Medicare funding.
A properly integrated estate plan, including appropriate financial planning, is essential to maximise your income and legitimate entitlements, while protecting your assets and fairly managing your tax.
Death & taxes, illness & share-market corrections may be unavoidable … but they don’t have to ruin your family or your business. Make the effort to protect the people you really care about. Call Genders & Partners to create an integrated estate plan. And do it NOW … before it is too late.
Rod Genders is a senior Australian lawyer specialising in accident compensation and estate planning in Adelaide. His boutique specialist law firm is one of the oldest and most respected in Australia – visit it at www.genders.com.au . Rod is also a prolific author and speaker. Some of his articles and books on Wills, Probate, Trusts, Estate Planning, Asset Protection and Retirement Planning may be found at www.genders.com.au/adelaide-lawyer-blog.
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