Worked till death

If everything goes according to plan, as far as the government is concerned, Australia might end up with the highest retirement age in the world.

The suggested retirement age is 70, surpassing countries such as Greece, Iceland, Israel and Norway with their retirement age set at 67.

While in Sweden retirement age is set at 61, but if you feel like it, you can retire at 68. At least the Swedes have a fair choice.

The increase of the retirement age in Australia is due to how superannuation works— or doesn’t work if you will —at the moment.

When superannuation was first introduced in Australia in 1909-10 the retirement age for men was set at 65 and for women at 60. A time when life expectancy for men were about 58 and about 60 for women.

In other words, in 1909-10 you would be lucky if you managed to retire before you died — your sole purpose in life back then was— as it seemed —to work till you were six feet under before you retired and not becoming a burden on the government.

Former PM Paul Keating argued in a 2006 ABC interview that if the superannuation rate had been 15% since 1996 (minimum rate now is set at 9.25%), total superannuation assets in Australia would be approaching $2 trillion — almost double the current level.

On Twitter last year ALP made the bold statement that, “Australia’s superannuation system is the envy of the world.”

At that time I reached out to them and asked who they were referencing — no response (no surprise).

A quick search on Wikipedia shows that only Canada, USA, New Zealand and Hong Kong uses a similar superannuation scheme as Australia.

From that I can only assume that Australia’s superannuation is the envy of Canada, USA, New Zealand and Hong Kong — hardly the whole world I dare say.

It still raises the question, if Australia’s superannuation is allegedly the envy of the world, how can it be if the retirement age must be raised to compensate for its inability to properly fund the retirement of Australian workers?

Maybe they are going for the original strategy from 1909-10, hoping most workers will be six feet under before retirement age — the payment is much lower when you try to cash out before you’ve retired, as it is then subject to tax.Let us not worry though. Australia is the best country in the world, so this is just for the better. Instead of increasing the payment rate into a fund that has poor growth, controlled by the big banks in Australia, thanks to lack of competition, let us work till we die.

So why not set the retirement age to 80 and be done with it — Australians live so they can work, not work so they can live, right?

The government gave us Work Choices— thankfully repealed in 2007 —and now the recent Strong Choices. Maybe they should brand the increase of the retirement age as Life Choices. The perfect hat trick to show what this government thinks of its people — that we only have the choices they give us, not any rights.

<caption>Onwards to the past: Older people may work in less skilled jobs

 

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