‘Gods waiting room’: Navigating your golden years

Oct 23, 2022
Source: Getty

I recently read an article by Derryn Hinch where he said he learnt a big lesson from his father who retired at the age of 62. His father then spent the next 32 years in “God’s waiting room”.

I’m 74 years old and I thought the same as Derryn Hinch, as my mother lived to 97 (dad was 90, so I have good genes), that means I could be in “God’s waiting room” for at least another 23 years! Do I want that? There are only so many trips you can do, so much gardening, and not to mention cleaning out the cupboards! I have done and continue to do volunteer work.

I know I found it very hard to retire, but I did. But then at the age of 71, I saw this great job advertised. The position needed all the skills that I had. I showed it to my husband, and his response was, “You’re too old, who is going to hire you at 71 years of age?!”.

So, after my husband’s comment, I thought blow it, I will apply. So I did, and I got the job. I have now been working part-time for 3 years and I love it. It was great during covid lockdowns, as living in Victoria we were the most locked-down state in the world.

We did lose most of our pension, fortunately, the Federal Government has raised the amount we can earn by another $4,000 but the catch is, it won’t start until December 2022 and will finish in June 2023 as it is only for this financial year.

I wonder if any government will ever get it right. We have had our pension slashed, I am paying taxes and contributing to the community not only by working but by spending as well. But when I do my tax return, what I have received in Centrelink benefits is classed as earnings and I’m taxed (again) accordingly.

My next gripe is our health. It seems the governments have us “over the hill”, as for women, once you hit 74, you don’t get a reminder to have a breast screening test. It’s still free but you have to remember to ask for it. I recently did my bowel screening test and I was very ‘nicely’ informed that as I’m now 74, I won’t be getting any more! Are we not worthy of ongoing reminders and health care or are we too old and dispensable?

I recently saw on A Current Affair that if you are over the age of 65 you’re not entitled to NDIS, but you can’t get the pension until you are 67. Sure you may be entitled to an aged care package; but how long does that take to start? Also, does it give you enough funds to access all the services you need?

Does it mean if you are on the NDIS once you turn 65 you’re chucked onto the scrap heap?

I am very fortunate that at the age of nearly 75 years, I am comparatively healthy and still able to work and contribute to society.

But for how long?

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