Where is Wayne Wood when I need him? On first glance, Federal Treasurer Peter Costello’s plan to encourage intending retirees to keep working, and take their superannuation as a pension rather than a lump sum, may completely stuff (my wife) Jenny’s and my longstanding early retirement plans: –
The government would also allow over-55s to access their super even if they wanted to keep working, from July 2005, but only as a pension and not a lump sum.
We had planned that Jenny would take early retirement when she hits 55 next year, but then keep relief teaching. She was going to take her super as a lump sum and use it to reduce the mortgage on one of our rental properties (in order to provide a reasonable net income flow from it). Then I was also planning to take early retirement in 5 years or so, also keep lecturing on a casual basis, and also contribute my super lump sum to further reduce (in fact completely eliminate) the remaining borrowings on our rental investment properties. The combination of these and a couple of other plans will (or would have) seen us entirely debt-free by the time I was eligible to take early retirement, with a comfortable self-funded retirement income enough for both of us (whether living separately or together).
However, if the law is going to be changed to prevent us from taking our super as lump sums, even though we won’t be doing so in order to make ourselves eligible for a publicly-funded age pension, our retirement plans are utterly disrupted. Please tell me I’m misreading it all, Wayne!! Why do the pricks keep continually messing around with superannuation laws? Don’t they understand that Australians rely on these rules and put in place retirement plans over a long period of time that can’t readily be changed, especially as the retirement date becomes imminent?
On a slightly different topic, the same story quotes the following mind-boggling statistics:
He 1 said the welfare system did not properly encourage lone parents and disabled people to work, saying one in eight men aged between 50 and 64 were on a disability pension and just one in 10 parents in jobless families were required to look for work to receive income support.
If true, these figures rather suggest that perennial leftie protests about the evil heartless economic rationalist Howard government and its mutual obligation rhetoric and “work for the dole” schemes are a trifle exaggerated. If the figures are correct, then large numbers of malingerers should be kicked off disability pensions, because the proposition that 12.5% of blokes between 50 and 64 are incapable of working is laughable.
I’m a bit more equivocal about pushing sole parents into the workforce, and certainly don’t think they should be pressured until all their children have reached school age. After that, however, I can’t think of a compelling argument in favour of single parents being entitled to choose to live a life of (relative) leisure at taxpayer expense.