As the debate continues on superannuation policy and ideas like allowing low income earners to opt out of compulsory payments, Open Drum asked readers how they envisioned their retirement. For Tara Rymer, the outlook is a tad bleak.

When I was in my early 20s I would often think about retirement as I watched caravans pass on the highway; stickers such as "Adventure before Dementia" and "Grey Nomads" plastered on the rear windows.

I imagined myself and my partner Steve doing the same, finally travelling once free from the demands of work and raising young children, cherishing a time when it would be just he and I once again.

Travelling across country and cruises will likely be an unachieved dream. With the pittance that is the pension and my measly amount of superannuation, I expect the cost of living will drain the finances fairly quickly, let alone leave any funds for travel.

The reality of retirement and aging is daunting. Will I be able to afford to eat? To feed the cat? To pay for all the medications my decrepit, falling apart body will rely on to function? To pay for my husband's funeral? (He's slightly amused by the fact I've resigned him to "go" first).

While I work and invest for today, to provide my children with everything they deserve, I'm left with nothing to "tuck away" for my future, or to make voluntary superannuation contributions.

You often hear people remark, "I'll work until the day I die." For some this is a genuine claim. They want to work as long as they can. They love their work, or cherish the identity their occupation provides, and feel if they don't have their job, then they have "no reason to get out of bed in the morning".

For others though, the decision to work until the very end is a fairly preordained one - they need to work as long as they can.

I'm left with the dismal suspicion that the saying "retirement is for the rich" may not be too far from the truth.

This article is published as part of Open Drum's callout on retirement. Open Drum is a collaboration with ABC Open and invites readers to have their say on what's happening in news and policy debates. Read other stories submitted to Open Drum.

Economically, Australia is well off; for now, even if the current prospects for the young may be somewhat reduced from their parents time. The future is increasingly unpredictable. Even those who can "tuck away" for their future may find it reduced to nothing when they get there but it is what we need to try to do.In the mean time there is growing disparity between the rich and poor and an unsustainable demand for improvements in human "efficiency".

My wife and I are retired and it is far from fun.When our ex - son-in-law left our daughter and two children we borrowed money to buy a modest house for them. Our daughter is paying rent to help pay off the loan.The down side is that the house is now an asset which means that our pension has been cut.I never had a day on any government benefits and now find that I have to keep working as long as I can as the part-pension is very small.Had we left it to the government to deal with our daughters homelessness we would be much better off.So much for a family friendly government.The LNP maybe in for a shock come the next election - even poor pensioners vote. We will!

mcI'm sorry but it's not taxpayers' job to pick up the pieces after your daughter's marriage failure. How is it, in your view?

I find it difficult to understand why it is considered normal for "the Government" meaning taxpayer, left to foot the bill for the repercussions of marriage breakups, no matter what the circumstances are. Where is Dad? Why is the house in Mum and Dad's name? I thought it was the daughter's. Does the taxpayer get the proceeds of the profit for sale of the house to pay back all the pension money?

Really, is it the governments fault you borrowed money? Was there no other alternative? No other way to that could possibly have solved the crisis. You made a bad decision and are blaming everyone but the person who made the decision. Sell the "Asset" and let your daughter take responsibility for herself. Or. find an alternative.The pension is supposed to be there to help YOU live.

Such a sense of community. Life must be really good to you. Unfortunately not everyone is blessed with such good fortune. For such a supposedly rich country there should be no need for such Im all right Jack so up you. Do you object to our Foreign Aid scheme with such righteousness. do you complain when our resources are drained every year because of Bushfires and Floods, do you object when we send soldiers overseas to fight even though there may be questions about the rightness of the decision, do you complain when business is allowed to claim all its costs to lower their Taxation bill etc, etc, etc. Well done to the family for giving it a go but as they say no good deed goes unpunished.

If offsetting the borrowing debt against the daughters house does not reduce your assett ledger enough or is not possible to do, perhaps you might want to consider putting the house into your daughters name if possible, something no doubt there will be restrictions on in regard to the financier but still worth investigating.

Quote:"...In the mean time there is growing disparity between the rich and poor....."So?The question should be: 'Is the "poor" "rich" enough?'-to have a reasonable living standard. ...

Hi Yen,The problem may be more complex than "to have a reasonable living standard". One potential problem is what the extremely wealthy do with the power the wealth divide brings. For example, how the ultra-wealthy are already influencing (degrade) the democratic process is already pushing the social contract under democratic principles. The NRA in America is a pertinent example of this. Despite most Americans wanting tougher gun laws, the NRA has been able to use the wealth of its members (i.e. ultra-rich weapons manufacturers) to prevent any changes to gun laws despite the thousands of deaths that have occurred in (approximately 13,000 in 2015 depending on the source, including quite a few school children). To this day, anyone in America can buy a gun from a Gun Show without any background checks being carried out (and we are not just talking .22 calibre rifles here).Another issue is perceived relative difference. Unfortunately, human beings tend to compare themselves to other human beings to assess their current status and how well off they are. If you have a large number of people at one standard, and a very small number at an extraordinarily higher standard, then people get envious, and that tends to lead to social unrest, particularly when the ultra-wealthy take away the one power that democracy should afford everyone, i.e. the power to have a vote that actually counts. These a just two inter-related issues, but potentially powerful ones. So while the questions should be "Is the poor rich enough", in practical terms it is more like "Is the relative proportion of poor low enough", but not too low so the middle class can feel that while they are not as rich as some, they are still better off than others.

So? Is that it yen?I got no problem with people working hard to educate themselves and then achieving a good income as a result of hard work.I do have a problem with people who rely on rorting an unbalanced system to increase their wealth at the expense of others.Balance out the system, get rid of the government hand outs and concessions to those with no need of them, let your beloved free market be free and then enjoy what you earn with hard work.They can only build the walls on your gated communities so high.

What the other does to reduce their tax bill, or get more income from the regret (of many) is that I never kept a link to the ABC story where each generation said things were tough for their age group, and then said another age group were getting treated better than them.

No, the question is what do people reasonably deserve? Relative to the question is power that goes with wealth that enables the rich to more easily maintain and increase their wealth.The disparity between rich and poor is relevant to social cohesion and the kind of a society we want (it is called democracy).You imply no limitations, which is unreasonable.Under your criteria (lack of criteria) who gets the bigger say as to what is a reasonable living standard, for the relatively poor, if not the rich; who are likely to concede as little as they can get away with.

Quote:"....No, the question is what do people reasonably deserve? Relative to the question is power that goes with wealth that enables the rich to more easily maintain and increase their wealth......"Being rich is *always* better than being poor.Often it is cheaper too. Buying things or taking financial decisions when it is 'best' is *always* better than having to do it when one is forced to do it.And, yes, being rich 'enables the rich to more easily maintain and increase their wealth'.Of course it does. ...So, we should *all* try to be as 'rich' as possible with the money available.Yet, according to TV half of the population lives from pay day to pay day.I have no statistic to support any claim so I can only guess.-about their 'living standard' . ...* clothes* food* TV* mobile phone*etc.-Because I do not think that *all* of them need to be that poor. ...

Yen: Being wealthy is not that hard particularly if you are young. The law of compounding works for you. All you have to do is save 10% of your income and slowly learn how to invest it. That combined with a 12% super should mean this generation will be much better off than the 'boomers' are.THE BIG ONE IS CAN THEY SAVE 10%?Few points - met a young man who is a 25 year old metal worker and owns (along with the bank) 3 houses. The first home owners grant got him a start.A friend of our sons is 29 and a policeman and owns two houses.My wife's niece is 36 and a married teacher, own an inner city house worth about 1.5m.This is just within my circle of contacts. I think this squealing about unaffordable housing is all sound and thunder signifying NOTHING!

" I think this squealing about unaffordable housing is all sound and thunder signifying NOTHING!phew, well that's that then. increasing poverty and income disparity is no longer a problem. not because of any evidence or data saying it is so, but because Ardy just thinks it to be wrong.

Crow: lets just look at what you socialists have acheived:1. Destroyed the concept of marriage now 25% of children in poor areas don't know who their father is.2. Destroyed religion so that people can do whatever their ego thinks it wants to do. Result chaos and self -interest. 3. Destroyed the work ethic in the country and replaced it with a hand out mentality.4. Your union mates made wages so high that many companies have closed down or moved to China.5. You let in about 100,000 refugees and 93% of them are still unemployed BUT 85% have been home for a holiday to the place they were escaping death or persecution.6. Your Labor govt. spent 40bn in cash on handouts and stupid policies that have had NO lasting benefit to the country.7. You have introduced a PC restrictions on freedom of speech so now the whole population is afraid to speak their minds.8. By manipulation, your labor governments have made building houses about the most expensive in the world but I never hear a word about the rich tradies that are all over Sydney.Now you want to deny that young people can get ahead if they only save, work hard and are female (another of your social experiments gone wrong).

Why is work "bad". Work provides a great many things other than money for sustenance.Sure, retirement sounds great, but you can only holiday for so long, play so much golf or tennis, or the like. I recall, when I was a young tradie, an old guy, recently reitred, returning to work after several years. I enquired as to why. Boredom, was the answerRetirement, for, will mean a great deal more flexibility, work a few days a week, and other interests on the other days. Balance, for me. Others may have differing ideas.Having worked with older persons for most of my life, it seems those who don't continue to work seem to age fastest, and die soonest, rather than the opposite. All things in moderation, including moderation itself!

When the age pension was introduced in 1909, the average life expectancy of men was 55. The pension age was 65. It wasn't until post-WW2 that average life expectancy exceeded the pension age.Somewhere in between 1946 and now, we (along with most of the Western world) created the expectation of retirement. The issue now has as much to do with the societal bias against older people in the workforce as it has to do with the cost of the pension to Government. We have created the problem by defining our expectation of the place of older people in our society.Many older people of my acquaintance are in the same situation as RB has seen- they haven't stopped working, not because they can't afford to, but because they have no desire to.As a society we need to address the idea that retirement is not an expectation. Some will choose it. Some will not. Those who don't, however, will need to maintain access to employment- and THAT issue is the elephant in the room.

That is a stat that is trotted out time and time again - usually by politicians who want to raise the pension age (see Mr Hockey).The reality is that while the raw data will tell you what life expectancy is as an averaged figure it does not reveal the ages that you are expected to reach once you get over various chronological hurdles.So the main reason for the much lower life expectancy in 1909 was not because people were on average dying at 55 but because of much higher infant and child mortality, much higher rates of childbirth death and much higher rates of death by infectious disease at all ages.Yes, people who lived to a late age did die younger - you were more likely to die in your 60s or 70s whereas now people are much more likely to get to their 80s but the notion of 55 as an expected life span is quite wrong.Have a look in cemeteries - young and tragic death and people who got into their late 70s and early 80s.I have even seen figures quoted from 1918 - so the first world war and the great flu pandemic would be in the figures.

How's this then, Jon.For those men who reached the age of 45 in 1900, the average life expectancy was 68. Now it is 81. The AVERAGE amount of time that someone who made it to middle age would spend 'in retirement' was 3 years. Now it is sixteen. Even as recently as the early 1960's, living until 45 only got you a life expectancy of 72.This is not, however, just an economic argument about the cost of the pension. Its nice that you addressed the stats I quoted, but what about the 'ageism' inherent in the expectation of retirement?

I did not write work was bad. I wrote that the growing disparity between rich and poor is bad.Reward for effort needs to be part of the consideration as does luck. At the same time the rich and the means by which they get rich are not necessarily all examples of good work ethic or balance.I do write that the simplistic attitude of putting the poor to work, with a virtual attitude of maintaining the working poor, as if the rich necessarily deserve their riches with the increasing power that it brings, without limitation, is bad and not balanced.Everything everyone does effects everyone else.

Define "RICH" for us Anote.List value amount for assets held and income level for people that you consider rich.

As a starting point, people who have assets and/or receive payments multiple times the average. Then there is the ability to take advantage of rules, laws and lawyers that the relatively rich can access but not the relatively poor.However, it is not that simple. Reward for effort and allowance for ability and comparable freedom come into it.The pay of many CEO's is unreasonable and sometimes they are paid well to be unreasonable. CEO's and leaders in industry who take what they can get while exerting their power to limit what the plebs get are unreasonable.The growing disparity between the two is unreasonable because the extremes are already clearly unreasonable.Simplistic questions like yours indicate an assumption that I am saying all rich people are unreasonable. A consideration of the type of society we want comes into it and not just deference to the relatively rich and powerful.It is all relative so define reasonably "poor" for us Tator or don't you think there are any poor who do not deserve to be poor? Do you have any sense of reasonable limitations or is all fair game? Is I am alright Jack ... your attitude?

Multiple times the average, how many multiples are we talking about, 2, 3, 10?? Because the AWE is distorted by those on very high incomes as is the average net wealth, which is also distorted by debt and the fact that the vast majority of people start out with zero net wealth or even negative net wealth (HECS) once they start their working lives.You do realise that the majority of the rich pay the appropriate amount of taxes and it is only a minority who utilise the laws etc. The ATO has a compliance unit that targets HWI's and ensures the 2600 HWI's (Net assets of $30 million or more) are paying the appropriate taxes along with keeping an eye on those approaching these levels.The case of CEO's has always been contentious. They are a small minority of professional CEO's but quite a high percentage are the people who started and built the business from scratch, ie Jobs, Gates, Slim, Knight, Dell and Branson. Even the evil Murdoch built his own empire after starting with one run down newspaper in little Adelaide.For most professional CEO's, it is the pinnacle of their careers to reach that level as nearly every single one who didn't own the business, started lower down the food chain and didn't start their careers as a CEO so they cash in when they have the opportunity as would every sane person I know, even the insane ones too.The power a CEO has is granted to them by the owners of the company, either it is a private company or a public listed company where it is the share holders. As share holders are ultimately the owners of the company, it is a CEO's legal responsibility to look after the interests of the share holders. Now there is a distinct incestuous relationship between the boards of directors who oversee the setting of executive salary packages and CEOs as many have a finger in each pie. Rather than picking on CEO's, shouldn't the Boards of directors cop more flak as they are the ones setting the scale of salaries.Even though, not defending them as I am just a poor baggy ar$ed Senior Constable still working with the police, I can see why sometimes their salaries can be as high as they are. This is due to the scale of their responsibilities and accountabilities.For example, the CEO of BHP-Billiton is responsible for an organisation that has more assets, has as many employees and produces a profit which is larger the entire budget of the South Australian Government's entire budget. So what would be a fair remuneration package for such responsibilities and accountability. Most of the rich people are not considered employees and are the owners of businesses which are the bulk of their wealth. If Microsoft went down the gurgler and suddenly became insolvent and went bust, Bill Gate would go from billionaire to someone who has a nice expensive house and a few other assets. Same as Gina, all her wealth is tied up in the value of the iron ore she holds the rights to mine. It does

As you give your kids everything they deserve remember that they deserve to not have to worry too much about you when you are retired.Children will grow very nicely with a lot less than they are getting today and perhaps may gain some resilience as well.There has never been such an over indulged generation before and it will end up making them very miserable if the expectations you are developing can not be sustained.Wasting money to make your kids miserable adults isn't really very smart.You should aim to save $1 out of every $10 and use it to pay down debt, pay off the home and then invest for income.Do that for the next 35 years and you will be able to enjoy retirement.Investing through bear markets can be useful so don't wait to start.

"You should aim to save $1 out of every $10 and use it to pay down debt, pay off the home and then invest for income."I suspect you bought your own home a long, long time ago. No one can pay off a mortgage with only ten percent of their income these days. New homeowners can expect buying an average place with an average income can expect to pay between 30 to 50 percent of their income on repayments.And that does not include savings, or credit cards and all the rest

No, no, it's really easy, see. You just follow good ol' Joe Hockey's advice and get a better job. Like, a *much* better job.It's heaps easy to pay off a mortgage with just ten per cent of your income when you're pulling in several hundred grand a year. It's even easier if you can get your missus to claim a tax deduction because you stay there occasionally - at taxpayer expense! Everybody wins.

Quote:"...No, no, it's really easy, see. You just follow good ol' Joe Hockey's advice and get a better job. Like, a *much* better job....."Now, let us try to analyse things:Why has the price of a home gone up faster than the average income?* New land (if little is available, the price will go up - and affect existing homes as well)* Finance* Building costs (do builders get rich?)* -Too few 'basic' homes build, too many 'McMansions' ...* or??-And, by the way: The Government can not give you an inexpensive house. The government has no money - 'government money' is "taxpayers' money".

No one denies that is difficult, but also remember that the homes that baby boomers bought were of a standard that no one of Gen X et seq. would be seen dead in. Furthermore, the same applies to all the mod cons that are now standard. Need we also note that even standard of living when we baby boomers were starting out in the workforce was above that enjoyed by most of the world's population right now, 40 years later.So when you complain about how difficult it is, try to keep it in perspective. No one owes you anything, so don't expect it. Make it on your own two feet.

" but also remember that the homes that baby boomers bought were of a standard that no one of Gen X et seq. would be seen dead in"nonsensehouse prices have not risen because they are much bigger or better. Over the last few decades the size of an average new build has increase by 40%, but the prices has risen many times more than this

Quote:"...Over the last few decades the size of an average new build has increase by 40%, but the prices has risen many times more than this..."So, let us try to find out where the money goes.-and 'do something' ...

Yes, let's do something. Look at how much more it costs to develop land since all infrastructures have had to be provided by developers and not councils. It is added to the land price.Then look at how much stamp duties councils charge for even modest homes.New regulations every year also increase the cost of building. Compulsory insulation, compulsory Term Mesh against termites, compulsory rain water tanks, compulsory gas kitchens installation and more. Not so in the past.Maybe someone will look into this and let us how much all of the above contribute to house prices. Negative gearing is not the only cause. An easy retirement will be impossible for many wanting to also own their home and renters will never have a comfortable retirement.

Indeed, nonsense. I'm a boomer, an early one. I bought my first house on a lick and a prayer. No car, never mind two; no internet or cable or anything of that ilk; no dining out at night or paying for gym fees or buy stuff on credit and paying the bankers more in interest than the stuff was worth. If you want to live the lifestyle of a 50 year old middle class boomer, maybe you should spend 25 or 30 years working to achieve it, not expect it on a plate at the age of 27.

I agree with you. I read somewhere that house prices should increase by inflation plus 1% a year so you could work out just how overpriced or not housing is in your area by going back to about 1970 and doing the math.I also believe younger people should consider the high inflation of the late 70s and 80s and the crippling interest rates used to stop that. I lost a house when my business loan reached 23% in the 90s. Lots of boomers had to start all over again after that fiasco.Negative interest rates now will ensure asset prices keep rising. I don't know if the Central Banks have lost the plot completely or if it is some dastardly conspiracy but please do not believe one generation responsible when it is a financial system failure to blame.

"I lost a house when my business loan reached 23% in the 90s."you bought a house on a business loan? why was that?my dad bought a house during the era of 18% home loans too. except the house cost $8000 and it was a piddly percentage of his fairly meagre income. interest rate figures are irrelevant compared to how much of ones income it takes to service. We are now at the point where it takes two people hocked to the eyeballs to repay mortgages at historic lows. should they return to levels they have normally been we will see foreclosures at rates not seen in a long time.

Still writing rubbish , house sizes have risen 40 percent in the last few decades you again write , and incredibly you say that the prices have risen many more times than that , I will try again To build a small to modest home home now is the same as back in 1970 , wages , cost of living etc taken into account , however the homes are two to three times larger than in 1970 , hence the extra build cost , coupled with the today's high land cost , then it gets out of hand .Example , 1979. My first home of 16 squares cost 60 k to build , the land cost $7500 2015 the home of 45 squares ( must have ) costs over $ 500 k , the land 250 k Today's home must have , double garage , ensuite for each bedroom , stone bench tops , central heating and cooling , theatre room , spa rooms , a parents retreat for gods sake , marble tiling in wet areas and much much more .Now go look at a home built in 1970 and earlier , no garage or just one , laminate everything , oil heating or open fireplace , one toilet , one bathroom

New builds have increased in price due to the massive increase in the price of buying a lot of land.Construction costs have increased pretty much in line with CPI but the cost of land has skyrocketed between 2000 and 2016 with factors like government zoning, government land banking, government taxes and charges increasing the costs of the developers to bring the lot to the market. Government taxes and charges on a vacant lot in 2008 were $11560 in Brisbane, $68200 in Melbourne and $107200 in Sydney. Whereas in Sydney during the mid 80's, the same charges were only $5500 or 3.5% of the median house price compared to around 17% of the median house price in 2008. So around 15% of the total price is due to increased State and local government charges which feeds into increased stamp duty revenues and council rate revenues for these tiers of government.

Give me a break. This business about younger people only being prepared to live in huge houses is bogus. The houses that baby boomers comfortably paid off (quite often on one income) and the houses that the younger generations can't afford to buy, are the same houses. The house that 70 year old Mr Average purchased in 1972 for 40 grand is the same joint that is now going for a million-plus. I don't know why boomers won't simply concede that houses today are more expensive than they used to be. It is a provable, non-contentious fact. I guess it doesn't suit their self-image of being hard-working battlers.

@BkDw: hah yes then we'll have the "snowflake" generation to deal with, that one will be hilarious... well no it won't as nobody will be allowed to joke about anything, anymore.

I am from the tail-end of the Boomers. i have struggled to pay off my mortgages (Still paying and may have it done by the time i retire. Maybe not.As the only one working in my household and after several promotions, I am still earning below the "average" income, but a bit above the median. Still struggling to keep up with the bills but over the last "official" 5 years of my working life i may break even.The short answer is I understand how prices have risen and impacted my kids (and others) and despair as to how one of them will ever own her own home.Things like distortion creating tax breaks for investment properties and no requirement for those breaks to be applied to new housing stock. Land locked up by speculative investors. The commute cost for those living far away from their jobs (lower income bracket workers) No public transport in many areas, or poor service in others;All these lead to cost stress for the younger generations.I will probably retire on full aged pension plus about $50/w super. Noty blood much after a life time of working HARD

I think that hoping your children will enslave themselves to the banks for hundreds of thousands of dollars for the next 30 years is almost criminal. For a person still struggling to pay off a mortgage, and wishing the same fate on their children makes little sense.Why is it so important to own a house? The average length of time before people move is about six years. Renting in one place for six years is a better economic proposition than buying and selling a house. Do your maths. Paying off a $500,000 mortgage will set you back about a $1000 a week for 30 years, that's $1.56 million. Paying rent, $500, that's $780,000. If you salary sacrificed the difference for 30 years, you would end up with in excess of $2m (roughly based on monthly compounding interest at 5%. You are far better off renting.The absolute key to retirement is to retire DEBT FREE, and owning your own home.

Your calculations are oversimplified. Inflation means that the repayment of the mortgage becomes less in real terms whereas the rent will keep up with inflation.There is no way that you will pay $500 a week for 30 years.The other assumption is that you will have the discipline to save $500 a week. Not too many people will have the discipline to not dip into the investment over 30 years (new car, holidays, etc).Furthermore, at the end of the mortgage period, the property owner will have an asset, which probably will at least keep up with inflation.It is possible that renting will work out better than purchasing if costs of maintaining the property, the insurance and rates are considered but it is far more complicated than your back of a cigarette box calculation.

Hello pilotyoda from a fellow boomer. After a lifetime of working hard, I will soon retire on zero Government pension and approx. $75k a year super, in a fully owned house that I can sell or reverse mortgage if I need more money. I have never inherited a red cent, received a lifetime welfare total of $0, never smoked, drank in moderation, never lived above my means. Commuted to work on every form of public and private transport imaginable bar the camel. Lacking both capital and aptitude, I have never been an investor nor an entrepreneur. Kids are studying and working part time, aware that Mum and Dad bought the house well over the age of 40. I will continue funding your full pension from my taxes, but otherwise please keep your hand out of my pocket.

Nolan and mtPlease read a little more carefully and engage that orgsan between your ears instead of just going off. My very opening statement is that no one is denying it is difficult. My point was to keep it in perspective. My own kids did and started by investing in what they could afford and building from there. Alternatively you can stand there and bleat forever, in which case, my final comments apply. The world has already blessed you with a great country and tremendous prospects, and it now owes you less than it owes those who by virtue of not living here are a lot less blessed.

A earnings to income ratio of 1/3 is what our parents had. So 100k of income=300K house. An average wage of 60K=180K. While it might stretch to 1/8 or 1/9 ration, with these low interest rates, 1/4 or 1/5 is fine. So someone on 60k should comfortably be able to service a 300K mortgage over 30 years. Yes these houses do exist in all major cities, just can't live inner city. As for savings, well thats on the individual.

Quote:"...I don't know why boomers won't simply concede that houses today are more expensive than they used to be. ....."And I don't know why the phenomenon apparently is a mystery.It must be possible to analyse. To explain.There may be factors that can be changed so houses again can be bought for the same fraction of the average income as before. ...

Nolan,I have this theory. Back then the norm was for one income families.Then the Women's Lib movement demanded the right to work etc and the two income family started to develop. Of course these families had more disposable income and so they could afford better housing.Other families saw this and decided that the two income family was for them and so it developed further with a consequence that house prices started to rise as more and more families had more money to purchase housing.As this developed further,eventually, unless you were among the fortunate few who had a single income of sufficient means, a two income family moved from an option to a necessity.Now unless you can devise a three income family approach there is no way a family can "get ahead".One other aspect I find interesting is that all the coffee lounges, pubs and restaurants seem to be doing a pretty good trade these days from what I can see. Either the current generation needs to develop an idea of what are wants and what are needs, or else we have a two speed economy (or both)

Oh thank God, I'm so glad you've explained it all so clearly. it's the women's fault! So shoes off! Back to the kitchen! Get knocked up! All will be well as house prices tumble in response!

Nolan, I'm a Baby boomer and I agree with you. The major cause in my opinion was the halving of CGT in the early years of the Howard government.I tracked land prices in my suburb from 1984 to 2000. Over a period of about 12 years, prices went up by about 9.75% per annum, and sizes dropped from about 750sq.m. to 650 sq.m., making the real annual rise about 11% for the same area.In the next 18 months, prices rose by 12.5% per QUARTER as speculators moved in, and the land price dropped to 450sq.m. - effectively making it roughly 20% per Quarter, after which it's largely stabilised (although land is shrinking below 400 sq.m.)The only solution I can see is to increase that CGT back to 100%, to largely stop speculation. Perhaps keep it at 50% for one house only, but hit those with multiple speculative houses. Or increase it progressively by 10% per year for the next 5 years to allowed an ordered retreat. That way you guys get some sort of chance. The problem of newre buyers who get caught with loans based on excessive valuations would have to be dealt with too, so it will not be easy, but sooner or later the genie needs to go back in the bottle for the sake of the next generations..

Houses maybe more expensive but wages are far greater than what us oldies ever received. My starting wage in full time employment was $13.75 a week. From this I had to pay for my board and keep, Private Health, transport, clothing and entertainment. We are now in retirement with our own home paid for. To accomplish this we did without the frills of modern society by leaving our family circles to live and work in isolated mining communities. Where we had to stand on our own two feet without family support because it was thousands of kilometers away. We went without to get where we are today. I am tired of hearing how badly off this current generation is. How much do you spend on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs? How often do you go out for a meal and entertainment? This all costs money. We have a couple in our family who are buying their own four bedroom home (in the country because is is slightly cheaper), they have four three children and the husband can still find money for a carton of cigarettes a week and his booze. I can see the hardship, but I can also see what us causing it. The secret to achieving what is important is to only have, what you can afford to pay for. If you can'pay off your credit cards in total at the end of the month, you are living beyond your means. If you don't have the self discipline to achieve this, then cut up your credit cards. We had no credit cards. The closest we came to credit, was called buying Hire Purchase. You put down a deposit and the made regular repayments till it was paid off. So instead of your 'must have' item costing $500 it cost you $2,000. It was an easy lesson to learn. The best piece of information anyone of my generation can give to the younger generations, is to repay your mortgage weekly, not monthly. It is the only way you can reduce your principal while staying on top of the interest. When first married, there were times that to by a bottle of milk because there was no money left in house keeping, I would resort to finding bottles I could cash in. Deposits on drink containers goes back a lot further than you think.

Nolan , it's a proven non contentious fact you reckon.The house sizes have risen by 40 percent over the last 40 years ,so it's not bogus.Australian families are getting smaller , so why the McMansion ?Both parents must now work to pay for said McMansion , plus ski boat , caravan , two cars , and the must have overseas trips per year , but whos counting .Return back to 1970 , small modest home , big families , one car , one parent working , trips to the beach on Sunday and for holidays a trip to surfers if you had saved enough.Yup us greedy lucky boomers had it good didn't we

Spud, you are really out of touch. It is not fancy houses that cost so much more than 30 to 40 years ago; it is the price of land that has far out stripped affordability at anywhere with in feasible commuting distance of work. The much lauded small house on a nice big block for a modest price does not exist within 150 km of a capital city.

ConnieI agree it is true that land is a major issue. We need to change our attitudes on this as well; either we spend a lot more commuting or we do accept higher density housing. But while inner suburban councils in particular are generally utterly primitive in their approach to that issue, it is not in any way an insurmountable problem either way if we set our minds to it.

Too true. Back in the early seventies the average price for a quarter acre block of land was between $4,500 and $5,000, with the additional cost of a double brick residence costing between $8,500 and $10,000. Today that very same property would be worth around $450.000, with the land valued at around $320.000 while the house would make up the balance.It is State governments and their planning authorities, along with Howards gifted discounted CGT speculators who are mainly too blame for todays current situation, along with all those irresponsible handouts called first home buyer grants.

Yes, indeed, Spud. We certainly started off in an old pre-war two bedroom house with no heating and the first couple of years were not pleasant. One thing we always did was live on one income and save the other. The second income paid for modest holidays and home improvements, but always a regular sum was set aside for the future. However, I believe there are different emphases and pressures these days, so it is difficult to judge who is improvident and who is caught up in financial imperatives.

Quote:"...No one can pay off a mortgage with only ten percent of their income these days. ...."??But, should we not compare Renting and Paying off a Mortgage?-which gives a slightly different picture. ...

Two ways you can pay off your home;1. Purchase a home you can afford, rather that compete with Jones's and end up with a loan you cannot afford.2. If you cannot pay off your home loan with 10% of your income, adjust your lifestyle to make sure to pay whatever percentage of your income is required to pay off your home. I recently visited China and my guide told me that she was paying 60% oh her income of 6,000 RMB monthly, for repayment of one bedroom flat in Shanghai. How many Australians would be prepared to sacrifice that much to have their own home?! Why sacrifice when whinging, complaining and blaming everyone else for their own lack of financial discipline is far easier. The problem is - it does not get you anywhere. One is to start with fast and then feast.The other is to start with feast and then live with the headache for the rest of your life. The problem is that many people are not prepared for a financially disciplined life but want everything now before the can afford it. This rule applies in the same way now as it applied any time earlier. Only people looking for excuses will say that everything was easier some time ago.

Of course they can't mt. They would use some of the other 90% of income for that.The one dollar in 10 paid to yourself and saved and invested is a well known grow rich technique. The other 9 dollars out of 10 is used for consumption be it entertainment, toys or housing.I live an hour and 15 mins by train from Sydney in a beautiful beachside community where older houses on blocks can be found for $350 000 to $400 000 and apartments slightly cheaper in some areas.My house cost $42000 to build in 1972 and my wage was $129a week. The babysitter took a fair wack with no government rebates. Income tax was 45% on my highest portion. It is all relevant to expectations. We couldn't afford furniture, new cars or holidays for 30 years from first building that home. By then using the saving plan there was no debt, house paid for and savings to provide income.Young people are doing the same thing now and those able to use will power and delay gratification are paying down debt and will be the so called wealthy of the future.All around me there are young families paying off mortgages and many leave home early to catch that train to the city and get home late. While young and fit it is the best time to do that.They will be able to afford retirement in 30 years or so I'm sure.

Totally agree with the he whole articleThese modern times of part time work, stints on unemployment benefits, high fees and low wages means my superannuation is looking rather crook. I'm force to consider retire now live in poverty do what you can and later on live in even more poverty when your old. The only thing that will save me is the grim reaper

"I feel the only way this situation will change is with a miraculous Lotto win!"It's only roughly around a one in chance, which is better odds than hoping for a fair go from any government in Australia that might happen in the near future.Don't get too down about it though, Tara, because you're a generation younger than I am, and with a bit of luck, all the rich baby boomers will have passed on to the Next Life by the time you make 60 and your back gets a bit tired for lugging bags of concrete around all day, and once they're gone, things will get back to normal again, and you can have your s/hand Winnebago and live your country-mile dreams to their fulfilment.Patience is a virtue.

why is this issue the responsibility of governments (i.e. other taxpayers)? Government provides the pension. It isn't lavish but one can live frugally on it. The rest is up to the individual (or a couple if they can pool their savings). Exactly as it should be.

If only that were true.Successive governments have engineered a massive transfer of wealth from the young to the old. There are statistics on this...just look at total household wealth by age bracket now compared with a decade ago.How has this been achieved?Largely via tax incentives that encourage investment in real estate. Older, wealthier investors push up prices and are subsidised by the government to do so. Younger people go into debt for the rest of their lives in order to boost the wealth of the elderly as a result.

You write of a massive transfer of wealth from the young to the old, but it's always been the oldies who held the wealth. Problem now is that the young 'uns are envious of the wealth built up over many, many years by the oldies and are crying foul. Can you put forward your mechanism to reverse the generations long trend of older people being more financially secure than younger people?

yes, the oldies have always had more wealth, but their share has increased over the last few decades at the expense of younger generations

Probably because life expectancy has increased dramatically in the past few decades meaning a larger proportion of oldies in the population, hence that larger group controlling a bigger share of the wealth. That's not part of some grey haired plot, but simple demographics.

If you look at the stats it is a few wealthy of all ages getting richer and everyone else going backwards including the bulk of the boomers.Wages in real terms have been declining since 1971 and are actually less now in real terms than ever.Not the boomers to blame but the greed of the corporations.

Go and study some demographics and how to interpret them. Older people will ALWAYS be wealthier than younger people for one simple reason. They have lived longer to accumulate it. The biggest reasons for the change in percentages is that a decade ago, the older generation did not have 24 years of Superannuation accumulated, they did not have the massive spikes in house prices which occurred due to State ALP Governments interfering in the free market for land releases with land banking and increased taxes and charges on vacant blocks.Plus older people will normally earn more than younger people due to increase skill bases, experience and accountability. Many occupations have an increasing wage structure depending on seniority.Then you have progressive taxation, which in real terms, just taking from older generations as they rise through the income ranks and giving it to younger generations who are just starting out. Now who is stealing from who???

No, firthy, it is not exactly as it should be at all. It is warped to favour baby-boomers just as it was in the '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s because they have constituted a large section of the electorate since they enrolled to vote, and so we had Free Love when they were young and sex-mad, and now we have a nanny-state mentality because they're getting old and frail and have a headache.Luckily, they'll all be dead, buried and some cremated before long, because everything dies, firthy, that's a fact, and I won't go on with Springsteen on that one. We are All Tax Payers now, and we are all entitled to get back a fair deal on what we have paid out, but the system is vitally warped, still ... for now. All Tara needs is just a little patience, if I can borrow a little Guns & Roses to mark another decade. If it is not the government's responsibility then there is no government.No tax, fend for yourself, suits me fine. Just give me back my money.

What is it about Gen Y etc that make them into such egocentric, nasty little pieces of work?Hoping for their grand parents to die is a common theme in these threads. Why? just to get some part inheritance that they never had to earn. Because they feel that somehow life isnt as easy as the movies or tv says it should be. Instead of looking at them as a free ride waiting for them to die. look at them as a base of knowledge and a touchstone to history.As a Gen X i am glad not to be associated with this monstrous greed and selfishness.If you want to get ahead... live like your grand parents and parents did1. dont keep buying a new phone2. dont go out for meals or movies3. limit a holiday to the beach or something simple. 4. dont have a credit card5. live within your means6. live in a small house and work your way up.7. stop blaming others for your bad decisions or that "things have changed"If you dont want to live like they did then stop whining you dont get what they have.

"What is it about Gen Y etc that make them into such egocentric, nasty little pieces of work?"It is because they cant afford to buy a place to liveThe people getting a free ride are all those baby boomers who bought property when a house cost only 3 times an average incomethere has been a huge transfer of wealth from the young to the old, so of course young people resent it, the system has been rigged against them

" the system has been rigged against them"All thanks to mum and dad. No wonder the geriatric health budget is ballooning out of the stratosphere. No one's going to take care of their parents anymore after what they pulled on their own kids. Quid pro quo works both ways, mummy.

Rocodocta, you have no idea1: Without a mobile phone. you have no chance of employment. 2: So be a social outcast and just work to work? 3: What a luxury. A holiday. When on contracts my "holiday" was applying for jobs before and between contracts. Unless you are a permanent employee (decreasing) there are no holidays. Where do you get these fancy ideas of holidays? It dosnt pair with most employers. 4: If the concern is debt, I wouldnt go to university either. Its been turned into a false promise of decent employment. 5: So easy to say. You seem to have a very poor understanding of required costs. 6: Close to the employment right? Well that forces it to be small and if affordable in cities a long way from work. So then there is the car expense or hoping your employer is forgiving with public transport break downs. 7: Yeah, im sure you dont want to hear the perks that go to Gen X. Best people just be quiet and give you the money. If I could buy a property at 3x my annual income anywhere close to work (nearest is about 50km away), then I would. The repayments would be less then my rent. As for what made Gen Y, Gen Y. The answer is Gen X. Aka the parents.

I suspect Roccy is referring to those folk who upgrade their phones regularly wanderer. It makes me smile to see people sleeping on the streets with much better phones than mine.The answer to your problems is plain. Marry one of those wealthy boomers (they're all wealthy apparently) and live on Easy Street. More seriously don't try and fix everything at the same time. Prioritise and keep non-priorities just ticking over.

"I suspect Roccy is referring to those folk who upgrade their phones regularly"Shame he never replied to them then, OUB. I suspect he was just looking for somewhere to have a whinge about nothing.

WanderedHere in my little mining town you can get a block for 30K, and a massive house with massive yard for 250K. I think some people need to realise that there is life beyond the big cities.

Lardo, for my retirement (im lucky enough to believe it will happen), I plan to move out of the city. Its the only thing that will allow retirement. In the mean time the only one offering me permanent, ongoing, full time work is based in the city so here I am. OUB, Roccy's whole post reads as preachy to me. Merit it not the sole (let alone in my experience the main, as the most qualified rarely receive) reason people earn good incomes. Telling people how to live without understanding how they live is simply arrogant.

As a member of Gen Y, I'd like to call you out on that, because unless you've had to enter the job market recently, you have no idea of how difficult it is to get any job, let alone one that one may buy a house with.First, you have to deal with the experience factor: every job, even ones reserved for those at entry level, are over-saturated with applicants, including those who have been in the job market for a long time, meaning that more experienced candidates are blocking out those who were unable to gain work experience as part of school, university, etc. (My example is caring for family members: first my grandmother, then my chronically ill mother). As such, there is no 'entry' into the job market, regardless of your educational record.Second, wages have stagnated into a two-tier system, with those of us who get 'normal jobs' (elaborated on later), making between 40-60 grand a year for up to a decade, whilst those within the top tier, consisting of people who's parents are in extremely high-paid positions, such as investors, real-estate agents, lawyers, etc. starting around 70k, and quickly rising to the 100-150k level. This creates an unbreakable barrier between social classes, which has all but halted social mobility.Third, what you had as jobs (9-5, doesn't follow you home) doesn't exist for most people, and hasn't for a long time. Instead, we get 'casual' jobs that require you to be on-call 24/7, often with no penalty rate, or part-time jobs that require 35 hours a week. However, the worst is at full-time, where many need to work 10-hour days consistently, only to have the work follow them home.BTW, I know NOBODY who is waiting for their grandparents to die, except for one case, where they are caring for an Alzheimers patient, since in-facility care is beyond their ability to pay.P.S. How many properties do you own? Because if the answer is more then one, you are not just unqualified to comment, but are part of the problem.

Where do you rent if no one owns more than the property they live in?Not everyone wants to or has the means to buy a place to live in.If you want a 100K plus job, enter a field that pays for it. Graduate positions exist in all of them and if your smart you will get promoted very quickly.I am currently looking for someone good with 2-3 years experience and the offer is 6 figures. I get rubbish local candidates. the best person I have interviewed has been a very recent immigrant. English flawless, great technical skills, presents well, intelligent, conversational skills that translate to staff of all ages.Compare that with the average local candidate? junk unfortunately. Small sample selection sure. I would love to give a local a go.

"Where do you rent if no one owns more than the property they live in?"In a place where someone dedicates themselves full-time to being a LandLord and looks after their own business, and their own people.Real-estate companies tweaking the rental market with their no-good property managers are the cause of the problem because they manage other peoples' properties about as well as human resources managers manage our human resources - poorly.It won't last much longer. It's self-destructive by its own nature.

BarneyExactly. People need to realise that it's not enough to just have "a degree", you need to have "the degree" that an employer can actually use.

Yeah, problems with that:What employers want can change whilst your getting a degree.It's almost impossible to determine what will get you actual work, quickly.Some fields, such as the mining fields, are overcrowded by people who thought they had the 'right' degree, and will soon be dumping all those students who got a Bachelor of Mining Engineering, as the construction stage comes to a hard close.

Earning a degree doesn't just qualify you for a job in that field. It also proclaims loud and clear that you should be capable and intelligent enough, possibly well motivated to turn your mind/hands to other useful employment.

You fail to understand the nature of the job market. Today, people only consider you if you have experience to go with your qualification. As such, most peoples roles come as a result of nepotism and cronyism, at least to start. Otherwise, you've got a long slog ahead of you to even get in on the ground floor.

Oneiros"How many properties do you own?"I ow three myself. And you'll hate this, but tomorrow I have to make a trip to Sydney from some distance for a certain matter, so I have tied a trip to my property there in with that trip, so therefore my travel is, perfectly legally, tax-deductible, as I'm doing an inspection! Hehehehhehehehehehheh

If you have a legitimately business reason for travel, or if the inspection is part of a regular pattern, I have no problem with it being tax deductible. But if you're just adding an inspection to an otherwise personal trip to make it tax deductible, you'd be skirting on the boundaries of tax fraud, and are part of both the current socioeconomic problem, and the poor perceptions of both upper income earners, and the previous generations as a whole.BTW, if you're going to ream the taxpayer for your trip, you'd better do it on the cheap. It'll lessen the amount an audit will leave you out of pocket.

Roc, spot on. Especially about the credit cards, but they're so entrenched in everyday life that it's too late to convince anyone that they aren't necessary.Nobody actually NEEDS a pod coffee maker, an Xbox/Playstation etc.I worked in a bank for many years and when people got into financial difficulties they wanted an overdraft to cover their inflating expenses. The look of incomprehension on someone's face when I told them that going deeper into debt wasn't going to help, just make things worse was almost always the usual reaction.Suggestions that they move and stop paying so much rent, sell the car and downgrade to free up much needed cash and set up a budget plan for example were met with either hostility or incredulity.'Why isn't this person helping me?' radiated from them.

"Nobody actually NEEDS a pod coffee maker, an Xbox/Playstation etc."I tend to call those sorts of things, 'Psychological Needs'. For lonely people with social disorders. Economists call them 'wants', which is unnecessary. A Lamborghini is a 'want'. An X-box is a psychological need. Draw a line anywhere you honestly like.DannyS, when every Australian is able to supply their own fundamental needs on Maslow's hierarchy: food, clothing and a place to live, then bring on the psychological needs for whoever can afford them however they choose.However, it is not fair play to give half the people all their dreams with government subsidies when the other half can't even find a place to live with affordable rent. Especially if they are too old to carry 50kg bags of dynamic lifter for a quid, so it's not about clucking lifestyle choices when the pockets are empty.All people want to live long, and minimise pain and hardship. We have the technology.

"Nobody actually NEEDS a pod coffee maker, an Xbox/Playstation etc."I tend to call those sorts of things, 'Psychological Needs'. For lonely people with social disorders. Economists call them 'wants', which is unnecessary. A Lamborghini is a 'want'. An X-box is a psychological need. Draw a line anywhere you honestly like.DannyS, when every Australian is able to supply their own fundamental needs on Maslow's hierarchy: food, clothing and a place to live, then bring on the psychological needs for whoever can afford them however they choose.However, it is not fair play to give half the people all their dreams with government subsidies when the other half can't even find a place to live with affordable rent. Especially if they are too old to carry 50kg bags of dynamic lifter for a quid, so it's not about clucking lifestyle choices when the pockets are empty.All people want to live long, and minimise pain and hardship. We have the technology.

RocdoctaYou make some good points. Imagine, if euthanasia were legal, how many older people would come under enormous pressure to self-terminate so that their grasping offspring could get their hands on the inheritance a little earlier.

Sixty-five is probably a fair enough retirement age thesedays considering the overpopulation. Euthanasia is painless with the right help.If women keep on having babies, we can always bring it down to 60 to get the population back in order, but not just yet please, because I still need a few more years to get things done.Best go with 65 as a pre-arranged human lifespan, as a mark of respect to our First Peoples as the icing on the cake.

It all boils down to the minimal conditions and how they are enforced. Im willing to bet, on the street near me there are several places illegally "employing" staff. Because they are migrants and desperate, the businesses profit. The enforcement is not enough, because it is not a priority of the politicians.

Hi Tara,When I was in my mid-30's, like you I had accumulated basically no nest eg and superannuation didnt exist. However I worked hard in the country (some very remote places) for over 20 years, saved, raised four great kids and stayed with one partner. I will retire this year and do some travelling.Saving up for later has been great for me, and I commend it to today's young people like you. Sadly, there is a very strong movement in Australia now by people who want it now without doing the hard yards. They complain about the "unfairness" of it all, and point with envy to "the BIG END of town", or "the RICH". Being "rich" doesnt just happen. It takes hard work, and dare I say SAVING.Enjoy your life!!

Except that when the previous generation was born, house prices were about 3x an average wage. They're now 7-8 times and these are for the 'average' home which is now about 20 minutes commute further than they used to be. Anyone who knows anything about finance knows that doubling a mortgage does more than doubling the overall cost.Plus the current generation has paid 10% GST their whole life as well as increased health and education costs, later retirement age etc.Things were objectively easier from a financial point of view in the past. The current generation is the first expected to have less wealth than their predecessors.Every generation has wanted things 'now' without the hard work, but this generation is no different in willingness to do the hard work.

I dispute your claim that "Every generation has wanted things 'now' without the hard work". It is only in recent times that the younger generation has rejected the idea of accumulating wealth over time. When I bought my first house in 1978 like virtually all my peers it had only donated furniture, no washing machine, no airconditioner and just 2 bedrooms and a sleepout. Nobody then could realistically expect a mid 20s type to move into a ready made, landscaped, dream kitchened, 4 bed/2 bath, double garage, reverse cycle airconditioned, decked and water featured house, that was totally out of reach and we had to start basic in a house that was then on the fringe of the city (or if you couldn't afford that somewhere inner city where no one wanted to live).

A three bedroom, one bathroom house in the Inner West is worth 900k on land value alone. Essentially, established homes, or homes within a reasonable distance to the city, are unaffordable, whilst the newly built homes are ridiculously large and extravagant, and both are being bought up as investment properties by boomers and Gen X'rs, driving the price up further.What we have is a situation where any city is overpriced, and everyone needs to live in a city, thanks to the way society has formed.BTW, the house you bought in 1978 would cost much more today, and wouldn't come with furniture of any description.

Of course that 1978 house is worth more now, just as a house bought now is highly likely to be worth many times its current value in 40 years time. Some new houses do come with furniture but those that don't almost always have new furniture put in. BTW the "inner west" is very expensive if, like me, you live in Perth, it's twixt the ocean and the river and close to the city. I know the ABC is east coast centric but comments in The Drum shouldn't assume we all live in Sydney.

Once you "own" your first house any change in value is generally reflected in a like change elsewhere.House value changes only have a marked effect when you elect to change location/house.

That's all well and good, but it's kind of based on the ability to 'own' your first house to begin with, as increased house prices increase the deposit, as well as the mortgage repayment rate. As such, most of Gen Y will never be able to 'buy' a home, even apartments are starting to become unattainable.

Onieros,What people forget is that back then 10 km from the city (or at least in some capital cities) was almost on the outskirts of the city and hence was not that expensive. Now of course 10 km from the city is much more desirable for travelling, because of greater population, and of course will cost far more that just comparing how many times it is the cost of the average wage.Also as I said earlier on this topic, the average family is now a two income (or 1.5 ) one, not single income.Not surprising that house you bought 40 years ago in the same location would cost a hell of a lot more these days.

Whilst 10 km from the city is no longer considered the outskirts of Sydney, using that as justification for increased house prices is disingenuous, as even at the current outskirts, which are some 50-60 km from the city center, houses still often cost in the millions, especially in new developments, where houses are being built with a specific focus on investors rather than home-owners.As for saying that prices would obviously increase on a previously established property is also concerning, the reason being that:a) Without new, cheaper housing being created in tandem to this, it creates an un-affordable market.b) It highlights one of the reasons house prices have risen so much: they are now viewed more as investments by many in the community.Another problem which has occurred to me is this: house prices in capital or 'world' cities are always higher (see New York, London, etc), and for Australia, that grabs a massive portion of the population.But really, at the bottom of it is the increasing wealth gap between rich and poor, which has been increasing based on Government research. In this situation, the investors buy the properties, fix them up or rent them, and in doing so raise house prices, leaving most unable to purchase a property of their own within their lifetime, whilst others have massive real estate portfolios.

Dean, your comments automatically mark you as coming from the recent past.Here's my 'personal' CV. Born 1954 to a working father, a homemaker mother and I had an older sister. Around 1960 we still had a fridge that was built sometime in the 1940's. The 'washing machine' was a copper tub that boiled the clothes clean. My mother had a treadle sewing machine to make/repair some of our clothes. In 1962 we got a TV!When my father died in 1966 the only debt we had was the electric sewing machine bought from Myer on hire-purchase, who amazingly and thankfully let my mother keep without having to pay the rest off.My parents might have wanted to have things 'now', but they didn't get them if they couldn't afford them. I still remember my mother saying one night, "Thank God, there's $40.00 in the bank!"p.s., I work for Centrelink now and your final paragraph needs some serious editing.Cheers!

Actually it was a 4 tier tax.0%, 10%, 20% and 30% which was changed to 0%, 12.5%, 22.5% and 32.5% prior to its replacement with the GST in 2000.

Hi DeanI'm Gen X, don't own property. Many moons ago I rejected the 'Australian dream' that I needed to own a home to live in. So I have just rented. But I do understand people wanting their own home, and why not if it will bring you happiness. But how do you go about it?Lardo and DannyS have some valid comments today, but perhaps could deliver them to you with more empathy. But they are trying to help you! Anyway, hear me out.The longer you look externally for the reasons why you think you can't do something, the longer that thing just won't happen. Take your mind off the boomers, the GenX ers, the government, and any other 'selfish group' that you think stands between you and your goals. Accept the situation as it is; hoping it changes soon is just wasted hope. How you see this is the problem. Nothing will happen if you sit back and apportion blame. Complaining gets you nowhere. Just take control of the things you can control. Start with how you see your situation, perhaps then your beliefs (e.g. it is the baby boomers' fault; that belief is like saying you have given up already), because beliefs drive actions. There are things you can do. If your only action is to point at others then it is the wrong action. It will no doubt involve sacrifice and determination. But if you want it bad enough, take a look at yourself, change your thoughts and actions, come up with a plan, and execute the plan, you can do it. I can say, from personal experience, that taking this approach whilst in a tough period in my life has paid off big-time.Good luck young man.

DeanYou are not quite right about saying years ago house prices were 3-4 times the wages, and now house prices are 7-8 times wages. A bit of clarification is required.Years ago the common thing was you only had one wage coming into a house. it was common when women got married hey were laid off work. The house price was around 3-4 times the wage.Now both partners work and bring an income into the house, and house prices are 3-4 times the house income much as years gone by.

Listen closely to the output of LNP politicians currently.The end of negative gearing will devalue house prices, yes please.There may just be enough trickle down effect to allow current employed people/couples to be able to afford the cherished home.

10% GST is a bonus.In my earlier business life there was a thing called sales tax which was levied on the wholesale price of goods. It in effect amounted to an effective 15% + on "luxury goods" like coffee makers. Ipods/pads, X box et. al.

hear hear charles.I am aged between you and Tara and I firmly believe after nearly 50 years of looking at the world around me that there is no reason, other than a major disability, why anyone should not be able to fund their own retirement in this country. You dont need to win lotto, you dont need to be lucky at all. you dont need to be a banker or a lawyer or a doctor or a baby boomer. you dont even need to be smart. what you have to do is get off your a**e and work hard. thats what my parents and their generation did, including you by the sound of things.with very few exceptions, in my life people who have worked hard have been rewarded, some very comfortably. even if they started out with no advantages or in quite menial jobs. and there appear to be fewer and fewer people prepared to do that. to the extent it is the fault of governments, it is only because they allow the idea to mushroom that you can be comparatively lazy and still expect to have it easy and spend an ill-deserved retirement living on a pension in a caravan.

Things that your generation enjoyed, but took away from your kids:- Reasonable house prices- Free university- The dole- The pension- Super tax concessions (to be gone very soon)- Manufacturing industries- Free health care- National telecoms- a National player in the banking system- Our utilitiies assetsIts easy to say that you had nothing to do with these self serving policies, but as part of the largest voting bloc during the periods they were removed, you didn't do enough.

You hinted at it, but the lack of a full time job will really hurt savings for the current generation.

Things that you will leave to your kids- A house-A superannuation balance-Anything else you have accumulated after a lifetime of workSo the next generation will probably inherit from all those rich parents that seem to attract so much criticism here. My sister in law just inherited a million dollar house without ever having made a mortgage payment in her life and without ever having paid for bricks and mortar. To all the people who moan about what the previous generation have taken away from you, think on the fact that you will probably get it all. Previous generations did not have superannuation to pass on to their children - or houses which as is often pointed out here, worth a million dollars.

Zaccarry,The Gen X/Y brats throwing dummy spits and tanties about Mummy and Daddy having it all. They have not left any goodies for them so how about they use this forum to pledge that they will not accept any benefits when Mumsy and Dadsy kick the bucket. Someone educate me. Did not Mr Keating intro compulsory Super in 1992 or close to it. So Tara, our mid 30s author should have some 15 plus years of super saved, As should her partner Steve. Theyhave kids and they cost plenty as does the house or rent payment and car and all others but everyone is in a similar boat.Some people have planned well and have good paying jobs and Tara has more than 30 years to build her nest egg along with her partner.The kids should be out and looking after themselves soon and plenty have put themselves thru Uni by part time work. I do not get the gist of this article. Is tara saying that things are financially crook and she will never achieve independence in her old age. And that everything else is to blame?Do I take it that people on lower incomes have never ever achieved this independence?Well I know plenty who have and it simply took a plan, a budget and a commitment to the plan and budget. A sandwich and coffee the shop for 8/10 bucks every day is not part of the budget. Eating out 2,3 or 4 times a week is beyond my comprehension but these places are doing roaring trades. Coffee for a fiver! Tara has another 35 years of compulsory Super and, if she does not give in to the stupid modern day concept of letting grown up kids stay at home forever (unless they pay a genuine room and board) she will have income available to voluntarily add to Super.Wasn't planning and budgeting for Super to see us thru our old age the central platform of the Keating Superannuation Plan.Or is Planning, Budgeting and accepting personal financial responsibility gone the way of the Letter and button up boots?

Planning, budgeting and accepting personal financial responsibility is not dead, but as someone who worked tirelessly throughout uni (and even then didn't even manage to pay off a third of my fees in advance), has seen both the traditional workplace and permacasual employment (thanks GFC), and landed in a tricky spot during the worst of Perth's rental housing crisis, it gets exponentially harder the less stable your job and living situation is. And that's without even taking into account the toll such instability places on your physical and mental health.Please reassess the basis from which you've made in this post. You're working on a fundamentally flawed assumption about the stability of the modern work environment.

I agree with your sentiment, but not so much on some of the examples.We run at a low unemployment level and less people sweat away in factories. I think that's a good thing.Free university was an unsustainable policy to begin with and was not always the case.Super Tax concessions really only benefit the wealthy.(well except the LISC - not sure how many were actually using it)Medicare is still a good deal and its mainly the oldies that you refer to who are suffering from anything 'not free'.Privatising Telecom is a god send if you remember your phone bills. Most people if they are smart should be paying negligble Telco costs. CBA is still national. The big 4 for all the criticism are still more competitive than what they were in the 70/80s.Solar and Battery storage is on the cusp of making our powergrid redundant.The dole is of concern and I feel that it needs raising. Particularly with cost of living pressures.Expensive houses are a result of our prosperity.

Re free university being scrapped "because it didn't pay for itself" is a furphy in my view. I benefited from that gift of education and if, as I have read somewhere, a graduate in the day would earn about a million dollars more than a non graduate over their working life, there's a million dollars multiplied by the higher marginal tax rates going back to the government and the community surely? Say at least $300K, maybe 450k if you were luckier than me. Now my kids are racking up between $30k and $70k in the hope of getting a good job at the end. How demoralising. Go Tara, and absolutely master saving. Pay yourself first. Go read 'the Richest Man in Babylon' if you want to understand the 10% references above.

Free University also had restricted places in courses. When I was at Flinders in the late 80's, Students who had enrolled in an Economics degree missed out on enrolling in one of the core subjects in the degree due to strict quotas per subject, with a few people repeating, it meant less first year students could do the course. In addition, Austudy was a lot more restrictive and only available to those on very low incomes, middle income families like my own had to pay their own way to support students through Uni. I was not eligible for Austudy even though I was living away from home as I was from the bush. Now most get youth allowance when studying. There were a lot less subjects and occupations like nursing, teaching and various others were taught at Institutes of Technology or Colleges of Advanced Education which were not classified as universities. So it was swings and roundabouts, free tuition, less places so only the ones with the highest matriculation results could attend and also higher costs to most families due to less financial support from Government.

I agree with your sentiment, but not so much on some of the examples.We run at a low unemployment level and less people sweat away in factories. I think that's a good thing.Free university was an unsustainable policy to begin with and was not always the case.Super Tax concessions really only benefit the wealthy.(well except the LISC - not sure how many were actually using it)Medicare is still a good deal and its mainly the oldies that you refer to who are suffering from anything 'not free'.Privatising Telecom is a god send if you remember your phone bills. Most people if they are smart should be paying negligble Telco costs. CBA is still national. The big 4 for all the criticism are still more competitive than what they were in the 70/80s.Solar and Battery storage is on the cusp of making our powergrid redundant.The dole is of concern and I feel that it needs raising. Particularly with cost of living pressures.Expensive houses are a result of our prosperity.

Super tax concessions do not favour the "WEALTHY"they favour higher income earners who may or may not be wealthy. The big difference is that someone may have a high income, but low net and or gross wealth due to the stage in life they may be in. IE a young AFL draftee who is on around $100k plus in his first year if he plays every game has a high income but low gross and net wealth due to it being his first year in the job. Now ABS stats from 2010 show that older age groups earn more on average with the highest group being the 35 to 44 years with a steep increase from those aged 15 to 19 and a slight decline from 45 through to 65 and over so peak earning years are from 35 onwards. This shows that the super tax concessions are generally being targeted towards those in older age groups who earn more than those under 35. At this point in time, those older than 41, have not had a full lifetime of superannuation contributions, as universal super was only implemented in 1992, so people in this age group should be able to maximise their super utilising the current concessions and any tax changes should be done on an age level and not purely on income level due to the inequity that it will cause to those who have not been on high incomes all their life and are at peak earning power at the current time where they can finally set up a retirement. There are very few people who earn a high income for their entire career, most only get there towards the end of their career so why punish them for advancing their lives.

When were the dole and the pension scapped? I must have been off the grid on my caravaning holiday when I missed that news.

I think i thinkDo you?Who cancelled the dole - I see plenny of people collecting it. Likewise the pension.There's more telecoms choice than there ever was. Are you talking about the "good old days" of Telstra monopoly, when it cost you $20 to call a friend 3 hours away for an hour.

Charles, young people today forget that hard work and saving make for a better life. The two go together.They believe their parents should provide everything for them and if the parents use that dreadful word, NO, then they are hard done by and grizzle about their parents and grandparents.They should have to work the long hours we had to, go without to save for a house, live at home paying board instead of frittering their pay on flats and nightlife, learn that "having a good time" does not need to include the cost of alcohol, that holidays in Australia cost much less than overseas ones and not putting themselves in debt at 18 to buy a car is not compulsory.Young people today (as a generality) are selfish and delight in blaming us for their situation when in reality it is their own fault.Stand by for the screams LOL

A few points.1) Cars have become an all but compulsory element in all jobs, as one can see by looking at any job board, and counting the number of positions that require a drivers license, own vehicle, or both.2) Owning flats is part of being independent, and unless the 'room and board' provided by your parents is within close proximity to the city, is necessary to be competitive within the job market.3) I agree that alcohol and night-life is an un-necessary dint on ones income, however it is part of the primal urge to socialise, and for many, part of the attempt to find a significant other. That being said, its also telling how many 'successful' people from previous generations were able to engage in nightlife without a negative impact.Finally, you need to understand perspective. No, it was not you who caused this problem, but you let it get this bad, and benefit from it to this day including through property renting. And if you think you can blame the over-saturated job market, push to part-time and casual employment, and lack of social mobility on a generation that has barely started to enter into real positions of power, I think you are more than a little delusional.

OnierosSo what do you want me to do - let my tenants stay there for free? Nobody did that for me when I was a studious young fellow doing uni.It's called "making it on your own". People used to pride themselves on independence (and No, I'm much younger than the youngest baby boomer).

Onieros,Not sure what it would cost today, but my first car was an Austin 10 that cost me $60, whining diff and all.I think you will find that the average car today costs far less as a %age of income than it did back then.A lot of kids I know have bought there first car with money they made working at fast food outlets.

@LardoI never talked about free tenancy. However, if you can afford two properties, that already puts you in a certain social class, and if you've been looking at statistics, you'd know that class mobility has effectively fallen to nil. In other words, unlike in your day, nowadays the dream of home ownership is largely dependent on your starting point: you can't 'make it on your own' if you're looking at anything below at least 80k.@RoxyFirst off, used cars go for between 250 (if you're willing to take risks and bring it up to rego standards) and 12k. If you cut a good deal, or buy directly, the prices are usually around 3-5k.Second, the price of an 'average' car is not cheaper, either used or new, as the product itself has changed, as have safety regulations around them. No longer can you get a car with a fiddly clutch or whining diff and expect it to pass rego, which can leave one somewhat stranded.Finally, buying your car with fast food money is great, but working at that age can damage grades, poison resumes (search the McDonalds effect, which I believe is the slang for it), and depends on your ability to work, and to be hired.

Oneiros,Certain social class. Did you realise that the MEDIAN GROSS income of all people who owned negatively geared properties was only $55k, which is $10k less than the Median taxable full time income in Australia in 2012/13 when the data was compiled. So more than half the people who negatively gear earn less than the median income for full time employees. So what social class does that make them?? Obviously not exactly high income are they???

First, where are these figures coming from?Second, does that account for inherited properties?Third, median income and average income are completely different, and in this case disingenuous. Median income refers to the values closest to the 'middle' of a dataset, not the average. Additionally, your figures fail to note the much higher numbers of properties found in the higher class portfolios.Finally, having a negatively geared property within that income bracket is not the same as breaking into the housing market in that income bracket. Many people may have bought said properties in better times, or at a point where property prices were much lower. As such, the figures you give do not provide enough information to even be validated.BTW, you realise that most households owning negatively geared properties are multiple income source households, taking their income up to the 100k level, which still isn't enough to buy into the housing market without already owning property.

Or inheritance. The most common way. Now some people will never be rich no matter how much hard work they put in. I include here anyone in education, nurses, retail workers, laborers, contract workers and more. Then you have people with disabilities, lower intelligence, living in rural communities. Not to mention people who tried to do the right thing by studying only to later discover their qualification is worth little more than the paper its written on (sciences, arts, languages, business)The easiest and most frequent way for people to be rich is having rich parents. This allows them to be afforded private school and make connections, allows for family networks to be used to gain the better jobs, allows for a head start in paying off a home or even for some a free home/car.

I would have thought teachers and qualified nurses would be well-placed to save for their retirements, particularly if they also receive State Super. I've met people who you might think of as of lower intelligence (all right, I did too) who were successful investors following simple strategies. People from disadvantaged backgrounds can outperform with the right attitudes and a willingness to work hard. Obtaining a degree equips people for life, not necessarily in the area they have studied. Just going through the process of studying for a degree does train you to see things differently. There are a few who can coast through life because of their family connections but I'm glad not to know any, their sense of entitlement can hobble them if they cannot match those they look down on. Have to say an inheritance would be helpful but families are not one way things, you may need to help out your parents on their way through life as well.To be honest it is sad to see people's resentments bubbling up so freely here. Concentrate on your own life and you will be more satisfied than if you only look for inequities to justify your negative feelings. When you are in a position to do so (it should be when rather than if, believe it or not) talk to people about the options for saving for retirement. However if you are the traveller your name suggests it may be difficult to embrace those disciplines. Good luck with your choices.

Wanderer,Today the Teachers Union Vic put in the claim for 1st year teacher grads to get a rise from 63000 to 75000.That is for a first job and do not forget state super is about 14%. So a teacher with 40 years service is gonna get Plenty. Same with nursing staff and do you think none of them have any idea of the the job pay as they go about their training?Do you have any idea what Laborers earn on a city building site. Are retail staff banned from taking vocational courses that can lead to promotion and higher wages? As for them rich folk... well... come the revolution and you will sort them out hey! Who said it is about being rich anyhow.You are the one obsessed with Riches. Most want a comfortable financial life and are not pathological if others have more.

Wanderer,the Forbes/Cap-Gemini World Wealth reports actually research how most high net wealth individuals end up that way. The majority are actually from creating and building a business and less than 20% of all high net wealth individuals actually inherit their money so it is not a prerequisite to have rich parents before you become rich and it is the one of the least common ways of becoming rich as wealth inherited often only lasts 2 to 3 generations before becoming diluted amongst the 3rd and 4th generations. There are rare occurrences where inherited wealth is built upon and increased, but in most cases, it is diluted over time.

In 30 years we will have used another 1000 gigabarrels of Oil, and be down to the last 500 in the conventional, heavy and extra heavy categories. There are reserves in the unconventional category, but these come at a much higher extraction cost. This in a world of supposedly increased demand in China, two billion Africans etc. etc. Australia, at the arse end of the supply chain, cannot expect the patrimony of the great Nations to continue. The world's economic and financial systems will go into meltdown, and whatever number you gazed upon will be meaningless.Because of our natural wealth, Australia does has a unique opportunity to shape its future with gas conversion engines, electric engines, electric trains etc. Retirement is not something to be imagined, but rather something to be forged and for the little ones to come.

No-one ever talks about this. I confess I have no idea if your figures are correct, it seems hard to get information. People seem to carry on like cheap fossil fuel will last forever, and that renewables will 'always' be more expensive, so not worth worrying about.It seems very strange to me.

You fail to understand triple-bottom line economics, or ownership and wealth distribution structures, as well as the current state of Australias energy reserves.First, extensive gas extraction, especially from coal seams and fracking, is immediately damaging to the environment through fugitive emissions and contaminated water. Mid-term damage comes from changes to the water table and the teratogenic and carcinogenic effects of the fracking agents. Long term, forests die, and the water pumped into the ground causes seismic destabilisation. So this is not a good option compared to solar-thermal, distributed solar supported by off-site stations, or even thorium nuclear.Second, The wealth would not distribute well. At the highest levels, you have Gina and Twiggy, who take the lions share of the profits both directly and via company, neither of which contributes its share of tax. Then, you have executives, and high-class senior engineers, who make, if their lucky, between 100-200k per year. Then, at the level where most people will be at, you have between 40-80k positions: a level that is not sustainable for home ownership or retirement in the current market.Finally, whilst Australia has a lot of coal, it's coal seam gas reserves are much lower than initially expected, and would just create another bubble, whilst devastating our agriculture. The idea we can subsist off of the natural gas industry is therefore laughable.

Onieros,I seem to be answering you a lot today.I find it interesting that fracking seems to be something that people see as totally different from normal oil and gas development. Provided you are well below the water table the method of bringing oil and/or gas to the surface is exactly the same as we use for conventional recovery. You have a metal casing that is cemented so that there is no transfer to the surrounding geology. So unless it is not done properly, which is feasible, but not the norm as we have seen, then things should and do function properly.We are already seeing a slowdown in world demand and while third world countries are increasing their requirements, the rate of growth is slowing. There are some who say that world requirements will peak around 100 million barrels/day as we see the development of the electric/hybrid car. Also think of the consumption in mpg or litres/100km of the car you had 10 years ago and now; it has probably halved.With regard to shale oil in the US, the potential is almost unlimited, it covers a huge part of the US & Mexico, hence the price of oil today as the Saudis et al try to defend their patch. So the price of oil is not going up any time soon (barring war etc) and peak oil is a long way off. Other countries that have not really started to develop their shale reserves are Argentina, China and even Russia.With regard to the Australian situation we don't truly know the potential as more than one state has banned fracking so if we are deficient in reserves it will be due to our own actions, not geologyFinally extraction from coal seams is actually an advantage as emissions during mining can lead to fugitive emissions of methane that is a more dangerous green house gas than most. In some of the operations these gases are used as combustion air to the compressors, thus preventing escape and reducing the actual fuel requirements.As for Gina & Twiggy I'm not privy to their tax returns and have not looked at their (and shareholders) respective companies. What I do know is that their recent investments have cost billions and they are entitled by law to claim a lot of their costs as deductions, thus reducing their tax liabilities. To say that they "take the lions share of the profits" is an easy statement to make, but it would be useful to back that up with actual figures. I know that BHPP certainly does pay its fair share and I would expect that if Gina & Twiggy are not, then the ATO would be interested.

Okay, some points about fracking from someone who's studied it.1) The method is not, as you put it, 'the same' as conventionally drawing gas. The processes are as follows:Conventional Gas: Natural gas is collected either from a reservoir, or as a by-product of oil drilling operations. In both cases, the reserves have sufficient pressure to power toe extraction themselves, with gas being injected into the reservoir at the later stages of extraction to dry out any condensed liquid, etc.Fracking: Gas is found in an location that doesn't fit previous knowledge or profiles, (shale in the US, deep coal seam in Aus), and often under a layer of rock. To reach the gas, liquid is injected into the rock (water with a massive list of additives, which can be found with a simple google search), sometimes accompanied by sand or salt. This permeable crack then allows the escape of natural gas, to be captured by the well.Problems with this are many. First, the injection process can easily go awry, leading to a much larger crack then desirable, and damage to the surrounding rock matrix.Second, the additive laced water can 'leak' leading to both damage to the rock, as stated above, and damage to local aquifers, first deep, then shallow.The fluid is also problematic as it is a) often taken from local sources, and can damage the water table through over-draw, b) when reclaimed, can lead to issues in storage, as improperly stored it can pollute both the river and the water table, and c) can remain at the bed-rock layer and cause seismic instability.Add to all of this the fact that the crack often leaks methane into an area outside the well, and you can see why the process is more problematic and dangerous than conventional methods.Another point is that water tables are permeable both ways. In other words, they can be contaminated from below, rather then from the side and above. Granted, this is much rarer, as usually they sit on impermeable rock, but when that rock is broken for the release of gas, that opens the water table up to contamination.Now whilst US reserves are massive (300 years of current requirements or so), the cost of extracting the stuff has been massive on a social and environmental standpoint, and will continue to have a massive impact into the future.As to Australian reserves of the stuff, that question goes less to regulation and more to current geological knowledge, and the results of both surveys and our knowledge about the geological prerequisites.Now, onto another point: extracting natural gas from coal seams as part of a mining operation, and deep-seam hydraulic fracturing are two different things, and quite frankly, I think you'd be hard pressed to find mining companies willing to do any work close to a fracturing site, due to aforementioned geological instability.Finally, I always assume that the sup

*I always assume the super rich don't pay as much tax as they should, as:a) There are not enough tax brackets reaching into the high end.b) Those with sufficient funds, advisers, or canniness can easily find ways to reduce their tax burden, as Lando demonstrates earlier in this article.

Get your own home, even it's a small crappy one not in your preferred place.When you don't have to pay rent or a mortgage you can live quite comfortably on a small income. You may not be able to go on a cruise every year, but you will be able to eat and feed the cat.I sympathise with younger people as it is so hard to get into the housing market, but, for me anyway, the security is priceless.

> Get your own home, even it's a small crappy one Check ! Small, not crappy, and in the country - happy with that.> When you don't have to pay rent or a mortgage you can live quite comfortably on a small income. Check ! The small income is the age pension for one. Love of my life died first. :(> but you will be able to eat and feed the cat. I feed three cats, one dog and two hens. And me.> for me anyway, the security is priceless. Check !!!!!!!!! But it took many years of scrimping and saving to get this far, into my 70's.Superannuation didn't last very long at all.

"You may not be able to go on a cruise every year, but you will be able to eat and feed the cat."Better idea: stuff the cat and go back-backing grey nomad style in places like South America, SE Asia, Africa, Indian sub-continent etc. for pretty much the same money it costs you to live day-to-day in Australia. Rent your house out Air B&B while you are away (hire someone to do the cleaning etc) and actually turn a profit. OR - buy a sailboat, live on it and travel the world for a fraction of the cost of living in Australia.Just some ideas.

Hi VinceMy wife and I have done all that. Small crappy house in the country. Rented out.We had the yacht for 2 years living aboard sailing south east Asia. Purchased here for $30kAU. Sold here for $40kAU. We are still here and can't spend the rent. People are only limited by their imagination.

"Did you pay capital gains tax on the $10K profit?"Profit haha. YOu obviously have never owned a boat. He has obviously left out the $30k he spent maintaining the damn thing.

Maintained it myself. Owned many boats and got lucky with this one. Luck is what you make it.Never had a problem. How lucky was I. But I take your point.

Never eat the cat whogoeswherever. I know some aboriginals have said they enjoy the taste of feral moggie but your emotional attachment would spoil your appetite. Much better to find a neighbour in similar dire straits and exchange cats.

A simple timeline if I may.Marry 1967.Rent 2 years.Buy land and live in a modified garage on land for one year.Sell land and buy bare block then owner build a house for $15,000Retire 2004, sell house and buy single storey for similar amount.Live the good life and when travelling in caravan, survive on a total average of $739.00 per week.

Your children don't need what they deserve, they deserve what they need.The most important things you can give them are (in order of importance) - A good father (and vice-versa with your husband)Your unconditional love and the security of knowing that they will always be first in your worldA strong work ethic The ability to be self reliant.None of these things cost anything. Everything else is to make you feel better.Once you are in your 40's and 50's you will be surprised at how much time you will have enjoy together, work (and love it) and save. Best of luck in the future.

To be honest I do not expect to see most of my superannuation.The guvament has changed the goal posts so much so often to railroad the workers, that I expect nuthin.I do expect that what little super I have will be taken by the guv and doled out to me as a pension the same as the old age pension. So all the extra money I had in super will count for squat. I will be no better off in retirement than some-one who never worked a day in their life and depended on welfare. We will both get the pension and no more.Perhaps the public servants with huge wads of super will do alright. But the blue collar workers getting $20 per hour will get squat.

Descend,You are right - superannuation balances will be turned into annuities which will for all intents and purposes little different from the old pension. And you will never get your capital returned.Super is just another tax.Absolute crooked governments (both LNP and Labor) and super funds.

We live quite comfortably on a super of under $500,000 but we were smart enough to own our own home before we retired (and it doesn't cost anything like a million dollars).We rolled our super into an annuity and we have never been sorry about that because it is still worth today what it was 10 years ago! What you forgot to say was that every one on super has to roll it into some kind of annuity. Long gone are the days when you got a lump sum on retirement. Tell all the facts please?We do not get any pension from the Government and why should we? We have provided nicely for our old age without any help from anybody.Superannuation is NOT another tax, its a way of providing for your old age. Perhaps you would prefer to get the Aged Pension? Do you figure its a way of getting back the tax you paid all your working life? So who provided the schools, hospitals, roads etc? Mickey Mouse?I'll let you know what our cruise in July is like :)

Aja,Well when you die then your relatives can kiss the $500k capital goodbye.As long as you are ok with that then whom am I to criticize.

Well done for what you have acheived. Just a couple of points. The annuity you purchased does not remain what what it is worth today due to the effects of inflation. Secondly there is the option for an account based/allocated pension which can run down in the balance remaing in the account based on the min/max drawdown each year and fund performance. Annunities are not all that popular these days due to changes to the aged pension rules and the loss of access to the capital underpinning the pension. Enjoy your pension. I'm one of the lucky ones on a modest defined benefit pension but don't anticipate the cruises due to family health issues. Just life's little reminder that money isn't everything.

It's a bit left-field I admit, but some of the following may be worth considering;1. The last time there were rich people out travelling roads at a time of mass poverty, becoming a highwayman (I'm guessing it's highwayperson these days) was a valid lifestyle choice. There's something exciting about the thought bailing-up a luxury Winnebago and demanding the occupants hand over their lupins - especially in an age when capital punishment is outlawed.2. Consider becoming an unconstrained social activist as you age and know that (a) your standard of living is likely to be higher in jail when you're caught, (b) incarceration doesn't hold the terrors it does when you're young, and (c) you can get to experience all of the irrational, air-headed pleasures you sacrificed in your youth by being way too serious and trying to play a game you were never destined to win.3. Eat the cat if the food issue gets serious. Then start on all the other cats. We have a feral cat problem in this country, and you could win Australian of the Year and the cheque that goes with it if you catch and cook enough moggies. Just something to aspire to.4. Wheelie bins are there for a purpose. I've already instructed Zaky's daughter-in-law that's where my carcass is to go if she can get away with it.5. Launch a class-action against the medical profession. They are the ones pushing this "you can live almost forever" routine without providing details as to what everyone is supposed to be doing with all the extra time. Buy a Winnebago with the settlement money and start driving around with a cabin full of lupins.6. Although a last-ditch option, both Logan's Run and Soylent Green provide handy tips as to how your final years can be made rewarding.

Oh come on Vince! I tried to add a bit of laughter to his humour but the moderators won't allow me. How does yours get through is a mystery !!!:(

My post was written at 11:41am Western - I have an iron-clad rule never to screw the teat onto a fresh whisky bottle and start sucking before midday. It's for practical as much as moral reasons - it takes me until then to find my way home from yesterday, clean all the urine off the keyboard, and try and work out whether I threw my underpants onto the roof, gave them 10 minutes on "high" in the microwave, or just stuffed them in the VHS player's slot like I normally do before I go out and roam the neighbourhood.Nice touch alcoholism - I was starting to get a bit jaded with the mono-dimensional reliance on mental health barbs. My elves will be delighted you've opened up a new, bountiful set of options for them to express their ongoing displeasure. As will I.

"I have an iron-clad rule never to screw the teat onto a fresh whisky bottle and start sucking before midday."As long as you haven't started attending meetings you're still OK!!

Hey Son of Z. Just remember it's always after midday somewhere in the world. Become multi-national. It seems to work for the tax dodgers.

There are a few stories about why its better to live in a modern jail than a modern nursing home.the food is better, the room is bigger, you get free medical care. Plus your costs are a lot smaller.hopefully they are joking.

"hopefully they are joking."Sort of.Essentially, it comes down to what you value more, and how safe you think you would be in prison.But at its core, prisons now are better then nursing centers, due to higher standards of care, more oversight, and fairly consistent mental health checks. It's why nursing homes need to be better regulated, with government run facilities as well.But if you decide to go to prison, make sure you notify your family first.

I'd prefer a much whiter place where the pills are more colourful and the people are more interesting :)

"There are a few stories about why its better to live in a modern jail than a modern nursing home."The downside is the mandatory daily back-rub from the ugly biker cell mate.

Maybe, still with over 30 years to go before retirement, you could start saving a nest egg now. Too many people waste money on luxuries like movies, dining out and unnecessary consumer purchases.I have no faith in super, and by the time I retire, it would not surprise me if the government raised the super age to 80.If you want to see your privilege, travel to countries in Asia and see what life is really like for people with far less - just look at the 80-something year olds still bent over a hot wok cooking street food for Australian travelers in between beers!

" There is no constitutional guarantee regarding your right to natural justice. Natural Justice is whatever the government says it is. They can retrospectively attack your home and your superannuation, regardless of how unfair that might seem to you." High Court of Australia 2001.And people wonder why I gave up studying for my law degree and left the police department.

That probably would have come up in second year. I think part of it also includes a rule against bias.

Tara you are in your 30's and are thinking about these things already.I was at least twice your age before i started to think about them and my ideas were just about the same as yours. You must be a long way ahead of many of us who sometimes live in denial.The pension is not a liveable income for most people and unless we have some sort of investment or superannuation we are between a rock and a hard place. But working and having "a reason" to get out of bed every morning is a way to keep the marbles functional and that has to be a plus for the concept.One of the main attractions to the Roman legions about 2000 years ago was the provision it gave for retirement so the idea is not a new one, but many of us are just too apathetic to do much about it.It seems to me that the scheme introduced during the tenure of Paul Keating should have by now started to bear fruit, but it seems to be having ongoing teething troubles.Thank you for a great article Tara.

I disagree with some of that Victor. The pension provides a reasonable standard of living if people have housing and no great need to travel. My old mum is not (ahem) a natural saver but she copes okay and adds a touch to her savings over time while running a car and topping up her wardrobe. It is not the lifestyle any of us would dream of but it is a long way from the hell you seem to imagine. Having said that she does get some help with bills.Probably leaving it to your sixties to start coming to grips with funding your retirement is only likely to add to your stress levels. Tara is too young to be stressing about such things. Getting the housing sorted is good for 15 years of financial stress, particularly when kids are at home, but after that the opportunities to save can open up, and the incentive generally seems to kick in as well. Delaying your retirement while you still enjoy working, as you are, seems to be the best course.Sustainability of superannuation has become an issue as the economy slows down. Finding the right balance between incentive to provide for your retirement and the government meeting the minimum demands on it is always going to be a challenge. Governments will always be tempted to keep a thumb on the scales.

The whole myth about how much is needed for retirement is a huge superannuation industry and government con. Superannuation is just another tax that is to provide funds to replace the age pension which has already been paid for by a lifetime of paying income tax. The super industry (including financial advisers) wants to increase this "tax"from 9% to 12% (a 33% increase!) so that they can get their greedy hands on more money to fund their bonuses/huge pay. They don't do it because they care.The older one gets then the less income one needs.It is now the ridiculous situation where aging people lament not having enough money to retire and to live into their eighties. As though living is worse than not having money!BTW if you have fully paid-off a flat/unit/house and don't drive a car then you can live ok on the pension.

You're bang on there Rusty. The Super companies are telling everyone they need at least $1million to retire on. In fact there's a well-respected financial consultant here in the West who's written a book detailing why you only actually need $250,000, as long as you have a place to live. That might sound a lot but as long as you start buying your first hovel at a reasonably early age and don't go berserk frittering cash on depreciating assets like cars, it's eminently doable.

Depends on when you retire and the lifestyle you expect to lead in retirement I suppose Pavo. Wouldn't want to retire at 60 with super of $250,000 and a need to keep myself occupied.

OUB,Retired at 55 and have plenty to keep me busy. Bit sad you intend to work because you have nothing else to keep you busy after 60. Suspect that you will never, purely in your mind, have enough $ to make the leap into retirement - that's ok, if a 70 year old wants to keep working and paying tax until they die at work then why would I care. Plenty like you. They are 80 and worrying about their retirement and seeking investment advice! Hint: You can't take it with you.

I could retire to an austere existence now if I had to Rusty, probably twice the pension but with a long way to go. I'd like to double my savings first if I can. I do get something out of interaction with colleagues and clients that I would otherwise lack but there is no need for your concern. We should know ourselves well enough by now. Very happy to leave what's left to family.

OUB I have a friend who is now in his eighties. He is a Yank and worked for about 10 years in a Uni in the US. At age 65 he was getting about $150 a week and now it's about $300 ....and he doesn't live in America! When he dies, his wife (not a yank) will get his pension for life.I doubt that he is pulling my leg and I have to wonder where did we get it so wrong? And his is a privately funded cost to the taxpayer.

It sounds they are phasing out those employer funded pensions in the US now Victor. Remember all those poor buggers who thought they were set for life because they used to work for GM? Bankruptcy proceedings must have been very stressful for them. Those getting pensions probably would have taken home more pay during their working lives without the pensions. To me it sounds safer to have someone other than the employer holding the keys to your future prosperity if the economy goes sour again. You'd think universities would be well-placed to provide for your friend's entitlements though.

Paying tax isn't like paying into a savings account for any future pension or unemployment benefits you might need. Paying tax is about contributing to society today through transfer payments to individuals in need, paying for the public sector and defence workers we need now and paying for investment in things that will benefit us all in the future (eg education, roads etc).

Ally,Federal government tax receipts yesterday/today pay for today's pensions.Aren't pensioners deserving of payments to "individuals in need".

Ally & RustyYou are both making the case for a National Insurance Scheme to cover all people for retirement, unemployment, and health care.Seems obvious.

Thing,A National Insurance Scheme just sounds like another back door tax scheme to me.So what are our taxes for again?

Rusty,what's the back door tax thing?Taxes are for roads, schools, and to pay the ATO! Among other things.The problem we have right now is that the population is aging and living longer. We also have the NDIS. Both of these things will require spending, like it or not. Within the current framework we have the two parties scared to deal with the tax system and so to cover the increasing costs of aged care they are taking the razor to education, just as one example. Given that pensioners have done their time and deserve their pensions, and given that education is our future competitive edge in a modern world, gutting the latter to pay for the former is bad policy and bad economics.On top of that, the big miners have tossed more than 75,000 people out of work in the last eighteen months, many of whom are now on welfare of one sort or another. However, the miners had their use of Australia's human resource and also avoided handing over their share of the mining boom.Therefore, one way to address the issue is to treat unemployment, disability, healthcare, and aged care separately from the rest of the budget. To cover the costs there could be a national insurance scheme paid for as part of employment costs and charges - currently we have payroll tax, workers pay income tax, and companies pay company tax, so some of that could be paid separately into the insurance fund and taken off the tax bill. The aim could be be to ensure that those things are covered for everyone, which includes a decent retirement with suitable healthcare. If the cost needs to go up as the demographics change, then that's what happens and we can stop arguing over which cuts to education we need to make to pay for pensions. Anybody who thinks this isn't already happening just needs to check on the private health insurance contribution increases since that was made "compulsory".

ThingfishThe guvvament, our brave, selfless pols, in charge of hundreds of billions of our money? What could possibly go wrong?

I can't believe you feel you are such a victim Rusty (where have you been?). If you think you're being got at start your own SMSF. I agree that a compulsory 12% seems to be over the top for many but your issue is with Labor and their determination to be seen to actually do something, as well as the Coalition for not ending such foolishness. TBH if I wasn't required to compulsorily save via super I would probably do it anyway. Having some super supplemented by a part pension should be more than most require but I can understand the anxiety many feel about the transition to retirement.

OUB,I don't believe in super, never have and fortunately will never need to worry about it. But I do feel sorry for those caught in the super web who do not have enough for a SMSF - which is the vast majority of low paid workers who see their meager super balances eaten up by the voracious sharks that call themselves super funds. When super was mandated it brought out all the spivs and scammers, mostly unqualified, into the super "industry".

OUBSuper is not some strange investment idea. It is purely having your money invested in a low tax environment as long as you maintain the objective that the sole purpose is to provide for your retirement.You can invest outside super if one wishes, but you will pay more tax on any income/capital gains.

I agree with you Roxy, I just a little puzzled what you have picked up on that indicates otherwise. Rusty and I are carrying on and old conversation.

Retirement is a concept only the baby boomers will enjoy, everyone else will work till they drop to pay for the promises politicians keep making.

Rubbish. I am a long way from retirement yet (ie not a boomer), and will be self-funded. I have been self-employed most of my working life.

"Now, in my mid-30s I fear what the future may bring."That is your first problem. Fearing the unknown. The solution is to stop worrying about things. No one can predict the future. And if travelling around as a 'grey nomad' is you only goal than you have set your sights to low. The fact you were born in one of the wealthiest countries in the world means you have already won the lotto. If you are in good health, have a job and it continues you have won several times over. Aim a little higher. Be grateful for what you and your family have. Enjoy life, read more and try to make a difference to the world around you. Michel De Montaigne is a good place to start. As you age you may discover how sweet it is just to exist on our tiny blue dot in space.

Agreed, no need to worry so much. Tara will be better than ok. The article was thoughtfully written with decent grammar. She care about her kids. The hurdles are not very high to have a better life than average. Her biggest enemy is media telling her that everyone has more then her. Fact. They don't. Go see the wrong side of the tracks; its a big area.I did not get a real job until I was 28 and even that was contract. I've worked out that I'll have plenty of super just by working. No extra payments needed. I'm nicely paying off my house and do not have credit cards no matter how many free points are on offer. And did I mention that I'm single with kids. One big advantage that I have is I do not live in Sydney or Melbourne. The one piece of advice I can offer is leave those cities. I have a really good job in a town where average house prices are $340,000.

The author will be able to retire - but she expects it to be a frugal retirement. And frankly that is the type of retirement the pension is designed to fund. It would simply cost the budget too much otherwise. Your own savings are required for anything more than a frugal retirement. Pity if the author cannot put anything more away but that hasn't got anything to do with me.

"Pity if the author cannot put anything more away but that hasn't got anything to do with me."It has everything to do with the policies of the governments that we elect. The cost of living is affected by government policy, who you vote for affects how much people like the author can afford to put away, and whether or not they have a job to earn anything in the first place.

Personal choice also makes an impact on that. You make choices regarding which field of study/employment you go into, which impacts on earning potential and where you might be able to live. You also choose how many kids you're going to have, if any, and what level of support you're going to give them.Personally I think you give your kids what they need, not what they think they deserve or want at the detriment of your own financial health. And any kid that has the attitude of "what about me?" when their parents are facing a frugal retirement deserves a kick up the backside.

The window of wealth and health that allowed for the "grey nomads" is rapidly closing.In the 70s if you lived for ten years after retirement you were said to have had a good innings. If you had put away super then it was usually enough for a comfortable life for those ten years.As health and lifespan increased those that had saved got to travel on the cheaper air fares also entering the market.A lot of grey nomads have also committed the sin of selling everything to buy their caravan and four wheel drive only to find five years later that their appetite for travel has been sated and that their dream van and vehicle are worth a fraction of what they cost, they don't have the resources to re-enter the house market and a caravan park and all its insecurities are their new reality.

My experience is that saving for retirement is a bit like one day cricket. At best you aim to build a small base in the early overs/years on then stack on all you can for the last few years/overs (after the kids leave home). You may not get rich but you can survive.

Wrong!Retirement is for those who salted their money away for their twilight years, have led frugal lives, worked hard and didn't live it up believing that the good times would last forever. As I student teacher, I noticed the 'old' teachers (45 or 50) would all have second jobs.They wore cheap clothes and lived from week to week. They couldn't resign because their'super' had them locked in to a job they hated. It was then, at the age of 17 that I decided that I would never be one of them!During my first three years of marriage, I worked three jobs, never went out and saved, saved saved. The 'dream' home was then re-mortgaged and I built a weekender in my spare time. This is where I now live modestly and with no debt. The 'dream' home was sold and the modest bank interest on the proceeds gives me a worry free life. Oh! We're proud that we make no financial demands on the government, a family ethic passed down through the generations.It's not rocket science, just disciplined living and hard hard work.

Geoff,Those who retire on the pension are entitled, likely as life long taxpayers, to "make financial demands on the government". As such it is not fair to moralize, as there seems to be now with superannuation as an income source for retirees, on pensioners. BTW I am not on the pension. As well many people now about to retire only started to pay into superannuation relatively late in their working lives.That said, your comments are totally correct regarding living within one's means and being content with one's situation. And making your own "luck" through smart decisions and sweat.Wants should never be mixed up with needs. And in this country our needs can usually be modestly met.

RustyI find it a little galling that older people who only had the super system for part of their lives complain about how little they've got.Let there be no doubt - any person, anywhere is free to voluntarily invest however much they want for their retirement, buy shares or property or just save cash. There is not, and has never been, any law against that.And in the pre-capital gains tax days (pre-1985), you would have done very, very well.

It's worked for you and I respect that. Looking back I have to say I should have spent more on experiences when younger. Concentrating on saving for retirement to the exclusion of living your life would be a mistake (not suggesting you took it to that extent, only you would know that).

How much did that home cost relative to your annual income?Do you think that you could re-create this with todays job-market?How well would you have dealt with now essential costs such as internet bills?How much capital did you leave home with?Where was your first job?I ask because all of these factors determine whether 'what you did,' was a result of effort, luck, or the time you were born in.

I know how the author feels. Once I just wanted a house over my had now I want a roof over my head with five bedrooms, only two kids but you've got to have five bedrooms, triple garage, theatre room, four large screen televisions, no more camping trips for me, overseas holidays are now the goal, boat and of course the caravan just in case I wish to travel closer to home. Unfortunately I can't have it all. Life not just retirement is for the reach. Really life is unfair.

I am more concerned for those young Australians who simply want a home to live in, take pride in and enjoy. We need to fix the issue with the property market now - curb immigration, stop overseas investors picking the eyes out of the property of this country. And give young Australians a chance to own their own home so that when they retire they will have a place to live. That will go a long way to helping Australians of the future in their retirement. The Government and the Reserve Bank should be ashamed of the situation that currently exists in the housing market. Because keeping out younger Australians from owning their own home will have a massive flow on effect of poverty in several decades time.

I agree with this entirely. I'm meant to be in the "asset accumulation phase" of my life, where I build up savings and assets that will grow until I retire, yet every dollar i earn goes to the banks servicing a loan for a unit way out of town that will never serve us if my partner and I have kids. Where is this so-called asset accumulation coming from? Where will i get my retirement funds? The government is no doubt going to gut the aged pension by the time i reach retirement age (to fund corporate and high income tax cuts), so how can I realistically expect to be comfortable if I'm not working every single week of my life?This is the harsh reality of growing inequality. It is insidious, slow and poisonous. Glad to see bank executives with their 20 million dollar pay-packets though. Makes me pleased we have "growth" for the economy. Quick, slash health care so we can give these multinationals another pay cut and marvel as their income rises and mine stays the same. Look kiddo - there goes the "growth" our blood and sweat bought the nation. Look quickly before it drives into the walled compound that keeps out the rest of us.

I'm on a well above average salary and my greatest worry is what you're going through. Just an average person in the outer suburbs working hard but unable to get ahead. It's the most common story for people under the age of 40 who are being fleeced to pay for the health and retirements of baby boomers with huge asset portfolios while having to pay for our own retirement through Super and will eventually have to pay in full for healthcare.The pension was always paid for by the working generation of the time(the first people to receive it never contributed to it).The big change is that the current working generation under 45 has had to fund not only the pensions of those now retired (early compared to future generations) but also their own retirement through super. It's a generational swindle, compounded by the accumulation of assets by the same generation now living two people to every 5 bedroom house in the desirable suburbs while complaining about traffic from the outer suburbs, rail lines from the outer suburbs and going on cruises.

Dean40 years ago I was paying tax which funded the retired people. Part of my tax was put into a fund for my retirement. John Howard took that retitrement fund and put the fund into general revenue.So 40 years ago I was paying for my own retirement as well as the retirees, much what you say you are doing now.40 Years ago many towns had dirt roads and the roads which did have tar was only a narrow strip. Tax collected paid for the roads you have in today's world. So tax collected over time has given Australia a lot of infrastructure.The young 40 years ago also rented and could not afford to buy their own homes. Banks would not lend money unless the Banks were certain they could get their money back. I asked for a loan from the bank, when I gave the accountant my financial situation he started laughing figuring it was funny I had the audacity to ask for loan in my situation. So what you talk about is how it was for a big part of the population 40 years ago. Your situation is nothing new, generations ago were the same.

In the past the Government did set up a fund into which a percentage of income tax revenue was put to cover future costs of retirement. In the past the Government did plan to have money to cover the cost of future retirees. John Howard took the money and put into general revenue

New world,"in the past".John Howard didn't "take" the money and put it into general revenue, the money didn't exist for retirement funding purposes.What you are talking about is the National Welfare Fund which never actually linked contributions to required benefits, was basically an accounting device and was officially closed in 1985.Something that you never were "funding" to the required amount and was closed over 30 years ago. Yet you believe this entitles you to some special benefit? Strange.

More passenger rail lines have closed than been opened in the last 40 years, infrastructure went backwards as the same generation who gave themselves discounted or free Uni also decided that any new roads built to benefit future generations should be paid for by those future generations through tolls.You didn't pay for the roads I use, I'm paying for it in tolls.Just another example of that generation tipping what used to be an investment in the future into a user-pays system just like they're doing with healthcare.Meanwhile their assets in areas well serviced by infrastructure are safely stashed away in their trusts.

DeanI do not agree with toll roads.Government tax should pay for infrastructure rather than a user pay system.The Government is avoiding collecting the correct tax from people. The tax avoidance industry is worth billions, and there in lies why the Government wants a user pay system for many things that had shared costs in the past, from the tax system is not happening now.Ian said the other day revenue collected now is around 23.5 percentage of GPD now where traditionally Government revenue is around 26.6 percentage of GPD, so the Government is not collecting enough revenue, which is where the problem lies.Now can I help you out with tax avoidance, that will help you pay the toll and get wealthier for that is how it is done.

It feels like mortgages squat on you forever but probably after a mere 15 years you will be able to start wriggling out from under it. Unless you trade up to something more magnificent. Once housing and kids are no longer a heavy burden you can start to plan for the next stage of your life. Don't stress, seriously. Forget about lusting after the material possessions of others, concentrate on what you want to achieve. Life's unfair? It always has been. So what?

Andrew,For all those young (to me anyone under 40) people fixated on money for retirement I would give it all (money that is) away to be your age again.You see you have something us 60 something people with a few extra dollars don't have - statistically an extra 20 plus years of life.So please put it all in perspective and make the most of your time.

This article just reads like a purely defeatist attitude to prevent the author from sitting down considering their future and actively planning for retirement instead of just letting things happen to you."While I work and invest for today, to provide my children with everything they deserve, I'm left with nothing to "tuck away" for my future, or to make voluntary superannuation contributions."This kind of statement is just a cop out, you are making active decisions but simply don't like the outcome of those choices. Small changes aren't that hard and although you won't notice small changes over the short term, over years and decades those small changes will add up and you can accumulate resources and wealth.Retirement isn't for the rich, it's for those who can plan.

I think the author just had a shellshock of an experience of how unsustainable her current expenditure would be.For as long as I have been in Australia, I have noticed a significant portion of the population who, regardless of their actual income, can't seem to make any significant savings. Said people could be earning anywhere from 40k to 170k. Even at 170k, people somehow manage to find "must haves" even when previously they were not able to afford. They now "must have" their children enrolled into the best private schools, "must have" that expensive piece of property close to work and amenities, "must have" that weekly night out to a nice restaurant. It adds up. Fortunately for the author, she's in her 30's and has ample amount of time to readjust her expenditure to more sustainable levels. It takes a little bit of mental strength though, to convince yourself and your family, to forego something you previously thought was "essential".

Great article Tara, and sadly one I hear increasingly. But I also agree with the contributors who suggest that some young people have become too accustomed to the better things in life, houses with 'media rooms', flash phones etc. I don't like to sermonise, but when we purchased our first home, we used secondhand furniture, and drove two really old dodgy cars which I learned to service. Before we started a family we had paid off the house in five years. Our annual holiday was camping at the beach.Another tip Tara - become financially savvy, stay away from financial advisers and start your own SMSF, and once you are able start salary sacrificing into it. Once you get enough confidence, get your compulsory super paid into it. The one person who will look after your own money best is yourself.

When I was younger I did not think about retirement, then time crept up on me and we, my wife and I started paying super but I had an accident and became disabled. With 20 years before retirement I was devastated but as I had worked hard all my life I thought the pension would keep my wife and I, it has up to now, but this government wants to cut our pension! They have cut our health care and there is not much more they can cut. I can die now knowing my funeral has been paid for. All that remains now is for the government to give us a green dream! To much to expect!!

There are a couple of things about retirement that have surprised me, and fortunately pleasantly. The first is that all the bulldust that I had been fed by "experts/Financial Advisers", was just that bulldust. The second is that the Australian government is very kind to Seniors. Third expenses drop drastically after 65, with bulk billing,seniors discounts on, rates,licences and a host of other items.Two or three million dollars to maintain our (partner and me) lifestyle is just way over the top. We had under half a million when we retired and now we are on part self funded and part Govt. pension, and we live well.It is a MUST that you own your own home though,and if you downsize to a smaller or a rural area, the profits add to your funds. I would advise you to go with an Industry Super Fund, stay away from the Stock market, (I lost a heap twice on that horserace), and keep a watchfull eye on the Government of the day. The first indication that the Govt is trying to tinker with Superannuation or Pension, howl long and hard at the pollies and get your friends to also.Good luck

Under half a mill? My dad worked all his life and paid super, hasn't been on a Holiday for 20 years (he's seen his mother in England 4 times since he came out from England when he was 21), and when he retired he spent most of his super fixing up the house we'd lived in for the last 40 years. He now has the pension and not much else to live off. Half a million super? If only he'd been blessed with a white collar job that didn't leave him struggling to walk further than a few meters at a time...

What we are seeing here is the inevitable clash between the expectations of the "we're just awesome" GenY, and the reality of the world in which we all live.I don?t know your personal circumstances, however I can reflect on my own situation compared to a dozen or so children, nieces and nephews in my own family who are about your age.The first difference is that my generation started with low-end housing: often fibro, two bedrooms, outside laundry and always second-hand furniture and white goods. All of the GenY people I know ? without exception ? live in brick houses or apartments, and own brand new furniture and new motor vehicles as well. They are up to their eyeballs in debt, and paying about 4% interest on their home and portfolio loans. My generation paid up to 19% during the ?recession we had to have?.The other problem you have is that you have projected your own high expectations of what you ?deserve? on your children ? your comment ?to provide my children with everything they deserve,? says it all.Someone has to pay so that you may live the lifestyle to which you aspire.The only way to do this ? apart from winning the lottery ? is to be realistic with your expectations, match your income with your short term and long term lifestyle aspirations (hint: there is a direct correlation between your income and your lifestyle), keep your skills up to date (even if this means studying when you have a small family), modify your expectations of buying your ?dream house? (try a ?renovators? delight? as a means of getting into the housing market) and work hard, even if that means two jobs (each!), and moving to where the jobs are.Just like we did.

"Someone has to pay so that you may live the lifestyle to which you aspire."so truecurrently the young are funding the retirement of the elderly. This is happening in two ways. Firstly, the pension is paid for out of today's tax revenue, not the tax you paid in your youth.Secondly, we have a tax incentive scheme for real estate investment which is causing a huge transfer of wealth form the young to the old. Every time house prices go up that represents a bunch of money flowing from young, new entrants to the market into the pockets of older property owners.The statistics are pretty clear, over the last few decades they show a steady increase in the share of wealth owned by older age brackets at the expense of younger people

Wouldn't rising superannuation balances account for much of that? Previous generations for the most part had a relatively small part of their working life overlapping compulsory superannuation. Relax, we old people (adopting quavery voice) don't live forever. And thank goodness for that.

Also near zero interest rates have inflated the prices of hard assets such as housing. I do think this is iniquitous, along with debt funding since 2008 which accrues to generations to come. Normalised interest rates should eventually account for inflated asset prices but government debt will stay with us for a very long time. You feel more comfortable with the latter than I am, due to our differing politics.

"Just like we did."Your generation had Government debt that was about 20 times the current level of government debt compared to what it is today (measured as % of GDP per capita). If we believe ScoMo and Chris Berg that means your generation should still be paying off that debt and living in a carbon copy of poverty stricken Greece.

First; there is no low-end housing. It's either pre-established and massively expensive, or newly created and massively expensive. Simply living in the city is unsustainable.Second; the things that are needed for every-day life have become much more expensive, as cost of living increases, and new costs (such as internet) are added, and become essential.Third; your debts, whilst at one point leveraged at a higher rate, were a much lower percentage of income.Fourth, saying that one can simply 'keep their skills up to date' whilst keeping a family together and at a reasonable standard of living, whilst also accruing value into their superannuation is symptomatic of someone who is separated from the reality of the situation the current generations are facing. And simply uprooting to go where jobs are doesn't work anymore, as unless you already have significant savings, or a job waiting for you there.As for the reality of the world we live in, that's one of the reasons Gen Y is often complaining; we have to deal with the world you created, whilst you reap the benefits.

OnierosYou have some valid points but skilled people these days have opportunities our grandparents could only have dreamed of. Also, a lot of things are much cheaper - how much were DVD players when they came out, versus now? How much cheaper are all electronics, and phone calls?But on another note, I would say to people cursing the cost of life in the city, consider moving to the country. At least look into it, you might be surprised that when you weigh up what you have left after essentials for the week or month, you have more than you do in the city. It's worth a look.

Whilst they have more opportunities, those opportunities are not proportionate to the number of people looking for them. Consider that even Bachelor graduates with first class honours (entitling them to the APA paid PhD scheme) often don't make it to interviews. More needs to be done helping people start their careers, if things are going to continue this way.As for consumer electronics, whilst some are becoming cheaper, if you look at PC's, or cars, the price is rising. Housing and rent alone offsets most of the gains anyway. And moving to the country isn't an option for most, due to limited work opportunities, internet connection, basic amenities, and an increased reliance on motor vehicles.Finally, speaking of motor vehicles, if even retail positions are starting to require them (which they are, trust me, I've looked), then the government should really have a driving lesson program in schools.

I'm not sure that I'm a good example to follow as I am approaching 65 and have $25,000 in super and an empty block of land (worth $100,000) as my only assets. However wishing you had a winebago and an easy chair seems a bit boring to me. I have travelled in many countries, had at least two careers, my own company and once owned a mortgage (several times actually). If you need financial security see a GOOD financial planner and plan for it. It can't be that hard if you are only 30 to acquire some assets. The super scheme is actually very good despite it's faults and will reward you with very good compound interest if you let it work. My biggest problem is affording a roof over my head but I think with a little imagination I can do that. I already have a caravan purchased for $1500 and my house plans are looking good. Yes I will need to do some part time work for a few years but I still intend to travel widely, eat out occasionally and enjoy a rich cultural life.Perhaps, at the risk of quoting an ex-treasurer, you should get a better job. You can obviously express yourself very well and there are still career opportunities like real estate where people can make very good incomes without expensive retraining albeit working unsocial hours occasionally. Good luck with the future and be wary of those who say working hard is the answer - more likely find something you can tolerate doing that pays reasonably well and make sure you enjoy life now - learn a language, a musical instrument, write stories, make cabinets, grow vegetables, watch the sun rise and the stars shine.

Reader, you are are gullible if you believe the article in question is written as a pesonal testimony. Journalists write on issues, adopting first person to make it sound personal is a writing technique to give the topic realism ,that's all.

You may be right Samantha. I am gullible but it did occur to me this an amalgam of views to present a point of view. However to address it I thought one had to take it at face value.

This is hyperbole, verging on whinging. Lots of people who are not 'rich' are more than adequately looked after by taxpayers and their own resources in retirement. Your retirement outlook is not 'bleak'. In fact, it has never looked better. Get on with your life and love your retirement.

"Now, in my mid-30s I fear what the future may bring" ... really? Wow that is sad. At your age I was still bumming around the world retirement was the last thing on my mind.My only suggestion would be to chill out. Try to find work you are happy doing and do it for as long as you can, just maybe at a few less hours.If you choose wisely you'll enjoy working because if for no other reason then the social side of things.

Can't disagree with any of that. For many it seems more stressful to imagine the future than to look back at the past. I suppose that's how it should be. Passing through middle age you should become more accepting of yourself and achievements, unrealistic expectations should fall away.

i fear that all my hard work which will result in some medium savings and a few investments if I am lucky will be grabbed from the govt or taxed or some other form of punishment for trying to prepare for retirement. govt seems intent on raiding the piggy banks of normal hard working people - its seems to be the policy think tanks common denominator and go to plan.

I am not saying for a second that it will be easy but it is important to realize there is a whole industry out there that requires you to be scared, that you will never have enough to retire. Allies of this industry are those that tell you to borrow to the hilt and buy everything on credit. This fear lines their pockets.

Tara --- should you find yourself ( down the track ) a single parent , with new financial chaos due to divorce , then you will be in a mess once the kids are grown up. But the age you are , there is time to enter the property market ( maybe not in an ideal way , but own something ) so that you have a bolt-hole in your sixties. No bolt-hole you own , utter poverty on the Age pension is reality. Add in health costs and don't even think about driving a car ( mobility.)I am 67, have worked FT all my adult life. Raised two children. Foolishly sold my house some years ago. I have been living well on the Age pension in Portugal till recently forced back here for health reasons. I return to FT work next week.Looking back : choose your partner well. Buy a house. Choose to save over expensive family outings / material goods.And there's always Thailand ( and Portugal if you have an EU passport.)Above all KEEP your house!I am sorry these years are already filled with anxiety and worry. You DO have time on your side. Good luck!

I am a very rich self-funded retiree.Don't be too despondent.... I need someone to come and clean my house once a week. Either you or your husband, I am not sexist. Basic pay. What an opportunity to help your retirement out

Well, either you are a troll who is looking to offend, or you have no social tact. That being said, if you're looking for work like this to be done, you should consider actual job boards.

Tara, I thought the answer to your dilemma is patently obvious, you need to donate your existing funds to a political party, make sure they know who you are, then join the party with maximum brouhaha and publicity, then get yourself parachuted in to a safe seat, then you only need to get up and make a fiery speech once, after that unintelligible mumbling will suffice. Believe me the rewards will be astoundingl and you get most of the year off as a bonus. Grey nomads? Phooey, Parliamentary Jetsetters is only way to go, all sponsored by by people in your current situation.

I started my super scheme back 35 years ago, when the only super available was entirely self-funded; I did not have any compulsory super to help at all. Now that I am approaching retirement, that super has built up to a healthy sum, albeit it is still predicated on my spouse's super as well for us to be able to securely afford to do what we want to.But take note that for the last 15 years, for one reason or another, my income has been below average weekly earnings every single year; so even SGL contributions were not large. Despite that, as noted, my super is healthy.My message to the author and to everyone in the early years of their careers is to do what we did, and not just expect the government and your employer to make your super work. Make the sacrifice yourself when you are younger and it will reap rewards. 8-10% average return on super is not outrageous, so that over 30 years even at 8%, 100G will grow to over a million.Make that sacrifice then and you will probably be pleasantly surprised. Expect everyone else to make the sacrifice for you, and the surprise will be unpleasant; they have no obligation to do so, and you will have no right to complain when they don't.

Some-one I know has a small house in a major city worth a whopping $800,000. Meanwhile a house in a small country town in Queensland is selling for $50,000Most people major asset is the house. Sell that and then go touring and you should have lots of money. The pension isn't the best. The dole is even worse but I live reasonably on that if one becomes frugal- a shopping bag of potatos is $2, at St Vincents. Same for a shopping bag full of onions or carrots.If you want to live the high life then life on the pension will be tough.

..and when your health fails and you need to live near specialist health services, they wont be near the $50K rural house, but near the $800K house, or its shoebox $500K cousin, that you sold to go travelling...OK if you get to exit quick after the travels... misery of you go down with something long and slow.The essential equation is time (both how you can spend it, & length of the retirement) available money state of healthAll three in moderation can be a good life, but if you are severely lacking just one, its out of whack and very hard

You have a point about health issues. I used the price of a house at Tansey of $50,000 as an example. But Tansey is a long way from stuff. So I will alter my example. A house in a town that has a hospital would be more useful.Houses in Maryborough (Qld) that used to cost $300,000 now cost $150,000. In Gympie a$300,000 house 5 years ago may cost $150,000 also. Lot of hills in Gympie so for people with health problems Maryborough would be better. Murgon houses are down to $100,000. Murgons hospital is not as big.If people want to stay in big cities in their expensive house they will live in poverty on the Pension. If they sell they can buy a good cheap house in rural Queensland for a song and laugh all the way to the bank. (laughing and singing pensioners- contradiction in terms?)The government of either major parties are not going to fix the pension any time soon so if you choose to live in poverty in a house worth millions its your choice

By the time I am of retirement age, my pets will be dead and not to be replaced, less I become a burden to them, or they impede my ability to head for the nearest Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, where I can expect to be as resented by the local population for my relative wealth, as long as it lasts, as I am by the younger generations in evidence here. But I probably won't last very long thereafter, ill-adapted as I am to the prevailing environmental conditions.As the lottery is a forlorn hope and a wasteful expenditure (and an unethical hidden tax on the poor), I am hoping for some rapidly wasting disease or fatal accident to ensure I run out at about the same time as my savings.

Breaking news: virtually everyone's super in their mid 30s is a "pittance" Tara. You sound like you want lifetime retirement right now, fully funded. You're about 1/3 through your working life with lots of time left to build up your super, but you seem to be envious of those who spent their working lives saving for their retirements and are now enjoying it.

All those taxes you pay, well they just have to be paid. On everything. You have to pay your fair share, I'm afraid. So no whinging and whining - pay up, the State and Federal bureaucracies need everything they can suck out of your hide. I'm fed up with the lower classes moaning about the socialist state of Australia.

"provide your children with everything they deserve" ??? Don't your children deserve a clean house, 3 meals a day and plenty of love? Are you confusing what they "deserve" to what overabundance you can give them?Not all children "deserve" the latest in electronic gadgetry which costs parents a lot of money, nor do they need frequent treats and expensive holidays. What children "deserve" is parents who spend time with them and who tell them how much they love them.Instead of flinging money around bribing your children, spend it on a less costly home and save a little extra for more investment in superannuation. Even $10 per week until you retire will benefit you a lot. $10 a week is only 3 coffees, 1 pizza, 1 McDonald's meal and heaven forbid, the kids walking to school.All you have to do is separate what is "deserved" and what is needed to make your family happy.The ball is well and truly in your court and as a parent you "deserve" what you get.

Please tell me where I can buy that 3 coffees, 1 pizza, and 1 maccas (yuk), for the princely total of $10.00

Dear Tara I do actually feel for you and agree that my generation is to blame for your distress. We taught you wrong. So here is my attempt to undo the harm. Winnebagos do not bring happiness. Nor do meals out - they just make you time poor and less satisfied with simple home cooking - open a can of tuna, add five minute steamed veges - quicker than a trip to the shops. Poached egg with greens and carrots, ten minutes max. Fancy clothes - try op shops, especially in areas with lots of "double income no kids" residents. The bigger the house, the more cleaning it needs so buy small. My brother has raised four kids in a caravan smaller than a Winnebago. Holidays in resorts make home look boring. My "holidays" involve hopping on a plane and heading off to Africa or Asia, where I work in squatter camps. I meet absolutely amazing inspirational and happy people who live there! And I come home cherishing everything I have here. I know this isn't the sort of advise you might want, but my life is wonderful - and doesn't cost much at all! I am loving my low income, highly satisfying retirement (aka "re-fire-ment")!

I have been retired for 12 years now. At first our defined benefits pension was fine. These pensions are increased by the CPI rate each year. We have found that these increases have not nearly kept pace with the cost of living. In 2011 we found we were entitled to a small part aged pension due to changes made by Peter Costello sometime earlier. This was a great help as it gave us benefits apart from the pension such as free car registration, a cut on our telephone, water and land rates among other things. In December 2016 this part pension was taken from us by Scott Morrison. Nothing in our situation had changed but the rules were changed and there was certainly no grandfathering of these changes.We have had to make big changes. First, no new clothes this year including shoes and underwear (my last pair of new shoes was June 2013). We have had to give up our private health insurance. I have given up my 2 day a week voluntary work due to cost of petrol (about $10-15 per week). We have cut back on expenditure on food, petrol, and "entertainment" which is pretty well nn existent now. These are just some of the cost saving strategies we have had to make. I mention them because I want people to know that living in retirement does not mean your costs are necessarily lower. Everything goes up every year. The cost of private health insurance is an outrage. The cost of fresh food produced in this country is very high.We own our own modest home (value about $500,000). This will probably not provide a bond for an aged care facility for one of us, let alone two. The future is quite scary and we are a lot more lucky than many others!

"Retirement is only for the rich"My partner and I met in our twenties. She had bought a small house in a regional town and rented it, paying the balance of the mortgage from her wages as an apprentice. We sold that one bought another, sold that so she could attend Uni full time. Always put what we could afford into super, even before it was compulsory. Raised a son and a foster daughter while both working full time, paid his rent and board through uni, even though Centrelink would have footed the bill. No big holidays or big ticket consumer items. Now we are in our fifties and working remote, the first time in out lives we have matched the average wage. Mortgage should be paid off in four years, then its all for retirement. Expect to have about $600,000 in the kitty when we stop work, enough to be comfortable we hopeGuess that makes us rich.

Yes, maybe. See my post immediately before yours. We live quite modestly but happily. No major medical issues yet. Neither of us drink or smoke. We have a 9 year old car. I keep a pretty comprehensive spreadsheet of our expenditure and certainly have a budget and know where our money goes.My advice is that before you retire make sure your teeth are in tip top condition. If any need capping get that done. Get fillings replaced if they need it. Dental work is very expensive and you do not get much back from private health insurance "extras" cover if you have it. Make sure all your white goods are in good order and that your home is too. Tradesmen are very expensive. Plan for how many times you will need to replace your car(s). Be aware that medical procedures, like knee replacements, can be very expensive even if you have private health insurance. Consider how you will fund a bond for aged care should one or both of you need it (these are currently around $400,000+).Like travel, the advice is to work out how much money you need then double it! Good luck!

You know it's not that hard. Yes I don't have kids but we retired at 55 with $1.2m in super. I held good jobs as did my wife but we certainly wouldn't have been classified as high earners for most of our lives.We saved right from the start, always put in extra, worked for state goverments who always gave a bit extra if you did the same. Put in extra at the end of most financial years, delayed pay rises always went into super.You get the picture, it's not impossible and whilst yes most people won't get to our amount but I suspect most people could end up with a decent six figure nest egg if you make it a priority.

The thing that l find amusing are the "rack 'em and stack 'em, stick em in jail, stick em in jail longer" gang. Everyone worrying about superannuation, self funding your retirement, pensions being inadequate, and then, the burden of pensions on the taxpayers, and then we have the leaners. It currently costs the state around $100,000 per annum, per BED in private prisons, and similar in Government prisons, (in Government prisons it is the cost per PRISONER not the cost per bed, see how lucrative a private prison is, paid for empty beds). The cost per person for the aged pension? $25,000?The whole time these people are in prison, they are not adding to any superannuation fund, they are not saving for any sort of retirement, and why should they, they are being punished by "being removed from society for a set period of time". But here is the rub. in not contributing to any superannuation fund, even though they are "employed" within the prison. When they are released after "longer tougher sentencing regimes", they will continue to be a burden on society, albeit not a $100,000 per annum burden, just a $25,000 per annum burden.just saying..

I believe in Australia seniors and retirees are served very generously by our government. People who do not have sufficient funds for a modest lifesyle can apply for the Age pension withn all its concessions. Look after yourself, keep healthy, count your blessings, keep busy, contribute to the community in some way and you will be fine. Not enough gratitude for all the privileges we enjoy given by our government.I for one count myself a lucky Australian.

Exactly. My mother and her friends live comfortably on the age pension + the very generous concessions available (that self funded retirees don't get).

I worked out super needed more than the 9%... Pay extra $400 per fortnight which is hard and can only do as wife works. Been doing that for almost 10 years.... Will work next 10 when kids will be 18.... Maybe work another 5 to,help them through Uni... Will retire with approx. $700,000 for pension, Wife will have about $ 150,000 due to stopping work for kids... Unfair to her but we can't equalize them till retire. But we also put money into shares.... Luckily that has payed off.... So far.... Built up $450,000 in shares but more importantly a year dividend stream of $25,000 plus franking... Own own house but I small country town, nice house but not pricey by modern terms... About 3x yearly pay.Mostly wasn't large amounts put away but starting very, very early.... Compound interest actually worked... Bought first shares 25 years ago.... Stuck to saving roughly 10% of income..... And using line of credit mortgage to get cheapest finance to negative gear when possible.... We have had some luck but will easily be living on more than the pension... Though we will have a disabled to child to support for life... Mainly just need to get started.... Think about what you want... Not what finance people want LOL...

Check with an accountant but I think you could probably make an undeducted contribution to your wife's super if you were prepared to sell down your share investments. There may be good reasons to keep that money available rather than tied up until retirement though.

Why would anyone think that retirement is some kind of right? When did it become the expectation that everyone should have some kind of right to a long weekend that lasts 20+ years when they get to 65 (or 68 or 70, etc)? People these days should get used to the same reality that almost every person who has lived before them took for granted: that they will have to work until they are incapable of working.

I am retired and can tell you that when we were younger and with three kids, we did not have high expectations of going overseas for a holiday every year. We never ate out. We had the most basic tv. In other words we lived simply worked hard and saved.We ran a business and when the kids finally left home we were then able to save and put extra into super.because we did not have 1.2 million in super, we have to rely on a part pension.We have done several trips away through Australia and live quite comfortably on a part pensionWhat I am saying is if you live simply , don't have high expectations and don't try and keep up with everybody else in your lifestyle you will be OK

Don't retire, just work less and get used to not shouting mates at pubs because the money's not there.The best old people don't repose, staring at sunsets. I see a few old diggers on the bus now and again. Suntanned and ready for work, you know that they're not going to as that flannelette shirt won't get its sleeves rolled up any more and he shaves every day now. Cleaned and ready for a public remembrance ?The older you get the more you get to like old people.If you talk to them they'll smile and won't say much.Get it out Man... and Woman.Tell what you think !

Quote:"....To pay for my husband's funeral? (He's slightly amused by the fact I've resigned him to "go" first)....."Statistically, husbands 'go first'.Life expectancy for males is lower than for females.There is 'gap' here. We need some political initiatives to change this 'gap'. ...Or, perhaps there are 'gaps' and then there are 'other' 'gaps'. ...

Sounds like you had kids when you couldn't afford them and you think you won't be able to live of super and the pension. Retirement isn't a right. Make better choices, get better outcomes. Sorry, life isn't free.

Quote:"...I'm left with the dismal suspicion that the saying "retirement is for the rich" may not be too far from the truth....."-Of course, we need to define 'rich'.Compared to some other places of the world *everybody*in Australia is 'rich'.-and, compared to other 'times'. In many ways an Old Age Pensioner today has a living standard that is better than a 'middle income earner' anno 1950. ...

If you put 15% of your salary away into Super from Age 18 until retirement, you retire with 80% of your pre-retirement salary.(on average).

I will not be able to retire. Yet at 49, I am already experiencing the effects of age discrimination. I am an award winning professional and I cannot obtain regular work. I honestly don't know what the future holds. I currently have to rent and cannot rewlly save enough to get even a modest investment property. My superannuation is paltry, and i have no debt whatsoever. My future is honestly so bleak, that I have to realistically keep all options open. I cannot afoord to get old the way the economy is and my work situation is now.

I was unfortunate to lose the family home 2 years ago after being made redundant and struggled big time to get meaningful work that would pay my mortgage, the bank were good and deferred payments twice but when that happens, they put the payments back on top of your mortgage and it's worse than when you started. I'm 56 now, rent a place south of Perth, work maybe 40% of the year, have 200k in super but I'm not confident of the future for me and my wife.

Jeepers Tara, cheer up, you are in the prime of life!From observing my own and others life experiences:-If you are like most Aussies, you are most probably going to be OK (but not a squillionaire), primarily as a result of owning some property, having some career advancement, and contributing to superannuation (ideally never even close to the minimum), all for 25-30 years or so - and possibly having the odd windfall as well. Compound interest is quite effective. -Having a plan and sticking to it is great, obsessively worrying about it is not. Life is short and sweet, don't overly discount the present for the future. -Consumption is not a reliable strategy for happiness, but having meaningful, fun and exciting things to do probably is. Perhaps put together an "alternative superannuation" that is not composed of money, but of skills, reputation and networks, that may be completely separate to your conventional career. Even if this is not parlayed into cash in retirement, it can provide really good reasons to get up in the morning and be part of society, and make quality of life a lot less dependent on wealth.

"With the pittance that is the pension and my measly amount of superannuation, I expect the cost of living will drain the finances fairly quickly, let alone leave any funds for travel."When I was 29, I did not have any superannuation or savings at all. It is wonderful what 36 years of contributions can do, even with the economic cycle. To be sure, I'm not a billionaire and when I go travelling it won't be in a brand new Winnebago, but if one is happy with what is adequate, rather than what one desires, a lot in possible.Of course, what is required is to give some of the now for the future. That is something that I had great difficulty doing when I was younger. It was very difficult to give up something for a target that seems so far away.Like many others, I was convinced that my early lifestyle was the minimum that was tolerable, but one of the things that we learn as we get older is that we can be happy with less than we thought we could.

Long term financial planning should be a compulsory subject taught at schools. Learn to live within your income - you don't need to 'keep up with the Jonses'Your first property should be a shoe box - focus on paying it off with both your incomes before having kids. When it's payed off, then you can move to something bigger.Always completely pay off your credit card each month - if you can't afford it, don't buy it!Have 'fun' money, but a fixed amount.Stop buying all the new greatest gadgets and don't spend money on overseas holidays because you feel you 'deserve it'Good Luck!

All this 'work until you drop' stuff from the ultra right wing of government assumes that:a) someone will employ a tired old person who can't hear properly and is carrying a suit of work-acquired injuries, or even a very fit old person (complete rubbish);b all useful work is paid work and all paid work is useful (more rubbish); and thatc) all the voluntary work now done by formally retired people in either unimportant or will be dome by people in their 90s.A bit of comfort to those who will have little to retire on: it is possible to travel and have fun with a tent and a bit of camping gear. The people driving road trains will be very grateful that you have not invested in a caravan. I am combining camping with some volunteer work in inland Australia. Fortunately I do like roughing it and know the safety rules for this type of travel.

What a pack of whingers...Really, you're not getting your 70k job straight out of Uni?Casual jobs too hard, not happy, living at home, can't save?Wake up.This isn't new.When I graduated, into a recession, early 90's. I worked 2 jobs, stacked shelves, and then took in a stop gap jobin a Hospital for a year. 3 years later I had saved enough to move to Oz.I was 25.It was 35 before I made 100k a year.Worked at that, and made between 200 and 300 for the last 8 years.But, I worked for it.No harder than most of you, but I chose a career that rewarded effort.And, I married well (she's smarter than me and for years earned career money).Life can be pretty binary, find a partner to marry who has a career.Get yourself a career, one that makes money.Look at what jobs pay, and what is in demand.There's a greater demand for Pharmacists, than Photographers.(I'm a Photographer), and no it doesn't pay.Then get another career, for when you need to change.(I moved into Sales, then business Sales - no I don't have a degree).I never understood, when I traveled why those in cities wouldn't work around the country,on boats, in tourism, in Agriculture...I did all that, for little money but a lot of living.It's easy for me, because I'm a white migrant.Having no money was always a challenge...but I could always find somethingChange your mind, turn off your phone and get a life.

Hi TaraSome tips for you.Get a job where you will be made redundant.Take the redundancy and cash out your super. Don't spend it.Get another job and get made redundant. Do the same again.Get a job as cook on an outback station. Big pay and no shops. Partner can get a job there too. Do this for 10 years.Then retire.Easy as that. It's been done before.

It would be interesting to know how many of those complaining about not be able to buy a house in Sydney are the same ones complaining about the lockout laws, and how they can't drink from sunset to sunrise. You can't have your cake and eat it (or drink it) too.

I read these comments and am bewildered. I was taught to live within my means, and that included saving for what is needed, then wanted, before owning the precious object of either desire or necessity. Living in second hand clothes, not that you could tell, sharing a small house with a large family, eating what was put in front of you, or go without.We never felt hard done by, you could always find someone else with a hard luck story. Reveling in a single luxury made it feel decadent, if just for a moment.So, now retired, I am living the same way, happy because I know what is sad. Healthy but crippled. Well Travelled because I didn't need expensive things to accomplish them. Un-envious of those that do, because I also don't have their level of debt. Nor do I worry about what I don't have, but am thankful for those things I do. Responsible for my own situation and not bemoaning some other entity for where I am financially.Recapping, some of these comments are down right ludicrous in their paucity. How do you know if you are rich or well off? You are thinking/comparing/envying for a start, that means you are ALIVE. Take responsibility and be thankful.

I was born in 1960. They say that makes me a baby boomer. I've worked since I was 16 years old. I now have some money in super. Here's how I got it:I never bought a brand new car. My first overseas trip was in 2015. I bought an old house and renovated it myself. I couldn't get a house loan because no bank would touch a single man in those days. I used a personal loan at 17% interest. One bathroom, 3 bedrooms, one lounge room, not even a verandah until I built one myself from secondhand materials. I still live there.All this knocking of "rich" baby boomers ticks me off. Just maybe I may be able to fund my retirement myself because I worked my arse off for it?The whole knock the baby boomers, "super is a tax evasion vehicle for rich old men" narrative is simply the politics of envy, envy from people who have opportunities I could only dream about.People seem to forget that anything I have I worked 40 years to get.

I can only speak about my own experience but I am now widowed, retired and receive a part government age pension and a part self funded pension, the latter being of a greater amount. I own my own modest home in a regional city and have a comfortable lifestyle, though not extravagant. I drive a reasonably new vehicle. If I choose to travel I can afford to do so. I play sport, attend the theatre and cinema. I do other exercise when I feel like it. I enjoy eating out perhaps once or twice a week with friends or relatives and purchase a coffee when I feel so inclined. I visit my children and their families in other cities perhaps three or four times a year. I enjoy a nice glass of beer or wine whether at home or out and I eat well, fresh but conservatively.Compulsory superannuation did not exist until about twenty years before I actually retired. My super fund is a large well known one and they have assured me it is an industry fund and their fees do seem reasonable. My husband's modest super fund was transferred to me on his death and I draw a small pension from this as well. I have some fairly small investments outside of super.What I have found is that my material needs have diminished as I age and I must say that to date I have enjoyed fairly good health. I do have private health insurance which proved to be invaluable when my husband was ill but the value of which I sometimes question now. I am now 70 years of age.Taking all this into account it seems to me, the basis of a good retirement for workers comes down to having regular employment for most of your life, saving both inside and outside of superannuation as much as you can by living fairly modestly, having no debt when you retire, taking good professional financial advice regularly and being fortunate enough to enjoy good health into your senior years. I may yet find myself entirely dependent on a government pension but I will do my best to stave off that time as long as possible.

I started paying tax in 1959 . in1971 I married and put just 9% of my income away for my "old age" that's what they call it but it is not We have been retired for 7 years now and manage quite OK but still frugal and I think that is what you have to do . mind you having a govt that is sympathetic to us oldies would be a help.

Retirement means different things to different people. I recently came across the blog on the site Retirement And Good Living which has many posts by guests describing their retirements and various related topics including finances, health, travel, volunteering and more.

As the government pays the age pension, superannuation payments (based upon 10-15% of personal income) should all go to the government. If the wealthy 'private' individual wishes more than paid out by the government (depending on amt paid in+compound interest) for their retirement, then they have the usual savings options. Everyone gets a government super pension + Age pension top-up if necessary, ie if the pensioner has no 'private' retirement income.This needs to be combined with a Medicare increase to 4-5% and incorporate dental and age care. If the wealthy want better, they pay for it-without gov't rebates.The gov't should get rid of unemployment by guaranteeing a job everyone that can't get one in the 'private sector'. (at minimal wage or normal rates- not 'sit down' money disguised as work for the dole).The other problem that needs addressing is persons retiring without home ownership. Rents, mostly being used to pay off the owners investment loan, increase the cost of living by above $10,000/yr for a single pensioner (above rates,repairs of ownership). Currently the government pays these rents via the aged pension to the investor. (Ie the government, on top of negative gearing, transfers monies indirectly to investors via the age pension). Maybe consideration should be given to capping rents to rates + repairs (verified by receipts) and removing negative gearing on investment properties forcing the investors to pay their own debt, not leaning on Age pensioners/gov't to pay it for them.The 'employment' changes would ensure most Australian's would have a reasonable super balance. The Medicare increase removes the threat of aged health problems taking all one's savings. The 'rent' problem can be removed by stopping welfare to investor transfers, saving the government billions..

Retirement is for the living.But without the wealth to stay up with inflation, you will likely find retirement to be nothing but tedium, anxiety and fear.Do not think that labouring will give you the wealth necessary to enjoy retirement.Do not join the military if you want a leisurely retirement.Retirement could be regarded as a myth as it is certainly not all that it is cracked up to be.

Expectations expectations expectations ... the rules are (necessarily) changing but many people do not change their expectations ... retiring (full or part time) from work (full or part time) will occur (voluntarily or forcibly) at some point (lucky if you get to pick the timing) .... just suck it up everyone and be happy with whatever life you chose and what is left over .... no point in being sad (in addition to poor) because you did not keep your expectations in check ... Only advice ... invest more time keeping up with the rule changes than you do on social media or whinging about your expectations not being met.As for the first reply to the first post ... mc: from anote: that was a silly way to solve that problem - please do not vote dysfunctionally based on your poor decision making - paying for a bit of advice (or keeping up to date) would have saved you a lot

Unreasonable expectations are a problem. Encouraging unreasonable expectations and limiting the prospects of others while enhancing ones own is another.Telling people to suck it up as you do is not just saying to unreasonable people that they are being unreasonable but telling reasonable people to be satisfied with the crumbs that fall from the table of the better off and more capable.The rules are changing (necessarily) but that does not automatically mean that they are changing for the better and if people do not think they are changing for the better then they do not have to suck it up (and shut up).That which is reasonable is up for debate.

TaraThe Brother in Law spent years trying to accumulate wealth, so he would be in the position for lots of travel in retirement. In mid life after planning a trip to New Zealand he went to the Doctor. The Doctor said he had three months to live.When the Children were young I was unemployed for eight years, and unemployment benefits was our only income. Tough times, a time for the preparation of what retirement is all about.When I got a job the money was spent on room air conditioning and Solar systems. I was unemployed again before retirement. Now when it gets hot I get a southerly change when the air conditioner is turned on and when I close my eyes I can be at a beach, if I wish. A good day out is grocery shopping and saying good morning to a bright young person at the checkout.I count myself as being fortunate, for I have the internet where I look on the Drum and see stuff I am passionate about. Life's good though we are not in the best of health or have not much wealth and life is just getting by from week to week.It is a case things working out one way or another, some times good, sometimes bad, for you have to accept things that are thrown at you.

An article that looks to the future is good to see , how do we plan for fairness for people who have dedicated their lives to work and being financially responsible adults?The greatest need next to health for those that are retired is addressing loneliness and lack of stimulus for many, travelling achieves this for many. It is the cost of caravan parks for pensioners and access to free or cheap camping that has a large effect. Retired people are safe , generally courteous and trustworthy. They have an important role for society and their well being is a measure of our quality of life. It isn't about the money it is about how to maximise not much money and creating an environment that respects older people and doesn't take advantage of their vulnerabilities, rather recognises their opportunities and advances them.

If Labor gets it's way with taxing superannuation and reducing negative gearing, quality retirement will certainly be "only for the rich".The average Joe will be living on a modest pension. That is what they want - everyone reduced to the same denominator.

It's the Liberals who want to tax superannuation. They've been trying to wreck super for years because it was a Labor initiative.

Alfie: If your investments and security come unstuck Alfie, you deserve a modest income because of your contribution to taxes and acknowledgement of your lifelong efforts and ability to fend for yourself . And here's the bit you hate, if you were a good for nothing lazy selfish loser living in squalor, you still deserve help because your life is crap whether you know it or not.The reason may not be clear why you live this way. It is really difficult to reply to your post directly but I suppose that is deliberate. If your Neo con friends have they're way you are probably too small to survive with your finances intact, sentiment and ethics are economically expendable. If the Neo cons didn't have such large investment in both parties and media I'd trust the government above them any day. Your efforts in disentangling the two would be appreciated. Playing the male black widow role isn't an ideal political stance.

Coming up to " Retirement " age for me raises a few questions for me. I cannot maintain the level of physical stamina required for me to keep up with my colleagues who are 40 years younger than me. If I could I'd continue in my part-time job for maybe another 5 - 10 years. I have no savings as I've always paid at least 60% of my income in rent all my life. My superannuation will be eaten up repaying medical expenses for a health crisis I incurred as a " working poor "with no Health Care Card.I shall have trouble securing a lease on a flat having only the age pension as demonstrable income, so will probably have to live in a rooming house or similar.Having said that , I can't believe my luck as a Baby Boomer in a stinking rich country such as Australia that can afford to pay $300/week to its aged to live on as well as free health care. I shall continue to generate some income for myself , living by my wits and wiles as I've always done.

Tara,Of course retirement is not just for the rich-but for all!Regarding superannuation I believe that the aged pension is the ultimate default superannuation where all tax payers pay for the retirement of those through poor luck or lack of planning or a wasteful life time do not have enough of their own resources to fund their retirement.Many aged pensioners has a perfectly happy life -it is just that their expectations have to match their income -this of course is the ultimate route to all happiness in this life!GR

Of course it is, unless you knuckle down extremely hard and have some luck.Whilst we can give a lot of blame to the boomers for sitting by and making a lot of money out of making house prices cost a fortune, gen x and y disgust me. It didn't take a genius to see this coming. But they were too busy looking in the mirror.

When we looked at all the projections based on reasonable interest rates things looked exciting. having seen numbers of people lose substantial parts of their savings in a downturn or two caution was decided upon.Of course money became almost worthless and debt reigns supreme. It has even go to the extent that superannuation is being decided upon as a taxation "reform" issue meaning you will probably earn even less and the lies told about comfortable retirements and "topping up" the pension are now exposed for what they were. I suggest every one take a 60-70% pay cut (as cautious investors have had to because of the ridiculously low interest rates) and see how you fee or exist even). So superannuation was seen by some of us as joke and a way of manipulating retirement, it has turned out to be just that. So folks spend away, don't save for your retirement or as you are forced to blow it all on expensive everything. No one gives a damn about a self funded retiree. Of course you get tax benefits (promised and carved in stone on direct taxation so they just increase indirect taxation, that's fair we never broke a promise. It's all a sick con.

With all the Boomers stating that it is OK for houses prices to be so ridiculously high because "both partners work these days" is selfish in the extreme. With both partners forced to work to keep a roof over their heads, this causes a massive decline in the standard of living and restricts life choices.How does one have children, for example? Childcare is extremely expensive, even with subsidies. It is also often limited in availability, causing large amounts of stress for parents. How does one afford 2 or 3 children when one is on an average wage? I've read of parents who both work and have stated that their childcare costs more per week than their rent. How does one breastfeed from work? Should we all just deny younger generations the family they would like because some older generations like their unearned wealth?Things which determine one's physical and emotional health are compromised when both parents are FORCED to work long hours. Home-cooked meals, time with friends and family, sports, family outings are all compromised by the demands of the commute (which is much harder these days due to ridiculous immigration rates) and the job itself.

I don't know where you get the idea baby boomers have "unearned wealth". There are plenty of baby bombers who are still paying off their mortgage. Houses may have been cheaper, but interest rates certainly weren't.

mecoPeople make decisions. Married women wanted to work, and from that we have today's world where it takes 3-4 times an income coming into a home to pay for accommodation.Now a number of women I know chose to only work three days a week so they have time for home care and children.Seems poorer people have to live in the outer suburbs, whilst millionaires live in the inner suburbs. That is the way it has been even in the past. Towns grew and the outer suburbs became inner suburbs. So people who live in inner suburbs now were people looking for an affordable place to live at some stage in the past.

Voluntry euthenasa could be a viable alternative to people who do not want struggle with disease and poor living standards that sometimes happen with old age.

For the better part of human history, the concept of retirement was the domain of the rich. The idea the regular person could retire has been an aberration. It's simply returning to historical average.

It is time look at ways that would enable older people to partake in part time work to supplement their pension if they wish, many of the skills that older people have aquired are an asset to the nation and could be utilized for the benefit of all

As a regular reader of my local Senior paper I'm more than depressed with the number of seniors who are travelling them roads not by choice but because they are homeless. It is a disgrace that even now people who should be putting their feet up and enjoying their twilight years can't do so because there is a shortage of affordable nursing, retirement, & even private rental homes. It is not something to worry about in the future it is happening now. Even those pensioners that are in their own home are being rorted by the ridiculously high care packages introduced by LNP. Labor started this mess by making it almost impossible for Carers to qualify for the full Carer Payment. Neither LNP or Labor can hold their heads up when it comes to treatment of our seniors. If we are going to see any real return from tax benefits for negative gearing it should be restricting negative gearers to affordable housing.

When Social Services minister, Scott Morrison, in company with the Greens, legislated to change the parameters for part age pension eligibility.At the time he said that, when Howard and Costello legislated the existing rules, that was fine because we had $40b in the bank and $20b surpluses (something like that).So he says that the government can save approx. $2.2b over 4 years by removing some, or all, of the part pension from 320,000 pensioners.I reached pension age in 2011 and years before that, estimated our assets and pension entitlement and thought we would be OK. Not so, goalposts moved, plying field tilted.The much vaunted National Commission of Audit comprising Abbott and Hockey appointees headed by Mr Tony Shepherd recommended, in section 9, wide ranging changes to the pension age and asset and income limits.The recommendation suggested that the proposed changes should only apply to people born after 1960. The assumption being that they would have been superannuated for a sufficient period to be more self sufficient than their predecessors.On page 7/16 of section 9 of the Commissions Report, it states, in the fourth paragraph, " No existing recipient of the Age Pension will have their eligibility and pension amount reducedas a conseguence of any of the Commission's recommendations in this area". On page 9/17 of section 9, the second paragraph states " In implementing any changes to the pension means test, the Commission gives weight to the idea of a no disadvantage test being applied to current recipients. The new rules could apply to people born from 1960 in recognition that significant financial decisions are made by people close to retirement. The group affected is currently aged in their mid-50's and could be expected to reach Age Pension age by 2027".The Commission in its recommendations place a lot on fairness. Mr Turnbull places emphasis on fairness in tax reform.During the :boom" years, it was not only the pensioners that received financial advantage.There were income tax cuts and superannuation changes. Morrison is still banging on about reducing income taxes.Why is it that only 320,000 part age pensioners have to do any lifting?I could go on and on quoting from here rgere abd everywhere on this topic but enough is enough for now.Fair? My a...!

Living within one's means, whether you are a labourer on basic wage or a professional on an extremely good wage is the catalyst to whether you feel rich or feel poor. If you can't afford to live the high life when you are working, with out heavy debt, then it's odds on you won't be able to do the same when you retire. We have always encouraged our 4 children to keep on educating themselves, and their spouses to the point of doing University and updating their credentials as they continue to work. We also encouraged them to put extra into super over and above the essential rate, right from the first day of work. Taken from their before tax wages. Now in their 40's, they all have good reasonable superannuation balances. They should be able to enjoy a reasonable level of retirement, as they have been lucky to enjoy a good working life and their health is also good. Not all people have that chance in life so there will always be those who will struggle for various reasons and those that seem to have the lot. But using the art of compounding whether it be education, superannuation, bank interest or the share market, a little can grow into a reasonable retirement. As the saying goes an Oak tree from a little acorn grows.

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