Struggling seniors should sell up

Elderly Australians are asset rich but income poor according to a new study released yesterday by the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of NSW. While Australian single pensioners receive less in income than their counterparts in other OECD countries, they are much more likely to own their own home. 85 per cent of people over 70 own their own home, compared with 64 per cent in Britain. However retirement incomes in Australia are lower on average with retired Australians typically having 50 per cent of the income of the average household. In countries such as Canada, Germany and Britain, the elderly enjoy about two-thirds of average household income. Seniors lobby groups have been calling for a raise in the base pension rate especially for single pensioners. The government released a discussion paper on the age pension rate and has signalled that the pension may increase next year. The author of the study, Dr Bruce Bradbury, said that it was inefficient for seniors to tie up their wealth in bricks and mortar when they were finding it tough to meet their living expenses. Bradbury suggested people were keeping their homes as an inheritance for their children but should think about selling to fund a better lifestyle in retirement.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald